If John Lennon’s long-lost Patek Philippe were to go under the hammer, it could become one of the most expensive auctioned-off timepieces of all time.
The Ref. 2499 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph, which was recently revealed to have been found, is estimated to be worth 4 million francs, or about $4.5 million, Bloomberg reported recently. That’s according to lawyers for Yoko Ono, Lennon’s widow, in a Geneva court filing reviewed by the outlet. But experts believe the watch could sell for well more than that.
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“This is undoubtedly one of the most-sought-after watches which the watch world has been hoping to see,” Marc Montagne, the author of Invest in Watches: The Art of Watch Collecting, told Bloomberg.
He thinks that Lennon’s Patek would hammer down for something between 5 million and 10 million francs ($5.6 million to $11.2 million), thanks to its provenance and the mystery that has surrounded the watch for years. The timepiece was gifted to Lennon by Ono just months before the Beatles songwriter was assassinated in 1980. A former driver for Ono is thought to have stolen the Patek, and horologists and Lennon fans alike have long been curious about what happened to the watch.
Last week, it came to light that the watch had been bought by an Italian collector from a now-closed German auction house. According to the court documents, the collector bought the Patek for just 600,000 francs ($672,000). In 2014, a company based in Geneva reached out to Ono to help value the watch, and since then Ono has been engaged in a legal battle as she tries to reclaim the gift she gave to her late husband.
While Ono says that she is the rightful owner of the watch, the collector has argued that she didn’t report the Patek stolen and that she didn’t act within the three years required by New York law. But in June, the Geneva court said that Ono was the owner, and the collector is now appealing that decision. (Ono’s lawyer didn’t respond to Bloomberg’s requests for comment.)
The court documents don’t mention Lennon or Ono by name, but they do state her nationality and say that he was assassinated in front of his home two months after turning 40. Additionally, they mention that the watch is engraved with a reference to a song that the couple “composed together after a period of separation.”
If Ono remains in posession of the watch, she could very well keep it as a reminder of Lennon. But if the Patek were to ever find its way to the auction block, expect it to fetch a pretty penny.
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