We were inspired by the $110 million (£83 million) sale of a Basquiat piece in the art world and decided to have some fun and see how far a fraction of that would go towards building a luxury watch collection.
So, imagine you’ve just inherited, won, earned, or been approved for a loan of $10,000,000 that’s yours to spend. How should you spend $10 million on luxury watches?
On the Spot, and Under the Gun
When you’ve got that amount of cash to throw around, you can spend years working out the best strategy to get the maximum return on your splurge, often tying yourself up in knots in the process. But what does your gut say?
Go Nuts: Trust me, it Helps
I’m known for being sensible. I’m known for making ‘bang-for-buck’ moves with my own personal watch collection. I tirelessly research the provenance of manufactures and the level of exclusivity of the watches I buy.
But with $10 million to spend on luxury watches you can go crazy. You could buy every kind of Submariner, Speedmaster, Reverso, or Portugueser for less than half a million, so you need to think big! You need to think bold! You need to think bonkers! Here goes:
- Lange & Söhne Grand Complication
I’m starting with a piece I feel comfortable anointing as a modern classic. Heritage, style, precious metals, and hyper-complicated, the Lange & Söhne Grand Complication has it all. This is probably the most conservative choice on the list, but plum in the middle when it comes to value. The Grand Complication retails for around a cool $2,600,000 (£1,963,780).
- Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Laptimer Michael Schumacher
Okay, so this is not the most expensive watch in the world (I never thought I’d be excusing a $229,500 (£173,341) Audemars Piguet timepiece for being too cheap to be on a list, but there you go), but it is a watch that I’ve personally lost sleep over. If I had $10,000,000 (£7,553,000) I’d rush out and buy the watch I never, ever thought I could own. But very quickly you realize that this kind of wealth opens up possibilities that were so removed from figures you’re used to processing (the Laptimer is the price of a house; Number 3 on the list is the price of a small village) that there’s a lot more out there to drain your balance. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Laptimer Michael Schumacher is limited to 221 pieces.
- Breguet Antique Number 2667
Every collection needs diversity, right? That’s the beauty of curation; that’s what you pay for; that’s the privilege we all crave. The Breguet Antique Number 2667 is the only pocket watch that is featured on this list, and one of the most elegantly beautiful to make the cut. It’s a classic masterpiece and will no doubt be worth more than its 2012 hammer price of $4,245,000 (£3,206,000) next time it goes to auction.
- Harry Winston Opus 14
When you see my fifth choice, I think you’ll understand why I needed to include an ultra-complicated, terrifyingly nonsensical wristwatch on this list for balance. Again, at a shade under $605,000 (£457,000) the Harry Winston Opus 14 seems almost too affordable for this list. That said, it’s a watch of excellently congruous styling, and deliciously irreverent functionality, and would ably justify its inclusion in any safe.
- Hublot Haute Joaillerie
Well this is definitely a divisive selection, but let me justify it in one word: Diamonds. Precious materials give objects an inherent value that will age better than styles or quirks reliant on epochal understanding to appreciate.
This particularly over-the-top iteration of Hublot’s regular fare retails at around $1,000,000 (£755,300). A nice round figure to round out one of the most extravagant lists I’ve ever made. Now where’s my piggy bank…