A timepiece may once have been perceived as a necessary accessory, but the luxury watches market has come a long way since, and today high-end watches are a way for their owners to express their personality and style; something doubly true in the age of the smartphone, which all but eliminated the need to keep track of time with a manual timepiece.
Luxury watches can be traced back to the 18th century, when modern fine jewelry manufacturing emerged as an industry in its own right, and the Swiss claim the glory of being the pioneers of wristwatches as we know them.
So far in 2017, five exquisite timepieces have emerged as the world’s most expensive luxury watches:
Sitting pretty at number five is Swiss watchmaker Franck Muller’s Aeternitas Mega 4. Dubbed the world’s most complicated wristwatch, the $2.4 million Aeternitas Mega 4 is equipped with 1,483 components demonstrating micro-mechanic ingenuity. The name “Aeternitas” comes from the Latin word for eternity and pays tribute to the eternal calendar in the watch, which adheres to a millennium cycle renewable to infinity.
Sparkling at number four is Swiss luxury watchmaker Hublot’s Big Bang, which could set its owner back $5 million. The watch is adorned with nearly 1,300 diamonds, weighing some 100 carats, including six, 3-carat emerald cut diamonds on the bracelet. The Big Bang is housed in a case embedded with sapphire crystals and it is equipped with an 18-carat white gold screw-in crown, adorned with twelve baguette diamonds and a rose cut diamond.
Counting the seconds at number three is Caliber 89 by Geneva-based design house Patek Philippe. The design of this $11 million timepiece can be traced back to 1989, when the company decided to mark its 150th anniversary. The classically designed pocket watch is also one of the world’s bulkiest, weighing in at 1.1kg. Patek Philippe created only four Caliber 89 timepiece, in platinum, rose gold, yellow gold, and white gold.
Ticking at number two is another creation by Patek Philippe – the Supercomplication Pocket Watch. With a $24 million price tag, the timepiece took five years to design and three years to assemble. It features 18 carat gold and, apart from telling time, it measures sunrise and sunset, houses a perpetual calendar, and produces the same melody as the Big Ben in London. But the timepiece’s most stunning feature is a celestial chart, which perfectly outlines the night sky above the Central Park Zoo along 5th Avenue.
At number one, telling the most expensive kind of time, is Chopard’s diamond encrusted timepiece. The 201-carat, $25 million watch has an extremely unique design incorporating an array of colored diamonds. The handmade creation carries 874 first-grade diamonds, including a 15.37-carat heart shaped pink diamond in the middle of sparkling yellow and white gold hardware, as well as an 11.36-carat heart shaped diamond and another blue heart shaped diamond weighing 12.79 carats. The stones are held in a bracelet containing clusters of pear shaped diamonds and 91 round diamonds. The watch’s face holds three pear-shaped yellow diamonds.