The most expensive watch ever sold at an auction is the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300A-010, which fetched a staggering $31 million at a charity auction in 2019. The watch was sold by the auction house Christie's in Geneva, Switzerland, and the proceeds went to support research into Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
The Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime is a complex and sophisticated timepiece, with 20 complications, including a grande and petite sonnerie, a minute repeater, a perpetual calendar, a moon phase display, and a second time zone. The watch is made of stainless steel and features a unique reversible case that allows the wearer to display either the front or the back of the watch.
The watch was created in 2014 to celebrate the 175th anniversary of Patek Philippe, and only seven examples were made, with six going to private collectors and one being kept in the company's museum. The Ref. 6300A-010 is the only one made in stainless steel, making it a rare and highly coveted timepiece.
The auction of the timepiece with the reference number 6300A-010 generated a great deal of excitement among collectors and watch enthusiasts around the world. Bidding started at $5 million, and quickly escalated to the final price of $31 million, thereby succeding the previous record set by Paul Newman's Rolex Daytona Ref. 6239, which sold for $17.75 million at a Phillips auction in New York in 2017.
The buyer of the watch remains anonymous to this day, but it is believed to be a private collector or an institution that intends to display the watch as part of a collection. The sale of the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300A-010 cemented Patek Philippe's position as one of the world's most prestigious watchmakers, and it continues to rank as a monument above timepieces like the Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5711 with the Tiffany & Co. dial auctioned in 2021 for over $6 million.