The Most Expensive Watches in the World

A Trip Through Time

Time is one of the most important factors in everyday life. The numbers on a clock regulate the periods of time in which we eat and sleep. They control then opening and closing of businesses and the stock market. Time is always passing, and this fact is something that will always be beyond our control.

Seeing as time is such a pivotal part of our lives in the 21st century, it is no wonder that the measurement of it was figured out very early in the evolution of humans. Back in 1300 B.C., the first people to migrate to Mesopotamia, the Sumerians, crafted the first sundial as a means to measure the passage of time.

Sundial

The ancient Egyptians furthered the evolution of telling time by creating obelisks. These were long, four-sided monuments that had marker points that broke the days up into parts. These markers would become the precursor to the hours that we use to measure time today.

With the invention of the mainspring in the 15th century, telling time became a portable task. The watch was invented shortly after by clockmaker, Peter Henlein. Then dubbed clock-watches, these time-telling tools where adorned around the neck on a chain like a pendant.

During these times, clock-watches were heavy. They only consisted of the hour hand and were not covered with glass. Instead, a decorative grill was placed over the face of the watch-clock so that the time would be still be visible.

As time progressed, so did the clock-watch. It slowly evolved into a pocketwatch by the 1600. This became the standard for time-telling even during the initial rollout of watch mass productions in the 1850s. It was until the 1920’s when the British began using them as a tool on the battlefield during the First World War, that wristwatches became the norm for watches.

WWI Wristwatch

As convenient as having a watch may have been back then, it was not very accurate. If anything, they were used as an accessory for the owner. People purchased clock-watches as a sign of status. Those who purchased a time mechanism during this period picked out watches that had an odd shape or unique attributes. Back then, clock-watches shaped like animals, crosses, and stars were extremely popular.

Wearing watches as a status symbol that also serves to dress up your wrist has been a commonplace for humans since the day of the clock-watch. This belief system is alive and well today, and it may perhaps be stronger than ever. With prices upwards of $55 million, some of the most expensive watches in the world cost more than many will ever make in a lifetime.

Here is a list of the most expensive watches in the world.

13. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication | $2.5 Million

This watch is definitely a status symbol for the mere fact that it is almost unwearable. The clock itself is housed inside of a large gold case that is 20 mm thick and a diameter of 50 mm. The Lange & Söhne’s Grand Complication watch first became available back in 2013 and takes almost a year to make.

One of this watch’s most notable features is the perpetual calendar. Perpetual calendars have the ability to correctly display automatically, taking into account events like a leap year that may throw off other calendars. In total, the Lange & Söhne’s Grand Complication watch contains 876 intricate parts. Some of the popular features of this pricey piece include the split-seconds chronograph with flying seconds, grande and petite sonnerie with minute repeater, and the moonphase option associated with the watch’s perpetual calendar.

 

12. Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega 4 | $2.7 Million

As noted earlier, watches with an abundance of complications such as the aforementioned Lange & Söhne’s Grand Complication is practically unwearable. However, the Franck Muller Aeternitas looks to address these particular issues.

Five years of work went into creating the first version of the Aeternitas. There are 1,483 total components and 35 complications in this wristwatch. Each unique piece of this watch was designed with the influence of traditional “cadraturiers” from the Vallée de Joux, Switzerland. With the goal of remaining wearable, the thickness of the Aeternitas is a mere 0.2 mm. The reason for such a thin casing is to accommodate the striking mechanism of the “Chime of Westminster,” that sounds off on the quarter hours and on the hour.

 

11. Rolex Daytona Ref. 6263 Oyster Albino | $4 Million

This watch is currently the most expensive watch for the notorious watch brand, Rolex. The Oyster Albino, also known as Rolex Reference 6263 Cosmograph Daytona, is one of the rarest watches of all-time. It is so rare that there are only four.  One was previously owned by rock legend, Eric Clapton. The “Tears in Heaven” singer purchased one of the four watches in the late 1990’s. Just a couple of years ago, the rocker sold the rare piece of jewelry for a cool $1.4 million.

10. Breguet Antique Number 2667 | $4.5 Million

This elegant watch has a 36 inch gilded brass movement that comes with two complete mechanisms that are situated within a single plate. The mechanisms are fully jeweled with going barrels and fastened with gold and platinum screws. Making the piece that much more exquisite are the yellow gold Breguet hands. They shimmer beautifully alongside the outer minute track that is created with blued steel. The yellow-gold case in 18K.

 

9. Louis Moinet Meteoris | $4.6 Million

Just like the Rolex Daytona Ref. 6263 Oyster Albino, there are only 4 Louis Moinet Meterois watches made. In fact, all four of these stunning watches have unique features that the other three don’t, making each one a rarity, as well as further driving up the price.

The common bond between all four exclusive watches is the fact that they are all made up of meteorite parts, hence the name. The four distinct meteorites that comprise the dial derive from stones that come from either an Asteroid, the Moon, Mars, or Rosetta Stone. Each piece is complete with a tourbillon movement that is made up of 50 smaller pieces.

 

8. Hublot Big Bang | $5 Million

This watch is completely blinged out, making it worth $5 million. What makes this piece so expensive is the fact that it is made up of 1,280 diamonds that boast a minimum of three carats each. This watch is meticulously made. Every stone that adorns the watch was cut for consistency by a New York jeweler with over 40 years experience. This special touch gives the Big Bang a consistent signature look.

7. Patek Philippe Ref. 1518 in Stainless Steel | $11 Million

Prices of watches more than double as we move onto #7. What makes this watch so expensive is the casing. While most of Patek Philippe’s watches are made out of yellow or rose gold, this one is made out of 1518 stainless steel. Not only is this specific type of steel a rarity, but this watch is the only one made with this particular steel that also has a perpetual calendar.

6. Jacob & Co. Billionaire Watch$18 Million 

The Billionaire watch was certainly made for a billionaire. With a price tag of $18 million, this 18K white gold watch dazzles with 260 carats of emerald-cut diamonds. The skeleton outline of the casing allows for you to see all the mechanisms inside. The blue hands on the face really stand out against the shiny white gold.

5. Patek Philippe Henry Graves Supercomplication | $24 Million

Patek Phillippe makes its second appearance on this list with its most expensive watch. The Supercomplication was created for its namesake, banker Henry Graves. This pricey watch comes complete with 24 complications. These features include a perpetual calendar, sunset and sunrise times, and a minute repeater complete with Westminster Chimes. One of the $24 million watch’s exclusive features is a celestial chart that was concocted based on the night sky outside the New York residence of Henry Graves.

4. Chopard 201-Carat Watch | $25 Million

This piece is perhaps the most colorful on this list. The center of the watch is a combination of white gold and yellow gold. Inside the gold combo lies a 15.37 carat heart-shaped pink diamond, 12.70 carat heart-shaped blue diamond, and a 11.36 carat heart-shaped D-color diamond. The stones are set within a bracelet that also has clusters of 360 pear-shaped D-color flawless diamonds. Rounding out the diamond count, there are 91 10.29 carat round D-color flawless diamond s arranged into flower shapes with a round 8.81 carat yellow diamond in the center. Lastly, this watch boasts 26 pear-shaped yellow diamonds throughout the bracelet.

3. Breguet Marie-Antoinette Grande Complication Pocket Watch | $30 Million

This vintage watch is a nod to the past. In fact, this pocketwatch was rumored to be commissioned by the lover of French Queen, Marie Antoinette, in the year 1782. However, seeing as the watch took over 40 years to design and construct, the person intended to receive the watch died before they were able to get it.

2. Graff Diamonds The Fascination | $40 Million

What makes this pricey piece of jewelry so unique is the fact that it is a 2-in-1. The watch comes with a removable piece that allows it to become a ring. Comprised of 152,96 carats of white diamonds, inside is a fancy-cut rare 38-13 carat D flawless pear-shaped diamond. This part of the piece can be taken out and worn as a ring.

1. Graff Diamonds Hallucination | $55 Million

Following up Graff Diamond’s Fascination is another Graff Diamonds piece called the Hallucination. No, you’re not hallucinating. This piece runs at $55 million. What drives up the price is the fact that this watch is comprised of 110 carats of colorful diamonds. That is really what makes this standout. It’s functionality and complications take a backseat to the rarity and beauty of the gems in the piece.