Accompanied by Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming the production of the movement in 1930, casing in 1948 and its subsequent sale on 14 September 1948, copy of the Bulletin de Dépot and two copies of timing sheets from the Geneva Observatory. Furthermore delivered with the original fitted wooden presentation box.
ESSE QUAM VIDERI -
TO BE RATHER THAN TO APPEAR
Since its founding in 1839, Patek Philippe always stood for quality, craftsmanship, precision and style. It is to no surprise that this great firm's history is intimately interwoven with the lives of Kings and Queens, statesmen, celebrated businessmen, successful scientists and famous artists. Patek Philippe's clientele has included Queen Victoria and King Umberto II, James Ward Packard, Marie Curie and Albert Einstein, Richard Wagner and Duke Ellington. However, one stands out from all of the above as Patek Philippe's most influential and prominent patron - Henry Graves Jr. (1868 - 1953), born into an important private banking family, collector and sportsman.
Together with James Ward Packard, the automobile manufacturer from Warren Ohio, no other client like Henry Graves Jr. has ever been such a challenge to the master watchmakers of Patek Philippe. This challenge which was the consequence of an eager phantom competition between the two men, who actually never met, in an attempt to own the most complicated watch ever made. This race was eventually won by Henry Graves Jr. in 1933 when he took delivery of his "Supercomplication", a watch with 24 complications.
No public records are available to show how many watches Mr. Graves has ordered from Patek Philippe, but research would result in some 30 pieces, all highly unique, and of which at least 12 are today publicly exhibited at the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva. Most of the watches of Henry Graves Jr. are engraved with the family's coat-of-arms and motto ESSE QUAM VIDERI.
The present watch, a platinum openface watch with one minute tourbillon regulator, was delivered to Mr. Graves in 1948 for the impressive amount of US $ 3,965. Two years earlier, this superb masterpiece participated at the Geneva Astronomical Observatory Timing Contest where it was awarded First Prize with a score of 853 points. The only other Patek Philippe platinum tourbillon watches known to exist (Nos. 198'310 and 198'311) were also made for Henry Graves Jr. and one of them is now permanently on exhibit at the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva.
Unique and extraordinary are adjectives to be used with care, but the platinum tourbillon watch No. 198'247 is deserving of such epithets. As well as being of exceptional quality and rarity, it also combines the contrast of invisible complexity and visible simplicity - ESSE QUAM VIDERI - TO BE RATHER THAN TO SEEM.