Extremely Expensive Watches You Don’t Want

Patek Travel Time

fratellowatches.com presents 10 Watches We Should Forget About. Their selection of extremely expensive watches includes the ill-advised $250k Patek Philippe Grand Complication Pilot Alarm Travel Time. I’ve selected three equally horrendous watches millionaires and billionaires shouldn’t even think about buying. Here they are . . .

Bell & Ross BR-X1 Skeleton Tourbillon Sapphire Black – $480k

Extremely expensive watch: Bell & Ross BR-X1 Skeleton Tourbillon Sapphire Black

Bell & Ross posts an image of one of their an extremely expensive watches with the words “Water resistant 10M/33ft” reversed on the bottom of the dial. HUH?

Why would B&R advertise such meager water resistance on the front of a watch, any watch? Wait! It’s an X-ray. The text is on the bottom of the translucent rubber strap (hence its reversal). Scroll down the page and all is revealed. Literally.

Bell & Ross BR-X1 Skeleton Tourbillon Sapphire Black better pic

Sapphire! The BR-X1’s clear case is fashioned from the world’s second hardest natural substance (only diamonds are harder). It’s presented here in transparent form with an anti-reflective coating – so that only its owner will know it’s not glass. Or plastic.

The case’s transparency reveals the screws in all their glory. Only they’re not so glorious; they look like garden variety black screws. As for the tourbillon, what modern day expensive watch is complete without a complication developed in 1795 for pocket watches that serves no practical purpose on a wrist watch?

Bell & Ross BR-X1 Skeleton Tourbillon Sapphire Black movement

The jet black half-moon-shaped movement is an engineering masterpiece, so compact that it leaves the bottom of the dial completely empty. Which makes the BR-X1 look unfinished. Truth be told, this 45mm experiment in high-tech high horology was finished before it started.

Jaeger-leCoultre Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon 3 Set – Price on Application

Jaeger-leCoultre Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon 3 Set

That’s not a date window. It’s a digital seconds counter for a single pusher chronograph, embedded within an aventurine-faced minute-counting chrono sub-dial. O.K. then . . .

Never mind that. Clock the baguette-cut diamonds surrounding the 45mm dial, crawling around the lugs and circumnavigating the crown. One-hundred-and-six sparklers in total, six carats in all. Because who doesn’t think of Jaeger-Lecoultre and think bling?

The moon phase display is rough by Jaeger-leCoultre’s standards. I think it’s supposed to look rustic – an intentionally imperfect challenge to the glossy dial at the top. I’m not sure if the moon phase won or lost. Anyway, the watch’s Gryffindor flying broomstick tourbillon deserves special mention.

Jaeger-leCoultre Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon 3 Set movement

Offering a unique spectacle at [or somewhere near] the heart of the dial, the so-called “flying” Gyrotourbillon® has no upper bridge and thus, seems to float in space. Between its two aluminum carriages the blueish-colored spherical balance spring can be seen, guaranteeing the optimum accuracy of the movement.

An extremely expensive watch: Jaeger-leCoultre Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon 3 Set caseback

It’s accurate because it can be seen? I kid. Even so, if you can afford this thing you can afford to be late. Can JLC, known as the most underrated watchmaker on the planet, afford to offer something this gaudy, a watch that’s best worn upside down? Apparently so.

Richard Mille RM 70-01 – $810k (when new)

Richard Mille RM 70-01 standing up

Finding a Mille timepiece uglier than the Stallone-inspired RM25-01 was difficult, but I think I’ve done it. Mssr. Mille launched the RM 70-01 in 2010. You can still buy a box fresh example – one of only 30 [allegedly] made – at Hong Kong’s jamesedition.com.

In case you didn’t immediately recognize it, the RM 70-01 is a bicycling watch, one that proudly proclaims “we don’t need no stinkin’ GPS.” Here’s how that works . . .

Really expensive watches can be ugly like the Richard Mille RM70-01

Adjusting the odometer is done using two grade 5 titanium pushers. Located at 2 o’clock, the first pusher is a selector that can synchronise any of 5 selected rollers, or set the complication in neutral position.

Depressing the second pusher, at 10 o’clock incrementally rotates the selected roller. Inspired by the gear indicators on the handlebar gearshift, markers on the odometer provide visual confirmation of the selection.

In case you’re thinking that’s a lot of money for something so bloody useless, at least nine-hundred large buys you a raft of trademarked high-tech bells and whistles: a Carbon TPT® case, nickel-free Chronifer® barrel shafts and a Glucydur® balance with a Nivarox® elinvar balance spring.

Really ugly watches are really ugly

The kicker: RM made the bicycling watch for Formula One driver Alain Prost. I almost forgot. The RM 70-01’s got a tourbillon. I hope to see it spinning on a Russian oligarch’s wrist soon, so that the world can appreciate Mille’s masterpiece in its natural milieu.

4 comments

  1. The B&R strap is only water resistant to a certain depth? Are you kidding me?

    As a flip clock fan, I do like the digital counter, even if I hate hate hate asymmetric hodgepodge displays. Yes, that definitely includes the A. Lange & Sohne that everyone goes gaga about.

    Am I understanding this bikey watch correctly? Somebody pushed a button thousands of times to roll the odometer up for those photos? And how does the dash, as seen where it reads the model number, come into play?

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