Watches, regardless of whether they were designed to be worn on one’s wrist or carried in the pocket, can be unbelievably complicated, irresistibly desirable and, consequently, very expensive. The best of the best, one is often led to believe, are the ones fetching top prices either by selling well above the suggested retail price in stores, selling out online in a matter of hours, or fetching stratospheric prices at auctions. However, desirability and, hence, perceived value are just that: perceptions, and they can change rapidly – as was last testified when one of four ever replica Patek Philippe Caliber 89 Grand Complication pocket watches quietly failed to sell a few days ago at the Sotheby’s May 14th, 2017, “Important Watches” auction in Geneva.
Normally, this wouldn’t be anything out of the ordinary. After all, not all watches will find buyers at auctions but, then again, the Patek Philippe Caliber 89 is not an ordinary watch but one previously boasting innumerable records. Let us familiarize ourselves with it once again and then discuss some of the details on why it may have failed to change hands.
The Patek Philippe Caliber 89 pocket limited edition fake watches made its debut in 1989 to celebrate the company’s 150th anniversary, following some 9 years of research and development. Patek Philippe only ever made 4 Caliber 89 watches, one in each precious metal; yellow gold, white gold, rose gold, and platinum. At the time of its conception, it was the most complicated watch in the world, a title it held for about 26 years until Vacheron Constantin introduced the Reference 57260 in 2015.
This Patek Philippe Caliber 89’s massive, 88.2mm-wide yellow gold case fake watches weigh well over 2 pounds at around 1.1 kilograms and encapsulates a staggering total of 1,728 components to power its 33 complications. These are distributed over two dials and a number of pushers and sliders on the side of the case. Apart from the “usual complications” like a perpetual calendar, moon phase display, grande and petite sonnerie, a tourbillon, and a chronograph, the Caliber 89 also has more unusual complications like a star chart, seconds in meantime, sun hand, date of Easter (a world first, patented by Patek Philippe on December 13, 1985), and even a thermometer. It was and of course still very much is a marvel of fine mechanics.
There can be no question that this is one incredible watch, destined to forever remain among the finest ever produced – this much we have established. So, what could have possibly gone wrong to keep it from a successful sale at an auction where some other records – namely those for Rolex watches – have been greatly surpassed?