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12/22/2020
 5 minutes

The 5 Most Expensive Watches Ever Sold on Chrono24

By Tom Mulraney
The 5 Most Expensive Watches Ever Sold on Chrono24

The 5 Most Expensive Watches Ever Sold on Chrono24

“What are the most expensive watches ever sold on Chrono24?” It’s a question we get asked a lot, both by members of the press and by our social media community. With such a vast array of models on offer, Chrono24 truly does cover the complete price spectrum, from the accessibly low to the eye-wateringly high. Best of all, we help sellers connect with buyers across the whole range. That’s right, even watches with six-figure price tags have successfully found new homes on Chrono24. But don’t just take my word for it – see for yourself! We dipped into our data and found the five most expensive watches ever sold on our platform (well, technically six, but two are the same model). Read on for all the details.

5. Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Chronograph 5204/1R-001 – €234,525

Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Chronograph 5204/1R-001
Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Chronograph 5204/1R-001

If there are two complications that Patek Philippe is known for, it’s the split-seconds chronograph and perpetual calendar. The Genevan brand is famous for combining both to stunning effect in their Grand Complication pieces. An impressive – if a little overdone – example is the ref. 5204/1R-001. This model and its siblings are the successors to the ref. 5004, introduced by Patek in 1996. If that reference number sounds familiar, it’s because the brand made a unique version in titanium for the Only Watch Charity auction in 2013, which sold for a whopping €2.95 million (approx. $4 million). The ref. 5204/1R-001, meanwhile, made its debut in 2016 to much less fanfare. Nevertheless, it has proven to be a hit with collectors thanks to its ebony black opaline dial and 40.2-mm rose gold case with a matching, solid rose gold interchangeable bracelet. That’s not to mention the manual in-house movement inside, the caliber CHR 29‑535 PS Q, which is visible through a sapphire case back.

4. Richard Mille RM 11-03 (x2!) – €263,564 & €243,524

Richard Mille RM 11-03
Richard Mille RM 11-03

Richard Mille is known for making some of the most innovative (and most outrageously expensive watches on the planet. So, it comes as no surprise that the name shows up a few times on this list. Fourth place on our list of the most expensive watches ever sold on Chrono24 is not one, but two RM 11-03 Automatic Chronograph models sold to separate buyers in separate transactions. A thoroughbred racing watch, the RM 11 first showed up on the wrist of Formula One driver Felipe Massa around 2007. He was the first athlete to join the Richard Mille family and ended up playing a pretty important role in the company’s incredible success. That being said, nothing stands still at Richard Mille, and so the RM 11 was eventually retired and replaced by the RM 11-03, another incredible model imbued with racing spirit. Featuring a flyback chronograph with an oversized month and date display, its barrel (tonneau)-shaped case made from high-tech materials is instantly recognizable on the wrist. Inside and visible through the sapphire caseback is the Calibre RMAC3, a skeletonized automatic movement with a variable-geometry rotor.

3. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph 26401.RO.OO.A002.CA.01 – €286,517

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph 26401.RO.OO.A002.CA.01
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph 26401.RO.OO.A002.CA.01

The first thing you need to know about this particular Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph from AP is that it’s a discontinued model. That in and of itself should give you a hint as to why it is the third most expensive watch ever sold on Chrono24, but there’s much more to the story. When it was introduced several years back, it instantly became the must-have ‘Big Boy’ watch from AP. At 44 mm in diameter and 14.12 mm thick, the rose gold case was bigger and chunkier than those of its predecessors. What really sets it apart, though, is that this model was part of the first, non-limited Royal Oak Offshore series to be fitted with a ceramic bezel and ceramic pushers. It probably doesn’t seem like such a big deal today, but at the time, it was a game-changer for AP. Other highlights include the black dial with a Méga Tapisserie pattern, contrasting off-white silver counters with rose gold trim, and red hands for the chronograph function. Inside is the impressive Audemars Piguet Calibre 3126/3840, comprised of 365 components and delivering a 50-hour power reserve.

2. Patek Philippe Minute Repeater Perpetual Calendar 5016P – €500,043

Patek Philippe Minute Repeater Perpetual Calendar 5016P
Patek Philippe Minute Repeater Perpetual Calendar 5016P

The Patek Philippe ref. 5016P is a modern masterpiece of complicated watchmaking and is highly prized by well-informed (and well-off) collectors. Boasting a minute repeater, perpetual calendar, and tourbillon, the ref. 5016 immediately took the crown as the most complicated wristwatch produced by the brand when it first arrived in 1993. While it would lose this title to the Sky Moon Tourbillon ref. 5002 in 2001, the 5016P remains popular with collectors because it is so understated. At first glance, you probably wouldn’t even realize there is anything that special about this watch. However, upon closer inspection, you’ll be hooked. As with all highly complicated watches from Patek Philippe, production numbers of the ref. 5016 were low. So low, in fact, that experts estimate that Patek only ever manufactured some 200 pieces over its roughly 18-year production life. These watches are available in yellow, white, or rose gold, as well as in platinum. A rare platinum example was sold on Chrono24.

1. Richard Mille RM 052 Skull – €723,262

Richard Mille RM 052 Skull
Richard Mille RM 052 Skull

The most expensive watch ever sold on Chrono24 is also one of the coolest Richard Mille watches you’ve probably never heard of. It first came to market back in 2012, hence the slightly outdated “skull dial“. At the time, skull watches were hot, and lots of brands were trying their hand at their own variation. Of course, Mr. Mille being Mr. Mille, he took his own unique approach and created a crazy watch in the process. This was back when the brand was still establishing itself as a power player in the industry. Instead of just painting a skull on the dial, the titanium baseplate and bridges were formed and skeletonized into the shape of a skull. If you look closely, you can see that the upper and lower jaws hold the ruby of the tourbillon cage. The way the movement is suspended in the middle of the case creates an awesome skull and crossbones effect. It was very ahead of its time and definitely one of those models that really got people talking about Richard Mille. Only 21 pieces were ever made; 15 in titanium and 6 in red or white gold, depending on customer preference. Thus, it remains one extremely sought-after watch.

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About the Author

Tom Mulraney

Growing up in Australia in the 1980s and 90s, there wasn’t much of a watch scene. There was only one authorized retailer of high-end watches in the city I lived in …

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