Nowadays, the world’s top ten wealthiest individuals manage $1.5 trillion in assets. This income level represents roughly 1.6% of the global economy, Amazon’s whole market capitalization, or spending $1 million per day for the next 4,000 years. Moreover, it is more than double the figure from just two years earlier ($663 billion).
As billionaire fortunes grow at a frenetic pace, the luxury watch, like gold or outstanding artwork, has become a solid investment. As a consequence, many exceptionally rare timepieces fetch staggering prices. Akin to the world’s most expensive cars, the most valuable timepieces on Earth are things that 99.9% of us can admire, but will never be able to purchase.
Be that as it may, the most expensive watches on the planet are divided into two categories. At the more traditional end of the spectrum, there are six and often seven-figure items that justify their price by cramming mind-bogglingly intricate technology into extremely small cases.
On the other hand, some pieces are crazy expensive because they feature bespoke embellishments like hand-cut diamonds, meteorite fragments, or any other precious metal. Essentially, glitz. If you want people to notice that you have invested the GDP of a small African country on your watch, why not make it shine?
Then, a step above either, there are one-off watches worn by legends and superstars, or, paradoxically, timepieces that were manufactured slightly incorrectly and are thus absolutely one-of-a-kind. With the vintage watch trade expanding, it is more likely than ever to find pieces that cost as much as a penthouse in the heart of New York.
Bring together all these marvels and the term “Haute Horlogerie” becomes woefully insufficient. Thus, we’ve combed the globe for wrist accouterments that challenge our idea of what is affordable. To showcase what pure opulence and exclusivity look like in timekeeper form, we present the 25 most expensive watches in the world.
Keep scrolling to discover more about each of them and why they carry such exorbitant prices. Let’s not waste our time anymore, shall we? The clock is ticking!
25. Rolex Daytona Ref. 6263 Oyster Albino – $4 million
While we all recognize Eric Clapton as a famous rock icon, few outside of dedicated horological communities are aware of his reputation as an enthusiastic collector of premium timepieces. So, for some, it may not come as a big surprise that he was the owner of this marvel.
There are only four known Ref. 6263 versions classified as “Albino” by Rolex; a designation given to the watch’s distinctive secondary dials, which mirror the tone and texture of the main dial plate rather than compete with it.
Powered by a manual-winding Caliber 727 and cased in stainless steel, the Rolex Daytona Ref. 6263 Oyster Albino is a watch that stays true to the brand’s standard of excellence, creativity, and exquisite precision.
24. Breguet Antique Number 2667 – $4.5 million
Breguet Antique Number 2667 was an innovation that altered the watch game in countless ways. The unusual movement is a result of workarounds applied in 1775, which gave the hands their distinctive function and lends an uncanny aura to the entire time-telling technique.
A pocket watch, a chronograph, and a fascinating antique with two oscillating bodies, the Number 2667 is full of oddities, which makes it one of the most intriguing and captivating watches in the expensive timepiece class.
23. Louis Moinet Meteoris – $4.6 million
To fully appreciate the honor of owning such a masterpiece, one must first comprehend what distinguishes the Louis Moinet Meteoris collection from others. It is not only a matter of engineering, but rather it’s all about the out-of-this-world materials used to manufacture all of the four Tourbillon wristwatches.
Each one of them includes an uncommon meteorite: the Tourbillon Asteroid, Tourbillon Mars, Tourbillon Moon, and Tourbillon Rosetta Stone. Thus, true horology mavens understand that one doesn’t have to travel that far to access the universe; it is now possible to rock it on your wrist.
22. Hublot’s Diamond-studded Big Bang – $5 million
Nothing screams extravagance quite like excess, and Hublot’s one-off diamond-crusted timepiece surely does. According to the famed Swiss watch brand, this is the most valuable watch it has ever made in its remarkable 42-year history.
This exceptional and prohibitively expensive Haute Horlogerie piece, set with 1282 diamonds and estimated to be valued at least $5 million, has found a home. Rumor has it that the Hublot Big Bang watch landed on the wrist of Jay-Z, gifted to him by his wife, Beyonce, on the occasion of his 43rd birthday.
21. Patek Philippe Worldtimer Guilloche Ref. 2523/1 – $ 5.5 million
Having a Patek Philippe watch is similar to investing in a high-end item, and when you purchase one of the label’s beyond-comparison timepieces, you are only serving as a custodian for the next generations.
The Patek Philippe Worldtimer Guilloche Ref. 2523/1 is one of the most coveted timepieces to have left the brand’s ateliers due to its excellent condition and absolutely gorgeous dial. Furthermore, the combination of smooth and rough surfaces makes this timepiece look even more elegant and ravishing.
20. Patek Philippe Platinum World Time Ref. 1415 – $5.8 million
You may be questioning why the Patek Philippe Platinum World Time Ref. 1415, which is definitely not the most valuable watch ever manufactured by the famous brand, would fetch such a premium price.
Well, maybe because its buyer was a billionaire who had revolutionized the worldwide electronics business. Lee Kun-hee turned Samsung, a modest firm he inherited from his father, into a multinational technology juggernaut, establishing perhaps Asia’s strongest brand in the process.
So, he owned the financial means and knowledge necessary to purchase the very finest of anything he desired. And all it takes is a fantastic tale, a great watch, and two bidders to push up the price of something. However, be that as it may, this Patek Philippe watch is the only platinum reference 1415 in the world, so it’s still a very sought-after timepiece.
19. Patek Philippe Yellow Gold Calibre 89 – $6 million
The Patek Philippe Yellow Gold Calibre 89 is just as impressive as its white gold counterpart. Actually, besides white and gold, two more Calibre 89s were manufactured, one in pink gold and the other in platinum.
This breathtaking masterpiece also boasts 33 complications, which include a split-second chronograph, a compass, a perpetual calendar, global time for 125 cities, an altimeter, a sunrise and sunset calendar, and so much more. It’s like the modern smartwatch of today but in gold. And with a lot of refinement, which comes bundled with its $6 million worth.
18. Rolex Daytona Unicorn Ref. 6265 – $6.1 million
Here is a chronograph that relatively few people have ever seen: the Rolex Daytona Unicorn Ref. 6265. It is the only white gold manual-winding Daytona confirmed to exist, and it is possibly the most fascinating version “the Crown” has ever manufactured, a rare unicorn, kept in superb condition with bold and crisp trademarks on the underside of the lugs.
Furthermore, this mind-blowing timepiece has a black sigma dial with gold indices. The truth is, this model is so scarce that most watch connoisseurs were unaware of it until John Goldberger purchased it in 2013 and dubbed it the “unicorn” due to its mythical singularity.
17. Patek Philippe Titanium Ref. 5208T-010 – $6.6 million
Like someone who is truly enthusiastic about what they do, one triumph does not distort their goal of always striving to be ahead of the curve. Patek Philippe has never slowed down but rather brought to light another design that would preserve the company’s legacy through innovation.
The timepiece in question is the Patek Philippe Titanium Ref. 5208T, a titanium-cased self-winding minute repeater with a chronograph and simultaneous perpetual calendar. It is the first and only titanium version of the reference, even though this material isn’t used very often in high-end watches.
16. Patek Philippe Gold Chronograph Ref. 1527 – $6.8 million
During the Second World War, notably between 1943 and 1944, when the Allies and Axis powers engaged in combat, one Swiss business was hard at work creating history. You see, in most cultures, those who fought for independence or endured some of the most terrible battles are recognized as legends and honored as such.
Similarly, the Patek Philippe Gold Chronograph Ref. 1527 watch was created during a period when everybody was questioning if they would live to witness another day, as WWII was at its climax. They say that old is gold, but when it arrives with such a meaningful background, you have to accept that the high price was to be predicted.
15. Patek Philippe White Gold Calibre 89 – $6.9 million
When the Patek Philippe Calibre 89 was launched in 1989, it became the world’s most intricate mechanical watch with 33 complications, a record which it held until the introduction of Vacheron Constantin’s 57260 in 2015. However, it is still the most complicated piece ever manufactured by Patek Philippe.
This stunner is an open-faced astronomical timepiece with two main dials, and it was created to mark the occasion of the brand’s 150th anniversary. Calibre 89 is one of Patek Philippe’s best-known creations, and it meets all of the rigorous standards set by the Seal of Geneva.
14. Patek Philippe Two-Crown Worldtime Ref. 2523 Eurasia – $7.7 million
The emergence on the market of this reference 2523 with a Eurasia cloisonne enamel dial was met with fervent bidding from watch aficionados throughout the world, culminating in the piece selling for $7.7 million. This achievement indicates the global hunger for ultra-rare, exhibition-worthy timepieces, as well as Patek Philippe’s capacity to bring such grails to light.
What distinguishes this chronograph from the rest is, as with everything, its intricacies. Patek Philippe’s world-timers from the 1950s were not widely available and were typically acquired by oligarchs and aristocrats.
Moreover, there are only three confirmed versions of this yellow gold Patek Philippe Two-Crown Worldtime Ref 2523 Eurasia. One of those is on display at the Patek museum, another is in a personal collection, and the third is, well, you’re staring at it.
13. Patek Philippe Stainless Steel Ref. 5016A-010 – $7.9 million
Between 1993 and 2011, one of the most brilliant masterpieces of Patek Philippe’s wrist Grand Complications, Reference 5016, combined three of the complications most treasured by worshippers of outstanding timepieces in its Calatrava-style case: the perpetual calendar with a moon-phase dial, the minute repeater, and the tourbillon.
This Patek Philippe Ref. 5016A is a one-of-a-kind timepiece produced exclusively for the 2015 edition of the Only Watch auction. The craftsmanship and design of this watch are just exquisite and completely embody the term “Haute Horlogerie”, having every detail hand-finished and meticulously calibrated and fitted.
12. Vacheron Constantin 57260 – $8 million
According to Vacheron Constantin, the timepiece you are about to encounter was built over eight years and is the result of the joint expertise of three genius masterminds who supervised the whole production.
Nonetheless, commissioned by an anonymous client, the brand’s masterpiece is so much more than that. The Vacheron Constantin 57260 watch is both a reminder of the past and a way to look into the future.
This mesmerizing timekeeper boasts 57 complications (it is not a typing error; there are actually fifty-seven), outclassing Patek Philippe’s Calibre 89, which previously held the record for the most intricate watch with 33 complications.
In fact, the complications alone are worth studying (try remembering all 57), as there are quite a few brand-novel intricacies never seen before in the annals of watchmaking. However, apart from that, with its 2826 unique components and 242 gems, the Vacheron Constantin 57260 is an engineering and artistic phenomenon in and of itself.
11. Patek Philippe Gobbi Milan „Heures Universelles” Ref. 2523 – $9 million
When questioned about the exact local time in various areas throughout the world, the simplest way to determine the reply is to consult the web or smartphone apps. However, what would people do prior to the dawn of the Internet?
Forty cities from across the world adorn the dial of this 1953 design. The outward silver ring spins around a porcelain blue center, telling if it is night or day for each city, and everything is contained within an 18-carat rose gold casing.
Therefore, the Patek Philippe Gobbi Milan watch is dazzling, precious, and rare, being the only single-signed blue enameled dial timepiece known to exist. It has been kept in its original state, without refurbishment or cosmetic alteration.
10. Patek Philippe Stainless Steel Ref. 1518 – $12 million
Patek Philippe, which is consistently rated among the most prestigious watchmakers in the world, hits a high spot once again with the 1518 edition. But this isn’t just a golden standard; this baby is at the top of the hierarchy, the holiest of the holy grails.
Only four Patek Philippe Stainless Steel 1518 were ever produced, and once released in 1941, they became the first timepieces to feature a continuous calendar and a chronograph. Thus, this beauty is an astonishingly elaborate, scarce, and culturally important work by a very coveted artisan. It’s a front-runner on nearly every level.
Between that and the watch’s slew of dazzling features, which also includes a gorgeous moon phase window on the dial, the 1518 reference radiates grandeur and perfection. Just how much grandeur and perfection, you might ask? Well, around $12 million worth.
9. Jacob & Co. Billionaire Watch – $18 million
Sometimes, the name provides the answer to society’s most puzzling dilemmas. For instance, the presence of this timepiece in our ranking is rather self-explanatory. Ladies and gentlemen, we are happy to show you the Jacob & Co. Billionaire Watch, encrusted with 260 carats of emerald-cut diamonds.
That aspect alone should justify this masterpiece’s popularity on the market. Nonetheless, Jacob & Co.’s magnificent timekeeper will turn heads all across the dance hall, golf club, or wherever else a group of titans mingles. You simply can’t go unnoticed with this timepiece on your wrist.
An eye-popping minimalist, skeletonized dial serves as a reminder that this is, in fact, a watch, and one of the most valuable in the world. Maybe that’s why Floyd Mayweather didn’t mind paying a bit more for something of superior value.
8. Rolex Paul Newman Daytona Ref. 6239 – $18.7 million
This mind-blowing Rolex watch, given to Paul Newman by his wife Joanne Woodward in 1968, is embossed with the utterance “Drive Carefully” regarding the actor’s passion for motorsport.
The Rolex Paul Newman Daytona has been deemed the “holy grail” of timepieces by collectors and enthusiasts for eons, but even the most ardent Rolex diehards could not have predicted the amount it would fetch at auction.
Apart from its inherent heritage, the pricey hand watch is defined by its trustworthy movement and awe-inspiring black and cream dial. It is undoubtedly one of the most attractive Rolex watches available, and thus the most expensive.
7. Patek Philippe Henry Graves Supercomplication – $24 million
The term “supercomplication” is not hyperbole. According to Patek Philippe, this is the most intricate timepiece ever made without the help of a computer, and it took five years to complete.
Commissioned in 1925 and ultimately sold to the banker and watch connoisseur Henry Graves, this one-of-a-kind timepiece comprises 430 screws, 110 wheels, as well as 70 diamonds among its 920 distinct components.
The legend says that Graves suffered a nervous breakdown after spending $15,000 on his watch. Had he inadvertently put himself in serious jeopardy? After all, during the depths of the Great Depression, people might have committed heinous crimes to obtain this watch.
Thus, he even pondered throwing it directly into a lake on his estate but was talked out of it by his daughter. The watch was sold at the Masterpieces of the Time Museum auction in 1999 for $11 million, and it was resold for a “modest” $24 million in 2014.
6. Chopard 201-Carat – $25 million
Check no further than the moniker to understand why the Chopard 201-Carat is one of the most valuable watches in the world. A large concentration of multicolored diamonds, comprising an 11-carat white diamond, a 12-carat blue diamond, and a 15-carat pink diamond, lives up to that title.
This is topped by 163 carats of white and yellow diamonds, totaling nothing less than 201 carats. Naturally, this all adds up to a very expensive and fancy watch even though time management appears almost irrelevant in this case.
5. Jaeger LeCoultre Joaillerie 101 Manchette – $26 million
The backstory of Jaeger LeCoultre’s 101 Joaillerie collection is enthralling and began in 1929, when the world’s tiniest mechanical movement was built exclusively at the Vallee de Joux’s Grande Maison. Since then, the line has represented a never-ending journey of extravagant timepieces colliding with the exquisite art of jewelry manufacturing.
This exact wristwatch was given as a present to the Queen of England, Elizabeth II, to honor her 60th year on the throne, and it features 576 diamonds and a sapphire dial.
4. Breguet Grande Complication Marie-Antoinette – $30 million
The Breguet Grande Complication was commissioned in 1782 by a secret admirer of the renowned French queen and cake enthusiast, Marie-Antoinette.
Cocooned in gold, the glass reveals the watch’s elaborate mechanism within, which was based on the most cutting-edge technology available at the time. When you’re head over heels with the queen, nothing less than the best will suffice, right?
The only issue was that they wasted too much time fretting over it. As fate would have it, the queen was executed 34 years before the watch came into existence in 1827. The piece was then stolen from a Jerusalem gallery in the late 1900s and reappeared in 2007.
It is currently stored securely at the Los Angeles Mayer Museum, awaiting your arrival with a suitcase brimming with cash. However, we have heard that they are now accepting Bitcoins as well.
3. Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref 6300A-010 – $31 million
After a five-minute bidding frenzy a few years ago, Patek Philippe’s Grandmaster Chime surpassed the Paul Newman Rolex as the most valuable timepiece ever sold at auction. The whole investment came to $31 million.
However, that may even seem like a good deal, as the buyer theoretically received two watches for his purchase. Consider it a very pricey promotion since the Grandmaster Chime boasts two dials, one on the back, and 20 unique features, including two patented chiming styles.
The Grandmaster Chime was manufactured in 2014 to commemorate Patek Philippe’s 175th milestone. As the label’s most intricate wristwatch yet, the item created a lot of buzz, literally. Moreover, it raised funds for a worthwhile purpose since a percentage of the profits went to Duchenne muscular dystrophy research.
2. Graff Diamonds The Fascination – $44 million
The Fascination is a magnificent piece of jewelry, set with 152.96 carats of the purest white diamonds and an adjustable 38.13 carat “D Flawless” pear-shaped diamond. This jaw-dropping artwork, which reflects Graff’s competence and inventiveness, was exhibited during the Baselworld Watch and Jewellery Show in 2015.
The Fascination is an exceptional design, meticulously created to be donned in a plethora of diverse configurations, lending this timepiece an unexpected twist.
It perfectly epitomizes the brand’s philosophy, from attaining the best diamonds to unlocking their potential through cutting and polishing, as well as challenging the frontiers of design with precise craftsmanship and a commitment to excellence.
1. Graff Diamonds Hallucination – $55 million
Have you discovered a sparse $55 million in the pockets of some forgotten coat and are not sure what to do with it? We’ve all been there, friends, so don’t worry. Hence, we have a proposal: why not splash it on the Graff Diamonds Hallucination, the world’s most expensive timepiece?
Joking aside, this watch’s tremendous value is given by 110 carats of extremely uncommon and vibrant diamonds embedded in a platinum bracelet. Fancy Pink, Fancy Yellow, Fancy Green, Fancy Blue, and Fancy Orange are only a few of the exotic diamond hues.
Laurence Graff, the Chairman of Graff Diamonds, was the man who pioneered the idea of such an extravagant masterpiece of couture horology. After all, who else in the company’s bottom echelons could fathom a $55 million watch without batting an eyelid? So, what do you think? Take it or leave it?
So, how did the world’s most valuable watches get so exorbitant? As any connoisseur is aware, there are several ways to assess the worth of a timepiece, ranging from the intricacy of the mechanism to the carat of the diamonds on the dial.
However, all of the above represent much more than the sum of their precious components. Rather than that, these 25 timepieces, which smashed auction records, achieved their legendary status through a fascinating blend of heritage, notoriety, rarity, and, obviously, class.