The watch as a luxury item is not a fashion trend or collectors’ whim. It has been the like since its invention. Of course, the industrial revolution has simplified the manufacture and models of watches for the mass market appeared. But the popularity of luxury watches that combine fine elaborate work and art of watchmaking turned to be everlasting.
Elite watches are unique items, and their cost is comparable to that of art works. Not taking into account historical and collection models, we suggest considering the top-13 of the most expensive watches that were released recently. They are all presented on the market and available for sale at the original price, which exceeds $ 1 million.
1. Roger Dubuis Excalibur Quatuor Watch: $1.1 million
This watch was represented in 2013 and released only in triplicate. The creation of these three timepieces took seven years of research and painstaking teamwork of mechanics, engineers and jewellers. Despite the minimal functionality (hour and minute hands, a power reserve indicator), Roger Dubuis Excalibur Quatuor watch is an outstanding piece of watchmaking art. Its secret is an innovative solution that reduces the gravity effect on the accuracy of the watch. Traditional tourbillon in this model was replaced by four balance wheels which compensate the error. Each balance pulses four times per second making the watch humming instead of the usual ticking. The movement consists of 590 parts.
2. Vacheron Constantin Malte Tonneau Regulator Tourbillon High Jewellery Watch: $1.48 million
Men’s watches are not often decorated with diamonds, but the Swiss Watch House of Vacheron Constantin can afford such a whim to its customers. The watch is released in 8 timepieces, each of which is encrusted with white diamonds of 50 carats. Baguette cut gives the watch a courageous, orderly look. Despite the jewelry “breed” of the watch it is equipped with impeccable movement with manual winding and tourbillon. The watch is also water-resistant to a depth of 30 meters.
3. Jaeger-LeCoultre's Hybris Mechanica à Grande Sonnerie Watch: $1.5 million
It's an extremely sophisticated watch, which has 36 complications, including such exclusive solutions as the perpetual calendar, flying tourbillon, repeater with hourly and quarter hourly chime, and even musical Carillon device. The mechanism of 1300 parts had being created during five years, and its complications are certified by 13 patents. The watch was introduced in 2009 and since that time not more than three pieces are produced per year.
Another peculiarity of the watch is that it is sold with a special safe Hybris Mechanica 55. Built-in sound system lets you hear the chimes from inside.
4. Patek Philippe Grand Complications Sky Moon Tourbillon Watch: $1.7 million
Patek Philippe is one of the most expensive watch brands, and its presence in the most expensive watches rating is natural. This model is an astronomical watch with 12 complications. In addition to hours and minutes, the watch displays the date, the day of the week and month, as well as moon phase and leap year cycle. The watch is made of white gold and is water-resistant to a depth of 30 meters. The design of the model arouses special delight. The case is decorated with exquisite curves, creating a complex and sophisticated volumetric picture.
5. Greubel Forsey Art Piece 1 Watch: from 1 to 2 million dollars
The watch is created in the name of art and intended primarily for collectors. Introduced in 2013, the watch is produced in no more than 2 timepieces a year, and the exact price is kept in secret and disclosed only to serious buyers.
The reason for such exclusivity is micro sculptures created by the British nano-sculptor Willard Wigan. Sculptures, which are several times smaller than a grain of rice, are placed into the case on a rotating platform. You can see them through a special optical device located opposite the winding crown. The device is carefully designed: micro sculptures are well illuminated, optics magnifies them 23 times without distorting the proportions.
6. Richard Mille Watches Sapphire Tourbillon Watch: more than $2 million
This exclusive sapphire watch is released in 10 instances. This is not surprising if we consider the fact that the manufacture of one case of a whole sapphire requires 400 hours’ work of the best experts of the Swiss Stettler Company. But this case not only possesses futuristic appeal, but is also scratch-resistant and water-resistant to a depth of 30 meters.
7. A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication Watch: more than $2 million
Being introduced in 2013, this watch became the most complicated brand’s watch of those existing today. It has a maximum of additional functions, including hourly and quarter hourly chime, minute repeater, perpetual calendar and split-seconds chronograph. The manufacturing of each copy takes a year, and just six timepieces are to be released. The last will be represented in 2018.
8. Hublot Big Bang 44mm Limited Edition 2 Million Euro Watch: €2 million
Having created a recognizable brand design of the dial, Hublot runs experiments with materials, introducing a favorite form in new and new configurations. This time the company has not scrimped on diamonds: there are 72 diamonds on the bezel, 72 on the case, 24 on the winding crown, 116 diamonds on the dial and 353 diamonds on the wristlet.
9. Graff Technical Mastergraff Skeleton Watch: $2.3 million
This watch is issued in limited edition of 5 timepieces, and is also encrusted with diamonds. However, in this model 164 diamonds are placed directly on the movement, which is placed in a transparent sapphire crystal case. Manufacturers have significantly complicated the task for themselves, though made the item more exclusive.
10. Piaget Exceptional Pieces Limelight Secret Watch Leaves Inspiration G0A34135: $2.46 million
Is this a watch disguised as a luxurious jewelry bracelet or a bracelet with a watch function? This exclusive women’s model by Piaget is entirely studded with diamonds: 189 on the case, 76 on the dial and 241 on the bracelet. However, not the number of gems is fascinating, but the skill with which this exquisite piece of jewelry was created.
11. Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Watch: $2.6 million
This watch is released in seven timepieces in honour to the 175th anniversary of the Patek Philippe brand. It took best company’s masters eight years to combine all the best developments of the venerable brand in a single case and create a masterpiece of watchmaking. The watch has two dials, 20 complications and five operational modes: Grande and Petite Sonnerie, minute repeater, alarm clock with striking mechanism, date repeater.
12. Chopard Imperiale Tourbillon Full Set Watch: $25 million
Chopard brand is considered the embodiment of glamour, and this watch can rightly be called its apotheosis. Introduced in 2012, they captured not only the hearts of luxury connoisseurs, but also the Grand Prix of Geneva competition in the nomination of “Best Jewelry Watch”. The model is decorated with diamonds and amethysts. However, along with fine jewelry finishing, the watch is also remarkable for serious movement with chronometer certificate (a sign of the highest accuracy).
13. Graff Diamonds Hallucination Watch: $55 million
Being the absolute record holder for the price and number of diamonds, this watch has become the embodiment of passion for precious minerals. Miniature dial is embedded in a massive bracelet consisting entirely of large coloured diamonds with a general weight over 100 carats. The watch is released in a single timepiece which can still be purchased.