The Most Expensive Watches And Jewellery Ever Sold At Auction
Every year, an unconscionable amount of money exchanges hands at auction houses as rare jewels and watches go under the hammer. From lavish charity sales in Geneva to jaw-dropping diamond bids here at home, the last decade has seen buyers shatter auction records to the tune of millions.
Most Expensive Diamond: CTF Pink Star (US$71.2 million)
In 2017 Chow Tai Fook purchased the Pink Star, an oval, 59.60-carat, fancy vivid pink diamond which Sotheby’s said was “a new record for any work ever sold in Asia”. It was renamed CTF Pink Star to honour the CTF chairman’s late father.
Most Expensive Gemstone per Carat: the Blue Moon of Josephine (US$48.4 million)
Some parents buy their children puzzles; in 2015, billionaire Joseph Lau purchased a 12.03-carat vivid blue diamond at Sotheby’s for his seven-year-old daughter Josephine, equating to $4 million per carat.
Related: Singapore Collectors Series: Why This Jewellery Designer Donated a 75-Carat Diamond He Owned
Most expensive antique jewel: Marie Antoinette’s 18th-century pearl and diamond pendant (US$36,000,000)
When the Bourbon-Parma family auctioned their royal collection in 2018, Marie Antoinette’s pendant sparked a bidding war at Sotheby’s. The last queen of France smuggled jewellery abroad during the French Revolution; the pendant made it out safely, though the ill-fated queen didn’t.
Most expensive tiara: the Henckel von Donnersmarck Tiara (US$12.76 million)
An anonymous buyer snapped up this 500-carat diamond and emerald tiara at Sotheby’s Geneva in 2011. Experts speculate Chaumet created the unsigned masterpiece, topped with 11 Colombian pear-shaped emeralds.
Most expensive jewel sold online: a 28.86-carat D-Colour diamond (US$2,110,000 million)
As the pandemic shut auction houses worldwide, Christie’s courted online bidders and quietly broke a record in 2020. This D-Colour Type 11a diamond exceeded expectations, fetching $2.1 million.
Related: Sapphires, Rubies, Emeralds and More: A Guide to Purchasing Coloured Gemstones
Most expensive watch: Patek Philippe’s 6300A-010 Grandmaster Chime (US$31.2 million)
At a 2019 Christie’s charity auction, this 175th anniversary Patek Philippe wristwatch saw bids skyrocket to $31.2 million. The piece in question took 100,000 hours to complete and features an unusual steel frame with 20 functions.
Most expensive pocket watch: Patek Philippe’s 1933 Henry Graves Supercomplication (US$24 million)
Sold in 2014 at Sotheby’s, this aptly named timepiece features 24 complications, including a star map of the sky above its original owner Henry Graves Jr’s home. In the 1920s, Graves bet he could make the most advanced watch and commissioned this. Spoiler: he won.
Related: 5 Best New Luxury Watches in June 2021
Most expensive watch by an independent maker: George Daniels Space Traveller I (US$4,560,000)
This 18k gold pocket watch hammered at Sotheby’s in 2019. Created in 1982 and inspired by the Apollo 11 moon landing, watchmaker George Daniels described it as “the kind of watch you would need on your package tour to Mars”.