You can tell a lot about a person by just his or her watch. Some watches tell you their owners are into the latest fashion, others tell you they love the classics, others might hint their owners never let go of their childhood fascinations. The watches on this list are those that won’t just make you think time is precious. They are the watches that might make you think time is outrageously overpriced and overly expensive.
10. Daniel Roth Ellipsocurvex Tourbillon – $129,000
This manual wind-up watch is made of white gold and sapphire glass, the bracelet material is made of crocodile skin dyed black. It is also skeletonized, meaning anyone can see the inner workings of the watch. It is slightly water repellant and can be worn during light rain. Only 50 pieces of this hand-made watch were ever assembled. Daniel Roth started his company in the Vallee de Joux in Switzerland in 1989. It was eventually bought out by Bulgari in 2000 and the watches that were made before this buyout are now collectibles. How do you tell when someone is wearing a genuine Roth? All his cases are semi-oval.
9. The Hublot Tourbillon Solo Bang – $137,920
This watch for men from Swiss watchmaker Hublot (French word for “porthole”) is a manual wind-up timepiece that shows the hour and the minute. It has a platinum case, a black ceramic bezel and a black carbon dial. Just in case you were wondering what a tourbillon is, it’s a mechanism akin to a gyroscope that makes sure the inner workings of a machine are not affected by gravity as a result of its assuming various positions. It also comes with a natural rubber strap, something that took Hublot three years to develop.
8. Parmigiani Kalpa XL Tourbillon – $150,000
The Kalpa XL model is a manual wind-up watch. The men’s model is encased in blue platinum and protected by scratch-resistant sapphire glass. It has a black alligator band. The women’s model comes with diamonds, a lot of them, around the case. Each of these watches takes around 400 hours to make and only 25 such watches were ever assembled. Each is powered by the Parmigiani Caliber 500 engine and has an 8-day power reserve. Parmigiani Fleurier started his company in 1976 after leaving a career as a watch restorer. His company also made the watch insert for the Bugatti Veyron, which won the 2006 Watch of the Year Award.
7. The IWC Grande Complication Perpetual – $240,000
It does not get any more complicated than this; 659 mechanical parts, 71 jewels, a platinum case, nine hands, four displays resulting in one awesome watch. This automatic-winding chronograph can give you the hour, minute and second and also tells you the day, date, month and the complete year in four digits, moon phase accurate to 1 day in 122 years. This built-in calendar is good for the next 500 years so no worries about adjusting anything. This means you can also pass this to your heir and they to theirs and they to theirs. The watch itself has 12 patents and only 20 are made every year. It took IWC seven years to develop this model, although the watchmaker has been making good watches for over 100 years now.
6. Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers – $631,000
Described as being unusually thin for a luxury watch, the Constantin Les Cabinotiers is a manual wind-up timepiece encased in 18-karat rose gold and sapphire glass. It has a 34-hour power reserve and is powered by the Vacheron Caliber 1755 SQ engine. It is also skeletonized so viewers can admire the inner workings of the watch. Only 15 of these watches have ever been assembled. Vacheron Constantin has been making watches since 1755 and is one of the oldest watchmaking companies in the world with an uninterrupted history. Their watches are only distributed to selected boutiques that offer no other brands. Famous people in history who have owned their watches include French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, Pope Pius XI and U.S. President Harry Truman.
5. Blancpain 1735 Grande Complication – $800,000
Thinking about how much you have to pay for this watch might leave your mind blank. Thankfully, this watch has many features many others in its price range don’t. The watch is self-winding and has displays for month, day and date, moon phases and also leap years. The back is made of sapphire glass and reveals the inner workings of the watch. The case is made of 18-karat gold. In all, it has 740 pieces. Since it started business in 1735 in Villeret, Switzerland, Blancpain has declared it will never make a quartz watch. It also said it will never make a watch with a digital display. The company takes pride in its work and watches are meticulously made, which is why they only assemble about three per day.
4. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Complication – $869,000
There are only three of these Audemars Piguet watches in the world. The reason? Some of its parts are very rare. Just what exactly is this part? Meteorites. Well, at least that’s what the experts say. The out-of-this world components almost make the 18-karat gold case worthless in comparison. This self-winding watch not just tells the time but also the day, date, moon phases, the month and leap years. Founded in 1875, Audemars Piguet was founded by friends Jules Louis Audemars and Edward August Piguet in the Vallee de Joux. Until today their company, actually touted as more of a family business than a company, is still into watchmaking and now has the world for its clients.
3. Hublot Big Bang Black Caviar – $1 million
Well, this watch was being offered at $1 million in 2010. Now retailers won’t even post the price, asking prospective buyers to contact them if they still wish to purchase. The watch is made of black ceramic, lighter than the metals most watches are made of. It also has 532 black diamonds evenly distributed all over the case. It’s scratch-proof, rust-proof and anti-allergenic. Aside from the hour, minute and second it can also display the date. It has a 42-hour power reserve and comes with a black rubber strap. It is water resistant up to 10 meters.
2. Chopard Super Ice Cube – $1.1 million
Just like the Hublot Big Bang Black Caviar, this watch was initially offered at $1.1 million and now retailers no longer put up a price. This ladies’ watch really looks like it’s made of ice cubes, but instead of ice cubes they used baguette diamonds instead. It case is made of 18-karate white gold fully set with diamonds. The front is covered with scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. Oddly enough, it is designed to be water resistant glass up to 30 meters (100 feet). Chopard has been making watches since its founding in 1860 by Louis-Ulysse Chopard. It initially specialized in pocket watches and chronometers before moving on to wristwatches.
1. Patek Philippe’s Sky Moon Tourbillon – $1.3 million
Just like the two previous watches, retailers no longer display the price. This manual wind-up men’s watch is made of 688 parts and displays the hour, minute, second, day, date, month and phases of the moon. It can also tell between leap years. The back of the case is a crystal, revealing a sublime celestial chart. For all its flash, it’s not water-resistant. Every year only two of these watches are made, one is rose gold and the other in platinum. Patek Philippe was founded in 1851 when watchmaker Antoni Patek teamed up with French watchmaker Adrien Philippe, inventor of the keyless winding mechanism. The company is credited with developing the perpetual calendar, chronograph and minute repeater in watches.