Article By: Logan Hannen
What is up, watchfam?! Today, we’re going to take a look at the five most expensive wristwatches in the world.
We’re looking, in general, at the prices watches have sold for, whether at retail or auction, but we will not be including things like the pieces from Graff Diamonds, many of which are expensive just for the sake of it, and unique pieces that were made specifically for one person and one person only. We’re also not counting pocket watches and wall clocks because, quite frankly, we’d be here all day. Naturally, we may miss some pieces that were sold in private for numbers that blow the ones we’re about to discuss out of the water, but work with us, here; there’s only so much I can know, and I’m no Rick Sanchez. Let’s get right into the list!
5.) A. Lange & Sohne Grand Complication – $2.5 Million
The $2.5 million A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication (watch HODINKEE’s video here) is, in a word, a masterpiece. While it might be a bit too complicated for some, and admittedly too big for others (the thing is 20 mm thick!!!), it represents some of the finest watchmaking in the world at what, at least on this list, amounts to a (key word) relatively amount of money, among the contenders on this list.
4.) Patek Philippe Ref. 1527 in Yellow Gold – $5.7 Million
This Patek Philippe reference 1527 (check out this one that Christie’s sold for $5.7 million in 2010) is an absolute fanboy’s dream. Made of solid 18k yellow gold, this tonneau-cased reference is a perpetual calendar chronograph, complete with moon phase. It was produced during World War II and its design evokes the best of the mid-century of watchmaking. ABlogToWatch wrote up a great description of this watch’s significance here.
3.) Patek Philippe Ref. 1518 in Steel – $11 Million
The Patek Philippe Steel 1518 is not a special watch on the surface. It’s a steel perpetual calendar chronograph, with moonphase, on a mesh bracelet. There are plenty of manufacturers who’ve made similar watches over the years, so what makes this one so important as to fetch $11 million at auction? Because it was a Patek in STEEL. Patek doesn’t do steel dress watches much, if ever, and this example was in such pristine condition, and was so out of the box that Patek collectors couldn’t help but lap it up.
2.) Jacob & Co. Billionaire – $18 Million
Now, Jacob & Co. is perhaps not a name you expected to see on this list, but they’re tied with our number one pick for the most expensive wristwatch ever sold. The model in question is called the BIllionaire, and is yes, technically a piece unique in the sense that it was a one of a kind. The thing that sets it apart, though, is the level of craftsmanship involved. As this hands-on video shows, the entire freaking thing is inset with diamonds. The craftsmanship comes in when we look at just how they acquired and applied those diamonds. The diamonds were all cut by the same jeweler, who invested more hours than I can even fathom in making sure each of them were perfectly cut and assorted. Oh – and the thing is running a tourbillion with a 72 hour power reserve.
1.) Paul Newman’s Rolex Paul Newman Daytona – $18 Million (rounded)
Okay, so we’ve hit the end of our list, and of course it would be this piece topping it. Paul Newman’s very own Paul Newman Daytona was auctioned off this past October, and shattered estimates coming in at about $18 million USD after fees were factored in. Christian has already discussed his experience at the auction, and it’s a kind of mystifying thing to even be in the presence of a piece belonging to the icon after which it was named. Nuff said? Nuff said.
Well, there you have it, geeks! Our list of the top five most expensive watches in the world (more or less). Obviously, we left some off of this list, because some of them just aren’t all that interesting to talk about (I’m still looking at you, diamond Hublot Big Bang), but I think we’ve done two things: managed to display just how passionate some people can be about this world of ours, and that, no matter what kind of money you have, you should always keep it classy, watchfam.
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