Think Your Rolex is Pricey? These are the Most Expensive Watches Ever Sold at Auction

From www.justluxe.com by Marissa Stempien
Think Your Rolex is Pricey? These are the Most Expensive Watches Ever Sold at Auction

If we made a list of the most expensive watches ever we could have a list that consisted of special-made pieces, antique pocket watches and one-off, diamond-encrusted timepieces that cost as much as a private island. To narrow down what is essentially an endless list of million-dollar accessories, we selected a few of the most timepieces ever sold at auction. These pre-owned watches range from a few million to a $20 million masterpiece and—spoiler alert—are almost entirely Patek Philippe. Ahead are five of the most expensive watches ever sold at auction—and keep an eye on these—some have gone up for sale multiple times and one even beat its own record for most expensive watch ever purchased at auction.

Most Expensive WatchesPhoto Credit: Sotheby's

The Henry Graves Supercomplication by Patek Philippe held the title of the most expensive watch ever sold when it went for $11 million at Sotheby’s in 1999. Last year the same watch sold at auction for 23.24 million Swiss francs (approx. $24.4 million), breaking its own record. The watch was commissioned by banker Henry Graves in 1925 and it took eight years to complete. The pocket watch boasts 24 complications including a sky chart, an alarm, grande and petite sonnerie, a moon phase indicator, sunrise and sunset indications, a sky chart, a perpetual calendar, a sidereal time dial, and even tells time.

Most Expensive WatchesPhoto Credit: Christie's

In 2010 a Patek Philippe gold perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch sold at Christie’s for 6.26 million Swiss francs (approx. $5.7 million at the time). The 1944 watch is the most expensive wristwatch that’s been sold at auction and ended in a bidding war which involved six bidders over three continents. The 18-karat chronograph might have some competition though as Antiquorum, a Geneva-based auctioneer, suggests that due to currency fluctuations the most expensive wristwatch belongs to another Patek Philippe sold in 2002 for 6.6 million Swiss francs (approx. $4.03 million at the time).

Most Expensive WatchesPhoto Credit: Antiquorum

Until 1989, the Henry Graves Supercomplication was the most complicated watch ever made, but Patek Philippe surpassed their own work with the Calibre 89. Using computer technology the brand was able to create this piece which took nine years to make and had 1,728 individual parts. The watch was made to celebrate the house’s 150 year anniversary, and made four of these commemorative watches with a staggering 33 complications each. One in platinum, yellow, pink and white gold were rumored to be sold directly to collectors for roughly $4 million each. In 2009 the yellow gold was sold by Antiquorum for 5.12 million Swiss francs (approx. $5.39 million today).

Most Expensive WatchesPhoto Credit: Antiquorum

Another of the Patek Philippe special-edition commemorative watches from 1989 went on auction in 2004. One of the four most complicated watches in the world, this piece included extra features like an astronomical and astrological dial with sidereal time, second time-zone, perpetual calendar, time of sunrise and sunset, leap year correction, century, decade and year indication, season indicator, equinox, solstice and zodiac indication, star chart, phases and age of the moon, split-seconds chronograph, thermometer and Tourbillon regulator. It sold in Geneva for $5 million.

Most Expensive WatchesPhoto Credit: Christie's

The only watch on our list that isn’t a Patek Philippe is this Breguet & Fils pocket watch from 1814. Auctioned in Geneva, the piece was expected to reach a maximum $1.5 million bid, but sold for record-breaking 4.34 million Swiss francs (approx. $4.68 million at the time). The Montre Plate À Deux Mouvements, Sur Le Principe Des Chronomètres was originally sold to a Mr. Garcias of London for 5,000 francs in 1814. It was during this time period that Abraham-Louis Breguet was crafting watches for European royalty, including Louis XVIII and George IV. It’s believed that the pocket watches given to these two monarchs were modeled after this version of his resonance timepiece.

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