Most Expensive Watch Sold At Auction In The World
Most Expensive Watch Sold At Auction In The World

After a five-minute bidding war, Patek Philippe's Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300A became the most expensive wristwatch ever sold at auction, beating out the Paul Newman Rolex above.

The most expensive Patek watch ever sold, the Grandmaster Chime boasts 20 different complications, including five different chiming modes (hence the name), as well as an acoustic alarm and date repeater. Both dials are blue opaline with gold-applied numerals and 18K solid gold dial plates. The case is white gold and the strap is made of navy blue alligator leather.

The most expensive watch - Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300A

With a hammer price of CHF31,000,000 (US$31.2 million) achieved at the Christie’s Only Watch charity auction on Nov. 9, 2019, in Geneva, Patek Philippe’s one-of-a-kind Ref. 6300A-010 Grandmaster Chime in stainless steel became the most expensive watch ever sold.

Expectations were already high when Lot 28 came to the block. Some speculated the Grandmaster Chime, despite its low estimate of CHF2,500,000 to CHF3,000,000, might unseat Paul Newman’s personal Rolex Daytona, the previous record holder of the most expensive wristwatch ever sold. That piece went for US$17,752,500 in a Phillips auction in New York two years ago.

But as a bidding war escalated in the final minutes of the sale, the room hushed as the price climbed above the US$24 million mark, overtaking Patek Philippe’s 1933 Henry Graves Supercomplication pocket watch (which sold for a record-breaking US$24 million in a 2014 Sotheby’s auction), and the audience realized history was being made. (Christie's didn't reveal the identity of the winning bidder.)

The Grandmaster Chime was crafted to celebrate Patek Philippe’s 175th anniversary in 2014. As the brand’s most complicated wristwatch ever built, the piece made some noise, quite literally. With multiple striking functions among its 20 complications on two dials, it was a testament to Patek Philippe’s long-standing mastery in chiming complications.

The brand invested seven years and more than 100,000 hours to create the piece with Patek’s first grande sonnerie (French for “grand strike”), which automatically strikes the hour and quarter hour every 15 minutes. It is paired with a petite sonnerie, which automatically chimes the hours and quarters without repeating the hours at each quarter, and a minute repeater which chimes hours, quarters, and minutes on demand.

In addition to these traditional striking functions, the watch is endowed with modern chiming complications, such as a patented alarm that chimes the alarm time like a minute repeater and a patented date repeater that chimes the date on demand.

The Grandmaster Chime holds six patents, including one for the mechanism that allows you to easily swivel and lock the engraved double-faced case, so you can choose which of the two dials you wish to show off.

The unique stainless-steel version is appointed with a rose gold (or “salmon”) dial inscribed with the words The Only One, and an ebony-black dial featuring an instantaneous perpetual calendar with a four-digit year display.

Independent watchmaker F. P. Journe also achieved a record in the sale with Astronomic Blue. Lot 11, a prototype developed specifically for Only Watch, sold for CHF1.8 million, a record for the most expensive F.P. Journe piece ever sold at auction.

And Lot 37, the two-tone CODE 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Tourbillon Openworked, achieved a hammer price of CHF1 million, far and above its estimate of CHF190,000 to CHF240,000.

In total, the two-hour sale of 50 donated unique pieces totaled a record-breaking CHF38.59 million, with the Patek Philippe accounting for the lion’s share of money raised to benefit research into a cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), a genetic disease that affects one in 3,000 male births around the world. To put that number into context, the biennial event raised a total of about US$40 million in its previous seven auctions combined.

“Breaking records is obviously a source of pride and happiness,” said Luc Pettavino, founder of Only Watch and president of the Association Monégasque contre les Myopathies, which supports scientific and medical research on DMD, in a press release. “What matters most today is the difference we are going to be able to make in research against muscular dystrophies and for hundreds of thousands of patients and families around the world for their lives to get better.”

The Basics

Brand: Patek Philippe

Model: Grandmaster Chime

Reference Number: 6300A

Diameter: 47.7mm

Thickness: 16.07mm

Case Material: Stainless steel

Dial Color: Salmon

Indexes: Arabic numerals

Lume: None

Strap/Bracelet: Black alligator leather strap

The Movement of Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300A

Photo: bossluxurywatch
Photo: bossluxurywatch

Caliber: Caliber 300 GS AL 36-750 QIS FUS IRM

Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, perpetual calendar with date, day, month, leap year, year, and moonphase indicators), 24-hour hand, day/night indicator, grande sonnerie, petite sonnerie, minute repeater, date repeater, alarm.

Diameter: 37mm

Power Reserve: 72 hours

Winding: Manual

Frequency: 3.5 Hz (25,200 vph)

Why is it expensive: Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime

Historically, Patek Philippe watches have always fared exceptionally well at auctions, take the Ref 1518 for instance, which went under the hammer and was eventually sold for £8.9 million. However, that was a one-of-four. The Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime is, as its dial says “The Only One”. This plays a major role in its price determination. Auctioned back in November, the ultra-complicated pièce unique, sold as a part of charity auction Only Watch 2019. The eventual price puts it ahead of the Henry Graves Supercomplication and Paul Newman’s personal Daytona (both of which currently hold the #2 and #3 record for ‘most expensive watch sold at auction’).

But why does this horological paean fetch for such a significant sum? The Patek Phillippe Grandmaster Chime is a mechanical beauty, but let’s talk about the dial first. Every square millimeter of this beautiful salmon dial is a feast of complications, with most being the best of modern horology. Here’s a list.

  • Grande and Petite Sonnerie
  • Minute repeater with a Strikework mode display
  • Chime
  • Date Repeater
  • Perpetual calendar
  • Movement power-reserve indicator
  • Strike work power-reserve indicator
  • Strike work isolator indicator
  • Second-time zone
  • Second time zone day/night indicator
  • Display of day and month
  • Date display (on both dials)
  • Leap year cycle
  • Four-digit year display
  • 24-hour and minute sub-dial
  • Crown position indicator
  • Moon phases

Having all of these on a one a dial would be a bit much, which is why a few of these complications actually rest on the case back, and in that case, we’d need to call it a reverse dial. But thanks to the spillover benefits of the reversing mechanism, the Grandmaster Chime was also crafted to be a reversible watch. Fitting all of these complications between two dials is already a record-breaking horological accomplishment, made for a thick case of 16mm in height and 48mm overall.

While all of this is utterly impressive, the movement in action comes with a history of its own. Patek has been the cornerstone of high horology for 180 years. Eleven of those 180 years were spent perfecting the incredible caliber Caliber 300 GS AL 36-750 QIS FUS IRM powering this watch. It’s a beacon of chime watchmaking that represents over a century-and-a-half work’s worth of Patek Philippe’s horological expertise. There’s just one of them in existence, as the dial boasts “The Only One”, immortalizing this grand accomplishment.

To conclude, it’s safe to say that the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime deserves such a significant price tag and the prestigious badge of being the world’s most expensive wristwatch. The use of a movement revered by generations in high horology makes it worth Rs 223 cr.

How Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime gets made

Photo: bossluxury
Photo: bossluxury

No matter how many fads come and go or how much technology continues to evolve, mechanical watches will always be some of the most coveted possessions for men. Watchmaking is a very delicate art. Those of us who have an affinity for wristwatches know the intricate craftsmanship that goes on behind the scenes. However, knowing is one thing, seeing it is another. There is nothing more fascinating than seeing the many processes watchmakers go through in an attempt to manufacture the perfect mechanical timepiece. Watchmaking videos are mesmerizing, and if you own some mechanical watches but aren’t familiar with the watchmaking process, I invite you to watch the video below showcasing the masterminds from Patek Philippe.

Patek Philippe is a Swiss luxury watch manufacturer, renowned for its work in the horological world. They’ve been around for a while and will be celebrating their 180th anniversary next year. To commemorate their 175th anniversary a few years ago, Patek Philippe unveiled the Grandmaster Chime Ref. 5175, one of the most complicated wristwatches ever made. Ref. 5175 features 20 complications, a total of 1,366 parts for the movement, and an additional 214 parts of the case. Only seven of these watches were made, a process that took eight years, and each one sold for about $2.5 million a piece. It’s a watch none of us will ever own, let alone ever come face to face with, but it reminds us of the phenomenal heights of workmanship that is achievable in the realm of horology. Sit back and marvel.

The Grandmaster Chime

The Grandmaster Chime is the most complicated Patek Philippe wristwatch ever made. It boasts twenty complications, a reversible case, and two independent dials, and six patented innovations.

The development, production and assembly process covered a staggering 100,000 hours.

Patek Philippe holds a long heritage in creating 'Supercomplications'.

In 1927, Henry Graves Jr., the famous American Financier, commissioned Patek Philippe to build the world's most complicated pocket watch. Six years later, the 'Graves Supercomplication', complete with 24 complications, was delivered to him.Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime-Heritage Of Supercomplications

To celebrate the 150th anniversary, the Manufacture introduced the iconic Calibre 89. A technical achievement never-seen-before, featuring 33 complications and 1,728 individual parts.

And to mark the new Millennium, the Star Caliber 2000, composed of 1,118 parts and featuring a total of 21 complications, joined the exceptional 'Supercomplications' collection.

Patek Philippe History: The Birth of an Illustrious Brand Name

In 1844, whilst visiting Paris, Patek learned of another watchmaker named Jean Adrien Philippe. Philippe was the inventor of a pocket watch, able to be wound without a winding key. Patek invited Philippe to join him in Geneva and the following year, the company Patek & Cie was founded.

Initially, Philippe was engaged as technical director of the company but went on to become a partner in 1851. Jean Adrien Philippe voiced his frustration that the nomenclature of the company failed to recognize his surname. As a result, the company was renamed Patek, Philippe & Cie. The name remained unchanged until 2009 when the comma was deemed superfluous and the company simply became known as Patek Philippe.

Since 1932, Patek Philippe has been in the hands of the Stern family. Today, Thierry Stern, President of Patek Philippe, leads the prestigious Maison. It now employs 2,000 people worldwide, making 53,000 watches per annum (the company’s own figures, released in 2014).

Facts About Most Expensive Jewel Sold At Auction In The World Facts About Most Expensive Jewel Sold At Auction In The World

What is the most expensive jewel in the world? The world’s most expensive jewel is the CTF Pink Star, formerly known as the Steinmetz Pink ...

Facts About Salvator Mundi - Most Expensive Painting In The World Facts About Salvator Mundi - Most Expensive Painting In The World

What is the world’s most expensive painting? The world’s most expensive painting is Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci, which sold for $450,312,500 (£343 million).

Facts About Most Expensive Car Ever Sold at Auction In The World 2022? Facts About Most Expensive Car Ever Sold at Auction In The World 2022?

What is the most expensive car in the world? The world’s most expensive car is the 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO (4153 GT) racer.