On Thursday, Phillips executive Arthur Touchot announced on his Instagram that one of the great mysteries plaguing the watch world has been solved: John Lennon’s long-lost Patek Philippe Ref. 2499 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph has been found.
Over the years, there have been a number of significant watches that have mysteriously disappeared, including the Speedmaster Buzz Aldrin wore during the first lunar landing and Pablo Picasso’s JLC Triple Calendar. Then, you have a few success stories of found watches: Marlon Brando’s Rolex GMT Master from Apocalypse Now, and Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona Ref. 6239, which went on to become the most expensive vintage wristwatch ever to sell at auction, hammering down for $17.7 million in 2017. Now, it seems we could have another happy ending on our hands for John Lennon’s 2499.
The Patek was gifted to Lennon by his wife Yoko Ono for his 40th birthday just two months before his assassination in 1980. Only two photos exist of the Beatles singer wearing the watch, and shortly after his untimely death, the 2499 went missing. Over four decades later, the watch finally seems to have resurfaced.
While Touchot just brought this news to light on Thursday, it seems the 2499 was discovered years prior and has been kept under wraps thanks to an ongoing court battle. Currently, the timepiece is in the possession of lawyers for an Italian collector who purchased the Patek from a now-defunct German auction house for CHF 600,000 (around $672,000), according to official legal documents from a Geneva court. In 2014, the collector sought to pursue the watch’s provenance, which prompted contact with Ono and spurred a still-ongoing battle over its ownership. The watch was believed to have been stolen by Ono’s former driver years ago, and in June, a Geneva court ruled that Ono is the rightful owner of the piece. The collector has appealed the ruling, according to the court documents.
As this story unfolds, we will continue to update you on the latest details regarding this rare and historically significant timepiece. As of writing, Arthur Touchot and Yoko Ono’s lawyer had not responded to Robb Report‘s request for comment.