The Curious Case of the “Howard Hughes” Patek Philippe Ref 1463

Clarifying facts are needed…

On June 3, 2010, I wrote an article about the “Howard Hughes” Patek Philippe Ref. 1463 watch.  It was subsequently brought to my attention that there are inconsistencies in the story of this watch, namely its purported link to American icon Howard Hughes.  The watch, whose value Christie’s estimates to be $150,000 – $200,000, is to be sold by the famous auction house (as “Lot 385”) on Wednesday, June 16, 2010 as part of the “Important Watches Featuring The Leo Collection: 31 Sophisticated Wristwatches Curated by Frank Schilling” sale.

You can read Christie’s full account of this watch in its e-catalogue for the auction (page 266).    Troubling inconsistencies in Christie’s account of the provenance of this watch arise when compared to other publicly available information and conversations with those who were close to Hughes.

These inconsistencies have subsequently been brought to the attention of Christie’s, along with questions which attempt to clarify the provenance of the watch.  Christie’s thus far has only stated “we are researching the inquiries and will respond accordingly”.

A complete response is thus pending — and expected — prior to seeing this watch go under the hammer, if it should go at all.

As are many of the stories intertwined with the life of Howard Hughes, this one appears to be a long and convoluted one.

Update: I would be remiss not to credit Massimo and the readers of his fine blog at Orologi di Classe (Italian) for being the first (June 2) to point out that the PP engraving on the buckle of the watch was also misspelled.  While I have not questioned the authenticity of the Ref 1463 itself, I can say that this feature is certainly an oddity!

Stay tuned in.