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Top 35 Most Expensive Watches Ever Sold at Auction as of 2024

Original Paul Newman's Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Ref_ 6239 - one of the most expensive watches in the world ever sold at auction as of 2024


Table of Contents

Rare and collectible watch market in 2024


The rare and collectible watch market is due for a positive 2024. There are a number of factors at play here, including:



Additionally, a recent report from Christie’s auction house suggests the average price of a collectible watch sold at auction in 2023 was $51,300, up from $32,400 in 2018. Additionally, the team at the premier auction house says that the most popular models are from the 60s and 70s, and in particular, items with limited runs.

Speaking to fashion magazine Hypebeast, Paul Altieri, CEO of Bob’s Watches, had two interesting points to make about the watch investment market. Firstly, 95% of luxury watches are no longer in production. Secondly, pre-owned watches make up around 30% of the overall luxury watch market. 

Other experts are even more bullish. LuxeConsult, who are advisors to the Swiss watch industry, suggested in a recent industry report that the secondary market forms 50% of the luxury watch spending and that it’s also growing at a faster rate. Indeed, they suggest that the secondary market will hit a CAGR of 10% during 2024 and flatten out at around 12%. A clear case of demand far outstripping supply.


Do rare and collectible watches make good investments?


Luxury watches are treasured for a number of reasons. Firstly, just like a top-of-the-range motor vehicle, they are impressive from a mechanical or technical standpoint. Many of the collectors have a deep fascination and understanding of watch build and collecting is an appreciation of the art of watch making. 

Of course, similar to cars and other luxury items, a collectible watch is a status symbol. In part, that’s to do with their price and exclusivity, but taste is another dimension. Finally, a great watch is also part of fashion. For people who take pride in their appearance, an elegant watch can really set off an outfit.

However, while wearing a luxury timepiece is great, many of these items are so expensive that they should be kept in a safe and not be out there getting nicks and grazes or becoming a security concern. So, aside from the aesthetic appeal, can rare and collectible watches be a pure investment vehicle. The answer is a resounding yes!

The big hitters in the collectible watch space are famous brands like Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet. These stalwarts of the watch scene are among the most popular pieces to invest in because of their historical performance, especially when compared to traditional investments like stocks or bonds.

Per BCG Capital, we can look at the performance of this “big three” compared to the S&P500.


As you can see, investing in these brands has outperformed the market over the last five years. It’s also worth noting that independent watchmakers have also appreciated by 15% over the same period.

As you can see, investing in these brands has outperformed the market over the last five years. It’s also worth noting that independent watchmakers have also appreciated by 15% over the same period.

So, even if you had no interest in watches as a fashion or status symbol, you could invest in a luxury timepiece to realize returns. Ironically, as the data suggests, time is one thing that you need if you want to invest in this asset.

While the overall performance of the market is sound, it is volatile. However, as a Chrono24 watch collection report demonstrates, big returns are not uncommon. Their records are based on 1.3 worldwide customers who own at least 3 watches that are worth $200 or more each.

While their records suggest that some investors have experienced years with losses of up to 9%, these numbers must be taken in the context of overall gains of between 30% and 40%.


Watches set for a big 2024


With 2024 set to be a big year for the rare and collectible watch market, it’s time to share three tips for potential high performers. 

1. Patek Philippe Nautilus: 

Strong demand in recent years makes this style a fairly safe bet for the future.

2. Rolex Daytona:

A Daytona from the 60s or 70s is a good pick, especially pieces with exotic dial colors.

3. Audemars Piguet Royal

Oak: The always popular and iconic Royal Oaks are a good investment, especially limited-run editions from the 70s and 80s.

So, the Top 30 most expensive watches ever sold as of 2024 are...


1. Graff Diamonds Hallucination : $55 mil

1. If you are wondering what the most expensive watch in the world in 2024 is, “The Hallucination” is the most expensive watch ever sold. Made by Graff Diamonds, the most expensive wrist watch features 110 carats of diamonds in a variety of colors set in a platinum bracelet. It is said to be worth a whopping $55 million and is still considered to be the world's most expensive watch.



2. Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 6300A-010 : $31.1 mil

The most expensive watch ever sold at a watches auction is the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 6300A-010, which sold for $31.1 million US dollars in Geneva in November of 2019 at Christie’s. 

The world's most expensive watch – Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 6300A-010 'Only Watch'


3. Patek Philippe – Henry Graves Supercomplication : $24 mil

This mechanical pocket watch is regarded as one of the most complicated ever produced. The Henry Graves Supercomplication was a one-off piece commissioned from Patek Philippe by American banker Henry Graves Jr.

Graves commissioned the watch in 1925 specifically to outdo the Grande Pocketwatch commissioned from Vacheron Constantin by automotive magnate James Ward Packard. As such the Supercomplication was designed to be the most complicated watch ever made and contains more than 24 different functions including a perpetual calendar, sunrise and sunset times, a celestial map of New York, and Westminster Chimes.

This exquisite timepiece took three years to design and a further five years to make. When it was delivered in 1933 it cost Graves CHF 60,000 Swiss Francs ($15,000 USD). It proved to be a sound investment. The watch has been sold twice since then, first on December 2nd 1999 when it fetched a then-record $11,002,500 at Sotheby's New York sale.

And for a second time, one of the world’s most expensive watch as of 2024 went on sale at Sothebys Geneva on July 10th, 2014, when it set a new record of CHF 3,237,000 ($24 million USD), after selling for £7m 15 years ago. The Henry Graves Supercomplication, a pocket watch made by luxury watchmakers Patek Phillipe eighty years ago, may be out of the price range of most, but the high fee it commands illustrates the undying allure of vintage watches.on July 10th, 2014, when it set a, new record of CHF 3,237,000 ($24 million USD).

The list of celebrities who own vintage wristwatches is extensive, and further bolsters the glamour of these pieces; Cristiano Ronaldo, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Daniel Craig are all known to be watch-lovers. It is perhaps unsurprising that Daniel Craig especially should be a watch aficionado; his character James Bond’s part in establishing the Rolex as a fashion item stretches back as far as the 1960s.

Indeed, whether it is the fictitious secret agent’s doing or not, Rolex is by some stretch the most famous, expensive and most collected watch brand in the world as of 2024. Founded in 1905 in London as Wilsdorf & Davis, by Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis, the company would soon change its name to Rolex and establish itself at the forefront of the wristwatch revolution.

Prior to the First World War, wristwatches were less popular than the traditional pocket watch, but after the war, this all changed. Theories differ, but a popular one is that the use of wristwatches became widespread when pocket watches were found to be less convenient for soldiers in the trenches. Whatever the truth may be, by the mid-1920s pocket watches became yesterday’s news.

However, as the $24 million tag for the Patek Phillipe piece mentioned above shows, Rolex is not the only name highly valued by watch collectors for investment. Patek Phillipe was founded in 1852 in Geneva by watchmakers Antoni Patek and Adrien Phillipe, and throughout their formative years they were responsible for a great number of innovations in the watchmaking craft. The perpetual calendar, split seconds hand, chronograph, and minute repeater were all invented by the ground-breaking watchmakers.

As well as being responsible for various innovations in watchmaking, their timepieces have been incredibly desired items throughout the company’s history. Indeed, they have had a number of royal clients, most notably Queen Victoria who is known to have owned at least two Patek Phillipe watches in her life. King Christian IX of Denmark, King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy, and Sultan Hussein Kamel of Egypt were also clientele of the company in the 19th and 20th centuries.

So as we can see, it is not just modern celebrities who are captivated by the allure of high-end watches. Vacheron Constantin – a Swiss watchmaker – is famed in part for Napoleon Bonaparte’s affinity for their products. US President Harry Truman also owned one. All of this just goes to show that high-quality watches have always been a highly desired item, and passion for them hasn’t abated over time; if anything their popularity has increased.

The pawnbroking team for fine watches at New Bond Street Pawnbrokers is very passionate about the collection of fine and vintage timepieces, and we’ve actually seen the price of them increase over the years.

4. Rolex – Paul Newman Daytona Ref. 6239 : $17.75 mil

In 2017 I predicted that the Paul Newman Rolex Daytona would break the world record sale price for a Rolex watch; previously held by the Bao Dai, which sold for $5m earlier that year. I predicted that it would comfortably beat that, and possibly even nudge over the $10m mark. On the day, the watch sold for $17.75m, meaning that it not only more than tripled the record sale price for a Rolex watch, but it also became the most expensive wristwatch in history as of 2024. The previous record was set by a Patek Philippe Ref. 1518 in November 2016.

So how did Paul Newman’s racing watch become the most expensive wristwatch of all time? Here, I break down the full story of how it all happened, from the watch’s origins to its stunning record-breaking sale.

The watch

paul newman rolex - the costliest Rolex watch ever produced by the brand

The watch is a Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, built in 1968 with the reference number 6239. Daytonas with a four-digit reference number are by far the most valuable, as this indicates that the watch in question was built between 1961 and 1987.

Newer pieces have a longer model number. Even without the celebrity provenance attached to Paul Newman’s watch, Daytonas with a four-digit reference number will typically sell for tens – or even hundreds - of thousands of pounds.

Like all Rolex Daytona models, it was designed with racing drivers in mind, with a number of features that allow racing drivers to accurately record their laps, and map out their race tactics. Newman was famously a racing enthusiast, so it’s no surprise that he was drawn to the Daytona.

However, it’s important to note that – at the time – the Daytona was not a popular model. It was a niche watch for a niche group of enthusiasts and only became popular once Newman started being pictured wearing one. Today, it is one of Rolex’s most popular models.

The backstory

Paul Newman's famous rolex celebrity watch

The story of this magnificent watch begins in 1968, when Joanne Woodward - Paul Newman’s wife - walked into Tiffany & Co. on Fifth Avenue, New York City. She wanted to pick up a present for her husband who had recently started racing cars. She decided on a Rolex Daytona, and had the back of it engraved with the words ‘Drive Carefully Me,’ which may be a reference to Newman’s motorcycle accident in 1965.

The watch would go on to be Newman’s favorite, and he wore it most days for the next 16 years. He wore the watch in photo shoots for a number of magazines in the early 1980s, which built the mystique of the watch, as it went missing not long after the shoots took place. Newman’s wife bought him a new Daytona in 1984 – which he supposedly wore every day until his death in 2008 – and the old one was never seen again.

Many watch enthusiasts assumed that the watch would never be found, considering it a holy grail piece; highly desirable but ultimately unattainable. Conspiracy theories about the whereabouts of the watch all proved to be fantasy, however, when the truth came out earlier this year.

In June 2017, James Cox, the ex-boyfriend of Newman’s daughter Nell revealed that he had the watch, and was intending to put it up for sale. Paul Newman had given Cox the watch as a gift in 1984 as repayment for Cox helping with some DIY work around the house.

Sentimental value aside, Cox had no clue about the true value of the watch and wore it regularly over the following decade. It was only when a watch enthusiast came up to him at a business conference in the 1990s, excitedly exclaiming that he was wearing Paul Newman’s watch, that Cox started to understand that the watch may have some monetary value.

He originally intended to keep it, but in the end he decided to jointly sell it with Nell Newman, and announced that a proportion of the proceeds would go to charity.

The sale

paul newman rolex sale at auction

The watch was up for auction as part of a luxury watch sale at Phillips on Park Avenue on October 26th, at 6pm sharp. As is often the case in big sales like this, bidders headed down early. Whether they were there so early to soak up the atmosphere of the occasion, or simply because they feared being late, by 5:30pm, the room was completely packed out. There were 16 people in the room who had been approved to bid on the Newman, and 16 phone bidders calling in from around the world.

At 6pm, Aurel Bacs – the Phillips watch expert who has worked for every major auction house in the world – took the stand. Once the opening lots were out of the way, attention turned to Lot number 8 – the Paul Newman. The bidding started with an absentee bid of $1m that had been lodged earlier in the day. Then, almost immediately, a phone bid came in for $10m. After two bids, the Newman confirmed itself in the record books as the most expensive Rolex of all time as of 2024.

Following this assertive bid, all of the bidders in the room were priced out, and so it was left to the phone bidders to duke it out for the most expensive Rolex of all time. Before long, the bidding sailed beyond the $11m paid for the Patek Philippe Ref. 1518 in November 2016, and eventually, the hammer came down at $15.5m, which rose to $17.75m once the buyer’s premium was added.

Why did it cost so much?

paul newman's priciest rolex in a race car

Now that the Newman has entered the history books, it’s worth considering why it sold for such a high price. The two most important reasons are the provenance and the rarity of the piece.

In the luxury market, provenance is everything, and having a bit of star power behind the piece can send its value into the stratosphere. The fact that Paul Newman wore this watch near enough daily for a period of 16 years is the biggest factor in its high price.

All the scratches, dings, and imperfections on the watch were made by Newman himself, as he went around the track, walked down the red carpet, or worked on the set of a film. This particular characteristic is one that is completely unique to this watch, and played a huge role in its high sale price.

Rarity – perceived or real – can have a huge impact on the sale price of an item. The Newman’s three-decade disappearance from the limelight built up an aura around the watch as being unattainable.

Once it became clear that it was still in existence, and available to buy, thirty years of this aura still lingered. I’m absolutely certain that the watch would not have sold for the price that it did if we’d known that James Cox had it sat in his house all these years.

All in all, the Newman is now a piece of history, and I must say I’m a bit jealous of the lucky buyer who got their hands on it. I truly hope they enjoy it. Now, we have to think, what watch on earth could possibly sell for a higher amount? We could be waiting for the record to be broken again for a long time.

The original ‘Daytona’ Ref 6239 was created by Rolex in 1962 to celebrate becoming the official timekeeper of the Daytona International Speedway. The watch was a manual-wind chronograph Rolex Calibre 727, in a stainless steel Oyster case and bracelet.

Original Ref 6239 watches are much sought after by collectors due to the small numbers produced. But one Ref 6239 is more sought after than any other. The Exotic Dial version, so called because it has a rare dual tone dial, was nicknamed the Paul Newman because the film star owned one in the 1970s.

The actual watch Newman owned was thought to have been lost, but it reappeared in October 2017 when it was the star lot of Philips Auctioneers “Winning Icons” sale in New York. The lot sold for a record $17.75 million making it the most expensive wristwatch ever sold at auction. This watch highlights how rarity and provenance greatly influence a watch's value.

5. Patek Philippe – Stainless Steel 1948 Ref. 1518 : $9.7 mil

Released in 1941 the Patek Philippe Ref. 1518 was the world's first perpetual calendar chronograph with moon phase wristwatch. That in itself would make this a desirable collector's piece. But this particular model was released at the height of WWII so it didn’t sell in large numbers.

Three versions of the Ref. 1518 were produced with yellow gold, rose gold and stainless steel cases. All three models are desirable, but the stainless steel version is the most sought after by collectors, due to the fact that only four are thought to exist.

When a 1943 example came up for auction in 2016, collectors were keen to get a hold of this rarest of rare wristwatches. The watch was sold by Phillips Bacs & Russo in Geneva with the sale billed as a once in a lifetime event. Bidding started at CHF 3 million ($3 million USD) and lasted just over ten minutes. The hammer finally came down at CHF 9.6 million ($9.7 million USD), a record for a wristwatch at the time.


Made in 1953, Patek Philippe “L’heure Bleue” is one of just seven worldwide. With a plush  rose-gold case and gorgeous blue enamel dial, this rare timepiece features both the signatures of Patek Philippe and the prestigious Gobbi Milano retailer. 

The world-time function, designed by the legendary watchmaster Louis Cottier, gives the piece an air of retro futuristic sophistication, while the outer ring is enammeled with the names of 40 major cities, allowing quick reference to time zones across the globe.

The 18K pink rose watch was put to auction in Christie’s Hong Kong. Interestingly, the original strap was shown on the lot, but it was not for sale because it was made from the skin on an endangered animal. 

The watch was so rare adnd beautiful that it was quickly bought for a staggering $8.967 million. It had last been seen in 2010, when it was sold from a private lots by Christie’s in Geneva. Perhaps the biggest reason for the high prices is because the watch was rarely used, with Christies noting “its exclusivity and desirability is further enhanced by its spectacular all original condition, without any signs of restoration or cosmetic enhancement.”



The next entry on our list is another Patek Phillippe two crown world time piece. This time, the timepiece was sold by Phillip’s Geneva for around $7.682 million. It also holds the record for the most expensive watch ever sold at auction that was made from yellow gold.

The watch has the nicknamed of the “Silk Road” owing to its cloisonné dial that depicts Eurasia. While the Patek Philippe ref.2523 watches are very rate, this particular version was unknown before it came to market. Experts suggest there are less than 25 of the 2523 model every made; with three of this kind with the Eurasian ​​cloisonné dial.

Before being bought for $7.682 million in 2021, the last time an auction had seen this style of watch was in 2002. Again, watchmaker extrodainer Louis Cottier is involved with the creation of this special piece, with legend having it that he performed the final assembly of the watch. Indeed, the enamal disk bears the signature “LC.”

Beautiful, complex, and still the height of style, this marvelous piece from 1953 is, no pun intended, pretty timeless.  


8. Patek Philippe – Stainless Steel 2015 Ref. 5016A-010 : $7.4 mil

The Patek Philippe Ref. 5016A-010 is one of the most complicated wristwatches ever produced. It features a hand-wound Caliber RT O27 PSQR movement with a one-minute tourbillon, minute repeater and perpetual calendar. The movement itself contains 506 parts each of which are hand finished by the craftsmen at Patek.

The example here was a unique stainless steel model Ref 5016A-010 with a blue lacquered dial and hand-stitched alligator leather strap. This exclusive timepiece was put up for auction by Patek Philippe at the biannual 2015 Only Watch charity auction in Geneva.

Hosted by Phillips Auctioneers, the watch was billed as “one of the great classics of the Patek Philippe wrist Grand Complications” and came with an estimate of CHF 700,000 - 900,000. When the hammer finally came down, the price had reached an incredible CHF 7.3 million ($7.4 million).

The Patek Philippe Ref. 5016A-010 is one of the most complicated and expensive wristwatches ever produced.


This Patek Philippe Nautilus in Tiffany Blue was released in late 2021. With only 170 pieces on the market, the collaboration has been a big hit. However, while the watch retailed at $52,000, the first piece went to auction and fetched an incriedlbe $6.5 million. 

While the iconic Tiffany blue might not be to all watch enthusiasts tastes, it is highly coveted by celebrities and watch collectors. What’s more, it also has an interesting auction story to boot. 

Famous watch collector Zach Lu was aggressively bidding for the watch in person. However, when the auction crossed the $5 million threshold he gave up, outbidded by an online buyer and then a New York buyer. In the end, the New York buyer was unable to come up with the money, so Zach Lu was offered the piece six weeks later, and he did not let it get away this time.

The other interesting thing to note about the sale of the watch was that all proceeds went to the Nature Conservatory. Finally, some experts have suggested that because the watch was exclusively sold in the US, collectors around the world took extra interest in the piece, which contributed to it hitting over $6 million by final sale.


10. Patek Philippe – Titanium 2017 Ref. 5208T-010 : $6.3 mil

Patek always pushes the boat out for the bi-annual Only Watch charity auction. Its timepieces are usually the highlight of the event and often receive the highest prices. After setting the record at the 2015 event (see Ref. 5016A-010 above), Patek needed to come up with something special.

The Patek Philippe Ref. 5028 was special indeed. Complete with an automatic, chronograph, minute repeater and instantaneous perpetual Calendar. This watch represents the very best of Patek Philippe. But what makes this watch truly special is that it came with a titanium case. Titanium is rarely used by Patek, and this example is the only titanium version of the Ref. 5208 ever made.

The watch had an estimate of CHF 900,000-1,100,000 ($931,000-1,137,700) but it was sure to reach more than that. The hammer finally fell at CHF 6.2 million ($6.3 million), the second highest amount ever achieved at the bi-annual event. Proceeds from the auction went to the Monaco Association against Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, which funds research into the muscular degenerative disorder.

11. Patek Philippe – Gold Chronograph Ref. 1527 : $6.3 mil

Auctioned by Christies Geneva in May 2010, this Patek Philippe 18K gold Chronograph was billed as a “historically important wristwatch”. Manufactured in 1943, Ref. 1527 features a calibre 13 movement with perpetual calendar, date and moon phase. The watch is significant because it serves as a forerunner to some of Patek's most iconic watches, such as the Ref. 5270.

As with most watches produced during WWII, Ref 1527 sold in low numbers. This particular example is thought to be one of only two Ref. 1527 complications produced, with the other being a non-chronograph version. As a result, the competition was fierce when it came up for auction.

The estimate was set at CHF 1.5-2.5 million ($ 1.55-2.6 million). When the hammer came down, the price had reached CHF 6.259 million ($6.3 million), making it the most expensive wristwatch sold at auction at the time.


12. Rolex – Daytona Unicorn Ref. 6265 : $6 mil

The Rolex Daytona Ref. 6265 is not a particularly rare watch. Manufactured between 1970 and 1988, it comes with a 37mm stainless steel Oyster case containing a 727 manual winding calibre. A desirable watch by all means, but not of much interest to collectors. But this was no ordinary Ref. 6265.

What makes this example unique is that it is made with a white gold case and black sigma dial. Nicknamed the “Unicorn”, this watch was ordered from the factory in 1970 and delivered in 1971 to a German retailer. It is thought to be the only example of a Ref. 6265 made in white gold making it truly unique and ultra-desirable.

The watch came up for auction at Phillips Daytona Ultimatum Sale in March 2018. It was expected to sell for more than CHF 3 million. When the hammer came down, the price had reached an astonishing CHF 5.937 million ($6 million). Proceeds from the sale went to benefit Children Action which helps to support children across the developing world.


This ultra-rare perpetual calendar chronograph is still one of the most expensive watches ever sold as of 2024 after fetching $5.7m at auction in 2010. The watch was made in 1943, but it was virtually unknown until it was sold at auction in 1990. A glorious piece, replete with gold Arabic numerals.

The Patek Philippe Gold Chronograph Ref. 1527 is widely considered an iconic masterpiece. Its rarity forms part of its appeal: it’s the only known version of the watch in yellow gold. The one-off nature of the timepiece, when combined with its incredible craftsmanship and Geneva seal, explains its ability to fetch such a lofty price at auction. 

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the watch is that many of its details were obscured by history. In fact, it was barely known to exist outside of a very select circle of horology enthusiasts. As the watch moved from private ownership and into the public eye, it was not just great news for the lucky buyer but the entire watch-loving community, as they got to see one of the greatest examples of both Patek Philippe and Swiss craftsmanship in general.



Patek Philippe timepieces continue to dominate the list of the most expensive watches ever sold as of 2024. The brand's association with exacting standards and peerless workmanship only partly explains the phenomenon. The biggest reason why particular watches fetch such huge figures is due to their occasional production of super-rare and limited watches, such as this piece with rose gold with a guilloché dial, which is only of only four in existence.

The Patek Philippe Ref. 2523/1 went to auction in Geneva in November 2020. Made in 1953, the watch features a two-crown system. Funnily, these two-crown systems didn’t exactly take off in their day, which meant production of the 2523 was limited enough. However, this piece also features an intricate guilloché pattern that gives it an incredible and distinctive aesthetic. 

The watch in question was also in superb condition with an unspoiled case, which considerably bumped the appeal for investors. As mentioned above, it is only one of four known examples of the watch, with one of the others given pride of place in the Patek Philippe Museum. Watches like this beauty don’t come up every day, which is why it was able to fetch an eye-watering sum of $5.53 million.


15. Rolex Paul Newman Big Red Daytona: $5.4 mil

The Rolex Paul Newman Big Red Daytona sold for 5.4 million US dollars in New York in December of 2020 at Phillips.

La Rolex Daytona 6263 _Big Red_ de Paul Newman mise en vente


The next piece is also from a Swiss watchmaking master. However, this time, it’s a more contemporary piece that was made in 1992. The brain behind this piece is Philippe Dufour, who is known as a genius in watch-collecting circles. 

The remarkable thing about this watch, grande et petite sonnerie, is that it is the first wristwatch to strike the time without intervention from the wearer. While this technology has been around since the 15th century, no watchmaker before Dufour was able to perform this mechanical feat at this scale.

So, the watch is a mechanical marvel. However, it’s also deeply beautiful. The polished finish is pristine, the Roman numerals are classy, and the movement is incredible. When the watch came to auction at Phillips Geneva, it was sold for $5.21 million to a collector in Singapore. 

The Grande et Petite Sonnerie no.1 is the most expensive watch ever sold at auction as of 2024 that was made by an independent watchmaker.


17. Rolex – Bao Dai Ref. 6062 : $5.06 mil

The Rolex – Bao Dai Ref. 6062 Triple Calendar Moonphase is somewhat of a legend in watch collector circles - not only because this watch is the only known version of Ref. 6062, with a black dial and baguette diamonds, but also because it was once owned by Bao Dai, the last Emperor of Vietnam.

That imperialistic provenance and rarity make Bao Dai one of the world's most desirable collector pieces. The watch has been sold at auction twice in the past 20 years, breaking the record achieved by a Rolex each time. The first sale in 2002 achieved a then-record $235,000, and again in 2017 when it beat its own record, achieving a price of $5,060,427. That price has since been surpassed by the Paul Newman Rolex Daytona Ref. 6239.

18. Patek Philippe – Yellow Gold Calibre 89 : $5.042 mil

For more than a quarter of a century, the Patek Philippe Calibre 89 was regarded as the world’s most complicated watch. While it may have lost that crown in 2015 to the Vacheron Constantin Ref. 57260. The Calibre 89 is still the most complicated watch Patek has ever made and that makes it a very special watch indeed.

Released in 1989 to celebrate Patek’s 150th anniversary, just four Calibre 89’s were produced. One each in White Gold, Pink Gold, Yellow Gold and Platinum. The watch featured here is the Yellow Gold version which came up for auction in Geneva on November 14th, 2009.

The watch sold for CHF 5,120,000 ($5,042,000 USD) with the buyer identified as renowned Japanese Patek and Ferrari collector, Yoshiho Matsuda. The watch remains in his collection to this day, although it has come up for sale a couple of times but failed to reach its reserve, set at $11 million dollars.

19. Patek Philippe – White Gold Calibre 89: $5.03 mil

Only the Calibre 89 could feature in this list twice. This time the watch in question is the white gold version which was produced along with the others in 1989 to celebrate Pateks 150th anniversary. It features a white gold case, with Calibre 89 movement containing 1,278 components.

Like all Calibre 89s, this watch features 33 complications including a hidden one-minute tourbillon, sunrise and sunset times, world time for 125 cities, leap year, equinox, solstice, lunar orbit and star chart. There is also a minute repeater, thermometer, barometer, hygrometer, altimeter and compass.

The watch came up for sale at auction on April 24th, 2004 in Geneva where it was sold to a private collector for CHF 6,603,500 ($5,003,000 USD). Whoever bought it must be pleased with it, because it has not come back on the market since.

20. George Daniels Yellow Gold Space Traveller's I : $4.6 mil

The George Daniels Yellow Gold Space Traveller’s I sold for $4.6 million US dollars in London in July of 2019 at Sotheby’s. 


21. Patek Philippe Henry Graves Minute Repeater: $4.5 mil

The Patek Philippe Henry Graves Minute Repeater sold for $4.5 million US dollars in Geneva in November of 2019 at Christie’s. 

5 minutes with Henry Graves Jr_’s - pricey gold Patek Philippe minute repeating wristwatch sold at Christie's

22. Patek Philippe Jean-Claude Biver Pink Gold : $3.6 mil

The Patek Philippe Jean-Claude Biver Pink Gold sold for $3.6 million US dollars in Geneva in June of 2020 at Phillips.

PATEK PHILIPPE JEAN-CLAUDE BIVER PINK GOLD - yet another super expensive watch from Patek Phillipe.

23. Rolex Daytona Lapis Lazuli Platinum : $3.2 mil

The Rolex Daytona Lapis Lazuli Platinum sold for $3.2 million US dollars in Hong Kong in July of 2020 at Sotheby’s. 

The Rolex Daytona Lapis Lazuli Platinum sold for .2 million US dollars in Hong Kong in July of 2020 at Sotheby’s. 

Source: https://www.hodinkee.com/articles/rare-rolex-daytona-fetches-dollar327-million-at-sothebys-hong-kong-auction

24. Urwerk Atomic Master Clock & Titanium Wristwatch : $2.9 mil

The Urwerk Atomic Master Clock & Titanium Wristwatch sold for $2.9 million US dollars in New York in December of 2019 at Phillips.

25. Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Chronograph ref. 2499 Luminous :$2.98 mil

Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Chronograph ref. 2499 Luminous - one of teh highest price tags for a Patek Phillipe

image credit: Sotheby's

The Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Chronograph ref. 2499 Luminous is probably the most complicated watch ever to exist. It is also among Patek Philippe's most expensive watches sold as of 2024.

This watch is the only known sample of the second series ref 2499 with a luminous dial. Moreover, only five of the 349 examples of reference 2499 with bright dials exist, making it rare.

In April 2022, this expensive timepiece was sold for $2.98m at Sotheby's in an auction.


26. Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Chronograph ref. 1518 'Pink on Pink' : $2.9 mil

Closing the list of the most expensive watches in the world sold in 2024 is the Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Chronograph ref. 1518 'Pink on Pink' from a Nevadan collector. The timepiece sold for $2.9m at Sotheby's.


27. Patek Philippe Two-Crown Worldtime with Guilloché Gold Dial : $2.9 mil

The Patek Philippe Two-Crown Worldtime with Guillouché Gold Dial sold for $2.9 million US dollars in Geneva in November of 2021 at Christie’s. 

The Patek Philippe Two-Crown Worldtime with Guillouché Gold Dial sold for .9 million US dollars in Geneva in November of 2021 at Christie’s. 

Source: https://www.christies.com/en/lot/lot-6338513


28. Jehan Cremsdorff Gold, Enamel, and Diamond-set Verge Watch : $2.7 mil

The Jehan Cremsdorff Gold, Enamel, and Diamond-set Verge Watch sold for $2.7 million US dollars in London in July of 2019 at Sotheby’s.

The Jehan Cremsdorff Gold, Enamel, and Diamond-set Verge Watch sold for .7 million US dollars in London in July of 2019 at Sotheby’s.

29. Patek Philippe Jean-Claude Biver Yellow Gold : $2.7 mil

The Patek Philippe Jean-Claude Biver Yellow Gold Two-Crown Worldtime with Guillouché Gold Dial sold for $2.7 million US dollars in Geneva in June of 2020 at Phillips. 

30. Patek Philippe ref 5217 Grand Complication: $2.28m

Patek Philippe Reference 5217 |

Starting our list with a Patek Philippe, one of the most expensive watches in the world sold in 2024 is the Patek Philippe ref 5217 Grand Complication.

It boasts several highly coveted complexities, including a minute repeater, perpetual calendar, and a tourbillon. The watch's pedigree is further enhanced by an instantaneous perpetual calendar, which enables its calendar to operate at once.

This watch sold for $2.28m at Sotheby's.

31. Rolex ref. 6062 Pink Gold Moonphase: $2.2 mil

The Rolex ref. 6062 Pink Gold Moonphase is among the most expensive Rolex watches ever sold. Most people are yearning to own this rare piece because it's one of the very few intricate Rolex watches ever made for a brief period in the 1950s.

The one thing people find fascinating is how a complex caliber can fit inside Rolex's iconic Oyster casing – the combination of a sturdy waterproof shell and moon phase represents Rolex at its most elegant and sporty.

Monaco Legends sold this watch at $2.2m in April 2022.

32. Gerald Genta's Personal Royal Oak: $2.1 mil

Gerald Genta's Personal Royal Oak is one of the most expensive watches for men in the world sold in 2022 that will go down in history as one of the best works of Karl Lagerfeld. To crown his achievement, Gerald Genta's Personal Royal Oak is possibly the only watch that can fit the definition of a sculpture.

The gold bezel on Genta's Royal Oak, the first stainless steel 5402 with a gold bezel, adds intrigue to the watch.

This timepiece was sold for $2.1m at Sotheby's.

33. Cartier London Crash : $1.7 mil

This is one of the world's most beautiful watches. The discovery of an original London Crash model by online auctioneer Loupe in the 1960s and 1970s was exciting because only a handful are known.

Moreover, it has characteristics dating to 1967, making it probably one of the very earliest Crashes ever.

In May 2022, the Cartier London Crash was put up for auction and was sold at $1.7m by Loupe This.

34. Rolex Daytona ref. 6239 'Crazy Doctor' : $1.7mil

The only known 6239 with a pulsation dial is the Rolex Daytona reference 6239. Renowned collector Eric Clapton originally purchased this watch but later sold it as part of an auction in 2003.

Collectors adore the classic Rolex Daytona. Moreover, Rolex is among the 2024 most expensive watch brands. 

Therefore, it is unsurprising that this item sold at $1.7m at an auction in Geneva Philips.

35. Patek Philippe ref. 1503 ‘Wiesenthal’ : $1.36 mil

Patek Philippe ref. 1503 ‘Wiesenthal’

image credit: https://www.phillips.com/detail/patek-philippe/CH080122/212/zh


Another most expensive timepiece on this list is the Patek Philippe ref. 1503 'Wiesenthal.’ The watch is known as "the Wiesenthal" since Simon Wiesenthal, a Holocaust survivor and proponent of human rights, once had it.

The Wiesenthal is one of just two examples of the reference 1503 with Breguet numerals and a black lacquered dial, making it the most elusive and possibly the most beautiful model. This further highlights the reference's outstanding rarity, given that it was only used from 1941 to 1944. 

The Wiesenthal sold at $1.36m in Geneva.


To quickly sum up the 5 most expensive watches in the world as of 2024, you can also watch our short video below:


If you have a fine watch and would like to have it appraised, contact our pawn shop today. Our appraisal team have more than 60 years of experience valuing rare and unusual timepieces from all the leading watch houses, including A. Lange & Sohne, Breguet, Breitling, Bulgari, Cartier, Chopard, Harry Winston, Hublot, IWC, Jaeger LeCoultre, Omega, Panerai, Piaget, Richard Mille, Roger Dubuis, Tiffany, Ulysse Nardin, Urwerk, Vacheron Constantin, Van Cleef & Arpels, Audemars Piguet, Graff, Patek Philippe, and Rolex.

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