It’s time to clock the bling with a guide to this year’s best and VERY expensive watches
What do you get a zillionaire for Christmas? This year, the perfect present is . . . a very expensive watch. And more than just about any other city in the world, London has become the international hub of ludicrously expensive timepieces.
Last week, the Financial Times’s supplement How To Spend It carried adverts over page after glossy page for watches that, in many cases, cost more than the average annual salary.
Meanwhile, watch shop openings have become like society parties. In June, the Swiss watchmaker Breitling unveiled its flagship shop on New Bond Street.
Urwerk UR -210, £92,000: Tiny titanium barrels rotate to show the hour, while the minutes scroll round the dial at the bottom. To self-wind better, it learns if the wearer is sedentary or energetic
F.P. Journe Centigraphe Sport, £39,440: Made entirely of low density aluminium and rubber which makes it ultra-durable, scratch resistant and anti-corrosive
Romain Jerome Titanic DNA Day & Night Watch, £186,000: BIZARRELY this watch doesn’t tell the time – beyond day or night – and is already rusty. It contains metal from the famous ship’s wreckage
Oyster Perpetual Day-Date Rolex, £10,000: Rolex’s ‘Day-Date’ watch was the first calendar wristwatch to display the day as well as the date and has since been a favourite of the stars
DeWitt Academia Mirabilis, £25,000: The strap is black rubber, and the self-winding timepiece has a power reserve of 48 hours and an opening to reveal its workings
Dior VIII Grand Bal ‘Plume’, £25,000: The bezel and face have 203 diamonds, and there are meticulously trimmed ‘real pheasant feathers’ on the face
Roads were closed as John Travolta and David Beckham joined the gilded throng at the party.
The most desirable makes such as Rolex, Patek Philippe, Omega, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Vacheron Constantin all nestle in this exclusive enclave of Central London.
At Hublot, watches cost from £5,000 up to £1 million. Yesterday, a second-hand (if you’ll pardon the phrase) Hublot King Power F1 was for sale on the auction site eBay for £34,000.
When Vacheron opened its new shop in October, it shipped in dancers from the Royal Ballet to celebrate one of its signature watches, called Hommage à l’Art de la Danse — yours for £103,800.
Graff Butterfly Watch, £86,000: By London-based jewellers Graff, it has 232 diamonds and six ‘butterflies’ made of pear-shaped diamonds on the face alongside 56 sapphires
Maitres du Temps Chapter 3, £64,000: As well as a rose gold case and 39 sapphire crystals, this has two tiny apertures in its face, one with sun or moon and another for a different time zone
Hublot Big Bang, £3.3m: Believed to be the most expensive watch ever sold, this was commissioned by pop star Beyonce as a gift to her husband, rapper Jay Z containing 1,282 diamonds
Jaeger Lecoultre Reverso a triptyque, £190,000: The first three-faced watch, this carries the local time of the wearer on the front, and opens like a locket to reveal a zodiacal calendar as well as sunrise and sunset times
Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon, £535,075: The front face has hours and minutes and a calendar, plus the current moon phase and the other side boasts the ‘sidereal time indicator’ which shows your position relative to the stars
Corum Golden Bridge Tourbillon Panoramique, £172,500: Made in the Swiss town of La Chaux-de-Fonds, this classically sleek timepiece features a red gold case and a crocodile strap with white gold clasp
Breitling Transocean, £6,160: The self-winding watch has a power reserve of 70 hours and can be taken 100 metres underwater
Hublot Big Bang Shiny, £14,000: Adorned with 114 diamonds. The lacquered black dial is covered in an anti-reflective sapphire glass casing
Omega De Ville Ladymatic, £24,440: Nicole Kidman has endorsed this watch with a white mother-of-pearl dial set with 11 diamonds
The cult of the watch as jaw-dropping fashion statement can be summed up by the recent story that even though reality TV star Joey Essex cannot read a watch, he owned a Rolex worth a reported £70,000.
But isn’t this veneration of watches with names such as Steampunk Red Auto and Big Bang Shiny a bit flash when we’re in a period of austerity?
And isn’t it depressing that people should invest such importance in what you have around your wrist rather than what you have between your ears?