Timepiece sets a new record
T’S MANY a sunrise since I was short of time. It all began on Christmas Day a few decades ago. Among the contents of my festive stocking was something I had long coveted: a watch. But among a flood of tears, it turned out to be just a toy, with a dial depicting nursery rhyme characters.
The family got the message and since then I’ve lost count of how many watches have passed through my hands and vanished thanks to loss or theft or because they have simply called it a day.
What set me on this train of thought was a news item I read the other day about a pocket watch being auctioned in New York by Sotheby’s for the equivalent of R270 million.
This incredible creation, the Patek Philippe Supercompilation, has 920 components, all made entirely by hand.
It boasts 24 functions, including playing the Westminster chimes and depicting the sky at night over New York’s Central Park.
The watch was made in 1925 for a New York banker who aimed to surprise James Ward Packard, the Ohio vehicle maker. Why, I don’t know; big money rivalry, presumably.
But both would have been amazed at the latest price paid for the masterpiece, a record for an auctioned timepiece. The anonymous winning bid was made by phone.