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There was after a person who had a seemingly endless thirst to acquire the top and most elaborate objects – rolex milgauss green and who told no one about it.
From the most accurate watches produced in the early 20th century to the most complicated watches ever made without the use of a computer, Henry Graves, Jr. is arguably among the greatest watch collectors of all time. His ultimate commission was the Patek Philippe Supercomplication delivered to him in 1933 for $15,000 and eventually sold in 1999 many years after his death for an astounding $11M at Sotheby’s.
Mr . Graves’ quest toacquire the finest that money could buy also crossed over to such diverse categories as paintings submariner rolex , furniture, coins, paper weights, and of course, breitling navitimer replica real estate…. He called 834 Fifth Avenue home in New York and spent his vacations at his beloved summer escape – a private 31 acre getaway known simply as Eagle Island. Located in the Upper Saranac Lake area in the northern reaches of New York State, Eagle Island was a classic example of a Great Camp originally built in 1899 as a summer retreat for Levi Morton and then sold to Mr. Graves in the 1920s.

After enjoying the camp for many summers with his family, Mr. Graves generously donated the entire island to the Girl Scout Council of Maplewood and South Orange NJ and the camp began operations asan escape for girls beginning in 1938. For 60 years, girls from all over the northeast spent summers at the camp and offered homage and gratitude (in a secret ceremony) to the mysterious Mr. Graves who gifted the island for their use.
In 2009, the camp abruptly closed and the Girl Scouts are now trying to sell the island for $3.75M. See the real estate listing and images of the property here.A group of Eagle Island’ssupporters and former campers (known as theFriends of Eagle Island)have banded together to save the island by raising money to purchase the island and reopen it as a camp for future generations to enjoy.
If it wasn’t for Henry Graves supporting Patek Philippe through the turbulent years of the Great Depression, Patek might have gone the way of scores of other watch companies that ceased production in the first half of the 20th century.Let's hope his generous legacyof gifting this island has not come to an end.
If thesupporters aresuccessful in savingEagle Island from being closed forever, Ihope that members of the HODINKEE community could someday be invited totour his private island firsthand – and experience the silence and tranquility of this remote, magical place that at the time inspired Mr. Graves to commission the most superlative Patek Philippewatches the world has ever known.
For more information on the Eagle Island listing, a private island with undeniable Patek provenance, click here.
Mr. Graves commissioned this perpetual desk timepiece from Patek Philippe that was delivered to him in 1927
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