Have you ever wondered why there are so many luxury watches around the world? A heavy priced watch isn’t just about how useful it is. Actually, the most expensive watch in the world is not available just for the sake of functionality, but mostly because it offers exclusivity and status symbol to those who can afford to buy it. It is not merely watches that fall into this category of luxury products, but also expensive yachts, airfares and ultra mansions. All of those are material ways through which rich people separate themselves from poorer people. Luxury products, although not necessarily having the highest quality, give signals about your social position to those worse off than you and at the same time to those you perceive as being your rich peers.
There are, however, some design factors that could add up to the price of luxury watches: small jewelry pieces incrusted or other functions like measuring the effect of gravity. Some of the most famous luxury timepieces come from Hublot, Jaeger-LeCoultre, PhillipePatex, Rolex, Cartier, Bregues&Fils, Piaget, Omega, Blancpain and Chopard.
But here is the trick and the paradox of buying expensive watches: lower-income people from middle and upper middle class tend to try harder to achieve status symbol through expensive products than higher-income people from upper and elite classes do. Moreover, some psychological meaning of buying goods is available: people who feel their self-esteem threatened tend to repair their ego through compensatory consumption. Well, that might signal some issues to celebrities’ consumption behaviors of highly expensive watches, indeed.
Let’s see for ourselves how the most expensive watch in the world looks like and what the story behind its price is. It is a beautifully shaped watch engraved with small and numerous diamonds. It’s Chopard 201 and the curious number comes from how many karats it holds. It is from the mid-19th century brand Chopard (sometimes heritage can really add up to the price of a timepiece) and obviously it looks more like jewelry than like a watch. It costs 25 million dollars.
It is designed using a total number of 874 diamond, white and yellow gold. It has three heart-shaped diamonds. Those three diamonds can open up if you press a small part of the watch. You would probably never get to see how that works, but it feels good to know what it’s worth 25 million dollars, doesn’t it? If you want to make a sense of how much money that means, it equals some of the most expensive mansions from high-class tourist destinations. With this amount of money you can buy some of the most exclusive condos from the richest neighborhoods in London or New York. Exactly, you might as well live in a Chopard 201. The watch that looks more like a bracelet (with a casually attached watch) is so expensive that it needs a highly secured and secret area to be manufactured.
Because they represent such an inaccessible lifestyle, the brands of exclusivist watches are sometimes in the public eye. This why the Swiss watches that many China officials wear became part of a public debate about corruption gifts. And of course we can’t forget how the expensive watch of Patriarch Kirill was photo shopped to its removal in some of the official photos of Russian press. We keep being fascinated with how luxury brands tell stories about how rich, famous and eager to spend people are. The most expensive watch in the world is certainly an intriguing piece, especially since it was sold at that huge price not these days, but at the beginning of 2000’s. We don’t’ even want to know what its selling price might be today.