Welcome to the world of unparalleled opulence and craftsmanship—where time doesn’t just tick, it dazzles. Have you ever wondered what makes a watch worth millions? If you’re intrigued by the extraordinary, you’ve landed on the ultimate list that will take you on a fascinating journey through time and luxury. Our curated selection features the most expensive watches in the world, masterpieces that meld engineering with art, setting a standard in extravagance that is nothing short of awe-inspiring. Each tick of these ultra-luxury watches is a reminder of the incredible ingenuity and countless hours of craftsmanship that went into creating them. Don’t miss out on uncovering the mystique of these staggeringly expensive timekeepers that captivate not just the wrist, but also the imagination. Read on, the clock is ticking!
Remember, these extraordinary pieces are part of a larger universe, the world of luxury goods, which you can dive deeper into by delving into our detailed guide on The World of Luxury Goods.
The Most Expensive Watches in the World
1. Graff Diamonds Hallucination – $55 million
The most expensive watch in the world is the Graff Diamonds Hallucination, a magnificent piece of art and engineering. Unveiled at Baselworld 2014 by the renowned British jewelry company, Graff. With a staggering price tag of $55 million, this watch is not just a timepiece; it’s a testament to the epitome of luxury and craftsmanship. It features an astonishing array of more than 110 carats of rare and colorful diamonds, meticulously arranged in various shapes and cuts, and set into a lavish platinum bracelet.
The time-telling element is almost secondary in this extraordinary creation; a petite quartz dial encircled by pink diamonds occupies the center stage of this opulent wrist decor. This masterpiece is the brainchild of Laurence Graff, the founder and chairman of Graff Diamonds, who envisioned a watch that would serve as a monumental expression of his lifelong passion for diamonds.
Creating the Hallucination was no small feat; it involved thousands of hours of meticulous labor by a multi-disciplinary team of seasoned gemologists, designers, and master craftsmen. As for its current ownership status, the watch has yet to find a buyer, and it remains uncertain whether Laurence Graff plans to retain it as part of his personal collection or offer it to the world’s elite. Regardless, given the unparalleled value and rarity of the diamonds incorporated, the Hallucination is expected to appreciate in value over time, potentially increasing its worth even beyond its current record-setting price.
2. Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300A-010 – $31.19 million
The most expensive watch ever sold is the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300A-010, a timepiece that epitomizes the pinnacle of horological artistry and ingenuity. This unique watch was crafted exclusively for the Only Watch 2019 charity auction, aimed at funding research into Duchenne muscular dystrophy. What sets it apart is its one-of-a-kind stainless steel construction—a rarity in the Grandmaster Chime series—amplifying its exclusivity and value.
Boasting an astounding 20 complications, the watch is a marvel of technical sophistication. It features an array of chiming functions, a perpetual calendar, a second time zone, and even a moon phase display. The dual dials—one in a fetching salmon color and the other in classic black—can be reversed via a patented mechanism, offering the wearer versatility in style.
This extraordinary watch shattered all previous records when it was auctioned for a staggering $31.19 million (CHF 31 million) in Geneva on November 9, 2019. This sale dethroned the previous titleholder, Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona, which had fetched $17.7 million in 2017. It also eclipsed the $24 million sale of the Patek Philippe Henry Graves Jr. Supercomplication pocket watch in 2014. The lucky, yet anonymous, bidder who acquired the Grandmaster Chime not only secured a magnificent work of art but also etched their name into the annals of horological history.
For those intrigued by the brands behind these extraordinary pieces, delve into our guide on top luxury watch brands to understand the heritage and craftsmanship that goes into creating such masterpieces.
3. Breguet Grande Complication Marie-Antoinette – $30 million
The Breguet Grande Complication Marie-Antoinette stands as a magnum opus in the world of horology, a testament to unmatched craftsmanship and technical ingenuity. Commissioned in 1783 by a devotee of Queen Marie Antoinette of France, the watch was envisioned by its creator, the illustrious Swiss watchmaker Abraham-Louis Breguet, to be unparalleled in complexity and grandeur. Bearing the serial number 160, this pocket watch contains an astonishing 823 individual parts and 23 complications. These include a perpetual calendar, minute repeater, equation of time, thermometer, and a power reserve indicator, to name just a few. Crafted from gold with a case and dial made of transparent rock crystal, the timepiece also featured a self-winding mechanism—a rarity in its era.
What adds to the allure of this extraordinary watch is its own tumultuous history. It took an astounding 44 years to complete, finally seeing completion in 1827, long after both Marie Antoinette and Abraham-Louis Breguet had passed away. The watch was ultimately finished by Breguet’s son and changed hands multiple times before finding a home at the L.A. Mayer Institute for Islamic Art in Jerusalem. There, it was stolen in 1983 by Na’aman Diller, a master thief, and remained missing for nearly a quarter-century before being recovered by Israeli authorities in 2007. Today, it remains a star exhibit in the Jerusalem museum.
Valued at an estimated $30 million, the Breguet Grande Complication Marie-Antoinette ranks among the most valuable and expensive watches ever crafted. However, its market worth remains speculative since it has never been auctioned. Given its intricate craftsmanship, storied history, and sheer artistic beauty, it’s plausible that if ever sold, it could command a price even higher than current estimates. This masterpiece not only celebrates the zenith of watchmaking but also serves as a compelling narrative of historical and artistic convergence.
4. Jaeger-LeCoultre Joaillerie 101 Manchette – $26 million
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Joaillerie 101 Manchette serves as another illustrious entry in the pantheon of the world’s most expensive watches. What sets this timepiece apart is its engineering marvel, the Calibre 101—the world’s smallest mechanical movement. Originally developed in 1929, this minuscule mechanism comprises a mere 98 components and weighs less than a gram. Housed in an exquisite platinum bracelet, which alternates between polished and diamond-set links, the Calibre 101 is nearly invisible to the untrained eye. The watch’s elegance is further elevated by a sapphire crystal dial, displaying just two hands without numerals, allowing the craftsmanship to shine through.
Commissioned to honor Queen Elizabeth II on the 60th anniversary of her coronation in 2012, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Joaillerie 101 Manchette is steeped in historical significance. The watch draws its inspiration from the original Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 101 timepiece, which Queen Elizabeth II wore at her 1953 coronation—a gift from the then-French President. With an estimated value of $26 million, this watch ranks among the most expensive ever created.
Though the watch has never been offered at auction, its price estimate already places it in an elite category. Given its extraordinary blend of historical significance, mechanical innovation, and aesthetic refinement, it’s conceivable that, if auctioned, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Joaillerie 101 Manchette could command a price exceeding even its current lofty valuation. This timepiece is not merely a watch; it’s a remarkable confluence of history, art, and horological expertise.
5. Chopard 201-Carat Watch – $25 million
The Chopard 201-Carat Watch, crafted by the revered Swiss luxury brand Chopard in the year 2000, is an epitome of opulence and grandeur in the realm of horology. With an astonishing price tag of $25 million, this timepiece is not just a watch but a dazzling jewelry masterpiece, solidifying its place among the world’s most expensive watches. The watch is graced with a total of 874 meticulously set diamonds, which collectively weigh an awe-inspiring 201 carats. The most captivating feature? Three heart-shaped diamonds in the center of the watch, which ingeniously open to unveil a quartz movement dial.
It is important to note that the Chopard 201-Carat Watch has never been up for public auction, which makes its current market value somewhat enigmatic. Nonetheless, it was privately acquired for a staggering $25 million back in 2000 by an anonymous collector who continues to hold ownership. Given the exceptional quality and rarity of the diamonds involved, as well as the unparalleled craftsmanship, it’s plausible to assume that this timepiece has appreciated significantly over the years.
6. Patek Philippe Henry Graves Supercomplication – $24 million
The most expensive pocket watch ever sold is the Patek Philippe Henry Graves Supercomplication, a marvel of horological engineering and craftsmanship. Commissioned in 1925 by American banker Henry Graves Jr., who harbored the ambition to own the world’s most complicated watch, this extraordinary pocket watch was crafted by Swiss luxury watchmaker Patek Philippe. The development phase was intense: three years for the design followed by five additional years for manufacturing.
The watch is a cornucopia of complexities, boasting 24 different complications or functions. These include but are not limited to a perpetual calendar, a moon phase display, a chronograph, a minute repeater, and remarkably, a celestial map of New York City as observed from Graves’s apartment. This horological wonder is encased in 18-karat gold and possesses substantial dimensions with a diameter of 74 mm, a thickness of 36 mm, and a weight of 536 grams. It contains a staggering 920 individual parts, each serving a precise role in its intricate mechanics.
This pocket watch is not just a timepiece; it’s a historical artifact of extraordinary significance and value. It has the rare distinction of breaking auction records not just once, but three times. The first record was set in 1999 when the watch sold for $11 million at a Sotheby’s auction in New York. The second record-shattering event occurred in 2014 when it fetched $24 million at another Sotheby’s auction, this time in Geneva.
As the Patek Philippe Henry Graves Supercomplication continues to reign as one of the most esteemed and valuable watches globally, it serves as a benchmark in the realms of complexity, artistry, and luxury watchmaking.
7. Jacob & Co. Billionaire Watch – $18 million
Synonymous with opulence, the Jacob & Co. Billionaire watch is a show-stopping piece. Priced at $18 million, it boasts a skeleton face and is encrusted with 260 carats of emerald-cut diamonds, making it more akin to jewelry than a timepiece. The watch’s bracelet and case are handcrafted from 18k white gold, and the movement features a tourbillon for increased accuracy. The sheer radiance of this watch ensures it’s not just a timepiece, but a statement of ultimate luxury.
8. Rolex Paul Newman Daytona Ref. 6239 – $17.8 million
The most expensive Rolex watch ever sold is the Rolex Paul Newman Daytona Ref. 6239, an iconic timepiece that exemplifies the pinnacle of Rolex craftsmanship and vintage allure. Crafted by the Swiss luxury brand Rolex during the 1960s and 1970s, this rare chronograph watch is named after the renowned American actor and race car driver Paul Newman. Featuring a tachymeter bezel, pump pushers, and a Valjoux 72 or 722 manual-wind movement, this watch has attained near-legendary status among collectors and watch aficionados. One of the defining aspects of this Rolex is its exotic dial. This distinctive design includes square markers, contrasting subdials, and an Art Deco font, making it easily recognizable and highly desirable.
Among Rolex Paul Newman Daytonas, the provenance can significantly influence the price. However, the ultimate record-breaker is the very Rolex Daytona Ref. 6239 owned by Paul Newman himself. This particular watch shattered all previous auction records when it sold at Phillips Auction House in New York in 2017 for an astonishing $17.75 million. This sale not only made it the most expensive Rolex but also the most expensive wristwatch ever sold at auction at that time. The watch features a white dial with black subdials and a red outer track, adding to its unique aesthetic. Adding a personal touch, the caseback of the watch bears an engraving that reads “DRIVE CAREFULLY ME,” a heartfelt message from Newman’s wife, Joanne Woodward.
The astronomical price and the historical background of this watch have cemented its status as a legendary timepiece, not just within the Rolex brand but in the global landscape of luxury watches.
9. Patek Philippe Ref. 1518 in Stainless Steel – $11.2 million
The Patek Philippe Ref. 1518 stands as a monumental achievement in the world of horology, not only for its complex mechanisms but also for its historical significance. Manufactured in 1943, the Ref. 1518 was the world’s first serially produced wristwatch to feature a perpetual calendar and a chronograph, pioneering a complication that would later become a hallmark in luxury watchmaking. The example made in 1953 is exceptionally rare, it is one of just four known units produced in stainless steel, a material usually reserved for more utilitarian timepieces rather than high-end complications.
This unique stainless steel version of the Patek Philippe Ref. 1518 was auctioned off for a staggering $11.1 million (CHF 11,002,000) in 2016. Its sky-high price tag can be attributed to several factors: its status as a pioneering piece in watchmaking history, the complexities of its perpetual calendar and moon phase features, and its unique stainless steel construction. Given that it’s the only known example of a Ref. 1518 encased in stainless steel, it enjoys an elevated status as a grail watch for many collectors.
10. Patek Philippe Ref. 5016A-010 – $7.3 million
This masterpiece combines three of the most valued complications: a tourbillon, a minute repeater, and a perpetual calendar with moon-phase display. The perpetual calendar features a retrograde date hand that automatically flies back to the 1st of the month after reaching the end. The impressive movement, consisting of 506 parts, demonstrates the meticulous craftsmanship and commitment to excellence that Patek Philippe is known for. It was sold at the Phillips auction in 2015 making it among the most expensive watches in the world.
11. Patek Philippe Ref. 2523 “Heures Universelles” – $8.9 million
The Patek Philippe Ref. 2523 Heures Universelles is one of the most valuable and prestigious watches in the world, as it combines technical complexity, artistic beauty, and historical significance. The watch was first introduced in 1953, and only 11 examples are known to exist today. The watch was made in four different versions, each with a different map on the dial: Europe, North America, South America, and Eurasia. The Eurasia version is nicknamed the “Silk Road” because it shows the ancient trade route that connected Asia and Europe. The watch was also double-signed by Patek Philippe and its retailers, such as Gobbi in Milan.
In 2019, a Ref. 2523 in pink gold with a blue enamel dial depicting Eurasia sold for HK$70.2 million (US$8.9 million) at Christie’s in Hong Kong. It was the most expensive wristwatch ever sold at auction in Asia, and also the highest price for a wristwatch in yellow gold ever sold at auction. It was also the first of its kind with a cloisonné dial depicting Eurasia
12. Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5711/1A-018 “Tiffany-Blue” – $6.5 million
The Patek Philippe Ref. 5711/1A-018 is a testament to unparalleled luxury and horological artistry, distinguished by its mesmerizing Tiffany Blue® lacquer dial. This iconic wristwatch celebrates the 170-year partnership between Patek Philippe and Tiffany & Co., an alliance that stands as a hallmark in the watchmaking realm. Launched as a limited edition of 170 pieces, they are primarily showcased in select Tiffany stores across prestigious cities. However, this particular model stands out as the first to be auctioned, offering immediate possession to its fortunate bidder. Born from the illustrious Nautilus lineage that originated in 1976, the reference 5711 modernized its predecessor with innovative features. In a triumphant 2021 Phillips auction, this Patek Philippe Nautilus fetched a breathtaking $6.5 million, reinforcing its position among the world’s most valuable timepieces.
13. Patek Philippe Ref. 1527 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph – $6.2 million
This timepiece is significant due to its historical background, being from the World War II era. The watch features a perpetual calendar, chronograph, moon phases, and Breguet numerals, making it a unique collector’s item.
14. Patek Philippe Calibre 89 in White Gold (1989) – $5.9 million
This timepiece is another version of the Calibre 89, this time in white gold. As previously mentioned, this watch holds 33 complications, and was once considered the world’s most complicated watch.
15. Patek Philippe Ref.1415 HU World Time Platinum – $2 million
This model is a world time watch with a unique platinum casing, and an enamel dial. Its additional guilloché bezel adds to the uniqueness and value of this timepiece.
16. Patek Philippe Ref.2523/1 HU World Time with Guilloché Dial – $5.4 million
This captivating Patek Philippe Ref. 2523/1 HU World Time was auctioned for an impressive $5.4 million (CHF 4,991,000) at a Phillips auction in 2020. Its multi-million-dollar sale price further cements its status as one of the most valuable and sought-after timepieces in the world, symbolizing the pinnacle of both technical ingenuity and artistic mastery in watchmaking.
Its hefty price tag can be attributed to several key factors: its mechanical complexity, its unparalleled craftsmanship exemplified by the guilloché dial, and its rarity. Only a limited number of these models were ever produced, making it a coveted collector’s item and a symbol of horological excellence.
17. Patek Philippe Calibre 89 in Yellow Gold – $6.6 million
The Calibre 89 holds the title for being the most complicated watch in the world for over 26 years with 33 complications. It was created to celebrate Patek Philippe’s 150th anniversary.
18. Breguet & Fils Paris No.2667 Precision 4 Pocket Watch – $4.6 million
This historical piece is not only a watch but a piece of history, having been associated with King George IV of England and King Louis XVIII of France. It features two movements and two dials, a rare and unique configuration.
19. Patek Philippe Ref.2458 for J.B Champion (1951) – $4 million
This is a rare piece with a unique backstory. Commissioned by J.B. Champion, an American lawyer and Olympic runner, it features a perpetual calendar, chronograph, and a tachymeter scale.
20. Patek Philippe Ref.2497 Perpetual Calendar in White Gold – $3.9 million
This Patek Philippe Ref.2497 features a perpetual calendar, a coveted complication in watchmaking. Its white gold casing and silvered dial with applied Arabic numerals give it an elegant look, and the added moon phases complication adds to its value.
21. Omega Speedmaster Ref. 2915-1 – $3.42 million
The most expensive Omega watch is the Omega Speedmaster Ref. 2915-1 from 1957. Dubbed the Speedmaster “Broad Arrow”, this stainless steel chronograph stands out with its Broad Arrow hands and a distinct chocolate brown “tropical” dial. A manifestation of horological expertise, it features a manual caliber 321 movement and is complemented by a leather strap. The Speedmaster series, to which this watch belongs, has a rich history, being Omega’s most celebrated model. Designed for “men who reckon time in seconds”, it became indispensable for professionals like race car drivers. Moreover, its descendants were part of significant events, including the moon landing. This illustrious timepiece was auctioned for a staggering $3.42 million (CHF3,115,500) at Phillips in 2021.
22. Heuer Monaco Ref. 1133 “Steve McQueen” – $2.208 million
The most expensive TAG Heuer watch in the world is the Heuer Monaco Ref. 1133, famously known as the Haig Alltounian Heuer Monaco, a gift from the iconic Steve McQueen. The late 1960s saw a transformative shift in both society and the horological world. Swiss watchmakers, amidst the rise of Japanese quartz watches, were under pressure to innovate and adapt. Enter the Heuer Monaco in 1969, a trailblazer in many respects. It proudly held the title of one of the first automatic chronograph wristwatches, powered by the revered Caliber 11. Additionally, its unique water-resistant square casing was an industry first.
The Monaco reference 1133, with its distinct blue dial framed by white subsidiary seconds and punctuated with red hands and hour markers, swiftly cemented its status among chronograph enthusiasts. Conceived by Jack Heuer and named after the renowned Formula One racetrack, its reputation was further elevated when Steve McQueen selected it as the watch of choice for his racing role in the 1970 film, Le Mans.
This Heuer Monaco Ref. 1133 timepiece, fetched an impressive $2.208 million at a Phillips auction in 2020, making it one of the most expensive watches in the world.
Recognizing the Value in Expensive Watches
The astronomical prices these watches command can often be bewildering. However, recognizing the value in these expensive timepieces requires a deep appreciation for the intricate art of watchmaking, the time and expertise invested in crafting each piece, and the rarity of the components used.
Each of these watches is a product of hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of expert craftsmanship. They contain incredibly complex mechanisms miniaturized into a wearable piece of technology that keeps precise time.
Moreover, the materials used are often of the highest quality. Precious metals, rare gemstones, and in some cases, technologically advanced materials like sapphire crystal are used in the construction of these watches.
Also, the rarity and exclusivity of these watches play a big role in their value. Many of these timepieces are produced in limited quantities, and in some cases, like the Graff Hallucination, they are entirely unique. This exclusivity drives up demand and, consequently, the price.
Therefore, these watches are more than mere timekeeping devices. They are historical artifacts, engineering marvels, and works of art that are appreciated by collectors and aficionados worldwide. It is the combination of these factors that makes these timepieces extraordinarily valuable, making them part of a luxurious lifestyle.
How much is the most expensive Patek Philippe watch?
The most expensive Patek Philippe watch, and indeed the most expensive watch ever sold, is the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300A-010. It was auctioned in 2019 for a staggering $31.19 million.
Is Patek Philippe or Rolex more expensive?
Both Patek Philippe and Rolex manufacture high-end, luxury watches, but generally speaking, Patek Philippe’s timepieces are often more expensive than Rolex’s. This is largely due to Patek Philippe’s reputation for intricate craftsmanship, highly complex movements, and limited production. The most expensive watch ever sold is a Patek Philippe.
How much is Jay Z’s Patek Philippe?
Jay Z is known for his love of luxury timepieces. One of his most famous watches is a Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime, which is estimated to be worth around $2.2 million. However, please note that the price of privately owned watches can vary greatly depending on numerous factors, such as the model, its condition, and its provenance.
From extraordinary complications to mesmerizing aesthetics and historical value, these watches represent the pinnacle of luxury and craftsmanship in the horological world. As you’ve seen, their price tags reflect more than just the cost of materials; they are a testament to human ingenuity and the relentless pursuit of perfection.