The 18 Karat Patek Philippe Reference 1463 Chronograph Watch Used to Time JFK’s Death is at Christie’s Auction Block on 17, December 2013

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On 17th December 2013, Christie’s is auctioning off another historical timepiece. At the New York auction, the 18 Karat Patek Philippe Reference 1463 Chronograph Watch is expected to go for as much as $150,000. The unique history associated with the watch is behind this very high price tag.

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What exactly is the history behind the watch? It is closely related to the death of one of the most beloved presidents of the country. John F. Kennedy, popularly known as JFK, is the president in question. The 18 Karat Patek Philippe Reference 1463 Chronograph Watch belonged to the neurosurgeon who signed JFK’s death certificate. Dr. Kemp Clark looked at his watch for time and signed JFK’s death certificate. Thus, this watch is highly likely to be responsible for determining the time of JFK’s death. This historical association of the watch is going to attract people from all over the globe to the auction. Eventually, the current owner of the watch, Dr. Kemp Clark’s family, is going to walk away with the final auction price. Dr. Clark’s family decided to auction the watch after his death in 2007.

The Patek Philippe Reference 1463 Chronograph Watch was made in the year 1948 and was purchased by Dr. Clark’s mom for $750. She gifted it to a young Kemp Clark, who later went on to become a noted neurosurgeon who treated JFK during his final moments. If you adjust the $750 for inflation, it would easily surpass the $10,000 mark now.

Patek Philippe watches are known for the workmanship and finesse associated with their creations. The antique pieces from the brand are always fetching good value. The Reference 1463 Chronograph Watch was the Swiss watchmaker’s first water resistant chronograph ever. Thus, this gold watch has a pedigree of its own. When you associate this fact with its association with one of the most loved presidents of the country, the auction is definitely going to be an interesting one.

Is it certain that the 18 Karat Patek Philippe Reference 1463 Chronograph watch that is being auctioned off is responsible for the time of JFK’s death? Dr. Kemp Clark was the one who signed JFK’s death certificate and he wore the watch on that day. The family of Dr. Clark has provided the sales receipt of the watch, certificate of authenticity from Patek Philippe and its original red clamshell case. In addition to this, the watch has the doctor’s name engraved on its case back. Thus, you can be certain about the authenticity of the watch. But, there is a slight possibility that the Emergency Room may have a wall clock and that may have been used as the reference point.

JFK was one of the youngest presidents of the country and was beloved all across the country and abroad. He fell to the bullets of Lee Harvey Oswald on 22nd November 1963 and was taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital. Here, Dr. Kemp Clark and a group of physicians tried vainly to save his life. It is presumed that Dr. Kemp Clark relied on his Patek Philippe to enter the time on JFK’s death certificate.

22nd November 2013 is the 50th anniversary of JFK’s death. Christie’s is conducting the auction within a month of this anniversary. To keep within the spirit of the occasion, a portion of the earnings will be donated to the Red Cross.

JFK was always known for the elegance associated with him. The watch that he was wearing at the time of his death is a testament to this fact. It was an 18 karat Omega ultra-thin model with an oblong case. Currently, the watch is in Omega’s museum.

Photo credit: sandr2002/