The World's Most Expensive Watch Brands
By Info Watchmaster, 10 January 2023Are you fond of exquisite, high-quality watches? And are you aware that sometimes not only good advice, but a good watch has an expensive price? Then get ready, because the following almost defies reason. Here are the most exclusive and most expensive watch brands in the world and find out about the most expensive watch in the world.
- Patek Philippe
- Jacob & Co.
- Richard Mille
- Ulysse Nardin
- Vacheron Constantin
- Graff Diamonds
Oh, how expensive luxury can be
If you want exclusivity, you have to have liquidity. At least, that is likely the philosophy of virtually every used car dealer. But what a used C-Class is worth, makes even higher waves in the world of Haute Horlogerie. When one speaks of expensive in relation to luxury watches, one usually refers to prices that seem to bear no relation to the cost of materials. Provided that we are dealing with more straightforward models without particularly elaborate complications, the following guideline values can be used for orientation about rough price range classification:
- Watches made of steel: up to ca. €10,000
- Watches made of steel and gold: up to ca. €20,000
- Watches made of yellow gold: up to ca. €45,000
- Watches made of rose and white gold: up to ca. €60,000
- Watches made of platinum: up to ca. €80,000
Many people consider expensive watches to be those watch models that are now being traded at prices far above their original list price. Their added value, which is reflected in sometimes staggering prices, is characterized by the fine details of exquisite craftsmanship or simple, sentimental value, which many buyers are nevertheless willing to pay despite the exorbitant sums involved. And actually, this is the ratio that must be taken into account.
ROLEX DAYTONA 116500LN | ROLEX GMT-MASTER II 126710BLRO
A Rolex GMT-Master II (Ref. 126710BLRO) with a list price of €9,000, for example, is considered by many to be reasonably affordable, but at its asking price of more than twice as high on the pre-owned market, it is in fact quite expensive. Although Rolex is arguably the most famous watch brand in the world and some models, such as the Paul Newman Daytona, have been auctioned for record-setting prices, the Swiss manufacturer's timepieces are not among the highest when it comes to price tags by any means. Moreover, what one perceives as expensive and what the watch industry considers expensive are often worlds apart. After all, within the luxury watch industry, one can encounter timepieces in the high-end price segment whose prices sometimes break the one million euro mark.
The 7 most expensive watch brands in the world
Even though luxury watches for multi-million dollar sums tend to be the exception to the rule, a few brands have taken it upon themselves to elevate their craft to the next level and offer timepieces at prices that will take your breath away. Introducing world-class Haute Horlogerie.
Patek PhilippeThe luxury watch manufacturer Patek Philippe, which has been managed by the Stern family for several generations, is nothing short of famous in regards to its Grand Complications and their respective price tags. Even used Complications models start at around €30,000, making them anything but affordable. Nevertheless, even this amount seems like a bargain from the end of the year sale when compared to the top prices paid for a Patek Philippe watch.
To date, the company is one of the most expensive watch manufacturers in the world, with three models ranked among the ten most expensive luxury watches published by GQ magazine in 2020. The most expensive Patek Philippe watches hold the tenth (Ref. 1518 for $11 million), seventh (Henry Graves Supercomplication for $24 million) and third (Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300A-010 for $31 million) places there. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg. These three models are some of the most expensive watches, but it is possible to find watches in the upper six-figure price range at Patek Philippe, which are offered directly from the manufacturer. This makes the family-run watchmaker not only one of the oldest watch manufacturers, but currently one of the highest-priced brands as well.
PATEK PHILIPPE NAUTILUS 5980/1A
Jacob & Co.If you would rather have a dragon, concert piano or roulette table adorning your wristwatch instead of a conventional dial, then the master watchmakers at Jacob & Co. are for you. The highest quality materials are combined with phenomenal craftsmanship and creativity. In many cases, the standard features of a wristwatch – the display of the time and date – take a back seat within the collections from this New York-based company.
Timepieces from collections like Astronomia impressively demonstrate what can be created from nothing. Extremely elaborate mechanical gadgets such as solar systems or music boxes are fitted to the wrist in glass cases. But as if this were not enough, the individual elements featured in these watches, such as the planets of the solar system, are usually made from precious gemstones and other high-quality materials. These watches' asking prices are frequently in excess of one million. Even if models from collections such as the Five Time Zone still seem quite affordable, the prices for many Jacob & Co. watches tend to reach six figures, making the company one of the most expensive brand names of luxury watches. Incidentally, the eighth place of the aforementioned GQ ranking went to the Jacob & Co. Billionaire watch, which is completely set with baguette-cut diamonds and commands a price tag of $18 million.
Richard MilleA brand revered by the stars, Richard Mille treats us to a glimpse of the future of watchmaking. This rising star of Haute Horlogerie exemplifies modern approaches and avant-garde designs. This brand has made a name for itself using high-quality materials reimagined in futuristic designs and that is particularly what the rich and beautiful find so impressive about these timepieces.
Tonneau-shaped cases and skeletonized dials are the hallmarks of Richard Mille – as are high prices. The technocratic design concept of these elegant timepieces demands quite a high price, even without the blatant use of diamonds, and is also within its means of taking bold strides toward the millions. Even in pre-owned condition, this manufacturer's watches are seldom found for less than €100,000. Particularly high-priced timepieces include the Richard Mille Green Sapphire RM07-02, which costs around €940,000 used, and the RM 56-02 Tourbillon Sapphire, which is limited to only ten pieces and costs around $2.2 million.
Ulysse NardinEven when dabbling in the big names, it is important to keep an eye out for the smaller ones. For example, Ulysse Nardin proves that they are more at home among the big names with collections like the Genghis Khan or the Royal Blue Mystery Tourbillon, which reach price ranges far above €500,000 and even above the million mark.
ULYSSE NARDIN CLASSIC SKELETON TOURBILLON 1700-129BQ
The expensive watches from Ulysse Nardin possess an indescribable charm thanks to impressive craftsmanship matched with the finest materials, creative designs, and a certain underdog image. It is equally likeable that enthusiasts of this brand do not always have to invest a lot of money in order to put one of these fine timepieces on their wrist, because the manufacturer offers wonderful watches at moderate prices as well. Ulysse Nardin has positioned itself as a brand that manages to combine technical expertise with artistic aspirations to create truly unique creations.
Vacheron ConstantinAs part of the Holy Trinity, the brand Vacheron Constantin, which has been around since 1755, has more than earned its place in the world of fine watchmaking and has consistently inspired with a phenomenally high standard of workmanship. "Do better if possible, and that is always possible" – co-founder François Constantin's words date back to 1815 and still serve as the mission statement of this brand of watches.
Specifically, models from collections such as the Métiers d'Art consistently surpass each other in artistry and beauty. Paying homage to the art of watchmaking and goldsmithing, this series' timepieces combine the two crafts and draw inspiration from art, history and different cultures around the world. For example, watches in this expensive collection feature fine gold appliqués of signs from the Chinese zodiac, hot air balloons commemorating the first ventures in aviation, and dials with Copernicus' celestial spheres as well as ancient nautical charts. At prices over €100,000 in the standard range and quickly approaching the millions, Vacheron Constantin is one of the most expensive watch manufacturers.
VACHERON CONSTANTIN MALTE 42005/000G-8900
BreguetAbraham-Louis Breguet is considered one of the most important figures in watchmaking history. A gifted watchmaker and inventor, he made crucial contributions to the advancement of the watch industry with several innovations such as the first self-winding movement, the pare-chute shock protection system, and the Breguet overcoil, which was named after him. The tourbillon, which is considered the highest achievement in fine watchmaking, is also attributed to Breguet, who did not invent its function and basic idea, but instead was the first to engineer and implement it successfully.
The high-quality, fine watches from Breguet are unquestionably among the largest names within Haute Horlogerie and easily reach prices exceeding €200,000. Even among the ten most expensive watches, the brand stands out with an ultra-complicated pocket watch that was made for the French Queen Marie-Antoinette. Valued at around $30 million, this watch is a high-end timepiece that leaves absolutely no doubt that Breguet is one of the most exclusive and expensive watchmakers. In 2005, watchmakers at Breguet were tasked with making an exact replica of the watch. A full three years later, the new piece was finally completed and unveiled to the public. An oak case, made from the Queen of France's favourite tree, was used to house it.
Graff DiamondsThe fascinating story behind London's "King of Diamonds" began on a jeweller’s workbench and is vaguely reminiscent of another success story originating in London. Laurence Graff, a jeweller to both presidents and kings, firmly believed that it was his destiny to work with diamonds – and this passion is plainly clear when looking at his creations.
The prices for his wristwatches, which are comparatively simple, start beyond €10,000 and reach into the mid five-digit range. For a mere €44,000, don't expect an ostentatious, diamond-studded timepiece – for this sum, you'll find a rather "simple" ChronoGraff with a rose gold case and leather strap. However, if Graff states "contact us" instead of a purchase price, then the price tag is sure to be an amount equivalent to a stately superyacht that it would make some people faint. In GQ's list of the most expensive watches in the world, Graff rightfully took the first two places with The Fascination, priced at $40 million, and Hallucination, coming in at $55 million. Consequently, Graff has certainly earned its title of the most expensive watch brand, even though the manufacturer's main passion is in fact Haute Joaillerie.
How much does the most expensive watch in the world cost?
Expensive watch brands are all well and good, but which models are among the world's most expensive watches? Find a list of the top 10 most exclusive timepieces in the world and learn how much the most expensive watch in the world costs:
- $55 million: Graff Diamonds Hallucination
- $40 million: Graff Diamonds The Fascination
- $31 million: Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 6300A-010
- $30 million: Breguet Marie-Antoinette Grande Complication
- $26 million: Jaeger-LeCoultre Joaillerie 101 Manchette
- $25 million: Chopard 201-Carat
- $24 million: Patek Philippe Henry Graves Supercomplication
- $18 million: Jacob & Co. Billionaire
- $11 million: Patek Philippe Grande Complication 1518
- $8 million: Vacheron Constantin 57260