Luxury watches are high-quality and exclusive timepieces with premium price tags. The most luxurious watches in the world consist of precious materials, jewels, and micro-engineering that oftentimes take a year or more to assemble. Many of these timepieces are crafted by renowned brands such as Rolex, Breguet, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Pigue who are accompanied by decades of experience. Such experience has led to the creation of limited or one-of-a-kind models that demonstrate intricate complications, movements, and details that are on par with historically significant items that transcend contemporary feats of haute horology.
Haute horology is the highest form of watchmaking and refers to exceptional craftsmanship by renowned manufacturers and horologists. Luxury timepieces are a by-product of haute horology, exemplifying the skill, precision, and detail associated with master watchmakers. Adding to the refinement of these items are their materials. Selections such as diamonds and sapphire are used in the creation process due to both their opulence and their durability. Moreover, brands select premium metals to encase their timepieces in, resulting in the most expensive watches in the world that both track the hours and symbolize one’s status. Additionally, haute horology and luxury watches involve lengthy assembly processes that result in a limited selection. This in turn leads to exclusivity and rarity as many brands do not reproduce their collections. Other selections are rare because they derive from a historical context, being produced only once with masterful components or inventions, whereas are attributed to famous people, creating both a social and monetary value.
Ultimately, the combination of opulence and horology has cultivated an exclusive but creative selection of timepieces from different brands. The list below summarizes twenty of these timepieces, their prices, and their features.
- Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime: The Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime refers to a limited line of timepieces, one of which sold for $31 million in 2019. It features manual movements, 20 complications, and a reversible case, establishing it as one of the world’s most expensive watches.
- Breguet Grande Complication Marie Antoinette: Valued at $30 million, the Breguet Grande Complication Marie Antoinette is a historically significant timepiece with 823 components and a legacy rooted in Breguet horology.
- Jaeger-LeCoultre Joaillerie 101 Manchette: The Jaeger-LeCoultre Joaillerie 101 Manchette is valued at $26 million. It features polished, diamond-encrusted square links and a miniature movement.
- Chopard 201-Carat: The Chopard 201-Carat exemplifies colorful opulence with a diamond-crested design, including a 15-carat heart-shaped pink diamond and a 12-carat heart-shaped blue diamond. It is priced at $25 million.
- Patek Philippe Henry Graves Supercomplication: The Patek Philippe Henry Graves Supercomplication sold for $24 million. It is a historic pocket watch commissioned in 1925 featuring 24 complications.
- Jacob & Co. Billionaire Watch Collection: The Jacob & Co. Billionaire collection epitomizes extravagance with diamond-encrusted designs. The series includes the Billionaire Timeless Treasure featuring 425 yellow diamonds and a price of $20 million.
- Rolex Paul Newman Daytona Ref. 6239: The Rolex Paul Newman Daytona Ref. 6239 is associated with actor Paul Newman and is prized for its distinct dial color combo. The model owned by Newman was auctioned for around $18 million.
- Patek Philippe Stainless Steel Ref. 1518: The Patek Philippe Stainless Steel Ref. 1518 achieved $11 million at auctions due to its rarity and innovative features. It was the first wristwatch to serially feature a perpetual calendar chronograph and is valued for its stainless steel material, which was unusual at the time of its creation.
- Louis Moinet Meteoris Collection: The Louis Moinet Meteoris Collection, priced at $4.6 million, stands out with celestial-inspired designs. The collection incorporates extraterrestrial materials, including meteorites from Mars and Mercury.
- Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega 4: The Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega 4, valued at $2.7 million, stands among the world’s most complicated wristwatches. It features 36 complications, including a tourbillon and perpetual calendar.
- A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication: The A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication is priced at $2.6 million and takes a year to assemble. This exclusive timepiece boasts 876 components and several complications, showcasing A. Lange & Söhne’s commitment to quality and precision.
- Rolex Paul Newman Ref. 6264 John Player Special: The Paul Newman Ref. 6264 John Player Special (JPS), a vintage Rolex Daytona, achieved $1.5 million and is marked by its unique black and gold Paul Newman dial. The iconic design, rarity, and historical association contribute to its premium price.
- Bulgari Magsonic Sonnerie Tourbillon Watch: The Bulgari Magsonic Sonnerie Tourbillon is a sound-focused luxury timepiece with a sonnerie complication and tourbillon as well as a price tag of $950,000. Its distinctive design, incorporating Bulgari’s Magsonic alloy, sets it apart from other premium timepieces.
- Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Grande Complication: The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Grande Complication commands around $740,000, exemplifying craftsmanship and horological sophistication. With features like a minute repeater, perpetual calendar, and split-second chronograph. The timepiece is limited to around eight units annually due to its hand assembly and intricate engineering.
- Ulysse Nardin Hannibal Minute Repeater Tourbillon: The Ulysse Nardin Hannibal Minute Repeater Tourbillon, priced at $735,000, merges watchmaking, history, and art. It features an 18k white gold dial depicting animated characters of Hannibal, a minute repeater, and uses genuine granite from the Alps to commemorate its historical inspiration.
- George Daniels Co-Axial Chronograph: The George Daniels Co-Axial Chronograph is a one-of-a-kind timepiece handmade by legendary British watchmaker George Daniels. It features the co-axial escapement, showcasing meticulous craftsmanship, historical significance, and technical innovation. It sold for £385,250 to a private buyer.
- Christophe Claret DualTow NightEagle: The Christophe Claret DualTow NightEagle is a distinctive digital luxury watch with only 68 pieces produced. It blends technical prowess and artistic design, featuring a value of $545,455.
- Maîtres Du Temps Chapter One Round Transparence: The Maitres Du Temps Chapter One Round Transparence, priced at $540,000, demonstrates bodily transparency and celebrates horology. The timepiece is the result of collaborative efforts by Peter Speake-Marin and Christophe Claret.
- Chopard L.U.C All-in-One Janus Watch: The Janus Watch by Chopard blends unique functionality, mythology, and intricate craftsmanship, with two faces inspired by the Roman god Janus. It has an estimated price range of $389,000 to $404,000.
- Girard-Perregaux Quasar Light Tourbillon: Introduced in 2019, the Girard-Perregaux Quasar Light Tourbillon is a celestial-inspired luxury watch priced at $294,000. It deviates from a traditional dial, presenting itself as a unique accessory or work of art.
1. Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime
The Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime is a luxury timepiece demonstrating horological complexity as one of the world’s most expensive watches. Grandmaster Chime refers to several models that were first launched in 2014 to celebrate Patek Philippe’s 175th anniversary. The most famous of these models was the one-of-a-kind steel, golden and ebony-black dialed Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300A. It sold at a charity auction for around $31 million in 2019. Meanwhile, other retail models, specifically the 6300G-001 and the 6300G-010, are priced at around $3.4 million and $3.2 million, respectively.
The Grandmaster Chime line owes its prestige and price tag to its design. The watch features manual movements and intricate chiming functions as well as an array of 20 complications, surpassing the brand’s renowned Sky Moon Tourbillon. Constructed with painstaking detail, the Grandmaster Chime additionally exhibits a reversible case made from 18-carat gold or platinum. Other features include a moon phase display and a perpetual calendar. The timepiece’s reversible case allows for switching between the front dial—displaying the time and chiming settings—and the back which houses the perpetual calendar. Boasting five chiming modes, these innovations add to the watch’s complexity, establishing the model and its one-of-a-kind variation as one of the most luxurious timepieces in history.
2. Breguet Grande Complication Marie Antoinette
The Breguet Grande Complication Marie Antoinette is a pocketwatch of historical significance and a value of $30 million. The Marie Antoinette (otherwise known as “The Queen”) is one of the most complicated pocket watches ever made, demonstrating 823 components including a perpetual calendar, minute repeater, celestial time, and power reserve indicator. Its intricate design was engineered by Abraham-Louis Breguet, a master of horology. This adds to its significance as the Breguet name is one of the oldest and most exclusive watch brands in the world, catering to nobility and esteemed persons throughout history.
Breguet’s pocketwatch was either commissioned by Queen Marie Antoinette herself or as a gift of an admirer in 1783 and took 45 years to complete in 1827. The watch contains every watch feature that was conceivable at the time of its creation, housing its 823 components in an 18-karat gold case and adorned with precious gems and metals. The complexity of the piece, its materials, craftsmanship, and historical significance contribute to its high value as one of the most luxurious timepieces ever made. There is only one Marie Antoinette in existence, aside from a replica made in 2008. Consequently, the pocketwatch is housed at the LA Mayer Museum of Islamic Art in Jerusalem, Israel rather than as part of a private collection.
3. Jaeger-LeCoultre Joaillerie 101 Manchette
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Joaillerie 101 Manchette is a luxury wristwatch for women featuring a miniature movement, an estimated value of $26 million, and an esteemed profile of wearers. The Joaillerie belongs to the 101 Calibre collection by Jaeger-LeCoultre, a Swiss brand that specializes in innovative designs bridging watches and jewelry. The 101 collection launched in 1929 and has since produced some of the smallest mechanical movements ever created throughout its series, including the Joaillerie. This timepiece features a case and bracelet crafted from white gold, with interlinking polished, diamond-encrusted square links. The watch’s luxury is further emphasized by its sapphire dial and usage of 576 diamonds, each of which is installed uniquely. The small watch face sits on a square, surrounded by diamonds.
Adding to Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Joaillerie prestige is its wearers. It has graced the wrists of royalty and celebrities including Queen Elizabeth II, who received a model in 2012 in honor of her 60th coronation anniversary. Furthermore, no two pieces are alike, elevating the watch’s reputation and price tag. Jaeger-LeCoultre goes out of its way to produce luxurious timepieces in miniature form, emboldening rarity alongside the usage of precious materials and meticulous craftsmanship.
4. Chopard 201 Carat
The Chopard 201 Carat is a luxury wristwatch synonymous with colorful opulence due to its estimated $25 million price tag and diamond-crested design. Its manufacturer, Chopard, is a Swiss luxury brand founded in 1860 that blends horology and jewelry design. The 201 Carat watch was released in 2000 and exemplifies Chopard’s expertise by boasting an ensemble of 874 high-grade diamonds, including central gems of a 15-carat heart-shaped pink diamond and a 12-carat heart-shaped blue diamond set in white gold and yellow gold. Even the bracelet is encrusted with jewels, featuring 260 pear-shaped D-color flawless diamonds among others.
The extravagance of the Chopard 201 Carat extends beyond mere aesthetics, as diamonds are integrated into the watch’s components. Notably, a spring-loaded mechanism orchestrates the unveiling of central diamonds in a floral arrangement, revealing the vibrant pink watch face. This fusion of high-end watchmaking and jewelry design positions the 201 Carat as one of the most luxurious contemporary watches, capturing the essence of exclusivity. Collectors are drawn to its blend of horological precision and jewelry, solidifying its status as a prized possession in the realm of luxury timepieces.
5. Patek Philippe Henry Graves Supercomplication
The Patek Philippe Henry Graves Supercomplication is a luxurious pocket watch that sold for $24 million. The watch was commissioned in 1925 by American banker Henry Graves Jr. and was completed over eight years in 1933 by Patek Philippe, a Swiss brand founded in 1839 that specializes in luxury timepieces. The Graves Supercomplication was sold twice at auction following the death of its original owner: first in 1999 to a Qatari sheik and later in 2014 when it was purchased by an undisclosed buyer for $24 million. This grand complication consequently stands as one of the most expensive watches ever sold at auction, owing its value to its history and design.
The watch’s creation is often associated with a rivalry between Graves and James Ward Packard, an automaker, although the validity of the story is debated. Graves and Packard both sought to obtain increasingly complicated watches by Patek Philippe who designed the Supercomplication to be the most complicated mechanical pocket watch in existence—that is until the advent of the Patek Philippe Calibre 89 in 1989. Nevertheless, Graves’ watch design consists of a gold case, 70 mm in diameter, over 1b of weight, 70 precious jewels, and 24 complications including a perpetual calendar and a celestial chart. Furthermore, the watch is one-of-a-kind, adding to its price and prominence in the watchmaking world.
6. Jacob & Co. Billionaire Watch Collection
The Jacob & Co Billionaire collection is a series of luxury timepieces demonstrating extravagant diamond-encrusted designs and prices ranging as high as $20 million. The inaugural Billionaire Watch, a unique masterpiece launched in 2015, gained attention when boxing champion Floyd Mayweather acquired it for $18 million in 2017. The opulent timepiece featured 18-carat white gold and a skeletonized dial adorned with 239 emerald-cut white diamonds, setting the standard for subsequent releases within the collection.
The watch series thereafter includes the Billionaire III and the Billionaire Timeless Treasure, among other models. The latter is notable as it was unveiled in 2023 with a $20 million price tag. It features 425 yellow diamonds which took three and a half years to assemble, continuing the collection’s legacy of diamond-studded lavishness. The usage of the precious material and expert craftsmanship correlates to the series’ price tag as meticulous skill is required to set diamonds in such an intricate manner. Additionally, the series boasts limited availability. The New York-based brand, Jacob & Co., is well-known for its exclusive pieces, creating a niche market for haute horology.
7. Rolex Paul Newman Daytona Ref. 6239
The Rolex Paul Newman Daytona Ref. 6239 is a vintage luxury watch coveted by collectors due to its namesake and dial design. The original line of the timepiece was produced from 1963 to 1969 by Rolex, a globally recognized luxury watch brand. The timepieces were primarily crafted with stainless steel, though additional 14k and 18k yellow gold models were produced in scarce numbers. The most significant feature of the watches is the iconic dial. The dial has four contrasting color schemes that were initially unpopular: black dial with white sub-dials, white dial with black sub-dials, cream dial with black sub-dials and rare variations such as the gold and black JPS color scheme. However, Daytona Ref. 6239 gained acclaim when actor Paul Newman was gifted with an iteration of the white background and black subdials by his wife Joanne Woodward in 1972.
Newman was often pictured with Ref. 6239, marking the beginning of the Daytona’s prestige. The actor later gifted his model to James Cox, the college boyfriend of his daughter. Cox later sold it at auction for around $18 million in 2017 to an anonymous buyer. Other models of the same reference or others in the original production line do not meet the same price tag. However, they’re no less highly prized due to their rarity. An estimated 2,000 to 3,000 Daytona dials were produced yet only a portion survives. Furthermore, the watches must have one of four specific dial color combinations to be considered a Paul Newman Daytona, adding to their exclusivity.
8. Patek Philippe Stainless Steel Ref. 1518
The Patek Philippe Stainless Steel Ref. 1518 represents a rare collection of vintage timepieces that have achieved $11 million at auctions. Reference 1518 was initially released in 1941 during World War 2 as a luxury model. It was the first wristwatch to serially feature a perpetual calendar chronograph by Patek Philippe, a brand synonymous with haute horology. The watch is additionally notable among their inventions because it used stainless steel, a rarity at the time of its creation, as well as an intricate composition due to its complications.
Reference 1518’s design accounts for a total of 281 items, with only four crafted from stainless steel, further enhancing its exclusivity among collections. One such model sold at auction for $11 million in Geneva in 2016. Other alleged variations included pink gold and yellow gold with unfounded claims of platinum and a combination of steel and pink gold. The wristwatch has since laid the groundwork for the Perpetual Calendar Chronograph line by Patek Philippe. However, it is the original stainless steel timepieces that contribute to the watches’ price tag as well as their original complexity which are novelties of their era.
9. Louis Moinet Meteoris Collection
The Louis Moinet Meteoris Collection is a series of luxury watches that marries celestial fascination with watch-making. The collection amounts to an estimated price tag of $4.6 million or higher due to its usage of extraterrestrial components, particularly meteorites and material collected from space missions. Consequently, the Meteoris Collection stands as a novelty in horology as it provides a unique compositional element, sensationalizing its craftsmanship.
The watches are made by Louis Moinet, a Swiss brand founded in 2004 by Jean-Marie Schaller. The brand seeks to revitalize the legacy of Louis Moinet, a horologist who invented the chronograph to track and record the stars and planets. The Meteoris Collection is a testament to this legacy, offering a limited range of timepieces with genuine fragments from rare meteorites. For instance, four Meteoris Tourbillon wristwatches by Louis Moinet—Mars, Rosetta Stone, Asteroid, and Moon—feature material from meteorites such as Jiddat al Harasis 479 from Mars and Sahara 99555, which is possibly from Mercury. Stylistic features additionally emphasize the celestial component with the Tourbillon Moon in green, for instance, featuring a dial background that depicts the moon’s Gassendi, Tycho, and Cassini craters. The collection’s exclusivity and high value derive from the rarity of the materials used, the connection to astronomical bodies, and the craftsmanship required to integrate and showcase these meteorite fragments, making each timepiece unique.
10. Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega 4
The Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega 4 is one of the world’s most complicated wristwatches with a value of $2.7 million. The Aeternitas Mega 4 features a total of 36 complications according to its manufacturer. Adding to its prestige is the Mega 4’s place in the Aeternitas line, one of Franck Muller’s most esteemed collections, highlighting micro-mechanical engineering as well as a longstanding legacy of in-house creation stretching back to 1991 when the brand was founded.
The Aeternitas Mega 4 exhibits a skeletonized dial that displays its 36 complications, featuring 23 indications through 18 hands and 5 discs. The watch’s high value is attributed to these complications, which include a tourbillon, perpetual calendar, and multiple time zones. In total, the Aeternitas Mega 4 features an astounding 1,483 components with 99 jewels, 91 wheels, 7 pushers, and 4 correctors, exemplifying its elite engineering. Ideation for Franck Muller’s Aeternitas Mega 4 took five years with an entire year dedicated to assembly. The brand’s reputation for technological innovation in watchmaking further elevates the Aeternitas Mega 4, while its exclusivity is sealed by limited production—making it a sought-after addition among luxury watches.
11. A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication
The A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication is an exclusive model with a price tag of $2.6 million. The Grand Complication was introduced in 2013 and exemplifies luxury watchmaking with a limited run of six units. Each watch takes about a year to assemble. This process highlights A. Lange & Söhne’s commitment to quality—one which draws inspiration from its own Grande Complication No. 42500. The limited line of timepieces employs a grand and small strike, a minute repeater, a perpetual calendar, a moon-phase display, and a rattrapante chronograph in its complex assembly process.
The Grand Complication comprises 876 components in total, including 67 jewels. Its dial, crafted from five pieces of white enameled fired enamel, showcases 18-carat pink gold, gold-plated steel, and blued steel hands. Meanwhile, the perpetual calendar uses a specialized code to correct leap years, illustrating an intricate and precise micro-engineering. The resulting model exemplifies the potency of complications that are painstakingly put together, justifying its high price point through the usage of the most luxurious materials.
12. Rolex Paul Newman Ref. 6264 John Player Special
The Paul Newman Ref. 6264 John Player Special (JPS) is a vintage Rolex Daytona luxury watch celebrated for its unique design. Paul Newman did not own this particular model, but it nonetheless remains significant among watchmakers because of its scarcity and dial, which is nicknamed after the actor. The JPS is one of an estimated ten Daytona models in 18k yellow gold with most others being stainless steel. One JPS model sold for $1.5 million at a 2020 auction, with the typical price range being between $400,000 and $950,000.
The watch’s distinction comes from its black and gold iteration of the so-called Paul Newman dial. This color scheme led to the John Player Special moniker, a nod to the Lotus Formula 1 racing car and an illusion of Newman’s racing pursuits. The JPS model is additionally crafted with a screw-down back and an accompanying Rolex Oyster bracelet, both in 18k yellow gold. The premium price tag attached to this watch is not just a reflection of its vintage Rolex rarity and iconic design—but a testament to its enduring association with the Rolex Daytona Paul Newman watches, making it an icon among luxury collections.
13. Bulgari Magsonic Sonnerie Tourbillon Watch
The Bulgari Magsonic Sonnerie Tourbillon is a sound-focused luxury timepiece valued at $950,000. The watch integrates a sonnerie complication and a tourbillon, creating a blend of auditory delight and micro-engineering. The Magsonic Sonnerie Tourbillon’s composition derives from the Gerald Genta Arena Metasonic Sonnerie. This model was later upgraded by Bulgari following their acquisition of the original creator, applying the magsonic alloy thereafter. The new alloy enhances the passage of sound, creating a distinctive auditory experience by positioning it between the bezel and caseback.
The design of the Magsonic Sonnerie Tourbillon watch is extensive, boasting a total of 850 parts. However, its highlight feature is the sonnerie complication, a delicate chiming mechanism that announces the time at specific intervals. The watchmakers’ engineering ensures the refinement of the sonnerie’s sound, stimulating chimes distinct amongst luxury watches. Incorporating additional features like a tourbillon and power reserve indicators, the watch is crafted from premium materials with buyers having a choice between a titanium or rose gold case. Both the incorporation of Bulgari’s proprietary Magsonic alloy and the usage of such material result in high prices and an exclusive model sought-after by watch collectors.
14. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Grande Complication
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Grande Complication is another luxury watch commanding a price of around $740,000. The timepiece is a testament to craftsmanship and horological sophistication. Each Royal Oak Grande Complication is assembled by hand and undergoes an exclusive process where the watchmakers do not exchange work during creation. This means that each model is made entirely by one watchmaker according to the manufacturer. Audemars Piguet introduced its inaugural Grande Complication wristwatch in 1996, marking the beginning of a legacy characterized by precision and complexity. The manufacturer produces approximately eight Grande Complication wristwatches annually, distributed across various collections. The Royal Oak model is one such timepiece and is known for its distinctive design, adding a layer of prestige to the brand’s renowned lineup.
The model is available in both black and white ceramic and incorporates a minute repeater, perpetual calendar, and split-second chronograph. The case demonstrates a glare-proof sapphire crystal and caseback, complemented by ceramic push-pieces and crowns. The dial is adorned with sapphire and features black or white counters with white gold Royal Oak hands with a luminescent coating. Completing the ensemble is a black or white ceramic bracelet. With 52 jewels and a total of 648 parts, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Grande Complication emphasizes craftsmanship, resulting in both exclusivity and a premium price tag as one of the most distinguished luxury watches.
15. Ulysse Nardin Hannibal Minute Repeater Tourbillon
The Ulysse Nardin Hannibal Minute Repeater Tourbillon is a timepiece priced at $735,000 that converges watchmaking, history, and art. The luxury watch is inspired by the historical figure Hannibal, marrying craftsmanship with a historical homage that prioritizes beauty and art over practicality. Everything from the complications to the decorative choices and materials showcases a commitment to the historical connection and aesthetics.
The brand, Ulysse Nardin, dates back to 1846 and is renowned for creative approaches. The Hannibal Minute Repeater Tourbillon stands as a testament to the brand’s commitment to artistic experimentation. For instance, it features a minute repeater and tourbillon with an 18k white gold, hand-engraved dial depicting animated characters of Hannibal, soldiers, and an elephant. These figures serve more than a decorative purpose; they move in sync with the minute repeater, which is an impressive feat in haute horology due to the intricacies involved. Meanwhile, the top plate dial is crafted from genuine granite sourced in the Alps, symbolizing Hannibal’s crossing of the Alps during the Second Punic War. All of these components highlight the Hannibal Minute Repeater Tourbillon’s dedication to art and history. Additionally, the watch is limited to 30 pieces, elevating its exclusivity and the resulting price tag, making it one of the most expensive luxury watches.
16. George Daniels Co-Axial Chronograph
- Image + fig cap: A handmade watch, the George Daniels Co-Axial Chronograph demonstrates historical significance with a £385,250 price tag to match
The George Daniels Co-Axial Chronograph is a one-of-a-kind watch that sold for £385,250 (US$617,594) at Sotheby’s. The watch was handmade by legendary British watchmaker George Daniels and features his innovative co-axial escapement. The co-axial is a mechanism created to enhance the efficiency of traditional escapements, reducing friction and eliminating the need for lubrication in the process. Daniels created this wristwatch to demonstrate the potential of his invention, leaving behind a significant historical icon among luxury watches.
Every inch of the Co-Axial Chronograph was made with meticulous attention. It features a four-minute tourbillon with a co-axial escapement, held by a polished steel bridge. Meanwhile, the 18K yellow gold case houses a handcrafted engine-turned dial with a chapter ring. The chronograph mechanism is placed in a way to not minimize attention to the movement, suggesting a commitment to both functionality and aesthetics. Other highlights include a power reserve indicator at 12 o’clock and a chronograph indicator at 8 o’clock. By analyzing these components on both a micro and macro level, Daniels’ Co-Axial Chronograph demonstrates distinctive craftsmanship typically attributed to a brand rather than an individual—making it a premium item with a matching price tag.
17. Christophe Claret DualTow NightEagle
The Christophe Claret DualTow NightEagle is a distinctive digital luxury watch with an estimated retail price of $545,455. The NightEagle was launched in 2010 as a successor to the original DualTow and features changes in the tourbillon bridge. Its modified appearance and succession in the brand’s production line led to a limited selection, with only 68 pieces produced.
The NightEagle’s creator, Christophe Claret, is a Swiss watchmaker known for avant-garde designs and complications. It is headed by the same watchmaker who helped design the Girard-Perregaux Quasar Light Tourbillon. Claret seeks to blend technical prowess with artistic design, which the NightEagle embodies through its digitized side displays, presenting time uniquely and unconventionally. The Night Eagle additionally demonstrates sapphire plates housing a single-pusher planetary-gear chronograph, a mechanical striking mechanism, and a tourbillon. The skeletonized dial provides a glimpse into the intricate movements within while PVD titanium makes up the case. Other features include customization options such as the distinctive all-black variation. The digitized face and unique time present set this luxury watch apart from others, leading to a price tag that competes with other selections we’ve explored.
18. Maîtres Du Temps Chapter One Round Transparence
The Maitres Du Temps Chapter One Round Transparence is a luxury watch that places the watchmaker’s skill at the forefront of its $540,000 price tag. The Chapter One Round Transparence was designed by Peter Speake-Marin and Christophe Claret and employs a distinctive design centering on bodily transparency. You’re able to see the inner mechanisms of the wristwatch, allowing wearers to appreciate the complex micro-engineering selected by Speake-Marin and Claret. Both men are distinguished watchmakers. The latter is the designer of the aforementioned DualTow NightEagle. Meanwhile, the brand, Maitres Du Temps, is a relative newcomer in the realm of luxury watches but seeks to elevate such men through its products, delivering meticulous craftsmanship in the process.
The timepiece is limited to 11 pieces and was introduced in 2010 as the successor to the original Chapter One Round. Maitres Du Temps employs a skeletonized, laser-etched sapphire dial and a contemporary style in the watch’s design—boasting 558 components and 58 jewels as well as a patented plating on the chronograph bridge. Its six complications include a mono-pusher chronograph, retrograde date, tourbillon, patented moon phase indication displayed on separate rollers, and a day indication. Encased in 18K red gold with a blend of platinum, rhodium, and other premium materials, this watch’s price is explained by its engineering and horological experience delivered by its two famous watchmakers.
19. Chopard L.U.C All-in-One Janus Watch
The Chopard L.U.C. All-in-One Janus Watch is a timepiece that blends unique functionality with mythology. The Janus watch was released in 2010 to commemorate Chopard’s 150th anniversary and returned in 2018 in 18k rose gold and platinum variants. Each variant is limited to 10 watches, adding a layer of exclusivity for collectors. Estimated prices range from $389,000 to $404,000, being initially sold at €374,000 for the platinum model and €360,000 for the 18k rose gold. The watch is a hallmark for the brand as it is not only reminiscent of a milestone but a representation of Chopard’s long-standing dedication to innovating haute horology with unique approaches.
Chopard’s All-in-One’s concept centers around the two-faced Roman god Janus—a moniker it lives up to through its two dials and two sets of hands, providing a comprehensive range of complications. The interchangeable dials are a unique feature: The front dial provides central hours and minutes, and other utilities such as 24-hour indication and month and leap sub-dial. Meanwhile, the reverse dial offers sunrise and sunset indicators, day/night indicators, and an orbital moon phase among other additions that enhance both the usability and Roman symbolism of the watch. Chopard’s Janus Watch additionally features a staggering 14 indications across its two faces, comprising 516 components and 42 jewels. It is encased in 18k rose gold or platinum, as previously mentioned, and employs distinctive guilloché dial art in a monochromatic color scheme to not distract from the watch’s multiple complications. These artistic choices, alongside the mythological-inspired mechanism, correlate to the watch’s high price tag.
20. Girard-Perregaux Quasar Light Tourbillon
The Girard-Perregaux Quasar Light Tourbillon is a celestial-inspired modern luxury watch introduced in 2019 with an estimated price tag of $294,000. The watch features a tourbillon complication and transparent elements that provide a celestial appearance. As a result, Girard-Perregaux’s timepiece derives its name from quasars, luminous astronomical objects. The luxury watch’s design further echoes superterrestrial elements by abstaining from a traditional dial. In its place is a skeletonized fixture with a movement that’s intended to resemble a star, resigning the piece as more of an accessory item or a work of art than a conventional wristwatch.
Among the Quasar Light Tourbillon’s features are a Swiss-made sapphire case that takes 200 hours to create, bridges finished in sapphire that reflect light, and a selection of colors—the most iconic being stark white. Backed by a legacy started in 1791, Girard-Perregaux’s Quasar Light Tourbillon additionally displays a unique innovation: The watch is an interpretation of the brand’s iconic Three Golden Bridges design, aligning the barrel, center wheel, and tourbillon. This feature correlates to exclusivity as the watch is limited to 18 pieces on account of its meticulous craftsmanship. Furthermore, premium materials and an innovative style contribute to its cost.
What is a watch?
A watch is a small timepiece intended to be worn, carried, and or otherwise attached to one’s person. Watches provide both utilitarian and expressive functions, helping to keep track of time and being symbols of status or fashion. These devices developed during 15th and 16th-century Europe as portable clocks, gradually transitioning into the smaller items we know today.
Most watches use quartz or mechanical movements, which are internal mechanisms that measure and display time. Both categories are found in wristwatches and pocket watches, two popular types of watches. Additionally, these devices often implement non-time-keeping features called complications, enhancing the utility and appeal of the items. Examples of common complications include calendars, moon phase trackers, compasses, and thermometers. Most luxury watches offer such complications as well as intricate craftsmanship and high-quality materials that distinguish them from their more commonplace counterparts. Furthermore, luxury watches are often forms of art, epitomizing the expressive function of timekeeping instruments as items to both wear and admire.
How do watches work?
The inner workings of watches are based on either quartz or mechanical movements. Movements refer to the mechanisms that drive functionality, namely proper timekeeping. Quartz movements rely on battery power and the piezoelectric property of quartz crystals. The battery powers the movements of the watch, applying an electrical current to the quartz’s piezoelectric property to stimulate vibrations. These vibrations in turn power the watches’ internal workings, allowing for accuracy and reliability. Quartz movements are common in both luxury and standard watches. Meanwhile, mechanical watches are segmented into automatic and manual movements which rely on the wearer to function. Automatic movements are powered by the wearer’s arm movements which stimulate the rotor and mainspring components to generate energy, freeing the need for a battery. Manual watches function similarly, but they require the wearer to wind up the watch to stimulate the mainspring and generate energy.
The choice of movement is often a matter of personal preference, especially among luxury selections. Many luxury watches incorporate either quartz or mechanical movements, with each option catering to distinct preferences and priorities. For instance, mechanical movements are often preferred to showcase the artistry of traditional watchmaking. Meanwhile, quartz movements are embraced for their accuracy and low maintenance. Luxury brands enhance the allure of their quartz timepieces by integrating high-end quartz technology with exquisite materials and design. Ultimately, the choice of movement in luxury watches extends beyond functionality, becoming a statement of individual taste and style.
How do watches and wristwatches differ?
Watches and wristwatches differ in terms of categorization. A watch is any timepiece smaller than a clock, portable, and wearable. This includes wristwatches and pocket watches with the latter of such items dating back to the 16th century. Meanwhile, wristwatches were invented in the early 19th century by attaching small timepieces to a bracelet worn around the wrist. This means that all wristwatches are watches but not all watches are wristwatches. For example, compare one of the most expensive wristwatches in the world, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Joaillerie 101 Manchette, to the most expensive pocket watch, Breuget’s Marie Antoinette. Both are watches, but the former emphasizes contemporary luxury through its design as a wrist accessory. It’s both stylish and practical to use. Conversely, the former is a pocket watch that would’ve been carried in a compartment of a dress or similar—though its intended purpose was likely to only be admired rather than used.
How do you value luxury watches?
The list below outlines six steps to value luxury watches.
- Research: Begin by researching comparable listings to gauge market prices. Luxury items are usually priced high but will vary depending on availability, quality, usage, and more.
- Evaluate the watch’s condition: Pieces that are well-looked after often equate to better trade deals. Additionally, consider the materials used in the watch such as precious metals or gems. These kinds of materials make up the most expensive components of a watch, elevating its value.
- Analyze movements: Consider the complexity and quality of the movement. Luxury watches often utilize high-end mechanical movements with intricate complications not found in standard items. This in turn correlates to higher value.
- Assess complications: Luxury watches often incorporate intricate complications which are non-timekeeping mechanisms that enhance their desirability. For instance, chronographs, tourbillons, and moon phases highlight the craftsmanship and, by extension, the value of the watch.
- Consider prestige: Look into the historical significance, brand, and rarity of the watch. For instance, the world’s most expensive watches derive from significant historical contexts that make them unique, one-of-a-kind items or are created by high-end brands that offer limited items but exceptional craftsmanship, correlating to prestige and exclusivity.
- Estimate the final value: Summarize your findings and estimate the final value based on the watch’s condition, complications, and prestige. For a more accurate valuation, reach out to a reputable appraiser and dealer, or consult with the watch’s brand directly to ensure a thorough and precise assessment.
How much is the most expensive watch today?
The most expensive luxury watch today is the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300A and it is valued at $31 million. The watch is a one-of-a-kind variation of the Grandmaster Chime models by Philippe Philippe. It was sold at a 2019 charity auction held in Geneva for Only Watch, an organization that gathers the most acclaimed watchmakers together to generate awareness for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a genetic disorder that affects children. Proceeds of the 2019 event went to the Monaco Association Against Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. The buyer of the watch is undisclosed.
Is it hard to sell a watch?
Selling a watch varies in difficulty. Some timepieces are sought-after due to their prestige, model, or rarity which is often the case for luxury watches. Such items are elusive and offer limited selections, providing a lucrative market that’s easy to find. However, the same market is more niche due to the price point. This means that sellers have to navigate more complex avenues and seek out reputable dealers and collectors who are willing to contend with the higher price tag.
Adding to the complexity are the many ways one can sell a watch. For instance, pre-owned websites, designated sales platforms, live auctions, and social media networking all offer methods of selling. Which is best depends on the type of watch you’re selling, at what price, and the degree of research you’ve conducted to ensure the platform is both safe and convenient. Other factors such as market trends, conditions, complications, movements, brand recognition, and historical or cultural significance additionally affect the process of selling a watch, with luxury timepieces requiring greater due diligence to ensure quality and fair transactions.
Who owns the most expensive watch?
The owner of the most expensive watch ever sold, the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300A, is unknown. It was sold for around $31 million in 2019. The proceeds went to charity and the buyer was never identified. The second most luxurious watch, the Breguet Marie Antoinette, has no owner. It is valued at $30 million but is housed at the L. A. Mayer Museum for Islamic Art as it’s an irreplaceable item of historical importance. Meanwhile, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Joaillerie 101 Manchette, which is valued at $26 million, has been associated with royalty and celebrities. For instance, the late Queen Elizabeth II received a model in 2012, making her one of the few known figures to publicly own such a watch.