Patek Philippe Pocket Watch, ca. 1900

Value (2007) | $20,000 Auction

GUEST:
As a grade-schooler, my father had given it to me. It was originally my great-grandfather's pocket watch.

APPRAISER:
Okay.

GUEST:
And it's been in the family since he bought it. I'm not sure when that was, although it was probably before 1900.

APPRAISER:
As a child, did you know of it?

GUEST:
Well, when my father first gave it to me, I used it as my timepiece in grade school and fell playing football and busted the crystal on it. The crystal was replaced and after that, it's been in a safe ever since.

APPRAISER:
Probably wiser than playing football with it.

GUEST:
It's signed on the dial "Spaulding & Co."

APPRAISER:
Now, it wasn't never actually made by Spaulding & Co. They were just the retailers of it. This watch was made by Patek Philippe circa 1900.

GUEST:
Really?

APPRAISER:
They're a very famous Swiss watch manufacturer.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
Now, when you go back to the 1900 era, a lot of their more important pieces that were sold were signed simply on the dial by retailers. Spaulding, Bailey Banks & Biddle, Tiffany & Co. All very high up, very large retailers of Patek Philippe. What makes this one slightly more interesting as well-- it's designed with what's called a "minute repeater." The minute repeater works by sliding a chime on the side of the case. Now, you can push that slide and it will chime the time to the nearest minute. If you were out at night and you wanted to know the time, you could simply push the slide and listen to it, rather than having to light a light to see what the dial actually said. Incredibly useful, they were some of the better pocket watches and some of the more desirable made. The other relevance with this pocket watch-- it has what's called a "split-second chronograph." Now, a chronograph, it's a time recorder, it's a stop watch effectively. It was largely used for timing race horses, etcetera.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
And it goes one step further. It's actually a split-second chronograph. So you can see on the dial it has two hands-- one here and one here. These are used so you can independently time say the first and second place in a horse race.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
Now, you don't normally find multiple complications in Patek Philippe watches. Patek Philippe in general, they are some of the best in the world. To find them with a minute repeater is very desirable or to find it with a split-second is very desirable. To have the combination of the two, and also in particular, it's quite a small size case. You don't tend to see very many of them. For an auction value, I expect you'd probably fetch in the region of around $20,000 for it.

GUEST:
My goodness.

APPRAISER:
I wouldn't play football with it again.

GUEST:
No, I don't think so.

APPRAISER:
Patek Philippe, one of the few companies you can write to them with the movement and case number and they'll give you a certificate with the date that it was made.

Appraisal Details

Appraised value (2007)
$20,000 Auction
Event
San Antonio, TX (July 14, 2007)
Material
Metal

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