The wristwatch has been around since the 16th century when the first watches were made. Since then, we’ve gone a long way. Watches have progressed significantly in terms of design, features, and operating principles over time.
Expensive mechanical watches are no longer merely for telling the time. They’re more like utilitarian jewelry that wealthy people buy as a hobby and investment.
We’ve compiled a list of the world’s fourteen most expensive watch brands to demonstrate what exclusivity and luxury actually mean. These brands are distinguished as premium watchmakers by their near-perfect craftsmanship, exceptional aesthetic sensitivity, and zeal for pushing limits.
Read more: What Are the Top 5 Most Expensive Yachts?
1. Patek Philippe
Six years later, he teamed up with master watchmaker Jean Adrienne Philippe to create pocket watches and clocks that received worldwide awards for their inventions and craftsmanship advancements.
Since then, the company has stood by its commitment to high-end technical precision. Patek Philippe’s Geneva workshops often produce high complexity and even grand complications that compete for the title of the world’s most intricate watch.
Every chiming watch created by the master watchmakers is personally listened to and approved (or disapproved) by Thierry Stern, CEO of the family-owned independent business.
Patek Philippe produced its own in-house Patek Philippe Seal because it did not believe the Geneva Seal standards were as excellent as its own.
Patek Philippe watches maintain their worth generation after generation, thanks to limited manufacturing and the brand’s policy of replacing outdated models with new ones. One 1940s perpetual calendar watch was recently resold at auction for about $11 million.
A new Patek Philippe watch costs around $30,000 and can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, or even a million dollars, depending on the item.
2. Vacheron Constantin
Vacheron Constantin is one of the most venerable brands on the market. It is the world’s oldest continuously functioning Swiss watch brand. The company has been known for producing some of the most intricate watches in the world since its foundation in 1755.
In fact, the firm only four years ago released the world’s most difficult watch (at the time), the Ref. 57260 pocket watch, which retailed for $8 million. It was called after the 260th anniversary of Vacheron Constantin and its 57 difficulties.
A mechanical movement with over 2,800 unique components is housed within this marvel. It took eight years to create, and two years to assemble, and it is covered by ten patents.
This demonstration of technical prowess alone demonstrates the company’s dedication to and enthusiasm for the field of Haute watchmaking and enormous complications.
While not all of Vacheron Constantin’s clocks are as intense, the company holds its watchmakers to the greatest standards in everything they manufacture.
While a modest Vacheron Constantin timepiece may be purchased for around $15,000, most retail for well over $50,000.
3. Piguet Audemars
Audemars Piguet is an independently owned watch company that was founded in 1875 in Le Brassus, in the Vallee de Joux, and is noted for its technological and aesthetic breakthroughs.
Audemars Piguet is perhaps best known for its Royal Oak collection (designed by Gerald Genta) and subsequent Royal Oak Offshore lines, but it creates high complications and grand complications in all of its collections, including the Jules Audemars line, Millenary, and the most recently unveiled Code 11:59 series.
It has also designed some of the most opulent Haute Joaillerie timepieces, which are three-dimensional works of art on the wrist.
Audemars Piguet, another brand that keeps its value (and even rises in value over time), has high watchmaking standards for even its most basic models. Everything is made in-house, and the company has hundreds of patents on its products.
Audemars Piguet is a pioneer in the fusion of tradition and imaginative mechanics, with the tagline “To break the rules, you must first master them.” This brand’s capacity to move fast and decisively, as well as constantly present cutting-edge products, stems from its independence.
While a modest Audemars Piguet watch may be found for around $20,000, the majority of them cost upwards of $50,000, with many going for considerably more.
4. Richard Mille
Richard Mille is a newcomer to the watch industry. Richard Mille founded his namesake company in 1999, and two years later, he showed his first timepiece to the world.
He’s recognized for creating three-dimensional, sculptural watches using the most cutting-edge materials available. Richard Mille, in fact, is constantly looking for new materials and composites to create the most cutting-edge watchcases.
Furthermore, the company creates some of the most cutting-edge, precise watch movements, typically with additional features and functionalities.
Richard Mille watches are equipped with a variety of water-resistant, anti-shock, and anti-magnetic components because brand ambassadors are required to wear them while playing sports (tennis, golf, racing, and sailing).
Internal pulleys and gimbals even stabilize the motions of some watches. All watches are produced in restricted quantities or due to the length of time, it takes to make them. The majority of Richard Mille clocks cost between $75,000 and several million dollars.
5. A. Lange & Sohne
A. Lange & Sohne, a German watchmaker, regularly produces high-quality timepieces with meticulous attention to detail. The company was started in 1845 by Ferdinand Adolph Lange in Glashütte, Germany.
During World War II, however, it was expropriated and nearly vanished. Walter Lange, F.A. Lange’s great-grandson, re-established the company after German reunification.
The company now has a new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility with a geothermal energy system, and it makes everything in-house, even its own hairsprings. A. Lange & Sohne has developed over 60 calibers and acquired dozens of patents since its first invention was awarded in 1992.
The brand not only creates technically superior complications and advances in the watchmaking industry, but it also does so with dependably stunning German-inspired designs and aesthetics.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the brand’s revival, and to commemorate the occasion, A. Lange & Sohne is launching a variety of limited-edition anniversary timepieces.
A. Lange & Sohne watches start at around $20,000 for a modest two-hand watch, although the majority sell for $50,000 or more.