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Top 10 Most Expensive Watch Brands in the World 2024

Top Ten Most Expensive Watch Brands

Perhaps I can interest you in a Timex?

It might not be a mechanical watch, but it looks pretty good and won’t hurt the bank!

Oh, you’d prefer some more… Possibly a Seiko 5!

Robust, reliable, and exceptional value for money.

Wow! Would you like even more? 

Well, the next reasonable step, of course, is a vintage Paul Newman Daytona costing around $400,000.

Watch prices vary as the timepieces themselves, but today we’re not concerned with a sensible buy, a brilliant investment, or a bang-for-your-buck purchase.

No, we’re not even interested in expensive (singular) watches. We’re looking at the top 10 Most Expensive Watch Brands in the World in 2024.

Number five will shock you! (No, it won’t; it’ll make your eyes water.) 

Some Housekeeping

Before we delve into the world of expensive watches, just a few notes. This article is being written in early 2024 and values will change.

This is incredibly common in the watch world, and we see values changing on the daily!

Another note is that there are more expensive watches than the watches listed in this list. However, this list is supposed to reflect the most expensive brands on the planet.

There might come a day when another brand takes the place on the list, and no matter how accurate my Casio is, it cannot predict that. 

A. Lange & Söhne

TOURBOGRAPH PERPETUAL HONEYGOLD Homage to F. A. Lange in 18 carat HONEYGOLD

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In no particular order, we’re starting off with the Germanic giant hailing from the town of Glashütte since 1845.

A. Lange & Söhne has a rich history of producing some of the most sought-after models on the market, and in the World of Luxury Watches, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a brand that is more exclusive.

With keen attention to detail and relying on iconic models such as the Lange 1, A. Lange & Söhne has some pretty expensive models for sale, such as the Tourbograph Perpetual “Pour le Mérite”, which is offered at a reasonable  $564,000.

That said, A. Lange & Söhne is also known for producing some more affordable pieces, such as the Saxonia range.

In recent years, the brand has evolved to be seen not as a status symbol like many other high-end brands but rather as something worn by pure watch enthusiasts. 

Unlike other brands which might brag about famous wearers, including actors and sports stars, Lange prides itself on being worn by the upper elite.

They are not aimed at those who own a sports car but rather those who own the sports car company.

That said, Michael Jordan still wore a Lange, and so did Putin. Make of that what you will.

Whoever is wearing this German brand, the company will live on as one of the most desired and respected horological brands the world has ever seen. 

If you’re looking at the second-hand market, the most expensive A. Lange & Söhne on Chrono24 at time of writing is the A. Lange & Söhne Tourbograph “Homage to F.A.Lange” listed at $780,783 (excl. shipping). 

Patek Philippe

6002R 001 Patek

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Let’s not hold back any punches and throw in the big guns.

Patek Philippe hardly needs an introduction, and those that know, know that being one of the ‘Holy Trinity’ you can expect some of the most expensive watches money can buy.

Known for producing traditional style watches packed to the brim with Grande Complications, Patek has been the force to be reconned with since 1839.

If we’re solely looking at high prices, the Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300A-010 was sold for a mind-bending €31 million at an auction in 2019.

It won’t come as any surprise when you learn Patek Philippe watches could end up selling for hundreds of thousands at retail, and well above that on the second-hand market.

The double-faced Grand Complications Sky Moon is one of the most intricate and stellar watches created. It includes an acoustically superb minute repeater with two ‘cathedral’ gongs and a tourbillon, which will all cost a measly $354,840 at retail.

Of course, with the rise and fall of the watch industry from 2019 to 2023, Patek watches saw some of the most impressive increases and falls you can imagine.

Let’s look at the famous steel Nautilus, a watch synonymous with making you money if you can find it at retail.

In May of 2022, it was reported that the watch was worth 15% less than 6 months earlier. This trend has not only continued forward for Patek but for most of the watch industry.

That said, Patek Philippe remains the brand to be compared against, to measure your worth against, and the brand to have on your wrist for any event. 

If you’re looking at the second-hand market, the most expensive Patek Philippe on Chrono24 is the Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon 6002G listed at $8,500,000.

Audemars Piquet

Audemars Piguet Top 10 Most Expensive Watch Brands in the World

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Second, on the Trinity list is Audemars Piquet, or as the young folks call it – AP.

In fact, the brand is so popular that it’s even referenced in rap songs quite often, such as Lil’ Wayne with “I told her ‘Sorry for the wait,’ I value her time like an Audemars-Piguet” in “Marvin’s Room (Freestyle)” from 2011’s Sorry 4 The Wait mixtape. Good stuff. 

Regardless, the Swiss brand has a long history of making some of the most iconic designs the world has ever seen, and certainly some of the most expensive ones at that.

Throughout its storied history, the brand is known for creating classics like the Royal Oak line, a line of watches that ‘theoretically’ saved the Swiss watch industry.

Obviously, with such clout, you should expect to pay a pretty penny for these pieces. Case in point, the Jules Grande Complication would cost you north of $700,000, but individual prices will vary depending on the model.

AP was, however, not saved from the drop in the watch industry in recent years, and saw some gradual but robust losses with time. 

Even the all-important stainless steel Royal Oak models saw a decline in value, and certainly not small.

Whereas certain watches like the Omega Speedmaster might have actually kept or even gained some value, most AP watches have lost value.

Does that mean that AP is not a good investment? No, you will probably still make some money, just not nearly as much as you could’ve made a couple of months ago. 

If you’re looking at the second-hand market, the most expensive Audemars Piguet on Chrono24 is the Grand Complication 26605CE Black Ceramic, listed at $1,590,000.

 

Vacheron Constantin 

Vacheron Constantin Top 10 Most Expensive Watch Brands in the World

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Rounding out the Holy Trinity is Vacheron Constantin. Vacheron has a unique history, seeing as it is one of the most respected Swiss watch brands.

However, in the current market, it isn’t the most sought-after, certainly not as much as the two preceding. That said, upon closer look, you’ll soon realize that they produce some of the most beautiful and intricate watches you can find. 

Let’s consider that the Overseas and 222 models are worthy competitors to the Royal Oak and Aquanaut.

However, all of Vacheron is still seen as a real ‘enthusiasts’ brand, whereas the other brands can often be referred to as ‘hype brands’.

Thus, the price you pay for a Vacheron is perhaps not on the same scale as that of the others, but considering certain models will still run you well north of $300,000, it certainly isn’t cheap either.

Vacheron is also far less likely to make use of precious stones in their designs, which is good for purists but not so good for the brand itself. 

There are some who believe that the lack of progression into a youthful world means that Vacheron might be limiting its growth and development into a new era of watch enthusiasts.

Newer kids on the block prefer something that’s cool rather than something with heritage, and some claim that due to Vacheron’s strong ties to the past, they might not be ready for the future.

Regardless, at least for now, when you spot a Vacheron in public, rest assured that you have found yourself a buddy who loves watches – I can promise you that. 

If you’re looking at the second-hand market, the most expensive Vacheron Constantin on Chrono24 is the 2253 Traditionnelle, listed at $479,316.

Richard Mille

Richard Mille Top 10 Most Expensive Watch Brands in the World

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Richard Mille is a brand that takes innovation and contemporary design and runs with it.

Some have claimed that RM has more in common with aerospace engineering than traditional watchmaking, while others loath these barrel-shaped masterpieces.

Whatever your opinion is, none of us can deny the exceptional quality and exceptional designs RM produces with technical innovations to match.

Let’s take the RM 25-01 or, as it is commonly known, the Rambo RM. This adventure-style piece doesn’t match most luxury goods. It isn’t made of gold. It bares no diamonds. And it certainly doesn’t contain any traditional beauty.

What it does have, however, is a manual winding tourbillon movement, a compass bezel, and a compartment in grade 5 titanium that can hold water purification tablets that make a litre of any water safe to drink in 30 to 120 minutes.

Oh, and it was limited to 20 pieces and will cost you (as near as makes no difference) $1 million. 

While Richard Mille may not have the rich heritage of other brands, it is still fighting with the best of them, taking names and spicing up the luxury watch industry with just about anything it puts its mind to.

Richard Mille or RM, as many know it, is worn by some of the most elite in the world, ranging from Bruno Mars to Bubba Watson.

In fact, Richard made special models for both of these individuals that are now available to the general public as well. Perhaps the only drawback of RM watches is suffering from their own success.

The streets of London are well known for being a minefield to those who wear RM, as these often get stolen off the wrists of the rich on account of being so recognizable. Bummer.  

If you’re looking at the second-hand market, the most expensive Richard Mille on Chrono24 is the RM056 Saphir Zakk Piece Unique listed at $5,550,000.

Rolex

Rolex Top 10 Most Expensive Watch Brands in the World

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You might be surprised to see the Crown on this list, as you’ll often see world leaders, athletes, and even sales agents wearing Rolex’s.

If this myriad of folks can afford a Rolex, it surely cannot be that expensive, right?

And to a point, you are correct. Most Rolex models, even the white gold options, will run you south of $100,000 at retail and potentially on the second-hand market as well.

That said, this Swiss manufacturer carries a name like almost no other brand ever could. The name recognition associated with Rolex is unrivalled, and many vintage luxury timepieces bearing the name ‘Rolex’ go for a pretty penny. 

Those, and the specific models with a story, will also fetch a hefty price tag.

Case in point, the green dial Daytona with a yellow gold case (ref. 116508) nicknamed the John Mayer will cost you north of $75,000 easily, even though its claim to fame is simply John talking about this specific timepiece on an episode of talking watches.

At retail, the most expensive model appears to be the meteorite dial white gold Skydweller with a full diamond set case and bracelet (ref. 326959TBR), which is estimated to cost well north of $1 million.

DJ Khaled has the one on the Oysterflex. The latter of these is known as an ‘off-catalogue’ piece, meaning you won’t find it on any Rolex website, published book, or rarely even in a store that sells Rolex.

In fact, you low-key need to be approached even to have the opportunity to own one of these. Yup, that’s right, you have to be chosen by the Crown even to be considered to own one of these truly special watches.

If we are talking ‘normal’ Rolex models, the most expensive would have to be one of the full-gold options, probably a full-gold Day Date featuring several gemstones.  

 If you’re looking at the second-hand market, the most expensive Rolex on Chrono24 is the 6263 Daytona listed at $2,052,912.

 

Breguet

Breguet Top 10 Most Expensive Watch Brands in the World

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In the world of high-end watches, there are brands that are influential for certain models. For innovative tactics. Stories.

And then, you have Breguet, a brand that is influential for several reasons, chief amongst which is their exceptional dials and attention to detail.

Oh, and the founder, Abraham-Louis Breguet, is coined as the father of modern watchmaking, creating innovations like the tourbillon itself.

Breguet is arguably the most important Swiss watchmaker – depending on who you ask, of course.

In the world of clout and flexing we live in, Breguet is certainly not as famous as other top luxury watch brands, in fact, they tend to lose value on the second-hand market.

That said, at retail, some of these pieces will cost you an arm and a leg.

For instance, the highly sought-after Breguet Grande Complication Marie-Antoinette (what a name!) will run you a measly $30 million. Casual. 

With timeless and intricate designs, Breguet remains one of the most awe-inspiring brands on the market. Unfortunately, due to their inability to market to a younger population, you stand a pretty big chance of losing money on your investment. The numbers don’t lie, and despite Breguet being equally (or even more) as important as some of the other brands on this list, you rarely make all your money back from retail. Certain limited edition or one-of-one models could hold their value, but this is rarely the case.

If you’re looking at the second-hand market, the most expensive Breguet on Chrono24 is the Classique Emerald Classique Open Worked Piece Unique listed at $686,000. 

 

Jaeger-LeCoultre 

JLC Top 10 Most Expensive Watch Brands in the World

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If you spot someone wearing a JLC you just know this person oozes class. A cut above the rest. They have not reached for a hype piece or Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona, but rather they reach for technological prowess.

Something that the luxury watch market tries to replicate – most fail.

In fact, both Patek and Audemars used to use JLC movements in their popular models.

Many might not even know that even though Cartier has been producing in-house movements since 2009, JLC still provides the French Maison with movements for some of their models.

All of this granted JLC one of the most, well, badass nicknames one could ever receive – The Watchmaker’s Watchmaker. 

Today, JLC is known for producing watches that are truly out of this world and is most well known for the Reverso.

That said, the most expensive JLC ever sold would not be a Reverso, but rather the Hybris Mechanica Grande Sonnerie, which costs $2.5 million.

Not bad. JLC has also been known to produce some rather staggering one-offs, making use of Gyro technology, which (when Googled) means “an apparatus consisting of a rotating wheel so mounted that its axis can turn freely in certain or all directions‘.

I would highly advise you to actually look at some of the models released in 2023. Some of these will redefine what you think is possible in a watch that is still undeniably elegant. 

 If you’re looking at the second-hand market, the most expensive Jaeger-LeCoultre on Chrono24 is the Tribute GyroTourbillon Reverso listed at $405,000. 

 

Jacob & Co.

Jacob Top 10 Most Expensive Watch Brands in the World

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Jacob the Jeweller or Jacob & Co. is perhaps not like the rest of the producers on this list.

The American brand doesn’t really have the name recognition of Rolex watches, nor the history of other brands like TAG Heuer.

Jacob & Co. found its origin in 1986 when Jacob Arabo, an up-and-coming yet brilliant jewellery designer, founded the brand in New York City. 

So, what makes them so luxurious? Let’s not beat around the bush; it’s gemstones.

Where JLC has a keen focus on technological innovation and producing some of the most jaw-dropping movements the world has ever seen, Jacob takes a more direct approach – How many diamonds will fit on it? 

Well, in the case of the ‘Billionaire’s Watch’, 260 carats of diamonds will fit, giving it an estimated price of $4,248788.

 

While this might not be your cup of tea, we cannot deny the impact the American brand has had on the watch world. Famous wearers of Jacob & Co. include Lionel Messi, Victoria Beckham, Lady Gaga, and Mark Wahlberg. That’s some lineup, and this shows the price range that most of their models are within. Of course, there are some more cost-effective older options available if you look hard enough, and some might even spark some nostalgia to the right individual. 

If you’re looking at the second-hand market, the most expensive Jacob & Co. on Chrono24 is the Epic SF24 Tourbillon listed at $847,448.  

 

Gronefeld

Gronefled Top 10 Most Expensive Watch Brands in the World

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This might actually be a brand that you have not heard of.

Based in the Netherlands and run by Bart and Tim Grönefeld, grandsons of Gerhard-Louis Grönefeld who himself was a watchmaker.

The first Grönefeld saw daylight in 2008 as the GTM-06 minute repeater featuring an in-house movement – a pretty bold move for your first watch.

If it’s on this list, they must’ve ended up doing pretty good, right? Right indeed.

Since 2008 the brand has gained international recognition and even won some prizes as well, such as the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève prize in 2014. So, how much do they actually cost? 

One thing you have to understand is that, unlike the other brands on this list, Grönefeld produces watches in extremely limited numbers.

For instance, the 1941 Grönograaf (in Titanium) was limited to merely 25 pieces worldwide and had a retail price of €165,000 ($179,247 in Big Macs and Bald Eagles).

They simply are not available on the second-hand market (as of now), but it is estimated you would need to pay well above $300,000 for this masterpiece.

In fact, the second-hand market is really light on Grönefeld models overall. Merely 30 pieces are currently available on Chrono24, and none of them are the uber-rare options either. 

Honourable Mention: Cartier

The French Maison hardly needs an introduction. Known worldwide for the Tank, the Santos, and being on the wrist of every person walking down the red carpet.

Cartier has been producing watches since 1904, and started it all with the Santos, which was specifically designed and constructed for pilot Alberto Santos du Mont.

Today, Cartier is one of the most known luxury items on the planet; whether you include their horological offering in that statement or not, it remains true.

They even claimed the second position in Swiss watch sales last year, trailing only behind Rolex (and Tudor). 

Some steel models are incredibly affordable, especially when opting for the non-mechanical options. If, however, you are looking to spend some dough, you’re in luck.

A quick search will tell you the most expensive Cartier is the Phoenix Décor Secret Watch, priced at $2.76 million.

Some other expensive models include the ‘Extra Large Ballon Bleu Tourbillon Diamond Watch’ (a little on the nose with that name if you ask me), priced at £700,000 ($889,770).

While Cartier is certainly not afraid to add several gemstones to their designs, they have been pushing the technological aspect as well in recent years, like with the Masse Mystérieuse, which features a movement… within the rotor… of the movement.

If that doesn’t really make sense, well, just look at the image and you’ll understand what I mean. I’m not going to lie, it might be one of my favorite watches on this list. 

Conclusion

And there you have it, folks. From diamond-covered masterpieces to watches that have more moving parts than a scooter, there really is something for each billionaire on the planet.

What the future might hold, no one knows. One thing is for certain, the Holy Trinity is likely to always be on this list, as well as Richard Mille.

These brands have cemented themselves as some of the most influential and valuable offerings on the market, regardless of whether or not they are on your ‘best watch brands’ list.

The watch market has fallen into a small dip after the massive market rise after COVID. However, there are still plenty of pieces that cost more than your house ever will.

Hell, there are watches that cost more than my entire neighbourhood.