Premium watches are some of the most admired pieces of modern technology in the world. A combination of the best craftsmanship, design, and a rich history are all factors that can make a watch an incredibly expensive purchase. The key features that determine the overall price of the luxury item are brand, model, the condition of the piece, date of manufacture and the market conditions. In this article, we will discuss in more detail the factors that add value to a watch, and then explore the ten most expensive watches of all time.
Coming together as the perfect combination of traditional and modern technology, a modern watch is highly sought after, with certain factors causing luxury timepieces to soar well into the millions. To this day, watchmakers are still continually developing their designs, constantly striving to achieve the most innovative features that make their creations more accurate, reliable and durable. Incredibly complex mechanics are another thing behind any beautiful watch, making it necessary for any big companies to patent their latest work. Swiss watch manufacturer Patek Philipe currently holds over 80 patents for their mechanics alone. One of the patents included on this list is one applied for in 1845 for a keyless watch. Before Patek Philipe revolutionised the everyday wrist wear, they all came with a coordinating key. It had become apparent to Philipe that the modern day man could no longer afford to lose a small watch key, so the team worked solidly on the project before releasing their exclusive new creation to the market. Without the mechanical breakthrough that Patek Philipe made, it is believed that Rolex would not have been able to develop their life-changing waterproof watch in 1926, known as the Rolex Oyster. Today, a watch is so much more than just a modern piece of technology; it is created from thousands of years of research and mechanical invention, each watchmaker building upon others groundbreaking developments.
Due to the fact that modern watches are such breathtaking examples of craftsmanship, only people who truly appreciate the complexity of the design, and understand the record-breaking man hours that have gone into the beautiful creation will feel a luxury watch is truly worth the money. While we understand that the mechanics behind a watch are what makes it expensive, what makes the luxury product valuable? Every brand that produces expensive watches holds years of personal tradition, that individuals simply could not find elsewhere. This leads to each watch boasting its own personal story, which the lucky wearer will be inspired by each time they see their gorgeous accessory. Today, watchmakers are constantly inspired and influenced by the history of their brand, which enables the creative flare produced in modern design to be out of this world.
Made solely of gold and platinum, this stopwatch was last sold in 2012 at an auction, for a mammoth price of $4.6 million.
Containing a total diamond count of 1282, Hublot’s Big Bang watch contains more than 100 carats of baguette diamonds in addition to 6 emerald-cut diamonds. This beautiful creation was last purchased in 2012 by singer-songwriter Beyonce Knowles, as a birthday gift for her husband Jay-Z.
Taking 8 years to complete the design process, the Vacheron Constantin 57260 watch is seen as being one of the most complex watches in the world. Containing over 57 complications, 2826 components and 242 jewels, this luxury watch was sold for around $8 million.
Selling for just over $11 in 2016, the Patek Philippe ref. 1518 was produced by Patek Philippe in 1941. The innovative new design was the first perpetual calendar chronograph watch created as part of a series.
Containing over 260 carats of emerald-cut diamonds, the Jacob & Co. Billionaire Watch boasts 167 components and 19 different jewels. Finished in 18K white gold, this beautiful wristwatch truly is a masterpiece.
Featuring 24 complications, the Patek Philippe Supercomplication is a gold pocket watch created in 1933. Originally designed for banker Henry Graves Jr., the beautiful pocket watch includes a calendar, times of both the sunrise and sunset and a personal celestial calendar from Graves’ apartment.
Boasting 874 diamonds in a variety of colours of the rainbow, the Chopard 201-Carat Watch features a beautiful centre comprising of heart-shaped diamonds. Last sold for $25 million, this gorgeous creation exudes luxury glamour.
Originally designed for Marie Antoinette by one of her romantic partners, work began on this luxury watch in 1782. It wasn’t completed until 1827, by which point, Marie Antoinette had already been executed. At the time, this timeless wristwatch included every possible complication, including a chime, calendar and even a thermometer.
Renowned for its premium gemstone jewellery, Graff Diamonds created the breathtaking Fascination wristwatch. Boasting 152 carats of diamond, the watch also features a pear-shaped centre diamond, which can detach into a separate ring.
Featuring a beautiful array of multicoloured diamonds, Graff Diamonds Hallucination is officially ranked the most expensive watch of all time. This luxurious timepiece is made up of 110 carats of diamonds, all combined together to create the masterpiece that is the Graff Diamonds Hallucination.
Whether you’re an avid collector, or just someone taking an initial interest, nobody can question that these luxury pieces of a wrist wear have taken time, creative flair and an unthinkable amount of dedicated craftsmanship to bring to life.