There's only one Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300A in the world, and it just sold at auction for a record-breaking $31 million.
The ultra-luxe timepiece was up for sale in the Only Watch charity auction, which is held in Geneva, Switzerland and features donated special edition watches from high-end brands like Rolex, Hublot, and—obviously—Patek Philippe.
The Grandmaster Chime broke a record held since 2017 by Paul Newman's Rolex Daytona, which was sold in a Phillips auction for nearly $18 million. Prior to the Newman, the record for watches of any kind was held by Patek Philippe's Henry Graves Jr. Supercomplication—a 1920 pocket watch that Sotheby's sold for $24 million in 2014.
Here's more about the Grandmaster Chime from Only Watch:
The Grandmaster Chime is the first Patek Philippe grande-sonnerie wristwatch ever added to the company's current collection. The grand complication Ref. 6300A-010 unites accomplishment and elegance in this new and unique stainless steel version boasting two dials in rose gold and black ebony. The reversible case, adorned with a guilloched hobnail pattern, is notable for its patented reversing mechanism.
This exceptional grand complication features 20 complications in its stainless steel case, including no fewer than five chiming modes, two of which are patented world firsts: an acoustic alarm that strikes the preselected time and a date repeater sounding the date on demand.
The watch was created exclusively for this particular auction and Only Watch says it is "the first and only version of this exceptional timepiece ever produced in stainless steel."
It's hard to overemphasize the remarkable level of skillful engineering that went into a timepiece like this. Four spring barrels power the multiple complications and some of those are remarkable in and of themselves:
- A petite and grande sonnerie (chime).
- It has perpetual calendar with full four-digit display.
- Accommodates a second time zone.
- Day/night indicator and day/date on both the rose gold and ebony dials.
- Month indicator (the leap-year cycle has been incorporated.
- 24-hour and minute subdial.
That's just scratching the surface, and it's all powered by a mechanical movement that is manually-wound.
In other words, Grandmaster Chime possesses many functions found only in quartz digital watches, and those complications run on the most analog sort of micro-machinery imaginable.
There's an argument to be made that a watch like this is more museum piece, more a work of art than something you'd want to wear in public. A $31 million argument.
The thing about this particular astoundingly expensive timepiece is all that money goes to a truly good cause, as you can read at Only Watch—: Finding treatments, possibly even a cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.