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There are hundreds of years of technology packed into even the simplest wristwatch.But superluxury watches contain feats of engineering like the tourbillon, invented in 1795, which counters the effects of gravity that make a timepiece imprecise. If you find a Rolex Tourbillon, beware, it’s a fake.
It’s tempting to wax poetic about art and function coming together, but the bottom line is good watches are cool and they command high prices.
To make this list a watch had to retail for over $100k and have been or currently be in production, not a one-off custom piece. Also, none of them have any diamonds or precious gems. The only jewels on these are in the movements to help them keep precise time over the generations.
Named after the Frend for 'porthole,' Hublot is a Swiss watch company founded in 1980. The original line of Hublot watches came to market with the first ever natural rubber strap. Something it took the company three years to develop.
Hublot also has a Big Bang Caviar that sells for $1 million. It's coated with black diamonds and therefore not included.
The Big Bang has a platinum case, a black ceramic bezel and carbon dial with its signature black rubber strap.
Roth started his company in Vallée de Joux, Switzerland in 1989 and it was bought by Bulgari in 2000. The company puts out 'exquisite haute horlogerie timepieces' and its new releases are eagerly awaited by collectors.
The Ellipsocurvex is a self-winding piece with an eight day power reserve, a platinum case with an exhibition back, sapphire crystal and alligator strap. Water repellent. (suitable for splashing, light rain; unsuitable for swimming or diving)
If you're trying to peg someone wearing a Daniel Roth, look for the semi-oval case -- all his watches have it.
Parmigiani started producing watches in 1976 after leaving a career as a watch restorer.
Each of their watches takes about 400 hours to make.
The company also made the watch insert for the Bugatti Veyron supercar, which won the 2006 'Watch of the Year Award' from the Japanese press.
28 jewel movement, platinum, sapphire crystal and alligator band.
Tom Cruise brought IWC to the spotlight in recent years but the watchmaker has been putting out good watches for over 100 years.
The IWC Grande Complication has 659 mechanical parts and 71 jewels. It holds 12 patents and has 21 functions and displays.
It also has a perpetual calendar good for the next 500 years, combined with a perpetual moon phase display made of polished goldstone.
The case and band are solid platinum and the piece chimes out the time 'in crystal clear tones'. Production limited to 20 watches per year.
Vacheron Constantin started making watches in 1755, which makes it the oldest watchmaker in the world with an uninterrupted history. The company is considered one of the three best traditional watchmaker's in the world along with Patek Phillippe and Audemars Piguet.
Constantin was also the first to develop engine-turned dials in 1799.
Constantin's are distributed to retailers through 15 boutiques that sell no other brand. Previous Vacheron Constantin owners include Napoleon Bonaparte, Pope Pius XI, the Duke of Windsor and Harry Truman.
This watch is surprisingly thin and has a case of 18k rose gold. It's manual winding, has a 34 hour power reserve and a black alligator strap. It is splash resistant only.
In 1833, Antoine LeCoultre opened up a small watch shop in Le Sentier, Switzerland. The man was obsessed with creating the most accurate timepieces the world had ever seen. In the pursuit of this obsession he created the first micrometer, an instrument capable of measuring to 1000th's of a millimetre.
This watch is another one that uses the tourbillion, a mechanical aspect devised in 1795 that counteracts the effects of gravity.
Platinum case, ruthenium rhodium-plated dial, crocodile band, sapphire crystal and water resistant to 50 meters.
The opera three is an amazing piece of engineering.
There are components within the case that enable the piece to act as a miniature jewelry box.
There is keyboard, 20 blades and a drum inside the watch along with 150 hand-mounted pins.
There is a lever to allow the music to be played on demand and it can be personalised to taste.
18k white gold, alligator strap, sapphire crystal. It's water resistant to 50 meters, is self-winding and will hold 50 hours of power in reserve.
A. Lange & Söhne started making watches in 1845, but the factory was seized by the East Germans following WW II.
After the Berlin Wall came down, the founders great-grandson revived the company and started putting out hand crafted watches.
Including the internal chain, this watch has 1097 moving parts and a 41 jewel movement.
It comes made of platinum or gold, with a sapphire crystal, an exhibition back and a crocodile band.
Each watch takes 30-days to put together and they are done one at a time. Limited production.
Audemars Piguet competes with Patek Phillippe for consistent production of the worlds most expensive watches and refers to its pieces as complications.
The Royal Oak has 52 jewel movement and is self winding.
It has a perpetual calendar indicating the day, the week, the moon phases, the month and the leap years, minute repeater, split-seconds chronograph and small seconds at 9 o'clock.
An 18-carat white gold case and bracelet with a transparent sapphire caseback. Water-resistant to 20 meters.
They don't make many of them, but they are in production, so it falls within our criteria -- and besides it's pretty cool to break the $1 million mark for a watch.
The platinum 5002 P is composed of 686 parts, some of which are microscopically small.
It is double faced with celestial movements.
55 jewel movement, 48 hour power reserve, manual winding.
Comes with a sapphire crystal and a black crocodile leather band.
And don't get it wet; the case protects against humidity and dust only.
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