1. Patek Philippe, 2. Breguet, 3. Rolex, 4. Jacob & Co, 5. Hublot, 6. Vacheron Constantin, 7. Piaget, 8. A. Lange & Söhne, 9. Richard Mille, 10. Audemars Piguet. Wristwatches have been an important item and even a fashion statement for both men and women since their introduction in the 16th century. Their design, features, and mechanics have changed dramatically throughout time, with many talented watchmakers producing watches that may be regarded as works of art. Today, we'll look at the most expensive watch brands in the world right now, with costs ranging from a few thousand dollars to well over a million dollars for a one-of-a-kind piece.
- Patek Philippe
- Jacob & Co
- Vacheron Constantin
- A. Lange & Söhne
- Richard Mille
- Audemars Piguet
Patek Philippe is one of the most expensive watch brands and clock company based in Geneva and the Vallée de Joux in Switzerland. It was founded in 1839 and is named after Antoni Patek and Adrien Philippe, two of its founders. The Stern family has held the firm in Switzerland since 1932, and it is the only family-owned independent watchmaker in Geneva. Patek Philippe is one of the world’s oldest watchmakers, having a continuous watchmaking history dating back to its foundation. It creates timepieces and movements, including some of the most sophisticated mechanical watches on the market. Over 400 retail outlets and more than a dozen delivery hubs are spread across Asia, Europe, North America, and Oceania.
Patek Philippe is widely regarded as one of the world’s most distinguished watchmakers. Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Diana, Pope Pius IX, Marie Curie, Albert Einstein, John F. Kennedy, Nelson Mandela, Pablo Picasso, Pyotr Tchaikovsky, and Leo Tolstoy are just a few of the renowned Patek Philippe benefactors and watch owners over the years. Patek Philippe watches account for eight of the top ten most expensive timepieces ever sold at auction as of December 2020. In particular, Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime currently holds the title of the most expensive watch ever sold at auction (US$31.19 million/31 million CHF), while Patek Philippe Henry Graves Supercomplication, the world’s most complicated mechanical watch until 1989, currently holds the title of the most expensive pocket watch ever sold at auction (US$24 million/23,237,000 CHF)
Most expensive Patek Philipp watch ever sold: Philippe Grandmaster Chime, $31,190,000
Breguet, one of the few luxury watch manufacturers originating in France, is now based in Switzerland. Abraham-Louis Breguet was a Swiss watchmaker who established his company in Paris. From 1870 through 1970, the corporation was owned by the Brown family, who were British. In 1976, the firm relocated to Vallee de Joux, Switzerland, and among its innovations are Abraham-Louis Breguet’s tourbillon and the world’s first wristwatch, which was produced in 1810. Napoleon Bonaparte was one of the many renowned people who admired Breguet’s timepieces. Breguet, best known for creating the Marie Antoinette pocket watch, was commissioned by one of the Queen’s lovers to construct a stunning watch for her.
Their clocks are now priced between $6,000 to $400,000, but they might go considerably higher for one-off designs. The Breguet No. 160 great complexity, commonly known as Marie-Antoinette, was constructed for King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette and had every watch function known at the time, wrapped in gold with sapphires within to reduce friction. The queen died before the watch was finished, and it is now on display in the L.A. Mayer Institute for Islamic Art in Jerusalem.
Most expensive Breguet watch ever sold: Marie-Antoinette Grande Complication, $30,000,000
Rolex is an appealing and recognizable brand that attracts both affluent and passionate watch collectors who appreciate a well-made wristwatch. Rolex began as a firm called “Wilsdorf and Davis” in 1905, London, and is now arguably the most famous of luxury timepieces. The business evolved and gained its reputation in 1926 with the first entirely waterproof watch: the Oyster, which was originally an importer of Swiss watch movements in the UK. Rolex watches have become a standard among the affluent and famous throughout the world as a mark of luxury and success. In fact, Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona sold for a record-breaking $17.8 million at auction.
Most expensive Rolex watch ever sold: Paul Newman’s Daytona, $18,517,000
Jacob & Co
Jacob & Co, often known as “Jacob And Company”, is a privately held jewelry and wristwatch company created by diamond designer Jacob Arabo in 1986. Jacob Arabo began his watchmaking career at the age of 16 after being inspired by innovation and individuality. Jacob & Co, Arabo’s own premium label, was created in 1986. Manhattan is home to the company’s flagship boutique and corporate offices.
Arabo switched to watches after his success in the jewelry industry. He produced the Five Time Zone quartz watch series in 2002, which included vibrant primary colors and various time zone technologies that appealed to both men and women. It was inspired by his clients’ jet-setting lifestyle and became a fashion statement as well as a functional clock for travelers. The watch was worn by famous superstars such as Naomi Campbell, Bono, Angela Bassett, and Derek Jeter. Fast forward to now, and the cutting-edge Billionaire watch boasts 260 carats of diamonds, while the dazzling ASHOKA features a white gold band and case adorned with diamonds.
Most expensive Jacob & Co watch ever sold: Billionaire, $18,000,000
Hublot is a Swiss luxury watchmaker created in 1980 by Carlo Crocco, an Italian. The business is run by a wholly-owned subsidiary of the French luxury conglomerate. Carlo Crocco, a descendant of the Italian Binda Group dynasty best known for creating Breil watches, quit the firm in 1976 to start his own watch company. After relocating to Switzerland, he founded MDM Geneve and began inventing the Hublot watch, which he called after the French term for “porthole.” The watch he designed had the first natural rubber strap in watchmaking history. The strap was created after three years of study. Despite failing to attract a single potential client on the first day of its introduction at the 1980 Basel Watch Fair, the watch went on to become a commercial success, with sales exceeding $2 million in its first year.
By employing the first natural rubber strap in watch history, the company created a new norm. The Big Bang series, which raises the standard in high-end sports watches, is a popular choice when it comes to raw, masculine elegance. The Hublot is the most costly watch on the market, with 1,200 diamonds and a 14-month development time.
Most expensive Hublot watch ever sold: The Hublot, $5,000,000
Vacheron Constantin is the world’s oldest fine watchmaker, having been founded in 1755. They are credited with inventing the first known day and date problems in 1790. They also created the first six quarter-repeater timepieces, which may strike both the hours and quarters if desired. When Georges Auguste joined the firm in 1839, he was able to standardize watch movements into calibers, which revolutionized the watchmaking industry.
Since 1901, Vacheron Constantin’s timepieces have carried the Geneva hallmark, indicating that they adhere to Genevan craftsmanship traditions. All of their timepieces are guaranteed to be long-lasting, error-free, and built from ethically sourced materials.
Vacheron Kallista, Greek meaning “most lovely,” is Constantin’s most costly watch, believed to be worth $11 million. 118 emerald cut diamonds fill the whole timepiece, which cost $5 million when it was first created in 1979. Encrusting the gems in this watch took 6,000 man-hours and 20 months.
Most expensive Vacheron Constantin watch ever sold: King Fuad I, $3,630,000
Piaget was founded in 1874 in a tiny town in the Swiss Jura area by Georges Piaget as a watch movement manufacturer. The company has a long history of horological innovation, especially in the area of ultra-thin movements. Piaget’s grandiose Emperador Temple is lavishly jeweled with big-time eye appeal, made of Polynesian mother-of-pearl and diamonds. Piaget has been creating luxury timepieces since 1874, combining jeweler’s finesse with watchmaking skills. The Traditional watch features a 42-diamond case, 290-diamond dial, and 12 sapphire hour markers. Even more amazing is the fact that each component is assembled by hand.
Their prices range from $10,000 to $210,000 presently, and some of their watches, like the Altiplano Caliber 1200D, which costs $152,000 and is filled with stones, have an interior framework coated in diamonds, and a highly sophisticated mechanism.
Most expensive Piaget watch ever sold: Emperador Temple, $3,300,000
A. Lange & Söhne
Lange & Söhne distinguishes out in the world of Haute Horlogerie for its refined and refined masterpieces. The German label creates eye-catching items. A. Lange watches have a particular aesthetic that is frequently referred to as “Teutonic” in its austerity, combining flawless mechanical mechanisms with gold or platinum casings. The most affordable watches start at $14,000 and go up to $580,000 and beyond.
For example, the Grand Complication watch, introduced at SIHH 2013, cost $2,497,000 and had a minute repeater, a monopusher chronograph with a split-seconds function, a perpetual calendar, and a display of the moon phases, among other features.
Most expensive A. Lange and Söhne watch ever sold: Grand Complication, $2,500,000
Richard Mille began his career as a watchmaker in 1974. His desire to develop groundbreaking luxury timepieces led him to start his own company in 1999. Mille produced his first clock in 2001, using processes and materials similar to those used in the crating of airplanes and Formula One racing cars. “A racing machine on the wrist,” was one of the brand’s early slogans. Mille merged his passion for Swiss watchmaking history with cutting-edge materials.
With the tonneau-shaped case, which mimics a barrel form, he defined his brand’s aesthetic. These timepieces are difficult and expensive to produce due to their curved components. To keep moisture and dust out of the watch, each component must fit together correctly. Mille spends years and millions of Swiss francs researching how racing boats, Formula 1 vehicles, and aerospace components might be utilized in watchmaking. These watches are extremely restricted due to Mille’s meticulous manufacture and high-end components.
Most expensive Richard Mille watch ever sold: Sapphire RM56-02, $1,936,000
Jules Louis Audemars and Edward Auguste Piguet founded Audemars Piguet in 1875. They were inspired by the natural splendor of Switzerland’s Vallée de Joux. The brand combined ancient watchmaking foundations with increasing technical talents of the time to create a wristwatch that is truly unique. Between 1882 and 1892, almost 80% of their timepieces included at least one complication, and many had many. At 42mm, the Royal Oak Offshore was deemed unusually big for the time when it was initially introduced in 1993. This watch exuded toughness and endurance, capturing the attention of superstars such as Jay-Z and influencing watch trends.
Audemars Piguet unveiled its newest consensus in 2012, on the 40th anniversary of their Royal Oak watch: “To break the rules, you must master them.” This statement, according to their CEO Philippe Mark, “expresses the core of the Audemars Piguet brand philosophy.” While the watches we manufacture are manifestations of our reverence for handcrafted timepiece traditions… we are also a contemporary, progressive brand known for our technological advances, daring use of new materials, and striking designs.”
Most expensive Audemars Piguet watch ever sold: Tourbillon Openworked Only Watch, $1,093,169