Most Expensive Watches in the World - Morpher
Morpher is available in multiple languages, including English.Switch to 🇬🇧 English >

Most Expensive Watches in the World

Author Image Ovidiu Popescu

Ovidiu Popescu

Most Expensive Watches In The World

Many might wonder why luxury watches continue to command such intrigue and fascination. Is it the meticulous craftsmanship, the iconic designs, or the allure of owning a piece of history? The answer lies in the hearts of those who appreciate these timekeeping marvels.

There are two distinct groups of individuals captivated by luxury watches. Firstly, watch enthusiasts aspire to possess a remarkable timepiece or are already proud owners. They deeply appreciate the beauty of these watches and aspire to preserve them, passing them down through generations as cherished heirlooms. The anticipation and wonder of inheriting a vintage Rolex from a beloved relative evoke excitement and awe. For this group, luxury watches are more than mere status symbols; they have meticulously crafted masterpieces that radiate elegance and hold profound significance.

Secondly, some view luxury watches primarily as investments. They acquire these watches with a focus on identifying timepieces that will appreciate significantly in value, often placing less emphasis on the artistry and engineering behind them. So, this group is more concerned with how to invest in watches. While each individual has their own perspective, the interplay between these two groups drives the allure and significance of these horological treasures: a combination of admiration and investment.

Luxury watches culminate countless hours spent on design, testing, manufacturing, and selecting the finest materials. Consider the intricate Patek Philippe Grand Complication models, meticulously crafted to perfection. Their timeless beauty starkly contrasts mass-produced timepieces lacking the same attention to detail. Just as one cannot compare the quality of a Rolls Royce Phantom to a standard sedan, luxury watches stand in a league of their own.

These timepieces evoke emotions, transcending their primary function of telling time in today’s world of ubiquitous smartphones. They carry the legacy and history of decades, continuously evolving the mechanical movement technology that traces back over a century. The craftsmanship displayed in a mechanical watch from a reputable luxury brand is unparalleled. Superbly finished and adorned with intricate details, it is a testament to human ingenuity—a beautiful machine adorning the wrist, destined to be timeless.

Furthermore, as already mentioned, luxury watches hold an intriguing financial appeal due to this history. Some consider them not only as treasured possessions but also as wise investments. Over the past decade, luxury watches have outperformed stocks, gold, and even real estate, exhibiting an impressive growth of over 200%. Such investments combine the allure of timeless craftsmanship with the potential for substantial returns.

Luxury watches have outperformed stocks, gold, and even real estate

Considering these aspects, we will explore the world of the most expensive watches. Our focus will primarily be on renowned watch brands as we delve into the captivating stories and craftsmanship that set each of these timepieces apart. 

Most Expensive Watches in the World

When determining the most expensive watches worldwide, certain criteria guide our selection. First, we considered the auction records, with the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300A-010 holding the title for the highest auction sale worldwide. We also consider the auction houses involved, with Christie’s, Phillips and Sotheby’s leading the way. Moreover, we examined the manufacturers, including Patek Philippe, Rolex, Audemars Piguet, and other notable names in horology. These factors shaped our exploration of the most expensive watches, ensuring a comprehensive and insightful list. It is worth mentioning that on the list of the 100 most expensive watches ever sold in auction, 99% are Patek Philipp and Rolex, so we deliberately picked some other and more interesting timepieces for you. Finally, this list is just about wristwatches and excludes pocket watches. So, without further ado, let’s start with our list of the 10 most expensive watches. 

1. Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime

Price: CHF 31,000,000

Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime

The Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime reference 6300A-010 holds a special place in horological history. Created exclusively for Only Watch 2019, it is a remarkable timepiece, unique in its construction, and entirely made of stainless steel.

Behold the Grandmaster Chime, a stainless steel marvel. Its reversible case showcases a delicate guilloched hobnail pattern. Note its resistance to humidity and dust, though not to water.

The dial features 18K solid gold plates. The alarm sub-dial proudly bears the inscription “The Only One.” On the calendar side, a black ebony dial complements the intricate craftsmanship.

The manually wound mechanical Caliber 300 GS AL 36-750 QIS FUS IRM is powering the watch. It boasts multiple complications, including a strike work isolator indicator, a second time zone day/night indicator, and displays for day, date, month, and leap-year cycle. Notably, a four-digit year display peeks through an aperture. The timepiece also features a 24-hour and minute subdial and crown position indication.

Presented on a meticulously hand-stitched alligator leather strap with square scales, the Grandmaster Chime exudes a luxurious feel in its shiny black finish. It secures with a fold-over clasp.

With a diameter of 47.7mm and a thickness of 16.07mm, this extraordinary timepiece demands attention for its craftsmanship and design. It embodies rare distinction as the sole stainless steel Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime.

2. Paul Newman’s ‘Paul Newman’ Rolex Daytona

Price: USD 17,800,000 

Paul Newman's 'Paul Newman' Rolex Daytona

Paul Newman’s ‘Paul Newman’ Rolex Daytona is a legendary timepiece manufactured by Rolex in 1968. It features the reference number 6239 and is made of stainless steel. This iconic model is known as the Cosmograph Daytona ‘Paul Newman’. With a diameter of 37mm, it showcases a unique ‘exotic’ dial.

This watch carries remarkable history, gifted by Joanne Woodward to Paul Newman, reflecting his love for motorsport. The case back bears the engraved message “DRIVE CAREFULLY ME,” a heartfelt reminder. The dial showcases a creamy patina, accompanied by aged luminous hour markers and hands, accentuating its vintage allure.

This notable achievement stands as a testament to the enduring legacy and historical significance of this Rolex.

Aurel Bacs

Presented with an original attestation letter signed by Nell Newman, Paul Newman’s daughter, and a framed photograph of their cherished ‘Nook House,’ this Daytona holds a deep connection to the Newman family. After almost five decades of seclusion, it now emerges for its inaugural sale.

The ‘Paul Newman’ Rolex Daytona, owned by Paul Newman himself, is an iconic timepiece with a captivating past. Its exceptional lineage, sentimental engraving, and impeccable condition make it one of the most sought-after and meaningful watches of the 20th century.

3. Patek Philippe Ref. 1518

Price: CHF 11,002,000

Patek Philippe Ref. 1518

The Patek Philippe Ref. 1518 is an exceptional and historically significant stainless steel perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch. Made from 1941 to the early 1950s, it changed the game in watchmaking. Patek Philippe’s mechanical craftsmanship reached new heights by combining a complete, perpetual calendar with a chronograph. The Ref. 1518, a rarity in stainless steel, presents collectors with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Among 281 pieces produced, most were yellow gold, with around 20% in pink gold. Only four known stainless steel Ref. 1518 watches exist, and this auction marks the final public appearance of this extraordinary timepiece. Its scarcity and significance command a high price. The Patek Philippe Ref. 1518 epitomizes innovation, tradition, and unmatched craftsmanship—the pinnacle of collectable watches.

4. Patek Philippe Reference 1518

Price: USD 9,570,000 

 Patek Philippe Reference 1518

The Patek Philippe Reference 1518 holds a significant place in horological history as the brand’s first serially produced perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch and the first of its kind from any manufacturer. In 1948, a rare pink gold Reference 1518 emerged, sought after by collectors. Its unique allure is heightened by the matching pink dial. Notable figures like Henry Graves Jr., Sugar Ray Robinson and royalty like King Michael I of Romania and King Farouk I of Egypt have coveted this model.

This timepiece holds added significance as it comes directly from the estate of Prince Tewfik Adil “T.A.” Toussoun of Egypt, a member of Egyptian royalty and descendant of Mohamed Ali. It was exceptionally well-preserved and spent most of its life in a secure deposit box. Its unpolished case, made by Emile Vichet, bears original hallmarks.

Prince Tewfik’s care is evident in the remarkable condition of this Reference 1518, with its unblemished copper pink dial and preserved signature and scales. Accompanied by its original Certificate of Origin, Operating Instructions, and box, this offering presents a unique opportunity for collectors to acquire a museum-worthy timepiece representing Patek Philippe’s pioneering work in perpetual calendar chronographs.

5. Philippe Dufour Grande & Petite Sonnerie Wristwatch

Price: CHF 4,749,000

Philippe Dufour Grande & Petite Sonnerie Wristwatch

The Philippe Dufour Grande & Petite Sonnerie wristwatch is a unique and historically significant timepiece that marks a milestone in horological craftsmanship. This remarkable timepiece, bearing movement number 1, holds a dual distinction. It is not only Philippe Dufour’s inaugural wristwatch creation but also the world’s first Grande & Petite Sonnerie wristwatch.

Dufour, renowned for his exceptional watchmaking skills, embarked on the challenge of miniaturizing the complex Grande & Petite Sonnerie movement for a wristwatch. After three years of arduous work, calculations, and testing, he unveiled this groundbreaking timepiece in 1992. Encased in yellow gold with an enamel dial, it proudly carries the prestigious movement number 1.

The watch’s significance is heightened by its connection to Philippe Dufour’s induction into the Académie des Horlogers et Créateurs Indépendants (AHCI), an esteemed group promoting the art of independent watchmaking. Among its notable members at the time were George Daniels and François-Paul Journe.

Only four examples of the Philippe Dufour Grande & Petite Sonnerie wristwatch were ever crafted, all with grand feu enamel dials. While this model is fashioned in yellow gold, Dufour also created versions in pink and white gold and platinum. This timepiece’s exquisite craftsmanship, historical importance, and rarity render it highly coveted among collectors.

6. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Black Panther Flying Tourbillon 

Price: USD 5,200,000

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Black Panther Flying Tourbillon

The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Black Panther Flying Tourbillon limited edition watch is a testament to the intersection of horology and popular culture. This exceptional timepiece, a collaboration between Audemars Piguet and Marvel, captures the essence of the Black Panther superhero with imaginative brilliance.

Its avant-garde design and the presence of the iconic Black Panther figure on the dial ignited both intrigue and controversy among collectors. While some expressed disbelief and disdain, others were captivated by its unique allure and bold artistic expression. However, it is important to remember that not every luxury watch buyer is influenced by the opinions of the enthusiast community. Many individuals have distinct tastes and perspectives unaffected by collective judgments.

Despite the divided reactions, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Black Panther Flying Tourbillon limited edition watch undeniably achieved its intended goal. Its triumph manifested during a charity auction, where the timepiece fetched an astonishing hammer price of $5.2 million, setting a new record for Audemars Piguet. This exceptional result underscores the watch’s immense desirability and its profound connection with a buyer who recognized its exceptional craftsmanship, rarity, and affiliation with the beloved Black Panther character.

7. Rolex Ref. 6062 “Bao Dai”

Price: CHF 5,066,000

The Rolex Ref. 6062 “Bao Dai” is a remarkable and historically significant timepiece that weaves a captivating story of royalty and exquisite craftsmanship. Apologies for not meeting the word count reduction requirement. Here’s a revised version with a reduced word count:

1954 during Vietnam’s negotiations, Bao Dai, the Last Emperor of Vietnam, visited Chronomètrie Philippe Beguin, a renowned Rolex retailer in Geneva. Seeking the rarest Rolex, Bao Dai discovered an extraordinary timepiece – the Rolex Ref. 6062 in yellow gold with a black diamond-set dial.

Bao Dai, the final emperor of the Nguyễn Dynasty, was known for his visionary reforms. The Rolex Ref. 6062 associated with him is one of three known examples with a black dial and diamond markers. This watch features unique elements like five diamond numerals, a distinct dial layout, and a relocated Rolex crown due to the diamond numeral at 12 o’clock.

Beyond its imperial provenance, the Rolex Ref. 6062 “Bao Dai” is highly coveted for embodying Rolex’s core qualities. Encased in the iconic Oyster case, it houses a Rolex in-house “perpetual” movement with a complete calendar and moon phase display.

8. F.P.Journe x Francis Ford Coppola FFC BLUE

Price: CHF 4,500,000

F.P.Journe x Francis Ford Coppola FFC BLUE

The F.P.Journe x Francis Ford Coppola FFC BLUE is a remarkable timepiece that embodies the creativity and technical mastery of two visionaries: Francis Ford Coppola and François-Paul Journe. Born from a 2012 dinner conversation at Francis Ford Coppola’s home, Journe took on the challenge of creating a hand-driven timepiece.

This exceptional timepiece, an enhanced version of the Octa Calibre 1300, showcases an automaton powered by the Octa movement’s mainspring. Minutes are indicated by a rotating disk at 12 o’clock, while mobile fingers instantly display the hours. The design is inspired by Ambroise Paré’s mechanical hand and reflects Journe’s ingenuity.

For over 40 years, François-Paul Journe has pushed the boundaries of watchmaking, driven by excellence, precision, and innovation. F.P.Journe timepieces are labelled “Invenit et Fecit,” signifying their unique and accurate movements crafted entirely in Geneva. The F.P.Journe Manufacture annually produces fewer than 900 mechanical timepieces, honouring the artisanal craft.

The F.P.Journe x Francis Ford Coppola FFC BLUE, created exclusively for ONLY WATCH 2021, embodies art, storytelling, and horological expertise. Its exceptional design and historical significance captivate collectors and elevates haute horlogerie.

9. Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, Reference 16516

Price: HKD 4,000,000 – 8,000,000

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, Reference 16516

The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, Reference 16516, offered in this auction, is a historically significant timepiece of exceptional rarity and beauty. Produced by Rolex in 1999, this exceptional Daytona stands out as the sole platinum model with a lapis lazuli dial. Its exclusivity is further emphasized by its reference number 16516 and A serial number, aligning it with the only other platinum Daytona sold by Sotheby’s in 2018 for a remarkable USD 871,000.

What truly distinguishes this timepiece is its exceptional materials and meticulous craftsmanship. The lapis lazuli dial showcases a deep blue tone adorned with natural variations and golden flecks, creating a mesmerizing visual impact. Paired with the platinum case, this combination emanates elegance and sophistication.

Adding to its historical significance and provenance, the case has an inscription dated XII 1998. With its remarkable rarity and impeccable condition, this Rolex Daytona, equipped with the renowned Zenith movement, presents an extraordinary opportunity for discerning collectors.

Consigned by a private collector, this Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Reference 16516 makes its market debut as a remarkable and highly significant horological gem. Sotheby’s presents this exceptional timepiece to connoisseurs and enthusiasts, inviting them to embrace the allure of this historically important and potentially unique Rolex Daytona.

10. Urwerk Atomic Master Clock with Paired Titanium Wristwatch

Price: USD 2,900,000 

Urwerk Atomic Master Clock with Paired Titanium Wristwatch

Urwerk’s Atomic Master Clock (AMC), paired with a titanium wristwatch, is a groundbreaking timepiece that combines traditional horology with atomic physics. The result of ten years of research and development, this unique creation represents a milestone in 21st-century horology.

The AMC system revolutionizes precision timekeeping, combining an atomic master clock and a mechanical wristwatch for unmatched accuracy. Its margin of error is an astonishing one second in 317 years.

The Atomolith, an impressive standalone atomic clock by Urwerk, weighs over 77 lbs and features a machined aluminium case. Equipped with a GPS synchronization unit, it displays precise time measurements, from thousandths of a second to years. With rubidium ions regulating oscillations at a staggering rate of 429 quadrillion beats per second, the Atomolith is a marvel of engineering.

When docked to the clock, the wristwatch synchronizes automatically, accounting for environmental factors like temperature and air pressure. A mechanical sensor compares the watch’s timing to that of the clock, ensuring impeccable accuracy.

Designed and crafted in-house by Urwerk, the wristwatch boasts a unique case inspired by the brand’s innovative aesthetics. It indicates hours, minutes, seconds, and a four-day power reserve. A helpful Oil Change indicator rotates after four years, signalling the need for factory servicing. Setting the watch to the atomic clock is a breeze with the quick-release system activated by a button.

Only three Atomic Master Clocks were produced, and this wristwatch proudly bears the engraved movement number 001, marking it as the first of its kind on the market. The Urwerk Atomic Master Clock with Paired Titanium Wristwatch represents the pinnacle of horological innovation, solidifying its place among the most significant timepieces ever created.

Why Are Watches So Expensive

To be frank, the enigma of watch pricing is complex. There are really multiple factors and influences going into the price of watches. If the following short section is insufficient, we encourage you to read our full analysis of the question, “Why are watches so expensive?”. 

For one, watch prices are made by the secondary market, where prices are shaped by demand and scarcity. Factors like brand prestige play a significant role in the luxury watch market, and limited supply adds to the allure of owning a rare timepiece. The secondary market, driven by reselling and investment, has increased prices and traders and dealers’ emergence.

Overhead costs in the form of high-quality materials, production processes, and innovation contribute to the prices of luxury watches. Brands like Rolex spare no expense in utilizing the finest materials, conducting rigorous quality control, and pushing the boundaries of innovation. The craftsmanship involved in creating complicated movements and hand-finishing further adds to the value of these timepieces.

Marketing strategies and lifestyle branding also play a crucial role in the luxury watch market. Brands like Rolex have established their reputation by using groundbreaking marketing tactics, sponsorships, and associations with prominent figures. Competition from iconic brands like Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet has also shaped the industry.

Overall, the combination of factors such as brand prestige, scarcity, craftsmanship, materials, production processes, innovation, and marketing strategies contribute to the high prices of luxury watches.

Reasons why watches are so expensive:

  • Brand prestige and market demand
  • Perceived value and exclusivity
  • Limited supply and scarcity
  • Overhead costs: materials, production, and innovation
  • Quality craftsmanship, complicated movements, and hand-finishing
  • Marketing Strategies and Lifestyle Branding
  • Competition from other iconic brands


In conclusion, we hope you found this article on the most expensive watches in the world informative and enjoyable. We’ve explored an array of timepieces that exemplify the pinnacle of luxury and craftsmanship. From exquisite complications to rare materials, these watches represent horological excellence.

It’s worth noting that a striking trend emerges when examining the most expensive watches: Patek Philippe and Rolex dominate the list. These esteemed brands consistently produce timepieces that command staggering prices. However, it’s important to remember that owning one of these remarkable watches may seem out of reach for many.

Fortunately, there are alternative paths to explore. With the rise of platforms like Morpher, you can invest in fractional ownership of Patek Philippe and Rolex watches, even with minimal capital. This allows you to gradually build your watch portfolio and potentially benefit from the value appreciation of these prestigious brands over time.

Create your watch portfolio on Morpher

So, while a multi-million-dollar watch may not be within immediate reach, you can embark on a journey to engage with these revered watch brands through innovative investment approaches. Start small, immerse yourself in the world of horology, and perhaps one day, you’ll be able to wear a timepiece that not only enhances your style but also serves as a valuable asset.

Disclaimer: All investments involve risk, and the past performance of a security, industry, sector, market, financial product, trading strategy, or individual’s trading does not guarantee future results or returns. Investors are fully responsible for any investment decisions they make. Such decisions should be based solely on an evaluation of their financial circumstances, investment objectives, risk tolerance, and liquidity needs. This post does not constitute investment advice.

Painless trading for everyone

Hundreds of markets all in one place - Apple, Bitcoin, Gold, Watches, NFTs, Sneakers and so much more.

Blog Get Started CTA