Money is no problem for passionate collectors of 'living' timepieces Over the years, many antique and contemporary watches have set records at auctions - bringing in millions to sellers and pleasure to buyers. The first watch to achieve the highest price was Patek Philippe's Henry Graves Supercomplication, (US$11,002,500). It was sold at Sotheby's 'Masterpieces from the Time Museum' auction in New York on December 2, 1999. The Time Museum in Rockford, Illinois, had been open to the public for nearly 30 years and was closed in March 1999. Named after New York banker Henry Graves, the pocket watch was made in 1933 after three years of research and five years of manufacturing. The banker commissioned Patek Philippe to produce this highly sophisticated watch featuring 24 complications, including a perpetual calendar, power reserve, moon phases and indications for time of sunset and sunrise. The dial highlights the night sky of New York city. An anonymous bidder bought the watch. 'It was the first time for a watch to break the US$10 million mark. The record price marked a turning point in auction history,' said Geoffroy Ader, deputy director and head of watches, Sotheby's, Geneva. 'It's sheer passion that drives collectors willing to pay a fortune for a watch such as Henry Graves Supercomplication. As buyers are wealthy, money is often the last thing that concerns them. 'They don't look for the cost, but want the watch that catches their eye. Well-presented and quality complicated watches in good condition interest them.' He said no matter how attractive a watch was, it would be of no value in an auction unless it was a 'living' watch with a 'beating heart'. This also applied to antique watches. He said clients varied. Some looked for wristwatches, others were interested in vintage pocket watches with key winders. In the 15th century, for example, pocket watches looked like drums; and in the 17th century, watches were onion sized and technical watches reigned in the 18th century. The most expensive modern wristwatch was sold in last month's Sotheby's auction to an Asian buyer in Hong Kong. The watch was a Patek Philippe 5002P Sky Moon Tourbillon, regarded as the most sophisticated wristwatch made. It sold for HK$11.75million. The double dial model is produced in a limited edition of only two each year - one in rose gold and another in platinum. The timepiece beat Vacheron Constantin's record last year when its King Kalla, a rare and magnificent white gold and emerald-cut diamond-set bracelet watch, was sold for HK$5.48million.