16 November 2009

Elizabeth Doerr


Antiquorum completed an epoch-making sale yesterday at its fall Geneva auction. Originating in Japanese Patek Philippe and Ferrari collector Yoshiho Matsuda's collection, Antiquroum sold the yellow gold timepiece weighing 1.1 kilograms for 4.5 million Swiss francs. Together with the buyer's fee, this made for 5,120,000 million Swiss francs changing hands.

 

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Caliber 89 by Patek Philippe © Antiquroum
One of the rarest pocket watches in the world—only one was made in each of four precious metals—it also holds the record for being the most complicated timepiece in existence: the triple spring barrel movement with a non-visible tourbillon boasts 33 complications and displays the hours, minutes, and seconds of both mean time (front) and sidereal time (back). The other complications include: second time zone, times of sunrise and sunset, the equation of time, world time for 125 cities, secular perpetual calendar (day, weekday, month, four-digit year, leap year, “sun hand” for display of the season, equinox, solstice, and zodiac, star chart, age and phase of the moon, date of Easter, Sirius's passage, the moon's passage, lunar orbit, and a 24-hour display with day/night indicator), split-seconds chronograph with 30-minute and 12-hour counters, grande et petite sonnerie with carillon, a minute repeater, alarm, power reserve indicators for both movement and strike train, crown position indicator, thermometer, hair hygrometer, barometer, altimeter, and compass. The movement containing 1,278 components boasts four levels on three German silver plates and 126 jewels. It measures 71.5 x 28.05 mm and weighs 600 grams.

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Antiquorum COO William Rohr with Caliber 89
© Elizabeth Doerr/Worldtempus


Taking a full nine years to complete, Caliber 89's movement conforms to the strict specifications of the Seal of Geneva. The yellow gold example sold yesterday was originally part of Antiquorum's themed sale “The Art of Patek Philippe” on April 9, 1989. All four of the watches were sold at this time to one royal family, with the collection dispersing in the early years of the new millennium.
The Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva does not own an example of Caliber 89: the watch measuring 88.2 x 41.07 mm on display there does not contain a movement. Antiquorum celebrates its 35th anniversary this year.