The most amazing watches of the world

November 9, 2022

A good watch is much more than just a time-keeper, it is wearing tradition and history on your wrist thanks to complex craftsmanship and engineering. In this post we will talk in depth about the most amazing watches, from their history to their prices.

And the world of horology is permeated with history. For example, how did the wristwatch come about? It was during World War I, when soldiers started wearing their pocket watches on a bracelet on their wrists to synchronize manoeuvres. Although nowadays, having a good watch isn’t a matter of life or death anymore, a good watch says a lot about you.

soldiers wore pocket watches on their wrist

Tracking the history of the wristwatch

According to Guinness World Records, the first wristwatch was made by Patek Philippe in 1868. But it is said that Kaiser Wilhelm I commissioned 2000 wristwatches for German naval officers to Girad-Perregaux, who made these watches with a protective grille in 1880. And only after Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin wore a Girard-Perregaux watch while flying in his airships, that they became popular. Around that same time, Brazilian Alberto Santos Dumont, the first man to fly a motor-powered aeroplane, wanted to have a watch on his wrist to be able to tell time while flying his planes. And Cartier made Dumont a tank-style watch in 1904, becoming the mega-famous Santos de Cartier. 

Santos Dumont and Cartier Tank Santos Dumont
Santos Dumont and the Cartier Tank watch designed for him

The story also takes into account that Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603) of Britain loved ingenious time-pieces and was given by the Earl of Leicester a watch mounted on a bracelet, probably the first wristwatch in history. But there is no visual record of this watch and, for sure, it had no influence on the development of the wristwatch.

What do make the most amazing watches so expensive?

Watch movements that tell the time with precision and are durable, with those complications that fascinate us but are extremely difficult to make, can take years of hard work to be developed and tested by micromechanical engineers. Then you still must add the costs of designing and producing each timepiece. Good watches are made with good expensive materials. The more exotic and complex the mechanism of the movements are, the more expensive and special the watch is. Also, the lower the number of watches produced, the higher the cost.

The most expensive and amazing watches in the world

  • Breguet “Grande Complication Marie-Antoinette”

Marie Antoinette and Breguets watch la grand complication
Maria Antoinette and Breguet’s watch, Grand Complication

This is officially the most expensive watch in the world. It was commissioned from Breguet in 1783, by a mysterious lover of the French queen Marie Antoinette, Queen of France, and it has all the complications that one could have imagined at the time. It took 44 years to be finished, sadly 34 years too late since the Queen was beheaded in the French Revolution. The watch is now at the Mayer museum, in L.A. and is worth 25 million Euros.

  • Patek Philippe “5016A”

Patek Philippe, the second most expensive and amazing watch
Patek Philippe 5016A was sold for 6 million Euros

The Only Watch auction series was launched by Patek Philippe 12 years ago. The top bid record is held by Patek Philippe 5016A, a one-only piece made especially for the auction in stainless steel with a blue enamel dial that was sold for 6.065 million Euros in 2015. Only Watch is a charity auction that has been taking place every two years since 2005. The proceeds benefit the Monaco Association against Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

  • Louis Moinet “Meteoris Collection”

Louis Moinet’s watch has a fragment of a meteorite

A collection of only 4 watches made by Louis Moinet, famous for holding the Guinness World record: “First Chronograph”. Each watch has a fragment of a meteorite: for example, the “Tourbillon Mars” has a 180 million-year-old piece of the planet Mars. Each watch is worth around 4 million Euros.

  • Franck Muller “Aeternitas Mega”

Frank Muller - most amazing watches
Frank Muller Master of Complication

Known as the “Master of Complications”, the ‘MEGA 4’ watch made by Franck Muller, features, among the many utilities, a piece of tourbillon on the dial and a 1000-year calendar. It is worth 2.050 million Euros.

There are many other luxury statement watches that are a bit more affordable but still, with incredible engineering complexity, craftsmanship and beautiful design.

Images courtesy of the brands and Wikimedia commons, NPGallery