Time is money!

10/22/2018
English

A good watch is much more than just a time-keeper, it is wearing tradition and history on your wrist thanks to amazing craftsmanship and engineering!

Soldiers during World War I started wearing their pocket watches on a bracelet on their wrists to synchronize manoeuvres. Although nowadays, having a good watch isn’t a matter of life or death anymore, a good watch says a lot about you.

A bit of history

According to Guinness World Records, the first wristwatch was made by Patek Philippe in 1868, but it is said that Kaiser Wilhelm I commissioned 2000 wristwatches for German naval officers. Girad-Perregaux made these watches with a protective grille in 1880 but it was only after Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin wore a Girard-Perregaux watch while flying in his airships, that they became popular. Around that same time, Brazilian Alberto Santos Dumont, the first man to cross the Atlantic Ocean flying, wanted to have a watch on his wrist to be able to tell time while flying his planes, so Cartier made him in 1904, a tank-style watch, the now mega-famous Santos de Cartier. 

Santos Dumont-first success with a flying machine

Queen, Elizabeth I (1533-1603) of Britain, loved ingenious time-pieces and was given by the Earl of Leicester a watch mounted on a bracelet, being probably the first wristwatch in history.

Why are good watches so expensive?

Watch movements that tell the time with precision and are durable, with those amazing complications that fascinate us but extremely difficult to make, can take years of hard work to be developed and tested by micromechanical engineers. Then you still must add the costs of designing and producing each timepiece. Good watches are made in good materials, which are expensive. The more exotic and complex the mechanism of the movements are, the more expensive and special the watch is. Also, the lower the number of watches produced, the higher the cost.

The Most expensive watches in the world

Breguet “Grande Complication Marie-Antoinette”

This is officially the most expensive watch in the world. It was commissioned from Breguet in 1783, by a mysterious lover of the French queen Marie Antoinette, Queen of France, and it has all the complications that one could have imagined at the time. It took 44 years to be finished, sadly 34 years too late since the Queen was beheaded in the French Revolution. The watch is now at the Mayer museum, in L.A. and is worth 25 million Euros.

Breguet watch _Grande Complication Marie Antoinette

Patek Philippe “5016A”

the Only Watch auction series was launched by Patek Philippe 12 years ago. The top bid record is held by Patek Philippe 5016A, a one-only piece made especially for the auction in stainless steel with a blue enamel dial that was sold for 6.065 million Euros in 2015.

Patek Philippe 5016A

Louis Moinet “Meteoris Collection”

A collection of only 4 watches made by Louis Moinet, famous for holding the Guinness World record: “First Chronograph”. Each watch has a fragment of a meteorite: for example, the “Tourbillon Mars” has a 180 million-year-old piece of the planet Mars. Each watch is worth around 4 million Euros.

Moinet watch Tourbillon Mars

Franck Muller “Aeternitas Mega”

Known as the "Master of Complications”, the 'MEGA 4' watch made by Franck Muller, features, among the many utilities, a piece of tourbillon on the dial and a 1000-year calendar. It is worth 2.050 million Euros.

Franck Muller Aeternitas Mega 4

There are many other luxury statement watches that are a bit more affordable but still, with incredible engineering complexity, craftsmanship and beautiful design, but this is a story for another day.

Christine Schönburg