A nice car, a large home, an expensive watch—they’re all status symbols. But some folks will break the bank to buy a rare timepiece.
These are the most expensive watches ever sold at Sotheby’s and Christie’s, and elsewhere. You’ll see that Geneva-based Patek Philippe dominates the list.
1 The Henry Graves “supercomplication,” also by Patek Philippe, sold for $11 million at Sotheby’s in December 1999. It’s the most complicated watch ever created.
2 This Patek Philippe 18-carat gold perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch with moon phases and a tonneau-shaped case sold for $5.7 million at Christie’s in May 2010.
3 The Yellow Gold Calibre 89, a set of 4 pocket watches made by Patek Philippe in 1989, sold for just over $5 million at Antiquorum in Geneva in 2009. Fifty-six years after Patek Philippe made the Graves Supercomplication, it broke its own record for complications by using advanced computer technology. In 1989, to celebrate its 150th anniversary, Patek Philippe made four commemorative watches—in platinum, yellow, pink, and white gold—that offered 33 complications. Known as the Calibre 89 series, the keyless, three-barrel, double-dial pocket watches contain 1,728 parts and took nine years to make. Among their complications are astronomical and astrological functions, the time of sunrise and sunset, and a perpetual calendar that accounts for leap years for four centuries.
The four watches were originally sold to collectors, reportedly for prices approaching $4 million each. When Antiquorum in Geneva sold the yellow gold Calibre 89
4 This 1949 Patek Philippe stainless steel perpetual calendar wristwatch with Arabic numerals sold for $4.1 million at Christie’s in May 2008.
5 This 1928 Patek Philippe 18-carat, white gold, cushion-shaped, single button chronograph wristwatch sold for $3.6 million at Christie’s in May 2011.
6 This 1954 Patek Philippe platinum perpetual calendar wristwatch, with sweep centre seconds and a moon phase dial, sold for $3.1 million at Christie’s in May 2008.
#7 This 1942 Patek Philippe calendar wristwatch, which shows the moon phases, sold for $2.77 million at Christie’s in November 2009.
8 A Patek Philippe 18-carat pink gold wristwatch with a blue enamel dial from 1953 sold for $2.704 million at Christie’s in November 2010.
9 This Patek Philippe pink gold, perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch sold for $2.28 million at Christie’s in May 2007.
10 A 1944 stainless steel, water-resistant perpetual calendar Patek Philippe wristwatch sold for $2.26 million to a private Swiss museum at Christie’s in November 2007.
11 The Henry Graves Jr. “Grande Complication,” an 18-carat watch from 1926, sold for $1.98 million at Christie’s in November 2005.
BONUS: It’s not a typical watch, but this Duc D’Orleans Sympathique clock with a removable pocket watch sold for $5.77 million at Sotheby’s in December 2012.
More Expensive Watches Sold at Auction