These valuable watches only get better (and more expensive) with time.
It’s often true that you can’t put a price on quality. However, you can count on a price tag in the millions when it comes to a rare watch. The rarest watches in the world can go for anywhere from half a million dollars to a whopping $24 million at auction.
Joshua Kodner Galleries has compiled a list of the five most expensive vintage watches for you to pass the time with. We hope you enjoy learning more about these watches’ rarity and historical significance, as well as their beauty, innovation, and quality.
Over the decades, Rolex has earned a reputation for producing beautiful and classic designs. This was no different back in 1942 when the Rolex 4113 was made. Rolex made twelve 4113 watches, but only eight are accounted for – making any 4113 purchase a rarity.
One 4113 set a previous record for the highest price ever paid at auction for a Rolex, selling for $1.17 million in 2011. Aside from its rarity, the 4113 is sought after for its timeless design and for being the only split-second chronograph Rolex ever made. Although produced in the early 1940s, a 4113 still blends seamlessly with modern fashion and even bears similarities to modern watch design.
Bao Dai Rolex Ref. 6062
If you’re wondering which watch currently holds the title of most expensive Rolex ever to sell at auction, that would be the Bao Dai Rolex Ref. 6062. This piece was sold for over $5 million at an auction in 2017.
The 6062 was named after the last reigning emperor of Vietnam, who had owned the watch himself. Beyond this amazing bit of history, the 6062 also has a unique Oyster case, a triple date calendar, a black dial, and diamond indexes that make it highly desired. This is a fascinating piece for anyone who can appreciate history and excellent watch design.
Vacheron Constantin Chronometre Royal Ref. 4907
The Vacheron Constantin Chronometre Royal Ref. 4907 will capture the imagination and interest of anyone who appreciates regal flare. By starting the Chronometre Royal series in 1907, Vacheron was one of the first watch manufacturers to ever attempt the creation of a precision timepiece.
The Ref. 490 isn’t valuable only for its place in a historical line of watches; it may be the rarest Chronometre Royal watch. The appearance of the Ref. 4907 also transcends fashion trends and changing aesthetic tastes with its stunning white gold case and spotless condition.
Patek Philippe Ref. 1518 In Steel
Patek Philipp watch, from one of the most prestigious manufacturers in the world, is made all the more valuable by its rarity and for being the first perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch ever produced.
1518 in steel is also one of the most expensive watches ever sold at an auction, selling for over $11 million after being appraised at $3 million. Only four Ref. 1518 watches were produced for the Italian market in the 1940s, when gold was unavailable due to an embargo and steel was used as a substitute – with incredible and profitable results.
Patek Philippe Henry Graves Supercomplication
The last watch on our list is a pocket watch that sold at a Swiss auction for USD $24 million in 2014. When the Henry Graves Supercomplication was assembled by Patek Philippe in 1933, after eight years of design and manufacturing, it was the most complicated watch in the world. It held that title for 50 years and is still the most complicated watch to be produced without the assistance of a computer.
The Henry Graves Supercomplication has an astounding number of functions – 24 of them, to be exact. Some features include a perpetual calendar, a stars chat, a time of sunrise and sunset, and Westminster chimes.
If these amazing timepieces have inspired you to attend some vintage watch auctions or auction house yourself, we encourage you to get in touch with us here at Joshua Kodner Galleries. We specialize in various areas, including jewelry and antiques, and would be thrilled to help you sell or buy rare vintage watches.