The 10 most expensive watches in the World

10) Patek Philippe Stainless Steel Ref. 1518 - $11 million


Shockingly, the “cheapest” watch on this list comes in at $12 million. Yep. Million… and we’re only just getting started. Limited to just 4 pieces, this lovely stainless steel Patek broke the “world’s most expensive wristwatch” record when it was sold at auction in 2016.


But what makes this watch so special?

Simply put, it was the first serially produced perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch ever produced. This ground-breaking feat marked a very important milestone in horological history – with the whole watch design being so ahead of its time. In 1943, 281 of these Ref. 1518 watches were produced; the vast majority of which being encased in yellow gold, as well as 55 pieces encased in rose gold. However, the rarest of which was the stainless-steel version of the watch, with only 4 produced.


That is why it’s so special.


That, and the fact that it really is a stunning piece that very much paved the way for future wristwatch aesthetics. Today, the Ref. 1518 remains as an iconic piece that is very much desired and appreciated by collectors and horologists worldwide.


9) Jacob & Co. Billionaire Ashoka - $18 million


So, we’ve jumped up now by $7 million. Nothing much lol. And this aptly named Billionaire certainly fits the bill.


Produced in 2015, this 1 of 1 piece is adorned with ASHOKA diamonds, the total carat weight for which being 189 carats. For those of you wondering wtf an ASHOKA diamond is, don’t worry, I was too (I only speak peasant). Basically, it’s a pretty rare diamond.

The ASHOKA diamond was created by William Goldberg, who named his creation after one of India’s greatest emperors, King Ashoka Maurya. With a rectangular shape, rounded corners and 62 precisely cut facets, the ASHOKA diamond is extremely rare. Less than 1% of all rough diamonds even possess the potential to become an ASHOKA diamond – making the Jacob & Co. Billionaire ASHOKA a very special piece indeed.


But this isn’t where it stops. The watch also features an expertly skeletonised 60-seond, high-watchmaking tourbillion as well as an 18K white gold case and bracelet, both hand-set with more ASHOKA-cut white diamonds.


No argument here, I can definitely see why this masterpiece is worth so much money. Oh and, fun fact, boxer Floyd Mayweather snapped this one up in 2018.


8) Rolex Paul Newman Daytona Ref. 6239 - $17.8 million


We all know that Daytona's are worth a lot of money but this one in particular set the record in 2017 to be not only the most expensive Daytona ever sold, not even the most expensive Rolex to be sold, but the most expensive wristwatch ever sold at auction (at that time).


But hang on, rewind a minute, why is this Daytona referred to as the “Paul Newman”? And what makes it any more special than a normal Daytona of this reference?

Known not only as one of the finest actors of his time, but also for his love of race cars and watches, Paul Newman was often seen sporting a lovely timepiece. Over the years, Paul was seen wearing several Rolex Daytona models on his wrist – but most notably of all, the Ref. 6239. This watch was gifted to Newman by his wife, Joanne Woodward, sometime around 1972. Constantly worried about Paul during his races, Woodward had the caseback engraved with the words “DRIVE ME CAREFULLY” to remind her husband to stay safe during his time on the track.


Paul loved the “exotic” dialed Daytona so much so that he was always seen wearing it in the 1980’s – hence why it became dubbed the “Paul Newman” Rolex. The piece became iconic and highly sought after. Later down the line, Newman gifted the watch to his daughter’s long-term partner (now former), James Cox, who eventually went on to sell the watch through Phillips auction house in 2017 – with a significant portion of the sale price being donated to the Nell Newman Foundation.


Being a unique, engraved piece synonymous with a Hollywood/racing legend, it’s no wonder why the watch fetched a staggering $17.8m within 12 seconds at auction. The rest is history, and the watch remains extremely sought after to this day.


7) Patek Philippe Henry Graves Supercomplication - $24 million


Woo, we’ve broke into the 20’s now, and this really is where things start getting spicy!

Not exactly a wristwatch, but still an extremely fine timepiece, this stunning pocket watch was exclusively produced in 1933 for a wealthy American banker named Henry Graves Jr. Consisting of 920 individual parts, with 430 screws, 110 wheels, 120 removable parts, and 70 jewels - all of them handcrafted on a tiny scale – this watch remains as one of the most complicated pocket watches to ever be made.


The timepiece is a gold, double dialled and double open-faced, minute repeating clock watch with Westminster chimes, grande and “petite sonnerie”, split-seconds chronograph, registers for 60-minutes and 12-hours, perpetual calendar accurate to the year 2100, moon-phases, equation of time, dual power reserve for striking and going trains, mean and sidereal time, central alarm, indications for times of sunrise/sunset and a celestial chart for the night time sky of New York City at 40 degrees 41.0 minutes North latitude. Its diameter is 74mm thickness of case with glass 36mm; and weight of case 536g.


Not surprisingly, the watch took 3 years to design and another 5 years to manufacture. I think that’s enough reason why it sold for 24 mil.


6) Chopard 201-Carat - $25 million

Literally thought this was a brooch when I first saw it. The world of watches never surprises.


Known for making watches that are a cut above the rest, Chopard certainly didn’t disappoint with this one. Produced in 2000, this colourful timepiece features a beautiful array of colourful diamonds in unusual hues and fancy shapes. The watch is completely handmade and contains a whopping 874 high-grade diamonds overall!


5) Jaeger-LeCoultre Joaillerie 101 Manchette - $26 million

Coming in 5th, looking like something I purchased from New Look when I was 14, we have this unusual looking Jaeger LeCoultre timepiece. And yes, it is a wristwatch – it contains one of the smallest movements in the world.


Made from white gold and featuring 576 diamonds, this customisable piece was actually gifted to Queen Elizabeth II to celebrate her 60th year on the throne. Oops, best take the New Look comment back.


4) Breguet Grande Complication Marie Antoinette - $30 million


$30 million and rising! Madness. So how does a watch become valued at 30 mil? Well…when it’s made for Marie-Antoinette of course.


Here’s the story. And trust me, you need popcorn for this one.

The French Queen was a huge fan of Breguet’s watches and had acquired a few of his timepieces over the years. So for anyone wanting to win her heart, a good way to do so was through a shiny new Breguet timepiece. Cue mysterious lover boy. In 1783, a secret admirer of the Queen ordered this stunning timepiece to be made by Breguet. He requested for the watch to be as spectacular as possible, incorporating the fullest range of horological expertise known at the time, and of course it had to be made of as much gold as possible.


Bet the mysterious admirer couldn’t wait to see the look on the monarch’s face when she ate this cake 😉 But as fate, justice and karma would have it, she never actually got to see the watch. Yep, that’s right. The watch was so intricate that it took a very long time to finish. It finally got completed in 1827, 44 long years after the order was initially placed, 4 years after Breguet’s death, and, erm, 34 years after the Queen’s death. Uh oh.


Attracting a lot of attention, and not having its true owner to go to, the watch quickly fell into a succession of owners. In 1974 it finally ended up in the LA Mayer Museum of Islamic Arts in Jerusulam. However, the watch’s travels didn’t end here. Nope. It got stolen.


In 1983 the museum was robbed and this beautiful timepiece, along with many other Breguet’s, vanished. After years of investigation attempts to find the watch all hope was eventually lost. That is until Nicolas Hayek, the CEO of the Swatch Group, caught wind of the story. Intrigued by the timepiece and what it meant to the company, he commissioned an exact replica to be made in 2004.


Spookily enough, at the exact time that the commission took place, the late Queen’s favourite oak tree at her residence in Versailles was struck down by a storm. Hayek took this as a sign and acquired the stricken tree to be made into a case for the replica No.160.

2 years later in 2006, the new, replica Queen pocket watch was ready to be unveiled when yet another crazy coincidence arose. An undisclosed American contacted a lawyer stating that she had some objects that she would like to return to their rightful owner. Upon which, the citizen passed on the location information of the items, which she said was disclosed to her by her husband on his death bed.


Turns out that those items were a pile of stolen clocks, of which the original Breguet Antoinette was amongst! Oh and not to forget, her husband was Na’aman Lidor – an internationally-known thief aka “Israel’s genius burglar”. His crimes were known throughout Europe and had landed him in jail numerous times. But at least he did the right thing to disclose the location on his deathbed… right?


Anyway, after the watch was handed back, it got tucked away back in the LA Mayer Museum where it remains today available to purchase for a mere $30m.


WHAT A STORY!


3) Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300A-010 - $31 million


So when you’re paying in excess of 30 mil for a timepiece, you either want it to have a banging back story like the previous one or at least deliver bang for your buck, right? Luckily, this Patek screams value for money as you get not only 1 dial but 2!

In 2019, this one of a kind piece sold at Christies Only Watch charity auction for $31 million, making it the new most expensive watch ever sold at auction. The unique watch was crafted in 2014 to celebrate Patek Philippe’s 175th anniversary.


Being the most complicated wristwatch that the brand has ever put together, the chiming timepiece certainly made some big noise amongst the horological community… literally.


The watch not only boasts 20 different complications - including 5 different chiming modes, a patented alarm and a patented date repeater – but it also features 2 dials that can be swivelled and locked into place so that you can choose which one you’d prefer to show off. And as if that isn’t enough, both dials are blue opaline with gold-applied numerals and 18K solid gold dial plates, held together by a white gold case.


2) Graff Diamonds The Fascination - $40 million


Ok so in the last example we saw the 2 in 1, double dial Patek which was pretty impressive. BUT, is it as impressive as a diamond covered, convertible watch? I don’t think so.

Graff Diamonds is a British jewellery brand known for acquiring and polishing some of the world’s most famous (and expensive) diamonds. Something that we can clearly see from this timepiece. Not only is this watch a masterpiece of watchmaking craftsmanship, but also a flawless example of diamond mastery.


The watch consists of 152.96 carats of white diamonds, and a 38.13 carat D Flawless pear shaped diamond centre stone. All of which were polished in house by Graff.


But what makes the watch “convertible”? Well, the exquisite pear-shaped centre piece is very unique in its own right as it can be worn as part of the watch to form the dial, or it can be completely removed from the watch to be worn as a ring. A convertible watch. Who’d have thought it? Graff, obviously.


1) Graff Diamonds Hallucination - $55 million


The moment you’ve all been waiting for. The most valuable watch ever created. And here it is!

WOWZERS!


The idea of making such a pricey piece came from Laurance Graff, Chairman of Graff Diamonds. Graff wanted to create a truly remarkable watch that illustrated the company’s all consuming passion for diamonds - one which showcased the company’s authority, skill, innovation and excellence in the

diamond industry - and it’s safe to say that he certainly achieved his wish.


Top class designers, gemmologists and master craftsmen spent thousands of hours creating this aptly named Hallucination watch. Each diamond is cleverly hand fitted into an invisible platinum setting to create the multicoloured body that we see that houses the tiny quartz pink diamond dial.


The super rare diamonds boast an array of unique colours from Fancy Vivid Yellow through to Fancy Light Grey Blue, as well as showing off an assortment of cuts including heart shape and marquise.

Do I need to justify any more which this masterpiece is worth $55 mil? I think not.


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