The Most Expensive Clocks Ever Sold: A Countdown of Record-Breaking Timepieces
Clocks have been an integral part of human civilization for thousands of years. While their primary function is to tell us the time, some clocks have transcended their practicality and become works of art. These intricate timepieces have been crafted with precision and adorned with exquisite materials, making them highly sought after by collectors. In this article, we will countdown the most expensive clocks ever sold, showcasing the incredible craftsmanship and beauty that went into creating these record-breaking timepieces.
- Thomas Tompion - $1.9 million
Dating back to the 18th century, the Devonshire House Clock is a remarkable example of English horology. Made by master clockmaker Thomas Tompion, this clock features an intricate mechanism and a gilt bronze case adorned with elaborate engravings and enamelwork. The clock fetched a record-breaking price of 1.9 million in 1999.
- Chinese Ormolu Clock - $4 million
The attention to detail is stunning on this Chinese Ormolu clock, created in the mid to late 1700’s. Embellishments include panels of gilded copper, leaping fish, moving birds and flowing vines of flowers. This masterpiece was sold at auction in 2008.
- The Duc d'Orleans Breguet Sympathique Clock - $6.8 million
Designed by Abraham-Louis Breguet in the late 18th century, this clock is a true testament to the ingenuity of its creator. The clock combines a precision pendulum clock with a watch-winding mechanism, allowing the two to synchronize automatically. Sold at auction in 2012, it holds the record for the most expensive clock sold by a living horologist.
- The Rothschild Egg Clock - $8.8 million
Created by Faberge for the Rothschild family in 1902, this clock is a dazzling display of Russian craftsmanship. Designed as an Imperial Easter Egg, the clock features intricate enamelwork, gemstones, and a miniature diamond-set clock. The clock was sold at auction in 2007, attracting significant attention from collectors.
- The Marie-Antoinette Breguet No. 160 Grand Complication - $30 million
One of the most extraordinary timepieces ever created, this pocket watch was ordered by an admirer of Marie Antoinette, who wanted to gift it to the queen. The watch took 44 years to complete and features numerous complications, such as a perpetual calendar and a minute repeater. Sold at auction in 2021, it set a new record for the most expensive timepiece ever sold.
- The Sotheby's Wristwatch by Patek Philippe - $31 million
Dubbed "the most complicated wristwatch ever made," this Patek Philippe timepiece features 24 complications, including a perpetual calendar, a celestial chart, and a minute repeater. Crafted with intricate details and exceptional precision, this watch sold at auction in 2019, becoming the most expensive clock ever sold.
These record-breaking clocks demonstrate the enduring appeal of horology as an art form. With their exquisite craftsmanship, intricate mechanisms, and luxurious materials, they represent the pinnacle of human ingenuity and creativity. While their price tags may seem astronomical, they serve as a testament to the timeless allure of these extraordinary timepieces.