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Most expensive watches in the world

Andrea Divirgilio / April 2, 2012

A watch one wears is not just a symbol of one’s status, but it says a lot about your taste. Besides, doing the oblivion task of telling time, the most expensive watches are designed as unique, one-off editions to set the wearer apart from the crowd. While some people might consider luxury watches an extravagance, but for many, luxury designer watches are a perfect way to show off their riches. If you love to spend your hard-earned money on luxury designer watches, here are some of the world’s most expensive watches, which you would like to add to your luxury watch collection.

Chopard 201-carat watch

Price: $25 million

While, most of the high-end watches offered by the venerable watchmakers boasts complicated designs, with no display for the hours, minutes or seconds, jewelry watches is another genre in watch making, which features the rarest and most exclusive watches commissioned for the watch collectors, like the Chopard 201-carat watch, that also holds the title of being the world’s most expensive watch, with a price tag of $25 million. The bracelet-shaped watch features three heart-shaped diamonds; pink, white and blue, encrusted with clusters of white pear-shaped diamonds set in flower motif arrangement, with a yellow diamond standing up from the center of each. The pink diamond weighs 15 carats, the blue weighs 12 carats and the white diamond weighs 11 carats, while the total carat weight of the white and yellow diamonds is 163 carats, and the carat weight of the complete watch is 201 carats. The watch not just boasts a flower-shaped arrangement of diamonds, but it also features a spring-loaded mechanism which, when pressed, allows the three heart shapes to mechanically open up like the petals of a flower open-up in the sunshine. The watch face is pave-set with small round yellow diamonds, which are exposed from underneath the heart-shaped diamonds.

Hublot’s Big Bang Ladies watch

Price: $5 million

Louis Vuitton’s Hublot brand of watches has been in the news for several of masterpiece watches including the Big Bang Diamond men’s watch, known for its opulent diamond studded make. Their latest horological creative, the $5 million Big Bang Ladies watch, comes with a similar dressing of diamonds, and their market is known to rather niche; single ladies only! If one recalls what the Big Bang men’s watch was like, it would be easy to decipher the relation it has with the styling quotient of this exclusive diamond bathed timepiece.

According to researches by the company, the niche market of ultra-luxury ladies watches has grown in volume over the years, and is expected to grow approximately by 30% from 2010 to 2012. Explaining it further from another angle, is the CEO of Hublot Jean Claude Biver when he mentions,

“Women are buying more than men, women are buying more often than men and women are very influential over men, so you have three good reasons to work on this population.”

It was also observed that the consumer group is rather varied in its choices; they pick up $1 million bejeweled timepieces with as much interest as the $39,000 tutti-frutti multi-colored lesser glamorous version (seen top left) from the watch maker. This would mean that Hublot will always have a chance to garner interest amongst well-moneyed female consumers, and wouldn’t have issues capitalizing on the market they have captured rather well.Speaking of the timepiece itself, not much detail has been furbished though, other than the fact that it has more than 300 carats of diamonds on it and is the most expensive timepiece by Hublot till date.

Piaget Emperador Temple Diamonds Watch

Price: $3.5 million

Using diamonds on watches and garlanding timepieces has been a trend since quite a while in world of designer watches, but setting new limits is the Piaget Emperador Temple Diamonds watch. Created in 2010, this timepiece had 1,200 individually crafted baguette cut diamonds on itself, which practically engulfed the casing’s both sides, and also the strap which had these diamonds woven together to fit on the wearer’s wrist perfectly. It also featured a mother of pearl dial, which displayed time via the thin arms of the hour and minutes. If one opened the dial, the lower face would show the specially crafted one-minute tourbillon movement and the power reserve indicator.

Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega 4

Price: $2.7 million

In what could be one of the most complicated timepieces in the world, The Frank Muller Aeternitus Mega 4 stands out for the detailed view of time that it manages to display, by virtue of the over complicated movement inside. With 1,483 components and 36 complications, this watch packs in features that very few other mechanical timepieces could do. This would include the date, time (hours, minutes and seconds), power reserve indicator, month of the year, day of the week, and quarterly division of the day. The exclusive core movement also had a coordinated Carillon Westminster Chime tune, which would operate at specific intervals of time. The components of the movement also are known to include 99 pieces of jewelry which by itself is a feat in complicate watches.

Vacheron Constantin Tour de l’Ile

Watchmaker: Vacheron Constantin

Price: $1.5 million

This watch, for a considerable time, occupied the top spot as the most complicated and also the most expensive watch on the market, but it’s been surpassed on those by considerable margins. However, if you consider a further niche category of double faced watches, this one just could be a very much one of the top timepieces. Prepared in a limited edition of just 7 pieces, the Vacheron Constantin Tour de ’l’Ile had 834 parts in its core movement, through which boasted of controlling 16 different facets of time, including the minute repeater, sun set time indicator, second time zone, moon tracker, perpetual calendar just to name a few. The casing was a yellow gold structure with its lugs created with the same metal, and was finally put together after 10,000 hours of extensive research and experimentation.

Big Bang chronograph

Watchmaker: Hublot, Bunter SA

Price: $1 million

The renowned watch maker, Hublot, in alliance with a diamond-setting workshop, Bunter SA, designed and developed an elite watch dubbed Big Bang. To remind you, the Hublot Big Bang chronograph won the Best Design Prize in the Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix 2005. The $1 million Big Bang boasts a fully invisible setting that makes the material disappear and the only thing revealed are the diamonds. The credit goes to the craftsmen who accomplished the tedious job of making this exclusive watch, which was not feasible a few years ago. The snags in micromechanics put watch makers to labor to the 1/100 degree for an implausible 2000 hours. Startlingly, the tourbillon movement of the watch is veiled under 493 Top Wesselton baguette diamonds of dissimilar sizes. The strap of the Big Bang comes adorned with famous Hublot vulcanized rubber while the clasp is bejeweled with diamonds. So, you have got one million dollar in your account. Sadly, that won’t do anything now as the diamond studded Big bang has already been sold.

Classical Billionaire Tourbillion

Watchmaker: Corum

Price: $998,000

The shimmering wristwatch is adorned with 850 diamonds and boasts a dazzling skeleton dial with Skeleton hour and minute hands. The watch has been manually wound with 90-hour power reserve and features Caliber CO-372 by Corum and La Joux-Perret. Rightly named so, the Billionaire Tourbillion comes in many versions with price ranging from $325,000 to $998,000. So, you have made up your mind to get one on your wrist but, hurry as there are only 10 pieces in production.

Louis Moinet Magistralis

Price: $862,000

When you have a 2,000-year old meteorite within the working tourbillon of a watch, along with 18-carat gold casing, and a core movement which is a little over 100-years old, you would know that’s its nothing short of being the rarest amongst the best watches. That’s what the Louis Moinet Magistralis watch packs into this master timepiece, whose core movement includes more than 90 bejeweled components, apart from a beating rate of 18,000 vibrations per hour. Apart from the hours and minutes, there is the quarter of a minute tracker, month of the year display, 30-minute chronograph, date, day, and even a moon tracker function combined into the functioning of this watch.

Tecnica Skeleton Chronograph

Watchmaker: Parmigiani Fleurier

Price: $850,000

This watch, worth US $850,000, won’t be available until early 2008 and only three will be made. Each unit will include a platinum case and complications that include a minute repeater, tourbillon and chronograph, as well as a cathedral chime.

Grande Complication

Watchmaker: Blancpain

Price: $785,000

This winding wristwatch dubbed 1735 features traditional complications such as minute repeater, split-seconds chronograph, tourbillon, perpetual calendar, moon phase and an automatic winding mechanism. The sleek black crocodile wristband further adds to the overall looks. It takes from eight to ten months to piece together all 740 components, and only 18 of a limited run of 30 watches have been assembled till now.

Opera One

Watchmaker: Girard-Perregaux

Price: $495,000

This beautiful platinum timepiece includes an alligator band and features a Westminster minute repeater and tourbillon with three gold bridges, manual winding, 75-hour power reserve and a see-through backing. If the tag of $495,000 is bit high for you, the rose gold version sells for $450,000. The watch has a power reserve indicator, a subsecond complication, a minute repeater and a truly elegant face. The main thing that differentiates Girard-Perregaux’s Opera Three from all those other complicated watches is its ability to sound passing hours not with a beep but with actual tunes.

Double Tourbillon

Price: $329,000

Watchmaker: Breguet

The Breguet Double Tourbillion seems to be inspired from our solar system as it comes hand-engraved with an image of the solar system. This grand complication, double-tourbillon watch touts a 95% pure platinum case while the blued-steel Breguet hands are wound manually.

Titanic Watches

Price: $152,435

Watchmaker: Romain Jerome

A Swiss jeweler is now offering watches, which have been made from the hull of the doomed Titanic. The metal has been mixed with contemporary shipbuilding steel to make the casing of the timepieces. The black dials have been made by mixing the recovered coal burned in the Titanic’s furnaces with ceramics. The watches dubbed Titanic-DNA will be made in a limited run of 2,012 as a reference to the 100th anniversary of the disaster in five years’ time. So, £75K tag is too high. Don’t worry as the Titanic watches range in price from £4,500 to £75,000 depending on the material used, such as steel, silver or gold with diamonds.

Zadora Timepieces

Watchmaker: Andreas von Zadora-Gerlof

Price: $150,000

The latest offering by Andreas von Zadora-Gerlof is the Zadora Timepieces collection that has made me scratch my head at how luxury timepieces can cost. The Zadora watch pictured above is a snake of oxidized palladium and micro pave bejeweled with black and canary yellow diamonds along with superior pear shaped emerald eyes, with a baroque South Sea pearl positioned in its mouth. Believe me, I have gone totally tongue-tied by the mesmerizing lustrous looks of these lavish watches. You can see the other versions of Zadora watches dubbed the skull, the bee and the pomegranate festooned with gold and precious stones after the jump. And yes, the price tag reads $150,000 each.

Diamond Fiction

Watchmaker: TAG Heuer

Price: Inestimable (as stated by company)

This gorgeous watch comes adorned with 879 Top Wesselton full-cut diamonds that conceal the digital display. Out of the 879 diamonds, 54 are cut in an innovatively to offer a very high-definition concentration of the light emitted by 54 LEDs that display the time in glowing red. The red shade is depicted in the satin strap that contrasts to the glittering diamonds. Only three pieces have been produced.

Joaillerie 101 Manchette

Watchmaker: Jaeger-LeCoultre

Price: Unknown

In this watch, a unsystematic series of polished or gem-set links (a jewelry puzzle) hides the exalted Calibre 101. It’s wonderful to look for the time through the gold, diamonds and onyx cabochons. It’s like playing hide and seek with time. Well, the wristwatch is festooned with 576 diamonds and comes in 18-carat white gold. The versions with Onyx have 400 diamonds and 11 onyx cabochons.

Diamond Rotolog Watch

Watchmaker: Nixon

Price: Unknown

The Nixon Rotolog watch just got better. The company has created a masterpiece in the form of new Nixon Diamond Rotolog. The movement used is custom right read direct time Japanese quartz with LED. The stainless steel case set with black, white diamond inlay and a double gasket crown add to the looks of the watch. A whopping 764 white diamonds and 1,087 black diamonds have been festooned into a skull design. For now, you can certainly expect for some gorgeous, new, and expensive watches from the Tempus (aka The Temple of Time) event that has started off with a bang in Singapore.

Patek Philippe Ref 3939

Winning bid: $1.91 million

The original estimated price for the watch was around 1/3rd of the winning bid, but the high demand ensured the price to reach such a high level. The Ref 3939 unlike some of its competition did not have a precious metallic body but is actually a triple bodied stainless steel timepiece. The movement was the caliber RTO 27 PS and was hand-wound based for its power, which could be done with the help of the embezzled crown on the side with the company logo. The watch also had sapphire crystal case covering on its dial, and caseback, which was was exposed to show the complicated functioning inside. The dial was rather simplistic with black enameling as the base, and white gold roman numerals and markings to display the minutes, hours and seconds.

Richard Mille RM 027 Tourbillon Rafael Nadal

Winning bid: $695,420

This particular watch gained attention at the event because, this was the piece which was worn by Rafael Nadal when we was on the tennis circuit, winning the Monte Carlo Championship for the 7th time in a row. The titanium, carbon fiber and LITAL timepiece was known to extremely high in shock resistance and functionally very light weight, since it would be used during a high energy sporting event. The dial of the watch was an exposed skeleton which showed the RM 027 mechanical movement, and was protected with the carbon fiber and LITAL (an alloy of Lithium, Magnesium, Zinchronium, Aluminum, and Copper) case, covered by a sapphire crystal cover which is scratch resistant and anti-reflective as well. The hours and minutes were displayed as markings along the rectangular shaped dial, which was 39.7 mm wide and 48 mm long.

DeWitt X-watch

Winning bid: $558,935

First look at the Dewitt X-watch tells you that it is bound to be a sports watch, with its imposing X-shaped bonnet cover and rugged design. Like most master-class timepieces, this watch is also a mechanical one, based on a DW 8046 caliber movement with 58 jewels in it. The casing was grade 5 Titanium, with rose gold colored rhodium plated hour and minute hands, and similar plating for the hour-glass shaped energy reserve monitor, and dial. The hours and minutes were shown in Arabic numerals on the open dials left hand side, where the right was reserved for indicating the minutes. To refurbish the energy requirements of the timepiece, a simple act of keeping the bonnet open could do the job, after which, closing the bonnet would keep the watch running smoothly.

BLU Gagarin Platinum Flying Tourbillon

Winning bid: $408,569

This time piece gained its reputation for being a tribute to the historic journey by Yuri Gagarin in 1961, when he became the first man to land on the moon. Other than polished platinum body and casing, the watch featured a moving tourbillon, which revolved around the dial every 108 minutes. This unique quantity was chosen, keeping in line with the duration of Mr. Gagarin’s historic journey into outer space. Another thing that would strike a lot of people is the presence for a small rotating magnifying glass on the left hand side of the dial, through which one could see the intricacies of the watch’s tourbillon movment and the detailing of the gold plated world map. The movement was a mechanical BL0611 with 35 jewels and triple barrel, protected in a titanium cage, and the strapping was a black leather hand stitched and patterned one.

Van Cleef & Arpels Poetic complication

Winning bid: $292,574

One of the more colorful timepieces at the auction event, this white gold bodied timepiece was dedicated with a poetic and celestial theme. The dial was divided into segments, with the hours in white roman numerals on the left at 2 hour intervals, and the minutes on the right at 10 minute intervals. The top of the dial sees a multi-colored Jupiter with its satellite moons with other stars of the galaxy in between, and the earth towards the lower end of the dial. The back of the dial features the spacecraft and moon engraved, to signify man’s journey to the celestial world. The movement of this watch is a Jaeger Lecoultre 846, created specifically for Van Cleef & Arpels.

MB&F Horological Machine No.4 Thunderbolt Flying Panda

Winning bid: $231,205

One of the most abstract in design, the watch was prepared in aviation inspired, twin barrel design, with a flying panda on top. The watch used precious metals like 18K white gold, especially on the panda along with titanium and sapphire stone. The barrel on the left showed the power reserve of the timepiece, where the right side dial showed the minutes and hours on a black dial, with white Arabic numerals. The movement was a mechanical one which included 50 jewels as a part of its construction.

Harry Winston Midnight GMT Tourbillon

Winning bid: $217,751

This platinum self winding watch from Harry Winston, featured world timings as a part of its many complications. The times of major cities of the world were displayed on the left dial along with the status of day and night, which was coordinated with the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). The right hand dial showed the time for the wearer’s present location. The smaller dial towards the bottom indicated the seconds, and exposed the skeleton of the inner mechanism of the timepiece. The strapping is black alligator leather, with animal print patterns on it.

Ulysse Nardin Freak Diavolo

Winning bid: $170,313

Unlike most other entrants of the Only Watch 2011 event, this timepiece has a stainless steel casing which houses the exposed the complicated working mechanism of the dial. The movements of the watch are centered on the 28 jewel caliber UN-208 which also has a monometallic balance and shock absorber to boast of. The most abstract part of the timepiece, i.e. the dial, showed the hours in Arabic numerals, along with the seconds on a smaller blue and white dial on the lower side of the main dial.

Breguet Classique Grande Complication Réveil Musical

Winning bid: $163,371

This timepiece from Breguet was only the 2nd timepiece from the watchmaker, which was fitted with a musical alarm component in it. The dial was an imposing 45mm wide, and more than 16 mm thick with the notes of music engraved on the sides of the casing of 18K white gold chassis. The dial had a unique engraving of a child reaching out for the hand of an adult, which also gave this watch its unique name ‘Piece Unique’. Time was displayed by 3 steel arms handcrafted from steel, and tinted with a blue color, adding a contrasting elegance to the look of the watch. The movement was governed by the self-winding, Caliber 0900 mechanism, which also had 59 jewels in its various parts.

De Bethune DB25

Winning bid: $108,938

This watch attributed to a historical event in the year 1297, has used 18K white gold and blue tinted titanium, to create a masterpiece displaying the positioning of the stars on that very day. The blue which resembles the mid-night shade of the color is contrasted by the sparkling diamonds depicting the stars’ positions. The time is indicated by a single hand that points towards the 2 outer rings which have the minutes in Arabic numerals and hours in Roman numerals placed in perfect synchronicity. The complicated caliber DB2105S movement coordinates the movement on the dial to indicate the right hour and minute.

CELSIUS X VI II Pièce Unique

Winning bid: $102,120

Though much of what was seen at the event was largely unique, this watch stood out for its unique concept. Combining the modern day craze of mobile and fine horological expertise, the timepiece was created with a black body resembling a flip-open mobile handset. The hours and minutes were displayed by a black and white dial on the upper side, by hands one of which is red and the other white. The celestial position and the seconds were shown through the smaller sub dials at 3 ‘o’ clock slot and 7 ‘o’ clock slot respectively. The dates were bought out from a peaking white dial with black Arabic numerals, and guarded by a red bonnet opening. This unique main dial was protected by a fiber optic covering on top. To derive power, one had to simply open and close the flip of the body, which added 2.23 hours every time.

Bovet Amadeo Convertible 7-Day Tourbillon Dragon & Phoenix

Winning bid: $ 95,289

This 18K red gold timepiece came in a unique convertible design, which made is watch into a wrist watch, a pocket watch, or even a self standing pocket watch. Though the 2 dials didn’t feature any markings for the hours and minutes, but they displayed some intricate work of craftsmanship for the dragon on the upper side and the Phoenix on the lower side. Time was displayed by the 2 carved blue tinted hands that were governed by the complicated 13BM07AI caliber movement. The power reserve was the only other addition shown on the dial, through a small peck on the left hand side of the main dial. As per choice of the owner, the watch could be styled as a pocket watch with the 18K red gold chain, or a wristwatch with the brown alligator leather strap.

CYRUS Klepcys

Winning bid: $84,359

Watchmaker Jean Francois Mojon spent close to 3 years of his time, to create this horological masterpiece that could depict the exact positioning of the moon, displayed on the dial. Looking at the other complications which have a unique modern touch with the retro Arabic numerals, this moon watcher golden ball adds a very appealing classic touch to the watch, which is governed by the coordination 456 microscopic but important components in its movements. The 2nd dial also the copy of a 2,500 year old coin, adding further beauty to this uniquely precise and complicated watch.

Urwerk UR-103 Phoenix

Winning bid: $74,848

Felix Baumgartner, who happens to be the co-founder, was behind the idea of creating one extra piece of this legendary watch, which came out in 2003 but was produced last in 2010. This extra edition was created especially for the event alone. Created with 18K white gold and titanium, this timepiece bonded the eastern symbol of the phoenix with the modern day retro style dial, which displayed multiple dimensions of time in 4 sub-dials. The minutes were displayed in a speedometer like dial at the bottom end of the vertical rectangular dial, with the hours, minutes and 36 hour intervals shown on 4 circular disks. The complication of the movements was governed by the caliber ARCAP P40 mechanism inside the chassis. The most significant artwork was the phoenix on top-centre position of the dial.

Tour de l’Ile Vacheron Constantin

A watch on your wrist not just tells time, it also shows-off, how wealthy you are. This Vacheron Constantin watch is one of the most expensive watches. The SwissTour de l’Ile Vacheron Constantin was taken out this year to mark the 250th anniversary of the watch company. The watch took seven long years in development and three years for assembly. The world’s busiest timepiece, yet, has 834 separate parts and 16 complications, including tourbillon power reserve, striking-mechanism torque, perpetual calendar, moon phase, sunrise time, sunset time, sky chart, leap-year indicator and many other functions. The watch adorns a price tag of $1.5 million.

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