Million Dollar Timepieces – From Whom And For How Much?
What can a million dollars get you in the world of horology? And why bother?
Although most people will never own or purchase a watch whose price tag exceeds S$1million, this list that we’ve constructed is no exercise in futility. What a brand chooses to offer when the sky’s the limit often hints at its underlying approach to watchmaking. Of course, the watches featured here are only indicative – for each brand, alternative choices usually exist.
Have a look, and leave a comment to let us know what piques your interest. We are curious to find out.
The diamond decked Self-winding Royal Oak Offshore might be just what you need to add a little sparkle to your life. 590 baguette-cut diamonds totalling 55.75 carats have been set into the case and bracelet, including the dial which mirrors the brand’s signature Grand Tapisserie motif. If you’re worried about having the watch mistaken for lady’s bling, set your mind at ease – the 42mm case will clear any doubt for the curious onlooker.
(White gold S$1,819,800)
Breguet’s entry in this list comes carpeted with diamonds, including a reimagining of its Clou de Paris pattern on the dial. According to Breguet, diamonds’ hardness and purity are ideal for transmitting vibrations, in this case those coming from the minute repeater complication within the watch. Flip the timepiece around and you’ll see through a movement with musically themed engravings through the sapphire caseback. Whoever said that music’s just for the ears?
(White gold S$1,138,000)
Look beyond its precious materials, double tourbillon and Poinçon de Genève, and see this watch for what it is: a work of art camouflaged as a timepiece. The dial’s tiger and its background are separately layered mosaics consisting of four different types of stones that number over 500 pieces, with over 70 hours spent to put them together. We are very, very partial to Cartier’s take on what a million plus dollars can get you for a luxury timepiece.
The “Master of Complications” does not disappoint with its entry here. The triple axis tourbillion pictured has three frames that take sixty, eight and one minute to go through a revolution respectively – thus exhausting all the possible positional permutations to negate gravity’s effects. Throw a 10-day power reserve into the mix and finish off with a perpetual calendar, 24-hour display and moon phase display and you have a delightfully busy dial, with 468 components working underneath it.
(Rose gold S$1,926,086)
Like a few of its contemporaries featured here, Girard-Perregaux’s million-dollar watch in this line-up comes replete with diamonds. The manufacture, however, is determined to put its own twist on the formula and has succeeded brilliantly, if you’d pardon the pun. With the Cat’s Eye Small Second as its base, nearly 50 carats of emerald-cut diamonds were used to pave this timepiece to create a sunburst pattern radiating from the offset small second dial.
(White gold S$1,612,500)
Some very interesting things happen when price is no object. For Greubel Forsey, a million dollars gets you four tourbillons squeezed into a single watch. Arranged in pairs, the tourbillons are linked via a spherical differential that evens out the timekeeping discrepancies between them, thus improving accuracy. What’s perhaps even more interesting is how this marvel isn’t visible from the dial, with the only mention of it on the differential sub-dial’s description.
Listing out the myriad of features and complications the Portuguese Sidérale Scafusia is chock-full of will just not do, as this timepiece is more than its technical attributes. Instead, consider this: every single watch is a project unique to its owner, as the specific location given by the client will affect the watch’s astronomical complications, from the charts depicted on the caseback down to the individual mechanical parts, which need to be custom manufactured before assembly and adjustments.
(Case material specified by customer ~S$1,000,000)
You wouldn’t attract too many furtive glances at your wrist if this watch were on it. Then again, attention probably isn’t a priority if you had chosen this timepiece. The Calibre PF351 movement powers a tourbillon and perpetual calendar, plainly visible on the white dial done using Grand Feu enamelling. The surprise lies in the minute repeater which is activated by pivoting a knurled bezel integrated into the case – an upper echelon complication hidden in plain sight.
(Rose gold S$1,094,800)
The white and blue motifs on this watch is obvious enough. What is less immediately apparent is how it manages to juggle the demands on its 50-hour power reserve. In addition to a tourbillon and date complication, the timepiece sounds the hour automatically and has an ever ready minute repeater that plays the Westminster chime on four notes. Combined with the openworked movement done in blue-tinged sapphire crystal, you have here a watch that sparkles both visually and sonically.
(White gold S$1,170,000)
In a nod to “secret” watches that were in vogue in the 19th century, Vacheron Constantin’s timepiece here conceals its dial beneath a diamond-paved cover. The manual-winding Calibre 1005 here helps to maintain discretion by keeping its crown hidden on its back. The casual observer will only see a bracelet studded with brilliant-, flame- and princess-cut diamonds, which have been further accentuated by the minimal amount of white gold used to set them.
(White gold S$1,083,200)