A member of the House of Thani, the ruling family of Qatar, has reportedly pledged the world’s most expensive watch to Sotheby’s to cover debts owed to the auction house, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.
The pocket watch is known as the Henry Graves Supercomplication, which was bought by an anonymous bidder for a record $11 million in a Sotheby’s auction in 1999.
The watch was a part of the legendary Henry Graves collection, and a result of the race between magnates Graves and James Ward Packard to own the most complicated watch. The result was the Supercomplication, which has 24 mechanical functions or “complications,” and took watchmaker Patek Philippe three years to design and five years to build. The watch has two faces, a chart of the nighttime sky at Graves’ home in New York, and is made of solid gold.
The royal, Sheikh Saud Bin Mohammed Bin Ali-Al-Thani, second cousin of the Emir of Qatar, is also giving away diamond jewelry, tribal art, and four other vintage watches made by Patek Philippe, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. In total, the collection would retail for almost $83 million. The debt owed to Sotheby’s is a reported $42 million.
Al-Thani been hit with two lawsuits since the end of September, including one for allegedly failing to pay $19.8 million for ancient Greek coins that he had previously bid on in January, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.
Al-Thani has reportedly left at least 11 auction houses and dealers unpaid in the last 18 months. He has previously been named one of the world’s top 10 art collectors in 2011 by Artnews for spending more money on art than any other collector that year.