When an object transcends the main function for which it was created and becomes a sign of distinction, we are faced with a real work of art. This principle applies to luxury watches , which over the course of the centuries have become instruments with which to measure not only time, but the style and character of the people who wear them.
“Do you like having a good time? Then you need-a-good-watch!”
said Rocky Balboa, one of the great icons of world cinema. It was no accident that, once he became rich and famous, one of the first things the boxer bought after a house and a car was an expensive watch .
In recent times, the market that revolves around watches has become more vast and dynamic when compared to Rocky’s 1970s. Considering that the current period of economic crisis does not seem to hint at abating, buying a top watch is akin to a safe haven, a solid investment for today’s times.
We are talking about tools that men have been using for centuries. Just think about when Patek Philippe, in the nineteenth century, invented the first wristwatch intended only for the fairer sex, or for the first creation of Louis Cartier with a leather strap, very much appreciated by men, or the watch specially created for Queen Marie Antoinette. The luxury watches market has naturally evolved over the years, but it certainly remains one of the most interesting niches.
But which are the most expensive watches in the world?
They are rare models, highly sought after masterpieces sold for mind-boggling prices at auctions worldwide. In some cases they are even pieces of history presented in limited series, and to buy one means to have an object that recalls a past time, a collector’s model, a fashion accessory, but also a status symbol. All together: not bad, right?
In this article, we propose a classification of luxury watches , analyzing fifteen of them in particular. They are instruments whose differences stem from various elements. One of those elements is the brand, but we must not forget about the material, type, time period, and of course, price. Our ranking of luxury watches will take into account all of these factors, which certainly contribute to creating what are considered by many to be real cult objects.
Curious to know exactly how a luxury watch is built? Watch the video. You’ll be surprised!
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- 1 15. A. Lange & Sohne Grand Complication: 2.6 million
- 2 14. Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega 4: 2.7 million
- 3 13. Patek Philippe 1953 Model 2523 Universal Hours: 2.9 million
- 4 12. Piaget Emperador Temple Watch: 3.4 million
- 5 11. Patek Philippe 1928 Single-button Chronograph: 3.6 million
- 6 10. Blancpain The Brassus Tourbillon Carousel: 3.8 million
- 7 9. Patek Philippe 1939 Platinum World Time Watch: 4 million
- 8 8. Louis Moinet Meteoris Watch: 4.6 million
- 9 7. Breguet & Fils, Paris, N. 2667 Precision Watch: 4.7 million
- 10 6. Hublot, the “Big Bang”: 5 million
- 11 5. Patek Philippe Reference 1527 Perpetual Calendar: 5.5 million
- 12 4. Patek Philippe Caliber 89: 6 million
- 13 3. Patek Philippe Henry Graves Super Complication Pocket Watch: 24 million
- 14 2. Chopard 201 Carat Watch: 25 million
- 15 1. Breguet Grande Complication Marie Antoinette: 30 million
The most expensive watches in the world: the top 15 of 2020
The models we are going to look at here are the most beautiful and expensive watches in the world . They can all boast of appraisals that easily surpass millions of dollars.
Something to note : among the chosen products, there are no Rolex representatives. The most expensive model of the Swiss brand is the Chronograph of 1942, with a price of around 1.6 million dollars. Regardless, let’s analyze these fifteen other wonders in detail until we get to the most expensive watch in the world . Ready? Let’s start!
15. A. Lange & Sohne Grand Complication: 2.6 million
German brand A. Lange & Sohne, founded in 1845, put one of the top expensive watches of all time on the market three years ago, namely the Grand Complication. The model’s realization took seven years of patient research and hard work. Naturally, then, it’s an extremely complex instrument. This complexity – specifically, the 50 mm diameter pink gold case with 867 parts – is what makes it one of the most expensive and precious on the planet. For all these reasons, this model could not fail to enter into our top 15 most expensive watches in the world .
14. Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega 4: 2.7 million
It was Franck Muller, master Swiss watchmaker, who realized this wonder. Aeternitas is an accessory with as many as 36 complications, composed of 1,483 individual components. Despite this fact (which still makes it the most complicated model in the world), it was created to be a watch on the wrist – a challenge that Muller overcame by managing to conceive an instrument with all those complications without being pocket-sized. You can admire all its complexity on the back side; the incredible number of parts working together can really hypnotize! The price reaches nearly three million dollars.
13. Patek Philippe 1953 Model 2523 Universal Hours: 2.9 million
As we approach the top ten, we officially enter the realm of Patek Phillippe, perhaps among the most famous luxury watch brands in the world. It is one of the oldest watch houses around (dating back to 1839), and over the centuries has produced many incredible models, some of which are rightly included in the list of expensive watches . This model in particular works with various time zones, has a case in pure 18-carat gold, and as an extra touch of class, an enameled dial depicting the map of the world. Later on, we will see other wonders signed by this Swiss company.
12. Piaget Emperador Temple Watch: 3.4 million
Piaget, a Swiss company from the Canton of Jura, founded in 1874 by George Piaget, boasts this unique model. We are talking about a watch that has this on its business card: two dials studded with diamonds (one of them is even in mother-of-pearl), and a bracelet full of diamonds as well, for a total of 1,211 embedded throughout the model. For this reason, it is considered one of the most brilliant luxury watches in circulation. The magnificence of this Swiss watch is reflected in the price, which easily surpasses three million dollars. It is the only Piaget in our ranking of the most expensive watches in the world .
Very little is left before we enter the top 10 most expensive watches in the world , and it is for very little that this Patek Philippe does not make it into that tier of luxury watches . This very precious chronograph is top-of-the-range, since it’s built using nothing less than white gold. The Monopulsant Chronograph was put on the market in 2010, and the important innovations contained inside (such as the 60-minute counter that works directly with the pinion attached to the small parts) have considerably increased the price. In fact, it easily overshoots the three million dollars value mark.
10. Blancpain The Brassus Tourbillon Carousel: 3.8 million
We have officially entered the top 10 most expensive luxury watches in the world . The brand in question, Blancpain, was born in 1735, and is now controlled by the Swatch group. Before going into the actual description of this jewel, it is necessary to understand what is meant by Tourbillon. The term refers to the mechanism created specifically to prevent the effect of gravity. This watch has not only the Tourbillon, but also the Carrousel, another system invented in 1901 with the same analogous function. It is equipped with a case of 44.60 mm in pure gold and consists of 379 parts.
9. Patek Philippe 1939 Platinum World Time Watch: 4 million
The history of this watch is partly shrouded in mystery, but what is certain is that it is one of the rarest models in the world (some experts claim that what we see in the picture above is the only existing piece). The skilled hands of Swiss master watchmakers were able to create a model whose aesthetics and precious materials harmonize excellently with functionality. That combination of factors is definitely one of the peculiarities that have consecrated this brand as one of the most famous ever. In 2002, at the Antiquorum auction in Geneva, it was beaten at $ 4 million.
8. Louis Moinet Meteoris Watch: 4.6 million
There are only four of these watches in the world, created by one of the most famous luxury watch brands on the planet – namely Louis Moinet, based in Switzerland. It’s incredible to say, but this gem of Swiss goodies was created using fragments of meteorites coming from certain celestial bodies. In particular, the “Meteoris Mars” has within it a fragment from Mars, while the “Meteoris Rosetta Stone” contains a piece of the oldest meteorite ever found on earth. Finally, the “Meteoris Asteroid” and the “Meteoris Moon” each have a small fragment of moon rock.
7. Breguet & Fils, Paris, N. 2667 Precision Watch: 4.7 million
We remain in Switzerland, where at the height of the Enlightenment era (specifically dating all the way back to 1775), Abraham Louis Breguet gave birth to this company, which is now controlled by the Swatch group. What we see in the photo is the most expensive example of the brand: a pocket model in gold with 18 carats and two movements. We are talking about a secular clock, sold for a sum of 5 thousand Swiss francs way back in 1814. Today, it is worth almost five million dollars, but this figure does not come close to its “competitors,” which we will now see.
6. Hublot, the “Big Bang”: 5 million
We are about to enter the top 5 of the most expensive luxury watch list , and what is probably the most “impressive” watch is almost makes the grade. For its Big Bang, Hublot staked everything on a glance of the model. Its imposing, complex case has a diameter of 45.5 mm, with a new design that is both technical and refined. Even the crown has a particular style: its profile is decorated with the famous H of its mother house. Maybe the whole thing turned out to be a bit gaudy, but the coating of the watch, made up of very precious diamonds that weigh in at over 100 carats, is truly extraordinary.
5. Patek Philippe Reference 1527 Perpetual Calendar: 5.5 million
We’ve now officially entered the top 5 of luxury watches . What we see in the image is a model dated to 1943 (the number we see in the title corresponds to its reference), one of the rarest of its kind in the world, and also obviously among the most expensive watches in the world . In fact, being equipped with an 18-carat yellow gold case combined with a 37 mm opaque silver dial, it is undoubtedly the most expensive wristwatch in the world . There is also a chronograph inside, a perpetual calendar, and a moon phase indicator. It was sold in 2010 in Geneva at a price of 5.5 million dollars.
4. Patek Philippe Caliber 89: 6 million
Fourth place is occupied once again by the Patek Philippe brand . This time it is a pocket watch – the most complex in the world, with 33 complications. It was created specifically to celebrate the 150 year history of the brand. The occasion was too important, and the model we see is the result of nine years of painstaking research, work, and production. It has a considerable weight (two kg), and is composed of 1728 components that even allow you to calculate the temperature, in addition to a number of other operations. It is a watch capable of exceeding the five million dollar mark.
3. Patek Philippe Henry Graves Super Complication Pocket Watch: 24 million
And here is the lowest step of the podium, occupied by a specimen also known by the stage name “Monna Lisa.” It was commissioned in 1927 by Henry Graves, a New York banker of the time who wanted a very complex watch in order to win a challenge he made with James Ward Packard. The subject of the dispute? Own the most complicated watch ever. Like the Caliber, this was also the fruit of a decade of work. In the end, the skilled hands of the master watchmakers of the Swiss house came out with an incredible watch, boasting 24 complications and made of yellow gold. It was auctioned at a price of 24 million.
2. Chopard 201 Carat Watch: 25 million
Coming in at second place is this incredible Chopard, yet another Swiss company. The model it created was considered the most expensive watch in the world until recently. It is composed of a small dial in which a whole series of yellow, pink, and blue diamonds (874 of which have been counted) are set in different shapes like hearts and flower petals, forming a very strong visual impact around the dial. A riot of colors enclosed in 201 carats. Its value is priceless, but quantifiable at 25 million dollars.
1. Breguet Grande Complication Marie Antoinette: 30 million
It is this marvelous example that wins our special ranking of the best watches in the world in terms of value, with a price of around 30 million dollars. We are talking about the Breguet Grande Complication Marie Antoinette, a jewel that was made specifically for Queen Marie Antoinette. Indeed, the Austrian noblewoman had a great passion for watches, and commissioned one that was completely covered with pure gold. However, history tells us that the queen never managed to wear her watch, whose work was completed 34 years after the death of the sovereign during the period of the Terror.
We have now seen which are the most expensive watches in the world . Some became so because they are laden with a centuries-old history (we think of the first classified but also of the third), others because they are full of precious stones, and others with both characteristics, but surely all are united by stellar valuations (in every sense, given that some were built with fragments of celestial bodies). More than on the wrist or in the pocket, these watches should be kept tightly closed in the safe. Few people in the world can afford trinkets of this type, which, more than other watches, really became works of art that can move mountains of money.