This Henry Graves Jr. yellow gold Patek Philippe Tonneau minute repeating watch is tipped to sell for about $US800,000 at auction in June. Photo: Bloomberg.
Thirteen Patek Philippe timepieces, which had belonged to renowned collector Henry Graves Jr., are heading to the auction block at Sotheby's in June.
Born to a banking family, Graves (1868-1953) amassed about 40 extraordinary watches over four decades, commissioning some of the most complex pieces ever made.
"It's like finding a dozen Picassos from the finest Picasso collector sitting in a closet."
His 1933 Patek Philippe "The Henry Graves Supercomplication" fetched $US11 million at Sotheby's in 1999, the highest price ever paid for a timepiece at auction.
The 13 Graves watches, which have never been published or appeared on the market, will be offered at Sotheby’s on June 14 in New York.
"It's like finding a dozen Picassos from the finest Picasso collector sitting in a closet," Sotheby's head of watches in New York John Reardon told Bloomberg.
The watches come from the estate of Graves's grandson Reginald 'Pete' Fullerton, Jr., who died in March.
Fullerton inherited his grandfather's zeal for timepieces, assembling a collection of his own. His 41 Patek Philippe and Breguet wristwatches will be included in the auction as well.
The Fullerton collection includes 11 iconic perpetual calendar watches by Patek Philippe from the 1950s to the 1990s.
Fullerton kept all the watches in leather boxes near his room, wounding them once a day, Mr Reardon said.
"Within 24 hours after he wound them up for the last time, they stopped," he said.
Estimates for the timepieces begin at $US2,000, with the yellow gold Tonneau minute-repeating wristwatch, which is inscribed with the family coat of arms and the Latin motto meaning "To be, rather than to seem", is expected to reach $US800,000 at auction.
Follow ExecutiveStyle on Twitter