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John Lennon’s Lost Patek Philippe Ref. 2499 Has Been Found

John Lennon's Patek Philippe has been discovered 40 years after it's inital disappearance and is no in the midst of a legal battle. ...

The Patek Philippe Ref. 2499 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph is a stunning and desirable watch in its own right, but when you add a name to the watch, like John Lennon, all of a sudden the watch world becomes frantic.

It isn’t the first time a famous owner’s watch has gone missing and rediscovered before going under the hammer. You’ve got Marlon Brando’s Rolex GMT Master he wore in Apocalypse Now that sold for US$1.952 million in 2019 or Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona Ref. 6239 that sold for a staggering US$17.7 million in 2017. So it’s no wonder that Lennon’s own piece is currently undergoing a legal battle for ownership.

The watch in question was gifted to Lennon by his wife, Yoko Ono, for his 40th birthday in 1980. There are only two photos of the musician wearing the watch before his assassination two months after he received it. The Patek went missing shortly afterwards but has since been discovered, according to the Head of Digital Strategy at Phillips Watches, Arthur Touchot.

Touchot brought attention to the discovery on Instagram, but the piece had apparently been found years ago and has been kept under wraps due to its ongoing court battle.

“The watch has basically been sitting in Geneva as a registered stolen item and become the subject of a legal fight between parties trying to prove ownership,” wrote Touchot.

Currently, the Perpetual Calendar is in the possession of the lawyers of an Italian collector who purchased the piece from a now-defunct German auction house for CHF 600,000 (~A$1.046 million), according to official legal documents from Geneva.

In 2014, the collector wanted to discover if it really was Lennon’s watch which meant contact with Ono that spurred the ongoing battle.

There are two main theories as to what happened to the watch: one was that it was initially sold to a dealer by the Lennon estate after his death, the other suggests that it was stolen by Ono’s former chauffeur.

The Geneva court has ruled that Ono is the rightful owner suggesting the court believes the chauffeur did indeed steal the watch, though the collector has appealed the ruling.

There’s certainly more to come from this story and we will continue to update you on any happenings. 

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