The 10 Most Expensive Watches Ever
It should come as no surprise that one brand rules the rankings.
The pinnacle timepieces of haute horology are coveted, collectable and, by virtue, command stratospheric prices. So, at Robb Report we’ve compiled a heady list of the world’s most expensive watches to date.
Patek Philippe Ref. 5016A-010
Sold the 2015 Only Watch charity auction, Patek Philippe produced a unique piece – ref. 5016. – in an uncharacteristic stainless steel.
The 36.8mm watch hosts a perpetual calendar, minute repeater and tourbillon and had ordinarily (although nothing is ordinary here) been produced in precious metals available to VIP clients through an application process. It’s no wonder this rare example, fitted with a blue enamel dial, sold for approx. $10,800,000.
Vacheron Constantin Ref. 57260
The Vacheron Constantin ref. 57260 pocket watch took an alleged 8 years to develop and hosts 57 different complications, 2826 individual components and weights nearly a kilogram (957g to be precise).
So what does one get to lug around such a serious piece of kit? Well, highlights include multiple perpetual calendars (one is clearly not enough), Astronomic and Lunar calendars, sunrise and sunset times, celestial charts and chiming complications.
Arriving in a white gold case that measures 98mm and 50.55mm thick it is biding for the title of most complicated watch in the world.
The task, so great, it even comes with its own website and is rumoured to have cost the anonymous client US$10 million or approx. $13,500,000.
Patek Philippe Ref. 2523 Gobbi Milan ‘Heures Universelles’
A unique 18-carat pink gold two-crown world time wristwatch with 24-hour indication and double-signed blue enamel dial, the Patek Philippe Ref. 2523 was manufactured in 1953. Described by Christie’s as “breathtakingly rare,” the watch is the only known reference 2523 to feature both Patek Philippe’s signature and that of the prestigious Milan retailer Gobbi. Sold at Christie’s Hong Kong in November 2019 for approx. $12,304,908
Patek Philippe Ref. 1518 In Stainless Steel
The Patek Philippe Ref. 1518 perpetual calendar chronograph in stainless steel is so rare that not even the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva has one. Widely considered the brand’s defining reference, the 1518 was the world’s first perpetual chronograph wristwatch to be produced in a series by any manufacturer. Sold at Phillips Geneva Watch Auction: FOUR in November 2016 for $16, 300,000.
Rolex “Paul Newman” Daytona Ref. 6239
The Rolex Ref. 6239 “Paul Newman” Cosmograph Daytona is a stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with off-white “exotic” dial and tachymeter bezel, purchased by Joanne Woodward, likely in 1968, as a gift for actor and budding motorsport racer Paul Newman. Sold at Phillips’ Winning Icons sale in New York in October 2017 for approx. $24.2 million.
Jacob & Co. Billionaire Watch
While it may not be as technically complicated as some of the timepieces on this list, it certainly has its own appeal – at least to champion boxer, Floyd Mayweather Jr.
The aptly named “Billionaire Watch” is a feat of impressive luxury watch gem setting with 325 baguette-cut and emerald-cut diamonds covering the entirety of the watch.
Not to be outshone by the diamonds, the JCAM09 calibre inside features a tourbillon movement that is entirely skeletonised. At approx. 27,750,000 it’s about as flashy as it gets.
Chopard 201 Carat Watch
Chopard is both an elevated jeweller and esteemed watchmaker and here, with the Chopard 201 carat Watch has exemplified its expertise in both.
The watch sees 874-high grade coloured diamonds set in a combination of yellow and white gold. Here, the centrepiece is a trio of three different coloured heart-shaped diamonds with a combined weight of 39.52 carats. A hidden button works a mechanism to open the three stones like petals of a flower revealing the face of the watch.
For approx. $29,580,000, it’s a colourful way to spend it.
Patek Philippe Henry Graves Supercomplication
Commissioned by New York banker Henry Graves Jr,. this ‘holy grail’ of modern watchmaking by Patek Philippe is made from 18-carat gold and boasts 24 different complications.
The 74mm timepiece sees 920 individual components, two dials, a perpetual calendar, moon phases, split-seconds chronograph, sunrise and sunset times and a celestial star chart. It’s also a minute repeater and a grande and petite sonnerie.
Although likely worth more today, it was last sold in 2014 for approx. $34,435,000.
Breguet Grande Complication No. 160 Marie Antoinette
In 1783, a mysterious admirer of Marie Antoinette hers ordered from Breguet, as a gift for the Queen. The Breguet workshop spent 44 years producing the 63mm pocket watch. Thought to be lost when stolen from an Israeli museum in 1983, it was recovered in 2007 – estimated to have a value of approximately US$30 million (approx. $44,360,000).
What did Marie Antoinette commission? Transparent rock crystal dial that not only tells time but temperature, celestial time and the power reserve. Also arrives with a minute repeating complication and chronograph function.
Often referred to as the Mona Lisa of the watchmaking world, it’s a complicated work of art.
Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300A-010
The Patek Philippe Ref. 6300A-010 “Grandmaster Chime,” is a unique stainless-steel version of a timepiece introduced in 2014 to mark the watchmaker’s 175th anniversary. The double-face reversible watch boasts 1,366 movement components and 214 case components and features 20 complications, including a perpetual calendar, a minute repeater, a second-time zone, a leap year cycle and esoteric chiming mechanisms known as grand and petite sonneries. Sold at Only Watch auction in Geneva in November 2019 for approx. $45,840,000.
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