Top 25 Most Expensive Watches Ever Sold at Auction

Discover the allure of timepieces that transcend ordinary expectations. Delve into a world where the worth of a watch extends far beyond its mere functionality. Enter the realm of extraordinary horological marvels that have captivated the hearts of collectors and enthusiasts alike. Join us on an exhilarating journey as we unveil the most coveted and remarkable watches ever to grace the auction block.

Prepare to be astounded as we present a curated selection of the top 25 watches, their prices descending in awe-inspiring fashion. Alongside these extraordinary timepieces, we unveil the enthralling stories that accompany them, shedding light on their illustrious pasts and remarkable technical accomplishments. While the revered names of Patek Philippe and Rolex dominate this prestigious list, we also shine a spotlight on other visionary watchmakers, both established and emerging, who have surged into the realm of horological excellence.

But our exploration doesn’t end there. We go beyond the confines of the top 25 to celebrate the enduring presence of other distinguished brands in the vibrant watch auction scene. Witness the captivating appeal of these timepieces as they continue to command attention and captivate discerning collectors.

Open your eyes to a world where the value of a watch transcends monetary worth. Immerse yourself in the stories, craftsmanship, and innovation that define these remarkable creations. Prepare to be enthralled as we embark on an unforgettable journey through the realm of horological greatness.

Contents

1. Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300A-010 ($31.19 million, 2019, Christie’s)

Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Only Watch 2019

Read more about the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime watch
In a momentous celebration of Patek Philippe’s illustrious 175th anniversary, a horological masterpiece emerged from the depths of innovation and craftsmanship. The year was 2014, and the stage was set for the grand unveiling of the extraordinary Grandmaster Chime watch. This exceptional timepiece marked a significant milestone in Patek Philippe’s history, captivating the world with its unrivaled complexity and breathtaking design.

While the Grandmaster Chime holds a place of unparalleled distinction, it is the exceptional piece that graced the prestigious Only Watch auction in Geneva during 2019 that etched its name in the annals of horological greatness. This remarkable creation stood apart as the only Grandmaster Chime ever forged in sleek and durable stainless steel, setting it apart from its counterparts in Patek Philippe’s regular collection, which exude opulence through their precious metal compositions.

What sets this extraordinary watch apart from its peers is its captivating intricacy. With a staggering array of 20 complications meticulously incorporated into its design, the Grandmaster Chime reigns as the pinnacle of Patek Philippe’s mastery. Two dials, one adorned in an enchanting ebony black hue and the other resplendent in a charming salmon tone, grace the swiveling, reversible case, showcasing the timepiece’s dual-sided allure. Adorned with exquisitely crafted hobnail guilloché patterns, the case embodies a harmonious fusion of form and function.

Within this horological marvel, one discovers a captivating tapestry of innovations. Two patented world-premieres take center stage, enchanting the senses with their ingenuity. An acoustic alarm, poised to chime at a pre-programmed time, and a date repeater, capable of striking the date on demand, unveil new realms of possibility. Furthermore, the Grandmaster Chime boasts a symphony of additional complications, including the resounding presence of a Grande and Petite Sonnerie, the graceful dance of moon-phases, and the perpetual embrace of a calendar that stands the test of time.

In keeping with the cherished tradition of the biennial Only Watch auction, this extraordinary timepiece took center stage, not only captivating the hearts of connoisseurs but also contributing to a noble cause. The staggering, record-breaking hammer price of $31 million was not simply an affirmation of its extraordinary worth, but also a beacon of hope for the fight against Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Every dollar of this unprecedented achievement went towards research, nurturing the dream of a cure and igniting the flame of hope for those impacted by this devastating condition.

With each passing moment, the Grandmaster Chime serves as a testament to the boundless imagination and unwavering dedication of Patek Philippe. Its resplendent complexity and profound purpose continue to inspire generations, solidifying its rightful place as an enduring icon in the realm of horology.

2. Patek Philippe Henry Graves Supercomplication Ref. 198.385 ($24 million, 2014, Sotheby’s)

Patek Philippe Henry Graves Supercomplication

Read more about the Patek Philippe Henry Graves Supercomplication watch
Henry Graves, Jr., a distinguished New York banker and renowned connoisseur of timepieces, became immersed in a captivating rivalry with fellow magnate James Ward Packard, the esteemed founder of Packard Motors. Their pursuit? The ownership of the world’s most intricately designed watch, a tale that has since become the stuff of legends. In the year 1933, the coveted title was undeniably bestowed upon the remarkable masterpiece known as the Henry Graves Supercomplication, expertly crafted by the prestigious watchmaker Patek Philippe. With an astonishing repertoire of 24 complications, this horological marvel surpassed the previous milestone set by Patek’s creation for Packard in 1927, which had a mere 10 complications.

The Henry Graves Supercomplication, resplendent in its resolute essence, encompasses an awe-inspiring assortment of horological functions. From the resounding resonance of the iconic Westminster chimes to the timeless grace of a perpetual calendar, every facet of this extraordinary gold pocket watch exudes unparalleled craftsmanship. As a testament to Graves’s profound connection with his surroundings, it even incorporates the ethereal beauty of sunrise and sunset times, entwined with a celestial map depicting the enchanting vista of New York as beheld from his illustrious Fifth Avenue abode.

Following the passing of the venerable Henry Graves in 1953, the ownership of this unparalleled timepiece transitioned through various hands across the years, each custodian cherishing its exquisite rarity. In a moment of unprecedented significance, Sotheby’s, the renowned auction house, presented the Henry Graves Supercomplication to the world in 1999. Its arrival on the grand stage was nothing short of spectacular, as it commanded a then-record-breaking price of $11,002,500, forever etching the name of Sheikh Saud bin Mohammed Al Thani from the esteemed Qatar Royal Family into horological history.

Time, however, flowed ceaselessly onward, and after the eventual passing of Sheikh Saud bin Mohammed Al Thani, the iconic watch found itself once again within the embrace of Sotheby’s esteemed auction gavel in 2014. As the auctioneer’s voice reverberated through the grand halls, a new chapter unfolded, shrouded in intrigue, as an anonymous buyer emerged victoriously, shattering yet another esteemed record and ensuring the timeless legacy of the Henry Graves Supercomplication endures.

3. Rolex “Paul Newman” Daytona Ref. 6239 ($17.75 million, 2017, Phillips)

Rolex Daytona Paul Newman Ref 6239

Read more about the Rolex Paul Newman Daytona watch
In the realm where horology meets Hollywood and motorsports, an indelible connection was forged between the legendary actor Paul Newman and a truly exceptional timepiece. As the world looked on in awe, Paul Newman graced his wrist with a remarkable Rolex Daytona wristwatch (Ref. 6239), a timekeeping companion that would forever etch its name in the annals of horological history. Aptly christened the “Paul Newman Daytona,” this iconic watch would go on to captivate the hearts of collectors and become one of the most coveted treasures on the secondary market.

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Paul Newman, an illustrious figure known for his multifaceted talents and undying passion for motorsports, found solace and excitement in the realm of racing. It was during his victorious racing career that he proudly sported the distinguished Rolex Daytona, a watch that exuded the spirit of adventure and reflected the precision that defined both his on-screen performances and his pursuit of speed on the track. The Ref. 6239 model, with its unmistakable allure, became a symbol of his extraordinary journey, enthralling admirers across the globe.

When the fabled “Paul Newman” timepiece, the very watch that graced the wrist of the man himself, emerged from the shadows and entered the hallowed halls of auction in New York on that fateful day, the world stood still in anticipation. This 37mm-diameter stainless steel chronograph, bearing the unmistakable traits that defined the iconic “Paul Newman Daytona,” became the centerpiece of an earth-shattering event on October 26, 2017.

Adorned with an off-white dial that contrasted beautifully against the black subdials and minute track, this exquisite timepiece effortlessly captured the essence of timeless elegance. Its engraved tachymeter-scale bezel whispered tales of speed and exhilaration, paying homage to Newman’s pursuit of racing glory. A heartfelt gift from his beloved wife, the acclaimed actress Joanne Woodward, the watch bore a caseback inscription that read, “Drive Carefully – Me,” serving as a tender reminder of their unbreakable bond and marking the beginning of Newman’s racing career during that era. Cherished by the Newman family for nearly five decades, this extraordinary watch finally found its way to the auction block, ready to embark on a new chapter in its storied existence.

The significance of this moment was beyond measure, as collectors and enthusiasts alike witnessed a remarkable milestone. With bated breath, the gavel fell, and history was made. The resounding hammer price of $17.75 million echoed through the halls, solidifying the “Paul Newman Daytona” as the most expensive Rolex watch ever sold. In that instant, a watch became more than just a timekeeping instrument; it transformed into a symbol of heritage, passion, and the enduring legacy of a true icon.

The story of the “Paul Newman Daytona” continues to captivate the imagination, reminding us of the profound connections that timepieces forge with those who wear them. Its allure persists, forever etched in the memories of horological aficionados and the hearts of those who appreciate the harmonious marriage of artistry and functionality. As we reflect upon this remarkable tale, we are reminded that the true value of a watch lies not merely in its monetary worth, but in the stories it carries, the emotions it evokes, and the lasting impressions it leaves behind.

4. Patek Philippe Stainless Steel Ref. 1518 ($11.137 million, 2016, Phillips)

Patek Philippe Ref. 1518 steel

5. Patek Philippe “Prince Mohammed Tewlik A. Toussou” Ref. 1518 ($9,570 million, 2021, Sotheby’s)

Patek Philippe Prince Tewlik

6. Patek Philippe Gobbi Milan “Heures Universelles” Ref. 2523 ($8.967 million, 2019, Christie’s)

Patek Philippe Gobbi Milan

7. Patek Philippe Two Crown Worldtime Ref. 2523 “Eurasia” ($7.682 million, 2021, Phillips)

Patek Philippe Two Crown Worldtime Eurasia

8. Patek Philippe Stainless Steel Ref. 5016A-010 ($7.259 million, 2015, Phillips)

Patek Philippe Only Watch 2015

9. Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5711/1A-018 Tiffany & Co.” ($6.5 million, 2021, Phillips)

Patek Philippe Nautilus Tiffany & Co.

Read more about the Patek Philippe Nautilus watch
In the world of haute horology, few watches have captured the collective imagination quite like Patek Philippe’s Nautilus model (Ref. 5711). Its unmistakable design and enduring popularity have made it the coveted timepiece of choice for discerning collectors worldwide. Therefore, when Patek Philippe made the unexpected announcement of discontinuing this megapopular model, shockwaves reverberated through the horological community, igniting a frenzy among those aspiring to own this emblem of luxury.

As enthusiasts grappled with the news, the reality of the Nautilus becoming even more elusive than before began to sink in. Its scarcity now heightened the desire to possess one of the existing examples, turning the timepiece into an even greater symbol of exclusivity and desirability. The quest to secure a Nautilus reached new heights as collectors scrambled to obtain a piece of this legendary legacy.

Amidst the fervor and anticipation, Patek Philippe surprised the horological world once again. In a memorable swan song for the Nautilus, the esteemed watchmaker unveiled a limited run of exquisite models, destined to be retailed exclusively through their longstanding U.S. partner, Tiffany & Co. This collaboration brought forth a breathtaking variation of the Nautilus, adorned with an enchanting Tiffany Blue dial that captured the essence of elegance and refinement.

Only 170 of these remarkable timepieces were brought into existence, each bearing a special 170th-anniversary inscription on the caseback, further enhancing their collectibility and celebrating Patek Philippe’s rich heritage. True to their reputation, these limited-edition Nautilus watches quickly found their way into the hands of Patek Philippe’s most devoted patrons, individuals who possessed not only deep pockets but also a profound connection to the legacy and artistry of this iconic brand.

Yet, amidst this select group of privileged individuals, one extraordinary opportunity emerged. A single piece from this exclusive collection was entrusted to the esteemed auction house, Phillips, to find its rightful custodian through a meticulously orchestrated bidding process. As the gavel fell in the December of 2021, a remarkable chapter in the Nautilus saga was written. With a resounding final bid of $6.5 million, this exceptional timepiece found its new home in the collection of none other than Zach Lu, a longtime Patek Philippe aficionado and connoisseur.

The significance of this acquisition extended beyond the realms of horology. It became a symbol of passion, commitment, and an unwavering dedication to preserving the natural world. As the proceeds from this momentous sale were directed towards the Nature Conservancy, the beauty of the Nautilus resonated not only in its impeccable craftsmanship but also in its ability to make a tangible difference.

The story of the Nautilus continues to captivate our imagination and remind us of the profound connections forged between timepieces, their owners, and the world at large. It serves as a testament to the enduring legacy of Patek Philippe, an institution that has redefined the boundaries of watchmaking excellence. As we reflect upon the journey of the Nautilus, we are reminded that true luxury transcends material wealth, resonating in the artistry, rarity, and philanthropic endeavors that unite us all.

10. Patek Philippe Titanium Ref. 5208T-010 ($6.226 million, 2017, Christie’s)

Patek Philippe Only Watch Titanium

11. Rolex Daytona Gold “Unicorn” Ref. 6265 ($5.937 million, 2018, Phillips)

Rolex Daytona "Unicorn'

12. Patek Philippe Gold Chronograph Ref. 1527 ($5.709 million, 2010, Christie’s)

Patek Philippe Ref. 1527

13. Patek Philippe Worldtimer Guilloché Ref. 2523/1 ($5.53 million, 2020, Phillips)

Patek Philippe Worldtime

14. Rolex “Paul Newman Big Red” Daytona Ref. 6263 ($5.48 million, 2020, Phillips)

Rolex Daytona Paul Newman "Big Red"

Read more about the Rolex Paul Newman Daytona watch
In the captivating realm where Hollywood glamour intertwines with the adrenaline-fueled world of motorsports, the legend of Paul Newman continues to enthrall collectors and enthusiasts alike. Following the momentous sale of the iconic Ref. 6239 Daytona, forever immortalizing Newman’s name in horological history, yet another timepiece that adorned the wrist of the beloved actor and racing driver emerged onto the auction stage. This time, it was none other than Newman’s daughter, Clea Newman Soderland, who consigned the remarkable watch, bestowing upon it a legacy that would forever intertwine with the Newman family’s illustrious heritage.

Enter the enigmatic “Big Red” Daytona, a timepiece that had been cherished by Newman himself, acquired by his beloved wife, Joanne Woodward, in the year 1983. This exceptional watch, which witnessed countless moments of triumph and shared in the exhilaration of racing, quickly earned its moniker from the bold red-script “Daytona” adorning the subdial at 6 o’clock, a striking detail amidst the black dial’s triumphant canvas. Within its confines lay three elegant white registers, adding a harmonious touch of contrast and depth to this horological masterpiece.

Yet, it was not just the aesthetic allure that made the “Big Red” Daytona a true testament to Newman’s racing spirit. The stainless steel case boasted a distinctive feature — screw-down chronograph pushers. It was a deliberate choice, one that embodied Newman’s insatiable need for speed. Known for leaving the pushers unscrewed, he ensured swift access to the stopwatch, enabling him to precisely time his laps on the racetrack, a reflection of his relentless pursuit of perfection and his unyielding passion for the sport.

As one delves deeper into the rich tapestry of this extraordinary timepiece, the inscription on its caseback reveals an intimate connection. Etched onto the stainless steel surface are the words “Drive Carefully – Joanne,” a poignant reminder of Woodward’s unwavering concern for her blue-eyed husband’s safety as he embarked on daring adventures on the racetrack. Beyond the glamour and stardom, it was a testament to their enduring love and shared commitment, encapsulated in a timepiece that bore witness to their extraordinary journey.

With every tick of the “Big Red” Daytona, the legacy of Paul Newman and the indomitable spirit of motorsports come alive. Its story, intricately woven into the fabric of time, serves as a constant reminder of the profound connections that unite us with the icons who have left an indelible mark on our collective consciousness. This extraordinary watch, carrying the weight of history and the whispers of countless victories, stands as a testament to the relentless pursuit of excellence and the everlasting bond between time and human endeavor.

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15. Philippe Dufour Grande et Petite Sonnerie No. 1 ($5.21 million, Phillips, 2021)

Philippe Dufour Grande et Petite Sonnerie No. 1

Read more about the Philippe Dufour Grande et Petite Sonnerie watch
In the realm of horological craftsmanship, one name stands as a beacon of excellence and innovation – Philippe Dufour. Hailing from Switzerland, this master watchmaker has not only revolutionized the art of timekeeping but has also etched his name in the annals of independent watchmaking royalty. The timepieces bearing his personal brand are revered for their unparalleled craftsmanship and have become the crown jewels of auction houses, commanding extraordinary prices that befit their exceptional artistry.

Among the illustrious creations that have captivated the hearts of watch connoisseurs, one particular masterpiece reigns supreme – the Grande et Petit Sonnerie No. 1 wristwatch, ensconced within a resplendent yellow gold case. Crafted with meticulous attention to detail in 1992, this horological marvel transcends the boundaries of mere timekeeping, transcending into the realm of extraordinary artistry. At its core lies a lavishly finished movement, a testament to Dufour’s unwavering dedication to precision and excellence.

This extraordinary timepiece showcases the art of miniaturization at its finest, seamlessly integrating a complex chiming mechanism that surpasses all expectations. Unlike a traditional minute repeater that strikes on demand, the Grande et Petit Sonnerie No. 1 strikes the hours and quarter hours independently, imbuing each passing moment with a symphony of melodic beauty. The striking mechanism, ingeniously designed, can be effortlessly set through the delicate manipulation of sliding levers housed within the 41mm case, unveiling a world where time and harmony converge.

Beyond its mechanical prowess, the Grande et Petit Sonnerie No. 1 is a feast for the eyes. A grand feu enamel dial graces its countenance, adorned with regal Roman numerals that stand as guardians of time. Nestled gracefully among them, a small seconds sundial adds a touch of subtle enchantment, inviting the beholder to explore the nuances of every passing second. Every glance at the dial is a testament to the timeless elegance and sophistication that epitomize Dufour’s artistic vision.

As this extraordinary timepiece finds its way onto the wrists of discerning collectors, it carries with it the legacy of Philippe Dufour – a legacy built upon unwavering passion, uncompromising craftsmanship, and an unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of watchmaking. The Grande et Petit Sonnerie No. 1 serves as a reminder that true artistry knows no bounds, transcending the limitations of time itself to become an everlasting symbol of human ingenuity and creative expression. Within its precious confines, the spirit of innovation and the pursuit of horological perfection dance harmoniously, forever captivating those fortunate enough to witness its sublime presence.

16. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Black Panther Flying Tourbillon Unique Piece Ref.26620IO ($5.2 million, 2021, private auction)

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Black Panther

Read more about the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept watch
As the highly anticipated 50th anniversary of the iconic Royal Oak collection approached, Audemars Piguet set its sights on a remarkable collaboration that would captivate the world. Teaming up with the entertainment powerhouse Marvel, the renowned watchmaker embarked on a journey to create a series of exquisite timepieces that would seamlessly blend horological excellence with the enchanting world of superheroes. The inaugural piece of this extraordinary collection, crafted in pristine white gold, stands as a true testament to the boundless creativity and innovation that define both Audemars Piguet and Marvel.

While 250 additional pieces graced the collection, each meticulously crafted in titanium, it is the unique white gold masterpiece that truly steals the limelight. Embracing the distinctive design language of the Royal Oak Concept, the timepiece boasts a bold and sculptural case, its surface adorned with intricate hand-engraved motifs inspired by the fictional African nation of Wakanda. It is within this mesmerizing backdrop that the spirit of Marvel’s Black Panther character, the revered ruler known as Prince T’Challa, comes to life. A meticulously hand-painted 3D figure of the legendary hero graces the dial, poised above the mesmerizing flying tourbillon, merging the realms of horology and storytelling into a singular work of art.

In a departure from traditional auction channels, this extraordinary timepiece found its new home in a star-studded affair that merged the worlds of entertainment, sports, and horology. The captivating event, hosted by the talented comedian Kevin Hart, brought together an ensemble of renowned athletes and vocal Audemars Piguet ambassadors, including the incomparable LeBron James and the illustrious Serena Williams. It was a night of glamour, excitement, and anticipation as the masterpiece was unveiled, captivating the hearts of all in attendance.

With this remarkable collaboration, Audemars Piguet and Marvel have not only pushed the boundaries of watchmaking innovation but have also forged a union between two realms of creativity that captivate the imaginations of millions. The fusion of the Royal Oak’s timeless elegance with the rich mythology of Marvel’s superheroes has given birth to an extraordinary collection that transcends the realms of time and storytelling. Each tick of the intricately crafted movement is a testament to the passion and dedication poured into its creation, while the presence of Black Panther on the dial serves as a symbol of strength, courage, and the indomitable human spirit.

As the world eagerly awaits the unveiling of Audemars Piguet’s commemorative Royal Oak collection in its momentous 50th anniversary year, this exceptional collaboration with Marvel stands as a milestone, a celebration of creativity, and a testament to the power of imagination. In the hallowed halls of horology, where tradition meets innovation, a new chapter has been written, forever etching the names of Audemars Piguet and Marvel in the annals of artistic collaboration and exceptional craftsmanship.

17. Rolex “Emperor Bao Dai” Ref. 6062 ($5.06 million, 2017, Phillips)

Rolex Emperor Bao Dai Ref. 6062

Read more about the Rolex Emperor Bao Dai watch
When exploring the realm of exceptional timepieces, our minds often gravitate towards the renowned sport watches from Rolex such as the iconic Daytona and the legendary Submariner. However, amidst the esteemed collection of Rolex watches lies a hidden gem—a testament to timeless elegance and unparalleled craftsmanship. This extraordinary horological masterpiece, a 36mm yellow-gold marvel, stands as a shining example of the brand’s artistry and innovation.

What sets this particular Rolex apart from the rest is its rare combination of features. It proudly showcases a moon-phase display, a testament to the brand’s commitment to capturing the celestial wonders within the confines of a wristwatch. Additionally, this remarkable timepiece boasts a triple calendar, seamlessly integrating day, date, and month indications on its meticulously crafted dial. It is the only vintage Rolex of its kind to embody this exceptional combination, solidifying its place in horological history.

The origins of its name can be traced back to its most illustrious owner—Prince Nguyễn Phúc Vĩnh Thụy, affectionately known as “Bảo Đại,” which translates to “Preserver of Greatness.” Bảo Đại, the 13th and final Vietnamese emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty, which held dominion over Vietnam from 1802 to 1945, bestowed his regal grace upon this remarkable timepiece. In a moment forever etched in history, during the year 1954, as the winds of change swept across the nation, Bảo Đại acquired this horological treasure in Geneva. It was a time of international significance as he attended a pivotal conference that ultimately resulted in the division of Vietnam.

The journey of this extraordinary watch continued to unfold as it ventured into the realm of auctions, capturing the attention of discerning collectors and enthusiasts alike. In 2002, it made its first appearance on the auction block, commanding a staggering price of $232,000—a testament to its undeniable allure and rarity. However, it was in 2017 that this horological marvel truly made headlines, breaking records as it achieved a remarkable sale price of $5.06 million. In that moment, the Bao Dai Rolex claimed the prestigious title of the world’s most expensive Rolex watch—an honor that would captivate the imaginations of watch connoisseurs and historians alike.

As we journey through the annals of horological history, we encounter a succession of extraordinary timepieces that transcend mere functionality and become artifacts of human achievement. While the Bao Dai Rolex once held the crown of opulence, it eventually yielded its throne to the illustrious Paul Newman references that have etched their mark upon the horological landscape. Yet, the legacy of the Bao Dai Rolex remains untarnished—a symbol of regal grandeur, timeless beauty, and the unwavering pursuit of horological excellence.

In the vast tapestry of time, where watches become symbols of human ingenuity and the stories of their owners intertwine with the threads of history, the Bao Dai Rolex stands as a testament to the enduring allure of craftsmanship and the captivating power of a truly exceptional timepiece.

18. Patek Philippe Yellow Gold Caliber 89 Pocket Watch ($5.042 million, 2009, Antiquorum)

Patek Philipe Gold Pocket watch

19. Patek Philippe White Gold Caliber 89 Pocket Watch ($5.003 million, 2004, Antiquorum)

Patek Philippe white gold pocket watch

20. Patek Philippe Stainless Steel Ref. 130 ($4.987 million, 2015, Phillips)

Patek Philippe Stainless steel

21. F.P. Journe x Francis Ford Coppola FFC Blue ($4.93 million, 2021, Christie’s)

F.P. Journe x Coppola Only Watch

Read more about the F.P. Journe x Francis Ford Coppola FFC Blue watch
In a collaboration that ignited the imaginations of horological enthusiasts and cinephiles alike, master watchmaker Francois-Paul Journe joined forces with the iconic director Francis Ford Coppola to craft a timepiece that transcended the boundaries of conventional watchmaking. The result was an extraordinary creation that stole the spotlight at the highly anticipated 2021 Only Watch auction, leaving an indelible mark on the storied history of F.P. Journe, the revered independent watch brand.

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Introducing the mesmerizing FFC Blue, a timepiece that defied expectations and shattered records, becoming the highest-selling watch ever produced by F.P. Journe in its nearly 25 years of existence. Encased in tantalum, a material renowned for its captivating allure and remarkable durability, this horological masterpiece pushed the boundaries of innovation and artistic expression.

At the heart of the FFC Blue lies a dial unlike anything seen before. Its captivating design is dominated by a large blue glove, an artistic marvel in itself, whose fingers seamlessly choreograph the display of time. With ingenious precision, each finger takes on the role of an hour indicator, while a subtle pointer delicately glides along a perpetually rotating minute track. A symphony of movements unfolds before the observer’s eyes, as the glove’s gestures guide us through the passage of time.

Immersed in this enchanting spectacle, we discover a fascinating narrative concealed within each hour. At 1 o’clock, the fingers of the glove clench into a determined fist, except for the extended index finger, poised to mark the passing minutes. As time progresses, the intricate dance continues. The index finger andmiddle finger harmoniously align to point at 2 o’clock, and the enchantment continues until 5 o’clock when all five digits emerge, revealing the crescendo of this symphony. With the dawn of a new cycle, a single thumb takes its place at 6 o’clock, guiding us through an entirely new arrangement of thumb and fingers.

In a nod to the immortal words spoken in Coppola’s cinematic masterpiece, this extraordinary and utterly unique time display became an offer that one discerning buyer simply could not refuse. The allure of its innovative design, combined with the undeniable connection to the director’s iconic film, created an irresistible allure that captivated the horological world.

The FFC Blue stands as a testament to the boundless creativity that arises from the harmonious collaboration of visionaries. It symbolizes the fusion of horology and cinematic art, a rare union that transcends traditional boundaries and redefines the possibilities within the world of timekeeping.

As time marches on, the legacy of the FFC Blue will continue to captivate the hearts and minds of collectors and enthusiasts alike. It serves as a reminder that horology is not solely about measuring the minutes and hours, but also about pushing the boundaries of imagination, forging new paths of artistic expression, and creating enduring masterpieces that resonate deeply with those who appreciate the exquisite fusion of craftsmanship and storytelling.

22. Breguet “Breguet et Fils,” Paris No. 2667 Precision 4 pocket watch ($4.68 million, Christie’s, 2012)

Breguet et Fils No. 2667 pocket watch

Read more about the Breguet 'Breguet et Fils' watch
Step back in time and immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of horological history with a rare gem that stands as a testament to the genius of Abraham-Louis Breguet, the visionary watchmaker revered as the father of the tourbillon escapement. Nestled among the elite ranks of the top 25 most expensive watches ever sold at auction, this extraordinary pocket watch, crafted around 1814, transports us to an era of timeless elegance and exquisite craftsmanship.

Behold the captivating allure of the yellow gold case, meticulously engraved with a unique and distinguished number, a testament to the watchmaker’s unparalleled attention to detail. The engine-turned dial, a masterful display of artistry, beckons with its intricate minute track and subdials adorned with a harmonious fusion of Arabic and Roman numerals. Delicately poised, yellow-gold hands and blued hands dance across the subdials, gracefully marking both local time and mean time, while a small central sundial adds a mesmerizing touch, capturing the passage of precious seconds.

Within the 63.7mm case resides a gilded brass movement, a testament to Breguet’s innovative spirit and technical mastery. Delve deeper into its inner workings, and you’ll discover the true marvel of horological engineering. Two independent mechanisms coexist within, each possessing its own barrel, a remarkable achievement during an era when such feats were the domain of visionaries. The incorporation of pare-chute suspension and blued Breguet free-sprung balance springs further exemplifies Breguet’s relentless pursuit of excellence, pushing the boundaries of what was deemed possible.

As you hold this time-honored masterpiece in your hands, you become a custodian of history, a link between past and present. The whispers of time captured within its mechanisms remind us of the remarkable journey it has undertaken, bearing witness to the ebb and flow of generations. Its presence is a testament to the enduring legacy of Abraham-Louis Breguet, an indelible mark left upon the world of horology.

So, step into the realm of timeless craftsmanship, where art and science entwine in harmonious embrace. This rare pocket watch, a true embodiment of horological heritage, invites you to cherish the moments, appreciate the artistry, and marvel at the ingenuity that has shaped our perception of time. Embrace the past, for it serves as the foundation upon which the future of horology is built.

23. Patek Philippe Henry Graves Minute Repeater ($4.67 million, 2019, Christie’s)

Patek Philippe Graves watch

24. George Daniels Yellow Gold Space Traveller’s I pocket watch ($$4.561 million, 2019, Sotheby’s)

George Daniels Space Traveler I

25. George Daniels Yellow Gold Space Traveller’s II pocket watch ($4.325 million, 2017, Sotheby’s)

George Daniels Space Traveler 2

Honorable Mentions:

Most Expensive Omega Watch: Omega Speedmaster Broad Arrow Ref. 2915-1 ($3.42 million, Phillips, 2021, #41)

Omega Speedmaster Broad Arrow

Read more about the Omega Speedmaster Broad Arrow watch
In the remarkable 2021 Phillips auction, where the spotlight gracefully shone on the Philippe Dufour masterpiece mentioned earlier, an extraordinary Omega reference emerged, obliterating all previous records as the most exorbitantly priced Speedmaster ever to be sold (and indeed, the most expensive Omega to date). This immaculate timepiece hails from the illustrious year of 1957, boasting a captivatingly elegant brown “tropical” dial, accompanied by the timeless allure of the classical “Broad Arrow” hands, all powered by the meticulously hand-wound Caliber 321 movement. Astonishingly surpassing initial estimations ranging from $80,000 to $120,000, this extraordinary piece commanded a staggering sum of over $3.5 million, serving as a testament to the ever-growing adoration for the revered “pre-Moonwatch” iterations of the venerable Speedmaster lineage.

What sets this particular generation of Speedmasters apart, originating in the inaugural year of the model’s introduction, are the distinct features of a sleek plain metal bezel, devoid of any embellishing black insert or tachymeter scale, and the notable oval “O” adorning the iconic Omega logo. These noteworthy elements further enhance the appeal and desirability of this unparalleled timepiece, encapsulating the essence of a bygone era with an undeniable aura of sophistication and refinement.

Most Expensive Vacheron Constantin Watch: Vacheron Constantin King Fuad I No. 402833 ($2.77 million, Antiquorum, 2005, #61)

Vacheron Constantin King Fuad I pocket watch

Read more about the Vacheron Constantin King Fuad I watch
With a remarkable legacy spanning over 275 years, Vacheron Constantin has proudly crafted timepieces for illustrious heads of state throughout the annals of history. Among its esteemed clientele stands King Fuad I of Egypt, a revered figure as the first Egyptian monarch in the modern era following the nation’s independence from Great Britain in 1922. In a remarkable display of historical significance, the expatriate Swiss community bestowed upon King Fuad a truly extraordinary and intricately crafted 18k yellow gold pocket watch in the year 1929.

This magnificent timepiece stands as a testament to the profound craftsmanship and technical mastery exhibited by Vacheron Constantin. Adorned with an array of mesmerizing complications, it exudes an air of unrivaled sophistication. Among its remarkable features are two striking functions, each powered by its own gear train. The grande and petite sonnerie, accompanied by three resounding gongs and two hammers, create a melodic symphony of timekeeping excellence. Furthermore, a split-seconds chronograph adds to its impressive repertoire, allowing for precise measurement of elapsed time. And as if these feats were not enough, a perpetual calendar graces its dial, complete with a moon-phase indication and an age of the moon display, capturing the celestial rhythm with exquisite precision.

Delving deeper into its remarkable design, one discovers a hidden inscription on the caseback, bearing the French translation, “To His Majesty King Fuad I, a Tribute from the Swiss Community of Egypt.” Within the intricate inner workings of the timepiece lies a movement equipped with two barrels, accessible through a single keyless winding crown. One barrel tirelessly drives the gear train, ensuring the accurate flow of time, while the other supplies the additional energy required by the captivating striking mechanism.

The Vacheron Constantin pocket watch presented to King Fuad I stands as a beacon of horological excellence, a masterpiece that intertwines artistry and engineering in perfect harmony. It not only serves as a testament to the enduring bond between the Swiss and Egyptian communities but also showcases the unwavering commitment of Vacheron Constantin to create timepieces of unparalleled beauty and innovation, fit for royalty and revered collectors alike.

Most Expensive TAG Heuer Watch: Heuer Monaco Ref. 1133 “Steve McQueen” ($2.208 million, 2020, Phillips, #90)

Heuer Monaco Steve McQueen Ref. 1133

Read more about the Heuer Monaco 'Steve McQueen' watch
The year was 1969 when the remarkable Heuer Monaco, now affectionately known as the TAG Heuer Monaco, made its groundbreaking debut. It proudly stood as one of the pioneering self-winding chronograph wristwatches, forever etching its name in horological history. However, it was not just its revolutionary automatic movement that propelled it to the realm of greatness; it was the unmistakable allure of its water-resistant square case that truly captivated watch enthusiasts worldwide.

Yet, it was in the year 1971, within the fast-paced world of auto racing portrayed on the silver screen in the iconic film “Le Mans,” that the Heuer Monaco would ascend to new heights of fame. Adorning the wrist of none other than the legendary actor Steve McQueen, it became synonymous with his name and inextricably linked to the exhilarating realm of motorsports. This serendipitous union between McQueen, the Heuer Monaco, and the world of racing elevated the timepiece to an unparalleled status of desirability and admiration.

A remarkable turn of events occurred in the year 2020 when one of the cherished Heuer Monaco watches worn during the filming of “Le Mans” emerged on the auction block. Among the limited set of six watches worn by McQueen himself, this particular piece found its way into the possession of Haig Alltounian, the esteemed chief mechanic for the film and a trusted confidant of McQueen, serving as his personal mechanic. The undeniable authenticity and captivating story of this timepiece are accentuated by the personalized engraving adorning its caseback, a heartfelt tribute from McQueen to Alltounian, forever immortalized as “TO HAIG LE MANS 1970.”

Such a remarkable timepiece transcends the boundaries of a mere accessory, embodying a rich tapestry of history, passion, and cinematic grandeur. The Heuer Monaco, with its distinguished legacy and association with a true icon of the silver screen, stands as a testament to the enduring allure of precision timekeeping. It serves as a symbol of the indomitable spirit of those who dare to chase their dreams, pushing boundaries and embracing the thrill of the race. With each tick of its mechanism, it pays homage to a bygone era while igniting the imagination of enthusiasts, reminding them of the timeless connection between art, cinema, and the captivating world of motorsports.

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