Friday, February 9, 2018

A Few Extremely Expensive Pocket Watches

As far as I thus far been able to determine, there are not many new mechanical pocket watches currently for sale between cheap pieces of junk whose cases can't be opened, so that they're meant to be used until they stop, and then thrown away rather than repaired, like Bic lighters, if Bic lighters sometimes cost more than $100; and extremely expensive items such as the subjects of this post.

This beautiful rose gold piece was unveiled by Panerai at SIHH 2014:

It's currently featured on, along with a white-gold version. 50mm, which seems about the right width for a pocket watch to me. Maybe 48mm would be perfect. $61,600 for the rose gold, $65,300, which may be more money than I have earned in my life so far, for the white gold. And no second hands in sight on either one. But I still think they're beautiful.

Panerai also makes the Pocket Watch Tourbillon GMT Ceramica. $184,100.

This one was introduced in 2013, and watch lovers in general go gaga over it. There are a lot of things over which watch lovers go gaga which I didn't understand 5 years ago but understand now, as you can see if you read posts on this blog labelled mechanical watch. Ceramic cases are one of those things over which watch lovers go gaga which I still don't understand. I'd much rather have that rose gold watch, and not only because the ceramic tourbillon is 3 times more impossible for me to afford, but also because I think that the gold watch looks much nicer, and I'm about 100% certain that it's much heavier, which I would like also.

Besides the ceramic case, there's the size of the tourbillon: 59mm. That's too much, if you ask me. Getting close to hockey-puck-ridiculous size. Speaking of hockey pucks: the Vacheron Constantine Reference 57260 --

-- has been inaccurately described as being about as big as a hockey puck. Actually, it's much larger than a hockey puck: 98mm wide and 50.55mm thick, compared to a regulation puck at 76mm wide and 25mm thick. The Vacheron Constantine Reference 57260 is twice as thick as a hockey puck and 22mm wider. And there's only one of them: the photo above is a double exposure, showing you that it has one dial in front and a different one on back. It has been described -- accurately, I believe, although I suppose it's possible that the statement has been very recently outdated -- as the world's most complicated watch.

Well, wait just a minute about that: is it a watch? Call me a grumpy curmudgeon if you wish, but I say no: it's a clock. It's a very nice clock, but I don't know of anybody who could fit it into one of their pockets or would even want to try. It's closer in size to chicken pot pie than to a hockey puck. It weighs about 2 pounds, or more than 5 hockey pucks.

But of course this isn't about me and my ideas of what is and isn't a watch. Whatever you call it, either someone liked it well enough to give Vacheron Constantine an enormous sum of money for it, or Vacheron Constantine liked someone well enough to give them a stupendously extravagant gift.

How much does it cost? Nobody's going to tell you that. Nobody's even going to say who bought it. If it's ever sold at auction, I can't imagine it going for less than 8 figures.

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