Luxury watches tick to a different timer. At least the most expensive ones do. What makes them special? Why do the world’s richest people covet them so terribly? Why do they have million dollar price tags? We asked the same questions while listing out the most expensive watches in the world. Sometimes, the watches are worth every cent. At other times, the price tags seem a tad inflated. But irrespective of price, these expensive timepieces are designed to amaze.
1. 201-Carat Chopard
Price: $25 million
USP: The costliest timepiece in the world
The 201-carat Chopard tops our list of the most expensive watches. With a price tag of $25 million, this bejeweled luxury timepiece remains unrivaled. What makes this luxury watch so very expensive? It has to be the precious ingredients that go into the creation of this uber-expensive watch. The 201-carat Chopard features a 15-carat pink diamond, a 12-carat blue diamond and an 11-carat white diamond, along with 163 carats of smaller diamonds. This array of diamonds is set in a bed of white and yellow gold, bringing the total weight to a dazzling 201 carats.
2. Patek Philippe Supercomplication
Price: $11 million
USP: The first truly complicated timepiece
The Patek Philippe Supercomplication was, as its name suggests, a truly complicated watch. It took four years in the making. The watch was commissioned by a New York banker named Henry Graves Jr. At the time, Graves was competing with James Ward Packard of the Packard car company to own the most complicated timepiece. Patek Philippe delivered in 1932, presenting Graves with a pocket watch in 18-carat yellow gold. The pocket watch held the distinction of being the world’s most complicated watch and Graves won the contest. But the Supercomplication was not content with a single record. In 1999, it set a record of a different kind. It fetched $11 million at a 1999 auction, a world record in the world of pocket watches.
3. Patek Philippe Calibre 89
Price: $6 million
USP: Patek Philippe’s 150th anniversary watch
The Patek Philippe Calibre 89 unseated the earlier Supercomplication to become the most complicated watch in the world. This pocket watch was not just another release however. It was produced in 1989, to mark the Swiss watch company’s 150th anniversary. This deceptively simple looking pocket watch also weighed more than two pounds. Patek Philippe spent considerable time on this watch, investing five years in research and four years on manufacture. By the end of it, the Calibre 89 was fitted with 1,728 components. That is not all. This mechanical pocket watch not only tells time, it also displays temperature. However, it is no longer the world’s most complicated watch – the Aeternitas Mega 4 by Franck Muller dethroned it in the following years.
4. Louis Moinet Meteoris
Price: $4.6 million
USP: Luxury watches from outer space
This set of luxury watches promises an out-of-this-world experience. Not only do you get four tourbillon watches, but they have all been created out of materials from outer space. The watchmakers took materials from a meteorite from Mars, the moon, an asteroid and an ancient meteorite named the “Rosetta Stone” to create the dials on these exclusive (and expensive) luxury watches. Not only that, the wristwatch set includes a cool planetarium showcasing our solar system. Unfortunately, these luxury watches were not available as single pieces, only as a set. This is something that astronomy geeks would love. Unfortunately, the price tag is a major deterrent.
5. Patek Philippe Platinum World Time
Price: $4 million
USP: Luxury wristwatch for the global traveler
The Platinum World Time from the house of Patek Philippe is an incredible looking wristwatch that frequent fliers would love. This stunning wristwatch made its way into the realm of the most expensive watches when it sold for $4 million at an auction in 2002. Its biggest USP is that it shows 24-hour time zones across various countries of the world. The outer ring of the dial features various big cities in key nations around the world. The middle ring bears markings for the 24 hours. Meanwhile, the inner circle features a stunning map of the world. This expensive wristwatch makes it easy to tell the time at various time zones around the world. But it might take you some time to get the hang of it.
6. Piaget Emperador Temple
Price: $3.3 million
USP: Bejeweled timepiece fit for royalty
This list of the most expensive watches would have been far poorer minus the presence of the Emperador Temple from Piaget. This completely bejeweled watch is a dazzling masterpiece, the perfect accessory for the wrists of royalty. The Emperador Temple features 481 brilliant cut diamonds, 2007 baguette cut diamonds and a single emerald cut diamond on top of the case, which features a rectangular watch face. Open the casing, and you will see a tourbillion watch with a Polynesian mother-of-pearl dial. 162 brilliant cut diamonds and 11 baguette cut diamonds adorn the dial. As if that were not enough, the bracelet of this brilliant luxury watch features 350 baguette cut diamonds. The sheer ostentation has won the Piaget Emperador Temple many fans over the years.
7. Cartier Secret Watch With Phoenix Décor
Price: $2.755 million
USP: Glittering bracelet that hides a watch
If you are looking for a watch that looks truly luxurious and more like precious jewelry, look no further. The Cartier Secret Watch with Phoenix Décor is a spectacular wristwatch. The magnificent phoenix design makes this watch perfect for the red carpet. You could pass it off as an expensive bracelet that also tells the time. It is hardly surprising the Secret Watch makes it to this list of expensive timepieces. This luxury wristwatch is adorned with emeralds, brilliant-cut diamonds and a single pear-shaped diamond that weighs 3.53 carats. Over 80 carats of diamonds have been used on this Cartier masterpiece. The precious stones are set on 18-carat rhodium-plated white gold. The hide-and-seek game between watch and bracelet make this a highly coveted timepiece.
8. Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega 4
Price: $2.7 million
USP: The most complicated watch in the world
Currently the most complicated watch in the world, the Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega 4 ousted the Patek Philippe Calibre 89 from this spot. The full name of this luxury wristwatch is Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega 4 Grande Sonnerie Westminster Carillon, a complicated name for a complicated watch. Made up of 1,483 individual parts, the Aeternitas Mega 4 features 36 complications. The price tag ensures that only a superrich watch enthusiast can buy this pricey timepiece.
9. Parmigiani Fleurier Fibonacci Pocket Watch
Price: $2.4 million
USP: Musical pocket watch for the connoisseur
If you are a sucker for musical watches, try this beautiful $2.4 million pocket watch from Parmigiani Fleurier. The Fibonacci Pocket Watch chimes to tell the time, thanks to a minute repeater with cathedral gongs. This stunning pocket watch also features a perpetual calendar. With a two-year manufacture time, the Fibonacci Pocket Watch clearly does not scrimp on quality. Ingredients like white gold, enamel and diamonds push it into the realm of expensive watches. We really love the retro touches on this expensive timepiece.
10. Patek Philippe Reference 2499 First Series
Price: $2.28 million
USP: Rose gold elegance makes this a pricey timepiece
This stunning wristwatch is simple and elegant. The dial is the shining star of this brilliant Patek Philippe luxury watch. This 1957 wristwatch features a chronograph and a perpetual calendar. It entered the exclusive club of tremendously expensive timepieces when it sold for $2.28 million at a Christie’s auction in 2007. But what makes it so expensive? Blame the rose gold casing and detailing. Moreover, it is also an exclusive piece – only five units of Reference 2499 were ever made.
11. Patek Philippe Reference 1591
USP: The costliest stainless steel wristwatch
By now, we are used to seeing watches in gold and platinum fetch million-dollar prices at auctions for luxury watches. But how often do you see a stainless steel wristwatch fetching well over $2 million? The Patek Philippe Reference 1591 did just that, fetching the highest price ever for a stainless steel wristwatch at an auction. It is believed to be the only stainless steel Reference 1591 to be made. As it is, stainless steel Patek Philippe are worth their weight in gold.
12. Vacheron Constantin Tour de l’Ile
Price: $1.5 million
USP: The most complicated double-faced watch
Created in 2005, the Tour de l’Ile was a special watch. It marked the 250th anniversary of the Swiss watchmaker. The team of artisans at Vacheron Constantin took 10,000 hours to create this ultra-complicated wristwatch. The Tour de l’Ile by Vacheron Constantin is among the most complicated luxury watches ever created. It consists of 834 individual components. In fact, the Tour de l’Ile holds the distinction of being the most complicated watch with two faces. It features a minute repeater, a perpetual calendar, sunset time, a tourbillon and more. Vacheron Constantin produced only seven units of this special edition wristwatch, a quality that has pushed up its price considerably.
13. Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon 5002 P
Price: $1.5 million
USP: Luxury gets complicated
Unlike many watches on our most expensive watches list, the Sky Moon Tourbillon by Patek Philippe is still in production. Its $1 million price tag makes it even more exciting, not to mention unaffordable except for a select few. The 5002 P is a stunning double-faced watch with 686 individual components. Many of these parts are practically microscopic. The Sky Moon Tourbillon 5002 P is thus an incredibly complex watch. It features celestial movements and a 55 jewel movement. It requires manual winding and has a 48-hour power reserve. But what really pushes its price up is the platinum casing. The watch also has a sapphire crystal display and black crocodile leather straps.
14. Chopard Super Ice Cube
Price : $1.1 million
USP: No ice, only diamonds
The Chopard Super Ice Cube is aptly named. It looks like a sparkly ice cube. If you think about it and look closer, this magnificent wristwatch appears to be made up of row after row of ice cubes. But these are ice cubes like no other. They are instead, 60-carat worth of diamonds, all of which are encrusted into this high-on-bling, square-faced wristwatch that would be completely at home at a red carpet event. The price of $1.1 million seems well warranted, don’t you think?
15. Hublot Black Caviar Bang
Price: $1 million
USP: Award-winning jewelry watch for men
In 2009, the Hublot Black Caviar Bang walked away with a big prize – the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneve award for the best jewelry watch of the year. This luxury wristwatch is smart, off-beat, elegant and expensive. Crafted out of white gold and adorned with nearly 550 baguette-cut diamonds worth 34.5 carats, the Hublot Black Caviar Bang is designed to turn heads. Hublot’s artisans worked on the watch for 2,000 hours, fitting it with a manually wound tourbillon. The watch includes a power reserve indicator. It is designed to be a men’s watch, but I can see women drooling over it as well.
16. Louis Moinet Magistralis
USP: Wear a piece of the moon
The Louis Moinet Magistralis is as rare as can be. How often do you find luxury watches that are made using a 2000-year-old lunar meteorite? The Magistralis features a piece of the ancient meteorite in the moon-phase display. The Magistralis is powered by a sophisticated century-old movement that features various functions. You will find, among other things, a minute repeater, a perpetual calendar and a single-push chronograph. Composed of 90 individual parts, the Magistralis features a case made of 18-carat rose gold. This beautiful watch is an original copy of the Traite d’Horlogerie, an earlier masterpiece by the French watchmaker.
17. Blancpain 1735 Grande Complication
USP: Complicated in function, elegant in style
Another highly complex wristwatch makes it to our hotlist of the most expensive watches. The Blancpain 1735 Grande Complication is made up of 740 individual components. However, this stunning gentleman’s watch is also a triumph of design. The white gold automatic rotor, the 18-carat gold movement bridges, sapphire crystal casing and crocodile leather straps are just a few of the luxury elements on this masculine wristwatch, which features a perpetual calendar, a moon phase indicator and a tourbillon escapement among other things. The watch is also surprisingly thin at 16.5 mm considering the complications involved. A limited edition of 30 units, most pieces came with a silver dial; one featured a black dial.
18. Breguet Pocket Watch 1907BA/12
USP: A pocket watch made of gold
The Breguet Pocket Watch 1907BA/12 was clearly designed for ultra-wealthy buyers, for the watch is crafted out of 18-carat yellow gold. Even the dial was made of gold, though silvered and placed on a rose engine. The stunning pocket watch featured a grand strike as well as a tourbillon. The minute hand occupied the center of the dial, while a chapter ring was located just off-center. The 2-way rotating crown controlled the hand-wound movement. The sapphire crystal caseback revealed the intricate functioning of this stunning Breguet pocket watch.
19. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Complication
USP: Masculine wristwatch with multiple functions
The Royal Oak Complication from Audemars Piguet deserves a spot on our list of the most expensive watches in the world. Priced at $655,000, this self-winding wristwatch features a 52 jewel movement and has multiple functions. It has a perpetual calendar, shows phases of the moon, the day, the date, the week and leap years. It also has a split-seconds chronograph. The 18-carat white gold casing and the transparent sapphire caseback add to its value without taking away from the masculine design. The watch is water-resistant in depths of up to 20 meters, so you need not worry about getting caught in a sudden drizzle.
20. A. Lange & Sohne Tourbograph
USP: Among A. Lange & Sohne’s costliest watches
A. Lange & Sohne have made a name for themselves in the realm of handcrafted luxury watches. One of the most expensive timepieces to emerge out of this German firm’s workshops is the Tourbograph. This spectacular-looking luxury timepiece has 1097 moving parts and a 41 jewel movement. Of course, luxury watches like the Tourbograph are limited production pieces. Moreover, each watch takes 30 days from start to finish. These timekeeping beauties are available in either platinum or gold and come with a crocodile band. They feature a transparent sapphire crystal caseback that shows the inner movements of the device.
21. Girard Perregaux Opera Three Musical Hours Watch
USP: Music for your ears
This beautiful luxury timepiece from Girard Perregaux seems to have been modeled after those beautiful music playing jewelry boxes. Inside the watch sits a keyboard, 20 blades and a drum, plus 150 hand-mounted pins. A lever allows users to play music whenever they like. The music playing can also be personalized. There is more to recommend this stunning wristwatch – the 18-carat white gold casing, the sapphire crystal caseback, the alligator straps and a 50-hour power reserve. Did I mention that this wristwatch is water-resistant in depths of up to 50 meters?
22. Jaeger-LeCoultre Gyrotourbillon
USP: A tourbillon that defies gravity
Fitted with the gravity-defying tourbillon, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Gyrotourbillon is smart, brilliant-looking and bears an expensive price tag of $404,000. This great-looking and functional watch has several luxury elements as well. The platinum case works beautifully with the ruthenium radium-plated dial. The sapphire crystal caseback allows for uninhibited viewing of the inner workings of this wristwatch. Importantly, the watch maintains water resistance up to 50 meters.
23. Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers
USP: Slimmest-ever skeleton watch
What is special about the Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers? For one thing, when the first such watch released in 2006, the wristwatch bore the unique distinction of being the slimmest-ever skeleton minute repeater watch. Skeleton watches themselves are a work of art, for the inner workings of the timepiece have to be set just right. The artisans successfully achieved this with the rose-gold-cased Les Cabinotiers. The manual winding watch with a black alligator strap has a 34-hour power reserve.
24. The IWC Grande Complication Perpetual
USP: Set for the next 500 years
The IWC Grande Complication Perpetual is no ordinary watch. It holds 12 patents, and consists of 659 mechanical parts and 71 jewels. As the name suggests, the Grand Complication Perpetual features a perpetual calendar along with 20 other functions. What is noteworthy about this perpetual calendar is that it is set to work for the next 500 years. So if this watch stands the test of time, it should be a priceless piece half a millennium from now. The solid platinum case and band, along with the polished goldstone in the perpetual moon phase display add to luxury quotient of this luxury wristwatch. Moreover, it is a limited production piece. IWC creates only 20 such watches on a yearly basis.
25. Parmigiani Kalpa XL Tourbillon
USP: A masterpiece in 400 hours
The Kalpa XL Tourbillon is a stunning watch from the house of Parmigiani. It reportedly takes 400 hours to complete one of these expensive watches. The watch is smart, elegant and features exquisite detailing without seeming too cluttered. The platinum casing and alligator straps ensure that this is a pricey watch. The sapphire crystal caseback allows a view of the inner workings of the 28 jewel movement.
26. Daniel Roth Ellipsocurvex Tourbillon
USP: Exhibition backs are rarely this beautiful
Daniel Roth’s signature semi-oval case design makes an appearance once again in the Ellipsocurvex Tourbillon. This really is a beautiful luxury watch. We especially love the stunning exhibition back. The sapphire crystal, platinum casing and alligator strap push up the price of this designer timepiece. The self-winding watch has an eight-day power reserve and is water repellent. Don’t go swimming with this on. But a walk through a light drizzle can be managed.
27. Hublot Tourbillon Solo Bang
USP: Tourbillon watch combines platinum with rubber
Love tourbillon watches? Have a look at the Hublot Tourbillon Solo Bang. Priced at $105,000, this final entrant on our list of the most expensive watches would look great on any masculine wrist. The carbon dial provides the perfect setting for the tourbillon section, and the black ceramic bezel adds to the overall appeal of this good-looking watch. The platinum casing for the Hublot Tourbillon Solo Bang provides an additional luxury component to this Swiss luxury watch. The signature black rubber strap provides for casual comfort.
For those who can afford the astonishing prices, the most expensive watches in the world are not mere accessories. These luxury watches are style statements, heritage pieces, and just the thing to add to the connoisseur’s watch collection.