10 Most Expensive Designer Watches For Men: Piaget, Vacheron & Other Masterpieces

We’ve come a long way since using sundials to tell the time. Technological advancements led us to harness time and strap this mechanism on our wrists – available to tell us the exact hour and second the moment we want to know. The first wristwatch was made way back in 1868 by the Swiss manufacturer Patek Philippe according to Guinness World Records.

Since then, it has become an accessory and status symbol for its wearer. More luxury watches emerged that are crafted in great detail and premium materials. Nowadays, it continues to be an emblem that reflects one’s personal style and leads to a strong first impression and a man’s overall ethos.

The tiny gears and parts that make up the mechanisms inside a watch. (Source: Giphy)

Men always sport minimal accessories, and a watch is one of the bare essentials. Each design displays one’s personal style statement whether it’s a business, sport, or casual look. At the same time, wearing a watch is just as important as knowing how it works. And behind that timepiece lies tiny gears and mechanics that power it.

In essence, there are two main watch movements – quartz and mechanical – which are powered differently, as illustrated by Mantelligence. You can easily spot the difference between the two by observing the movement of the ‘seconds’ hand – it moves with individual ticks in a quartz watch while it moves in a sweeping motion in a mechanical one. This is because their mechanics are different. Here’s a summary:

  1. Quartz. Its quartz crystal is powered by the battery which sends an electrical charge that makes the crystal vibrate intensely. This results in tiny electrical pulses which are then sent through the integrated circuits to the stepping motor. Here’s how the watch’s hand advance: in every 32,768th pulse counted by the stepping motor, it sends a single pulse to the dial train.
  2. Mechanical. Its mainspring stores energy through tightening its crown by turning. When it unwinds, it transfers its energy to the gear train. The amount of energy released is regulated by the escapement. This is used by the balance wheel for a constant back-and-forth rate. The hand moves when energy is transferred to the dial train at the end of each beat.

Beyond these mechanisms, there are true elite horological that exudes a timeless style. These timepieces are globally recognized for its premium design and timekeeping ability that doesn’t age despite the latest trends. Their value increases over time and they convey a fundamental masculine style. In this article, we have compiled the 10 most expensive designer watches for men this 2022.

2022 List: Top 10 Most Expensive Watches
for Men

10. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak – $150,331

(Source: Audemars Piguet)

This one is an ultra-exclusive blue edition that’s only available in 20 pieces. Audemars Piguet dedicates this piece to Bucherer, one of the oldest watch and jewelry company based in Switzerland and one of AP’s longtime retail partner. It’s encased in an 18-carat pink gold bezel with screw-locked crown and links. Its case width of 41mm and thickness of 8.85mm allows water resistance for up to 50 meters. It has a 70-hour power reserve with 3 Hz of frequency in balance wheel which is equivalent to 21’600 alternates per hour.

9. Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Perpetual Calendar Openworked – $160,876

(Source: Vacheron Constantin)

Part of Vacheron Constantin’s astronomical watches, Traditionnelle Perpetual Calendar Openworked not only tells hours and minutes. It also indicates the moon phase with a 48-month counter that shows the leap year. It has a hand-type date, hand-type month, and hand-type day of the week. The Swiss made watch has an automatic movement with a rose gold case material and glass made of sapphire crystal. Known for their complex mechanisms, this watch consists of 276 parts and 36 jewels that are encased in 39mm diameter and 8.82mm thickness. If you’re planning on some leisure swimming, you wouldn’t have to worry about taking it off because it’s water resistant to approximately 30 meters.

8. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Tourbillion Extra-Thin – $164,042

(Source: Audemars Piguet)

Designed in the Royal Oak line, its latest caliber is one of the thinnest in the market with a 4.46mm thickness. It has an understated appearance with luxurious finishes to deliver its dual objective of finesse and sturdiness. The details are shown in crafting this timepiece with its blue dial that features a “Petite Tapisserie” pattern, hour-markers coated in pink gold, and hands with luminescent coating. It’s made of 216 parts with 25 jewels. You’ll be a source of envy in your peers with its luxurious 18-carat pink gold case and glare-proofed sapphire crystal and case back.

7. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept GMT Tourbillion – $229,531

(Source: Audemars Piguet)

A reinterpretation of the Royal Oak collection, the Concept GMT Tourbillion sports a futuristic architecture. The in-house Calibre 2930 that beats its heart guarantees impeccable precision. Precise, complex, and arduous craftsman work is showcased in its ceramics that are nine times harder than steel. With 328 parts, it has a power reserve of 237 hours and 3 Hz frequency. It is cased with titanium, glare-proofed sapphire crystal and case back. It has a hand-wound mechanism that’s celebrated for reliability. Furthermore, it has a whopping water resistance that lets you check your timepiece even at a depth of 100 meters.

6. Piaget Emperador Cushion – $321,559

(Source: ewatchtime)

This limited 2017 edition timepiece meets a threefold objective of exceptionally-finished aesthetics, fine acoustics, and technical mastery. The cushion-shaped automatic minute repeater achieves double records in terms of thinness in its two categories: 9.44mm for the case and 4.8mm for the movement. In fact, some of its wheels are barely thicker than a strand of hair at 0.12mm. On top of that, it aims precision with its 1290P movement. In its exterior is a brown, alligator-type folding clasp. The cushion-shaped case is 48mm in diameter. Looking at it, you’ll admire the exceptional craftsmanship involved in its finely hand-drawn and hand-filed decorations.

5. Girard-Perregaux Bridges Minute Repeater – $361,362

(Source: Girard-Perregaux)

Girard-Perregaux’s Bridges Minute Repeater lands the top 10 most expensive designer watches for men this 2022. This is a limited edition that’s only available in 30 pieces. Its inception is from the union of the symbolic arrow-shaped, or Neo-Tourbillion-shaped, Bridges. It has a mechanical manual-winding movement with dimensions of 32mm in diameter and 10.82 in thickness. Its 406 parts and 37 jewels are encased in a white gold material with a sapphire crystal case-back. It’s strapped in alligator black strap with a white gold, triple folding buckle. The construction of caliber GP09500-0005 offered a great challenge because it requires an expert watchmaker to handle the minute repeater mechanism sans the hammers.

4. Blancpain Le Brassus – $362,806

(Source: Chrono24)

This timepiece combines history and innovations. Its traditional design conveys the iconic series, the Six Masterpieces of Blancpain, while combining innovative horological breakthroughs with precious materials and discreet aesthetics. The watch features automatic movement, cathedral gong, and white round dial. It’s strapped in a brown alligator strap with a deployment buckle clasp. Its glass is made of sapphire crystal while its case material is crafted from rose gold. You can wear it during a leisure swimming with its 30-meter water resistance.

3. Vacheron Constantin Patrimony – $390,282

(Source: Bucherer)

The Patrimony Ultra-Thin Calibre is one of Vacheron Constantin’s masterpieces. It’s a manual watch that sports the dimensions of 41mm in diameter and 8.10mm in thickness. The round-shaped timepiece uses 18-carat pink gold in its case, bezel, crown, and dial. Its strap is made of black alligator leather. Its minimalist look delivers elegance and a timeless design that will suit any occasion. It’s one of the thinnest minute repeaters in the market. Its ingenious flying strike governor is silent yet very efficient. Even its caliber is a feast for any connoisseur’s eyes with its intricate layout that shows how its mechanism is meticulously and skilfully pieced together.

2. Piaget Emperador Cushion – $567,543

(Source: Bucherer)

Piaget’s Emperador Cushion-Shaped Self-Winding Minute Repeater is one of the thinnest in the caliber 1290P and 48-mm diameter cushion-shaped case categories. Inside its slim body, the fourth major complication movement is encased with the finest acoustics, aesthetic finishes, and technical mastery. Nothing spells luxurious more than the 332 diamonds – with a variety of shapes ranging from emerald, round, and baguette cuts – in contemporary-looking contours. Furthermore, its buckles are adorned with 26 baguette-cut diamonds on its black alligator strap. The careful craftsmanship of this timepiece is so exclusive and valuable that it’s only available in limited pieces.

1. Ulysse Nardin Classico Hannibal Minute Repeater – $756,211

(Source: Luxois)

Ulysse Nardin has been inspired by their movement of delivering “constant innovation of mechanical timepieces.” This Swiss luxury watchmaker is known for fusing style and bold innovation in their pieces. And they didn’t fail to deliver it to their limited edition Classico Minute Repeater that’s ultra-exclusively available. In fact, they only crafted 30 exemplars of this timepiece that requires extreme precision and expert craftsmanship. Hence, it’s not a surprise that it tops the 10 most expensive designer watches for men this 2022. This particular design pays tribute to one of history’s ultimate strategist and greatest military commanders – Carthaginian General Hannibal Barca. In the upper portion of the dial, you’ll see Hannibal straddling his horse, the jaquemarts, one of his elephants, and a regiment of soldiers.

The detail and materials used in this timepiece are remarkable and collection item-worthy. All the figurines, mountains, and surrounding terrain in the background are all hand-carved and made in 18-karat gold. Its backdrop uses a dark granite stone that is sourced from the Alps, the very same mountain that Hannibal crossed in the 3rd century B.C. Below this design partially shows its in-house Caliber UN-78 mounted on 36 jewels.

Did we miss your favorite expensive watch that should be on the list? Let us know what you think of these watches in the comments section below.


Jenny Chang

By Jenny Chang

Jenny Chang is a senior writer specializing in SaaS and B2B software solutions. Her decision to focus on these two industries was spurred by their explosive growth in the last decade, much of it she attributes to the emergence of disruptive technologies and the quick adoption by businesses that were quick to recognize their values to their organizations. She has covered all the major developments in SaaS and B2B software solutions, from the introduction of massive ERPs to small business platforms to help startups on their way to success.

Paul says:

While I appreciate the effort, I truly don't understand this list. It neither accurately depicts the most expensive nor most luxurious watches. A Richard Mille watch can easily set you back $700,000 to $1million. And any "top watch list" that doesn't include Patek Philippe is laughable. BTW, the Rolex GMT also comes in steel and gold/steel, not just the two options that were cited.

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Rodney says:

You forgot CORUM Admiral's Cup 45 Minute Repeater Tourbillon Red Gold. It's worth $347k something. I like this watch, not the least because only a few know it exists, making it one of the most exclusive luxury watches. Now where do I get the money...

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