by HannahElliott at Forbes
Watches are so hot right now. The 20-carat gold watch was made in 1918 for James Ward Packard, the same guy who made some of the most expensive and most beautiful cars in the world today. (You could buy a 1932 Packard Twelve Dual Cowl Phaeton at Pebble Beach this August for less than half the cost of the watch.)
Packard had a supremely refined style that extended well beyond his love of cars. He sketched his own directions for the watch, which included a blue-enamel JWP monogram on the back case with hour, minute and second displays beneath the rock crystal glass. The watch also had a bespoke combination of hour, minute, quarter and half-quarter repeatinggrande and petite sonnerie complications. Christie’s declined to name the buyer, though it did confirm that the watch came directly from the Packard family. The watch has been sitting in bank vault at an undisclosed location for the past 60 years.
The auction sets a record for a Vacheron Constantin timepiece sold in the United States, and the timing couldn’t be more perfect: Vacheron will open its first U.S. boutique this fall on Madison Avenue. Suffice to say, this preview bodes well.
Point of interest: A different Vacheron Constantin–the Tour de l’Ile made in 2005 to commemorate the company’s 250th anniversary–sold at auction for $1.5 million in Geneva. Christie’s says it’s the most complicated wristwatch ever made.
Photos courtesy of Christie’s.
bonus video : The Art of Collecting Watches – A Personal Journey – Vacheron Constantin