There are watches meant for sport, there are legacy watches meant to be passed down through generations, and then there are watches meant to inspire nothing but pure jealousy and lust. These luxury watches differ from others by virtue of unprecedented complication and the price that goes along with it. And real luxury watches are not appreciated by the vast majority of people that see them on the street but rather by a calling card for those true connoisseurs.
This list will give you 10 of the very best and most coveted luxury watches on Earth.
No.10 Richard Mille RM027 Rafael Nadal
Does it make sense for a watch to feature a tourbillon and cost $525,000 if it was designed to be worn while playing tennis? Absolutely not, but that’s part of the charm of the RM027. This watch weighs less than 20 grams and was actually sculpted to Rafael Nadal’s wrist and game so that he could wear it mid-match. The watch is so light that Richard Mille was forced to use plastic instead of glass for the crystal -- because using sapphire would have doubled the weight of the entire watch. Only 50 RM027s will see the light of day, and even at a half a million dollars, they are likely all accounted for.
No.9 Breguet La Tradition Fusee Tourbillon
Breguet is known as the master of the tourbillon, and La Tradition Fusee is one of the most innovative models. It features a silicon balance wheel that is practically impervious to such annoying things as gravity, and uses a chain and fusee transmission system rarely found in wristwatches. Couple all that with the effortlessly chic Breguet name, and you have a seriously fawn-worthy watch
No.8 Thomas Prescher Flying Triple Axis Tourbillon
Handmade by one of the world’s greatest-living independent watchmaker, the Flying Triple Axis Tourbillon is nothing short of poetry in motion. To see the tourbillon rotate on not one or two but actually three separate axes is breathtaking. Each piece is custom built to the owner’s specifications and you will not find a Thomas Prescher Flying Triple Axis Tourbillon in any store in the United States. This is a watch that only those in the know know about. And in this case, knowing is all the battle.
No.7 Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Grande Complication
The Grande Complication from Audemars Piguet takes the classic and sporty Royal Oak case and puts it around one of the most incredible pieces of mechanical craftsmanship in the world. The in-house AP movement features not only a minute repeater, which tells the time by the hitting of a cathedral gong inside the case, but also a perpetual calendar that tracks the time, date, month, year, and moon phase for over 100 years without having to be reset.
No.6 Urwerk CC1 King Cobra
Modeled after an early Patek Philippe prototype that never made it to production, the CC1 King Cobra closely resembles the dashboard of an old American automobile. It features completely linear gauges that display the hour and minute, and the finishing of this watch is world class. While Urwerk’s other watches may get a lot of attention, the CC1 is a true luxury watch.
No.5 MB&F HM3 Frog
Easily the most playful of the luxury watches, MB&F’s HM3 Frog variant takes an already interesting and complicated watch and makes it even more so. Called the frog because of the two large crystal and aluminum domes that protrude from the case like an amphibian’s eyes from the water, this magnificent piece of haute horology is perhaps the most buzzed about watch on the planet right now. The best part about the Frog is that most people won’t even know it’s a watch just by looking at it, and explaining what makes it so great is half the fun.
No.4 Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon
The name Patek Philippe is synonymous with luxury watches, and at the pinnacle of the Patek range is the Sky Moon Tourbillon. The Sky Moon is so rare and valuable that there is no estimated retail price, and only three are produced each year. Like the Enzo Ferrari, each owner must be a longtime and influential client of the company before securing one of these astronomical timepieces for his own collection. When one of these uber-complicated watches does come up for sale, they usually sell for around $1.3 million. If that isn’t luxury, what is?
No.3 A. Lange & Sohne Tourbograph "
Pour Le Mérite"Quickly gaining a reputation as one of the world’s preeminent watch manufacturers, even on par with Patek Philippe, is A. Lange & Sohne. The limited Tourbograph features an incredible A. Lange tourbillon coupled with a split-second chronograph capable of measuring one-sixteenth of a second. Like the Breguet above, it uses a fusee and chain transmission, and in 2006, the Tourbograph won the Special Jury Prize at the Watchmaking Grand Prix.
No.2 Maitres Du Temps Chapter One
What do you get when three of the greatest living watchmakers get together to produce one very special timepiece together? The answer is the Chapter One, from Maitres du Temps. This $395,000 timepiece is the work of Christophe Claret, Roger DuBuis and Peter Speake-Marin, and it is hailed as one of the most impressive timepieces to have been built in the last decade. There are some slight variations on the Chapter One, including one with a round case, but the original is no less special -- and certainly no less luxurious.
No.1 Jean Dunand Palace
The talk of last year's BaselWorld was the Palace by Jean Dunand. The Palace was inspired by a handful of global landscapes, structures and even a raceway or two to create one of the most complicated and impressive timepieces in the world. It features a flying tourbillon at the heart of the timepiece, and even the chain that drives it is designed to look like that of one on a vintage motorcycle. This eclectic and amazing watch can also be customized to your every whim. The Jean Dunand Palace is as impressive and luxurious as a timepiece can get.
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