Age does not define the most expensive watches the world has ever seen. Instead, past owners, mechanical perfection, and beauty build value. These are the most valuable watches, and why:
9. Patek Philippe Ref. 1518, $11 million
The stainless steel 1518, created in 1941, is an iconic watch in the Patek Philippe collection. To begin with, it was one of the first wristwatches to feature a perpetual calendar chronograph.
The four-piece series eventually became hard to find due to its casing. And while most of Philippe’s luxurious watches featured yellow or rose gold, it is the 1518 stainless steel that made the watch so valuable.
The special features of the watch which added to its $11-million sale value in 2016 are the different moon phases, the tachymeter scale, and the applied Arabic hour markers. The finer touches of the watch done by Patek Philippe himself also added to collector value.
CHECK OUT: Buying A Vintage Watch? These Are The 5 Questions To Ask
8. Rolex Daytona, $17.8 million
The Rolex Daytona grabs the eighth position for being the former watch of Paul Newman, one of the most bankable movie stars in the industry.
When Joanne Woodward, the wife of Paul Newman gifted the Daytona to him, it became one of the favorite watches amongst watch collectors.
Being one of only twenty other Daytonas, once Paul Newman was seen wearing the watch with a unique black exotic dial, the prices were set to rise.
After passing a few hands and those of Paul’s daughter’s boyfriend, the watch was sold for $17.8 million in 2017. However, the watch switched hands again in 2020, this time being sold for significantly less, $5.4 million.
7. Jacob & Co. Billionaire Watch, $18 million
As stated in its name, Jacob & Co has created a luxurious, skeleton-faced watch with 260 carats of finely cut diamonds. Under the emerald diamonds is an 18K white gold that forms the bracelet for the actual $18-million watch.
The watch was introduced to the world in 2015 during the year Baselworld by Jacob Arabo and Flavio Briatore SARL company and its affiliates. Soon in 2018, it was bought by the renowned boxer Floyd Mayweather who of course, loves bling
CHECK OUT: 5 Military Watches Any Horologist Would Love To Own
6. Patek Philippe Henry Graves Supercomplication, $24 million
Named after the wealthy banker for whom it was created, the Henry Graves Supercomplication is a pocket watch with no less than 24 complications in itself.
Valued at $24 million, the watch is double-dialed, double open-faced, has a perpetual calendar, chime, a chronograph stopwatch, and several other features. Another feature that adds to the value of the watch is the celestial chart that depicts the night sky above Henry Grave’s home on Fifth Avenue in New York.
The 18-carat gold mechanical watch took over three years to design and five years to manufacture, resulting in 920 individual parts in the 74mm thick pocket watch. After passing through the hands of the Graves’ family and different museums, the watch was sold to an anonymous entity in 2014.
5. Chopard 201-Carat Watch, $25 million
Being one of the highest carat diamond-studded watches on the list, Chopard contains 874 diamonds in different sizes and colors. The belt of the watch is filled with white and yellow diamonds while the center with a pink, blue, and D-colored diamonds is what stands out.
The 15.37, 12.79, and 11.36-carat diamonds respectively are the only heart-shaped diamonds on the watch. The resemblance of a flower in both, the function and form of the watch allows its mechanism to open and close beautifully.
Of course, for $25 Million, would you expect nothing less?
CHECK OUT: The 5 Most Valuable Quarters From U.S. History
4. Breguet No. 160, $30 million
The Breguet No. 160 holds the fourth position at $30 million for several reasons. Made for the famous queen Marie-Antoinette, the pocket watch was commissioned by a secret admirer.
However, the 40-year-long construction resulted in the death of Marie-Antoinette before she could even receive it.
Encased in gold, the pocket watch had every known feature of those times added to it, from a chime and thermometer to a perpetual calendar.
After being stolen in 1983 from the L.A. Mayer Museum, the watch was repatriated after 24 years only to be displayed in its original position again.
3. Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime, $31 million
In 2019, the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime took over the Breguet by being sold for $31 million. Unlike several watches on the list, the Grandmaster Chime is not studded with large diamonds on its belt and dial.
Launched in a series of seven pieces to mark the 175th anniversary of Patek Philippe in 2014, the Grandmaster Chime is their most complicated watch of all time.
The wristwatch has a salmon-colored front dial and a black back dial which are changeable via the reversible lugs. The hard work of seven years and over 100,000 hours is witnessed in the complicated but mouth-watering watch.
CHECK OUT: 8 Rare U.S. Stamps That Are Worth Serious Money
2. Graff Diamonds The Fascination, $40 million
The next most expensive watch worldwide is the ‘Graff Diamonds the Fascination’ standing at $40 million.
In addition to being the all-white traditional diamond-studded watch, the center of the watch is a detachable ring that you can use separately. The watch is in itself flawless with white 152.96-carat diamonds and the center pear-shaped diamond of 38.13 carats.
The close ties between Graff Diamonds and Swiss Ateliers were the reason behind the creation of this successful convertible diamond bracelet.
Laurence Graff made the $40 million watch-come-bracelet-come-ring, and it is a masterpiece.
CHECK OUT: 10 Nerdable Collectibles Worth Life-Changing Amounts
1. Graff Diamonds Hallucination, $55 million
Leading the list with a valuation of $55 million is the Graff Diamonds Hallucination watch.
Laurence Graff quite literally left no stone unturned with The Diamonds Hallucination and its combination of the finest collections of 110 carats of diamonds. The perfect blend of diamonds in different shapes and fancy colors on the platinum bracelet of the watch is what makes it the most expensive watch in the world.
When top-notch designers and craftsmen along with Graff himself worked for thousands of hours on this invisible platinum setting, the unveiling of it at the Baselworld in 2014 had to be spectacular.