Watch collecting may be one of the most expensive hobbies in the world, but it’s also one of the most rewarding. Many antique timepieces are a testament to the brilliance of early and modern innovators.
Vacherin Constantin’s Tour de l’Ile - $1.5 million
Swiss watchmaker Vacheron Constantin marked its 250th anniversary in 2005 with the world’s most complicated wrist watch—the Tour de l’Ile. The watch is so complicated that it required over 10,000 hours of research to create. Its name refers to one of the historical sites of the venerable company, located next to the current Maison Vacheron Constantin on the Quai de l’Ile.
Only produced in a limited edition of seven pieces, this expensive watch is also the most complicated double-face watch. Tour de l’Ile is made with a totally original combination of horological complications (that is, features beyond the simple telling of the time of day) and astronomical indications composing a list of sixteen different points including a minute repeater, sunset time, perpetual calendar, second time zone, a tourbillion device, the equation of time and a representation of the night sky.
At $1.5 million, this is one of the world’s most expensive watch produced in recent years.
Patek Philippe’s Platinum World Time - over $4 million
The Platinum World Time created by Patek Philippe was sold at auction for over $4 million USD in 2002. It is believed that only one was created and, at the time, it was the most expensive wristwatch in the world.
In fact, Patek Philippe had produced all of the ten most expensive watches in the world. The company, headquartered in Geneva, made their first wristwatch in 1868. They had already made a name for themselves prior to that, however, by providing watches to Queen Victoria herself in 1851. Other notable customers include Pope Pius IX, a king and queen of Denmark, an Italian king and Saddam Hussein’s son-in-law.
Patek Phillipe’s Supercomplication - $11 million
Patek Philippe’s most expensive watch was a yellow-gold pocket watch created in 1932 for New York banker Henry Graves, Jr. The watch, Supercomplication, was created as part of a vain competition Graves had with Ohio automobile engineer James Ward Packard to have commissioned a watch with the most complications in the world. This watch, of course, guaranteed that Graves won the contest. Supercomplication wasn’t surpassed until over fifty years later, when Patek Philippe created the 18k gold Caliber 89 which had a total of thirty-three different functions.
Graves’ watch became the most expensive watch in the world when it was sold at auction in 1999 for over $11 million USD. Caliber 89 went for a mere $6 million.
Chopard’s $25 million watch
Yes, you read that right: twenty-five million dollars. This gaudy timepiece by Chopard is adorned with three heart-shaped diamonds—a 15-carat pink diamond, a 12-carat blue diamond and an 11-carat white diamond. For good measure, they threw in 163 carats of white and yellow diamonds to bring the total to 201 carats of diamonds. The result is something that looks rather like a geode that’s been turned inside out and dipped in lemon Kool-Aid. Add to that the fact that the size of the watch’s face must make telling time into a fun game of Where’s Waldo and you’ll see that Chopard has truly created a recipe for success.
Of course, its $25 million price tag guarantees its place as the world’s most expensive watch for years to come.
[Source: Most-Expensive Journal]