9 noteworthy facts about unique watches


Watchmakers have long been competing in the creation of unique timepieces. The modern industry is not far behind, but today all watch production is tied to numbers – serial numbers, dates, prices, dimensions and much more, which is sometimes unknown even to experienced collectors, and even an experienced connoisseur can be surprised by some facts and figures about watchmaking.

  1. The greatest number of complications

Chronometer Vacheron Constantin Ref. 57260 is considered the most difficult in the world. A few years ago, Vacheron Constantin manufactory began work on a specific order – the creation of completely new watches by customer order. The work was carried out by three masters, and the brand presented the finished product in the year of its 260th anniversary, therefore the name of the watch was 57 (the number of complications) and 260 (brand age).

The shape of the watch is identical to a pocket watch, but much larger: diameter – 98 mm, thickness – 50.55 mm. The caliber consists of 2800 components, and the weight of the chronometer is 960 g. The unique creation combines most of the known watch functions, and an eternal Jewish calendar was also developed. The number of complications in the world’s most complicated watch, including grande and petite sonnerie, rattrapant chronograph, perpetual Hebraic calendar, alarm, Westminster strike, sidereal time and a three-axis tourbillon.

  1. The minimum amount of water resistance

The minimum amount of water resistance in meters required for a watch to be considered a scuba diving watch. A level of 100 meters means it can be worn snorkeling, and a level of 50 meters means it can be worn for swimming in shallow depths.

  1. Maximum immersion depth

In 2014, Rolex released a special version of the model to commemorate James Cameron’s historic solitary dive to the bottom of the Mariana Trench with a depth of about 11,000 meters. To prevent the crystal from tearing itself away from the watch at very great depths, they are equipped with a helium exhaust valve.

  1. The number of oscillations per hour

The vph, or number of vibrations per hour of the oscillator in a mechanical watch. It refers to the number of semi-oscillations a balance spring makes in one hour. Theoretically, the faster the vph, the greater the accuracy of the movement.

The vph of the oscillator in the world’s highest frequency watch, the TAG Heuer Mikrogirder 2000, which times to 1/2000th of a second. But the Mikrogirder was a one-off concept watch. The highest frequency commercially available watch is the Zenith Defy Inventor with an oscillator beating at 129,600 vph, followed by the Breguet Classic Chronometrie 7727 at 72,000 vph and the Chopard L.U.C 8HF at 57,600 vph.

  1. The highest price for Rolex

$ 17,700,000 – this is exactly what the collector paid for the actor’s Paul Newman Rolex Daytona watch at the Phillips auction in 2017. The previous record was set in 2017, amounting to $ 5 million for Ref. 6062 named “Bao Dai” because it belonged to the last emperor of Vietnam.

  1. How many hours are sold per year?

In 2019, despite the abundance of technological competitors, the number of traditional Swiss watches sold in the world totals 21.1 million. Their total cost is $ 2.4 billion.

  1. Highest price paid per watch

Good timepieces have always been valued expensive. But when it comes to charity, collectors are not stingy. In 2019, a record was set at $ 31,000,000 for the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300A. All funds went to science – to help research Duchenne muscular dystrophy.


  1. The thinnest watches in the world

The width and thickness of the thinnest watches in the world, Bulgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic, is only 42 x 3.95 mm. It is also the world’s thinnest tourbillon.

  1. The smallest manual winding watch in the world

38 x 3.65 – width and thickness in millimeters of the world’s smallest manual-wound watch, the Piaget Altiplano 900P. How did they do it? The case and movement are one—the dial plate doubles as the baseplate, and the hands, index and movement are all on the same plane, as one integrated unit.

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