There was a new record set for the world’s most expensive watch last month. The Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 6300A-010 sold at an auction held by Christie’s for approximately $31 million dollars. That’s a freaking ridiculous amount of cash to drop on a watch!
Only Watch Auction
But all that cash is going to a good cause. Only Watch is a Geneva based, bi-annual auction of one-of-a-kind timepieces created by luxury watch manufacturers. The proceeds fund Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy research, which mainly impacts children.
The action was began by Luc Pettavino when his son Paul was diagnosed with the disease. Unfortunately Paul passed away in 2016. Over 70 million Euros have been raised since Only Watch’s installation in 2005.
The Previous Record Holders
Patek Philippe broke its own record for the world’s most expensive watch. The title was held by a Patek Philippe 1920 Henry Graves Jr. Supercomplication, a pocket watch which sold for $24 million at a Sotheby’s auction in 2014.
The Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime 6300A-010 smashed the previous wristwatch record held by the Paul Newman Rolex Daytona. It sold for a measly $17.8 million at a Phillips auction in 2017.
You’re probably wondering what makes THIS watch so damn expensive. It it vintage? Did another celeb rave about it? Is it made of solid gold mined on another planet and kept secret in Area 51? We’ll get to that, but first a little history.
History of the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime
The limited edition Grandmaster Chime, Ref. 5175 was released in 2014 to commemorate Patek Philippe’s 175th anniversary. By limited edition, we mean only 7 timepieces were created TOTAL. One is displayed at the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva, and the others were reserved for Patek Philippe collectors, for the estimated price of $2.5 million USD each.
This remarkable watch was designed, developed, and manufactured over 8 years and more than 100,000 hours. It was Patek Philippe’s first model with a reversible case that could be worn with either dial facing up. Elite and in a class all its own, the original Grandmaster Chime was the most complicated watch the brand had ever created at the time.
The original series boasted a LOT of features, including:
- 18k rose gold reversible case: 47.4 mm wide and 16.1 mm in height. A patented reversing mechanism locks the case in the desired position, as it rotates on a centralized axis running from 12 to 6 o’clock. The case contains 214 parts, and it required four years of development.
- Caliber 300: manually wound movement with 20 complications and 1,366 parts with a 3.5 Hz frequency. The movement alone required 60,000 hours too perfect.
- 2 18k gold dials: the first dial showcasing time and the second a calendar. Both dials read the current time and date.
- Both grand and petite sonneries: AKA chime noises to identify the hours and quarters to the wearer. The grand sonnerie chimes the hours and quarters, with each quarter repeating the hour. With the petite sonnerie setting, only the hours and quarters are noted (without repeating the hour).
- Instantaneous perpetual calendar: all of the calendar displays change instantly and in sync.
The Grandmaster Chime reference 6300A-010
Now that you know the history, let’s look at the ‘world’s most expensive watch’ version. The Grandmaster Chime was reproduced specifically for the the Only Watch auction. It had never been worn before, and it’s the first and only version of the watch produced in stainless steel.
This version has many of the same features seen on the original version, minus the stainless steel case.
- 18K solid gold dial plates: Time side is rose gold with gold applied Breguet numerals and a hand-guilloched hobnail center. “The Only One” is inscribed at 12 o’clock.on the alarm sub-dial calendar side in black ebony.
- 20 complications: Includes grand and petite sonneries, a minute repeater, instantaneous perpetual calendar with a four-digit year display, second time zone, day/night indicator, day/date (on both dials), month, leap-year cycle, four-digit year display and 24-hour and minute subdial.
- Calibre: Manually wound mechanical movement. Caliber 300 GS AL 36-750 QIS FUS IRM.
- Bracelet: Hand-stitched black alligator leather with fold-over clasp.
The Grandmaster Chime reference 6300A-010 was only projected to sell between $2.5 and $3.5 million, but obviously blew that out of the water.
According to auctioneers, it was the charity aspect of the auction that helped drive the price. So who made out with this one and only timepiece? It’s still a mystery. But that anonymous buyer has one heck of a wrist watch to pass on for generations, all in the name of giving back.
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