Meet the New Most Expensive Watch Ever Sold:
Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime in Steel
Rolex has lost their crown, at least when it comes to their record for most expensive wristwatch ever sold.
NOVEMBER 13, 2019
Paul Who-man? Rolex has lost their crown, at least when it comes to their record for most expensive wristwatch ever sold. And who was it that usurped this record? Well, if you’ve read the title, then you know exactly who – Patek Philippe with their unique Grandmaster Chime in stainless steel. The price? CHF 31 Million.
The steel Grandmaster Chime was developed specifically for the 2019 edition of Only Watch, an annual auction that features pieces from some of the biggest watch brands in the world, each one being a one of one piece unique. There were plenty of options at this year’s event, including pieces from Piaget, JLC, and H. Moser & Cie. But it was this Patek rarity that made up the bulk of this year’s total earnings.
Now, technically the title of world’s most expensive wristwatch and world’s most expensive timepiece were held by two different pieces. In the world of wristwatches, we had Paul Newman’s Paul Newman Daytona, but for overall timepieces, the previous record holder was the Patek Philippe Henry Graves Jr. Supercomplication pocket watch (which sold for $24 Million in 2014).
But now, we have a brand new record holder in both categories. The watch itself is the Patek Grandmaster Chime we’ve all come to know and love. An ultra-complicated timepiece, featuring 20 complications, two dials, and a reversible case, the watch has only ever been produced in precious metals, a sign of its exclusivity. For Patek to produce the watch in steel as a piece unique is a truly fascinating choice, but not one that is entirely unprecedented.
Patek Philippe once held the record for the world’s most expensive wristwatch as well, with the 1518 chronograph in steel. In many ways, it’s got some similarities to the steel Grandmaster Chime. The 1518 is a complicated steel Patek Philippe wristwatch that is entirely unique among the brand’s catalog. Arguably, the record setting nature of this watch, coupled with the incredible demand for the 5711 Nautilus in steel, has given Patek a bit of hunger to explore the steel side of the market in a way that keeps it premium. After all, they (along with AP) did it in the 70s, so perhaps Patek is looking to go for a steel resurgence?
Regardless, the sale of the steel Grandmaster Chime is simply amazing, and a sign that the brand is willing to experiment with more unique ideas than anyone would have given them credit for even a couple of years ago.
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