Athletes, rappers, movie stars and celebrities have a lot of money and, more often than not, love to spend it on flashy and excessive items. Mansions, Italian sports cars, yachts and planes – these are all things the rich love to spend their money on. Sometimes it’s a practical purchase – after all, everyone needs a Maybach to drive the family around, but much of the time these celebrities buy things with a ‘look-at-me’ factor. In this instance, jewellery often fits the bill. More specifically, high-end watches are the order of the day thanks to their practicality and high visibility to onlookers.
The watch means so many things to different people. It can be just a piece to tell time, a fashion accessory, status symbol or collectible. They can have mechanical or electronic movements and analog or digital displays. Watches can be solar powered, battery powered or spring powered. They can also come with numerous functions and displays, called ‘complications’ which can tell us not only the time, but the date, altitude, time-zone, moon-phase and compass direction – to name but a few features. Today, there are numerous watch manufacturers offering countless varieties of watches which have many functions and styles at a range of prices. From a $50 Timex Ironman to a $10,000 Rolex Oyster Perpetual, there is a watch for everyone’s tastes and needs.
The following list looks at 10 of the most expensive watches to be sold or auctioned. What makes these watches so expensive? It depends on the maker and the direction they wanted to take their creation when they started building. Some are pricey solely for the fact they are built with extremely expensive materials. Others have a high price tag because of the time it took to finish the watch or the complexity of the design and movement. Some of these time-pieces date back to the 18th century while some are a bit more modern. In any event you can be sure that the usual suspects most are familiar with will not be appearing here. Rolex need not apply, this list is far too rich for your blood.
10 Piaget, Emperador Temple - $3.3 Million
9 Patek Philippe, 1928 Single-Button Chronograph - $3.6 Million
8 Patek Philippe, 1939 Platinum World Time - $4 Million
7 Louis Moinet, Meteoris - $4.6 Million
6 Breguet & Fils, No.2667 Precision Stop-Watch - $4.6 Million
5 Hublot Big Bang - $5 Million
4 Patek Philippe, ‘Calibre 89’ - $6 Million
3 Patek Philippe, Henry Graves Jr. Supercomplication Pocket Watch - $11 Million
2 Chopard 201-Carat - $25 Million
1 Breguet Grande Complication, Marie Antoinette - $30 Million
Before Abraham-Louis Breguet founded his watch-making business in 1775 he had made a number of connections with high society thanks to his apprenticeship and time as a math scholar. The highest of these social connections was surely the French Royal Family and, most notably, Marie Antoinette. The Queen was reportedly fascinated with Breguet watches and, depending on who you believe, it was either her or her lover, Count Hans Axel von Fersen, who commissioned Breguet to make a watch which contained all known functions at that time. Breguet began work on the project in 1782/83 and it was completed by his son in 1827. By this time, Marie Antoinette, Count von Fersen and Breguet were all dead. Watch-makers from Breguet were commissioned to make a copy of the Marie-Antoinette in 2005. Instead of the original 45 years, this one only took three.
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