A piece of history is set to go under the gavel. The Patek Philippe Ref. 1463 that was used to mark the time of death after JFK’s assassination is set to be auctioned off by Christie’s.
The timepiece belonged to Dr. Kemp Clark (1925-2007), the attending neurosurgeon at Parkland Memorial Hospital who was called in following the attack on President John F. Kennedy’s motorcade on November 22, 1963. The President was brought in at 12:20 PM, but within minutes of his arrival, all attempts at saving the President’s life were determined futile, and Dr. Clark made the call that 1300 was the President’s offcial time of death. According to the doctor’s family, the Patek Philippe Ref. 1463 with Pulsemeter is the watch that Dr. Clark was wearing on that tragic day.
The watch was purchased as a present for Dr. Clark while his mother, Mrs. Dilworth Hager, was abroad. The lot will include the Patek Philippe Certifcate of Origin, showing that it was purchased for 1290 Swiss Francs on August 15, 1949. The dial originally featured a tachometer scale, as most frequently seen on the reference 1463, but was changed at the request of the owner’s parents to feature a pulsometer scale, which would be more fitting for their son, who was enrolled in medical school at the time. Dr. Clark wore the watch throughout his medical career.
The 18K gold chronograph wristwatch with pulsometer features a silvered matte dial, applied gold Roman and baton numerals, outer railway minute divisions and pulsometer scale, two subsidiary dials for 30 minute register and constant seconds, circular water-resistant-type case and two round chronograph buttons in the band. The screw back is engraved Kemp Clark, and the case, dial, and movement are signed Patek Philippe.
The timepiece will be auctioned off as part of Christie’s upcoming Important Watches auction in New York. Early estimates are between $100,000-150,000.
Photo credit: Christie’s Images Ltd. 2013