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Most Complicated Watch in the World

Updated on April 21, 2014
Jaeger LeCoultre Hybris Mechanica Grande Sonnerie
Jaeger LeCoultre Hybris Mechanica Grande Sonnerie | Source

Complications? This watch has 26 of them!

New Luxury Watch – Only $2.5 Million

Are you a luxury watch connoisseur who wants to own the world's most highly complicated luxury timepiece and money is no object? Actually, money is the object since the world’s most complicated minute-repeater sonnerie watch will set you back $2,500,000. And no cents. If you spend that much, I should probably spell that phrase, “no sense.”

Is it really reasonable, you may ask, for one single luxury watch, complicated or not, to carry a price tag of two and a half million dollars? That’s a question I asked myself. Read on to discover what I learned.

What is a minute-repeater sonnerie watch and why is it so expensive? Here’s a little history. Daniel Quare, an Englishman, is believed to have invented the repeater watch in the mid-1680s. The first pocket-watch models sounded the hour and the quarter hour on demand. Repeater watches were invented by necessity so that their owners could tell the time in the dark. Why didn’t they just turn on the light to see the dial? Because electricity had not been invented yet and homes were practically pitch-black once the sun had set.

A repeater watch is unique because it chimes the time on demand. Twenty years later the five-minute repeater which chimes to the nearest five minutes was produced, and forty years after that, the first minute-repeater watch appeared. Finally, in 1892, a wristwatch repeater movement was created by Audemars Piguet.

Today most watches are created entirely by robots – untouched by human hands. Chiming watches, however, are an entirely different matter. The repeater function which chimes the hour, quarter hour and minute on demand when a button in the case is pressed, and the sommerie which automatically chimes the hour and quarter in passing (like a mantel clock) require the infinite skill of a “complications” watchmaker to construct and adjust.

It is estimated that the development and fine-tuning of a minute repeater sommerie watch require about 10,000 hours of meticulous work by the world’s finest watchmakers. This gives the watch a distinction not matched by other complication watches, as well a a price tag that usually starts in the low six figures.

Collectors of high-end watches view the minute repeater as the ultimate jewel of all timepiece complications. A minute repeater watch provides an acoustic representation (chiming) of the hours, quarter hours, and minutes through the striking of tiny hammers and miniature gongs inside the watch. Every strike is characterized by its own distinctive sound and frequency. This effect is achieved with the movement incorporating two different hammers with strike gongs that produce contrasting vibrations and tones.

As you can imagine, it requires extensive knowledge of horology and extreme skills to create and set these complications within the small confines of a gentleman’s watch. Note to wise guys: horology is not the study of prostitutes; it is the science of constructing time-indicating instruments.

By now I can almost hear you-all clamoring, “What is the name of this obscenely expensive watch?” This marvel of watch-making is the Jaeger LeCoultre Hybris Mechanica Grande Sonnerie complications watch with 1,300 parts and 26 complications – the most in the world (as of today).

But there’s more. This genuine 18k white gold work of art combines two of the most difficult complications in the world of watch-making. In addition to the minute repeater, this watch includes the Tourbillon – a 200-year-old invention of Abraham Louis Brequet – which is designed to counter the effect of gravity on the inner workings of the movement. To the naked eye, the Tourbillon looks like a gyroscope spinning inside its housing. Only the finest watchmakers in the world are capable of successfully combining these two complications.

And even more. The sonnerie function of the watch doesn’t just chime – it plays the entire Westminster Chimes (London) carillon melody which has separate gongs and rings for the hour and quarter hour. In addition to this melody, the watch features two more “tunes” as well as a silent mode, all based on a complex arrangement of gears.

In addition to the minute repeater, the Tourbillon balance wheel, grande and petit sonnerie, Westminster Chimes, silent mode, partially skeletonized dial, perpetual calendar with retrograde day, date and month indicator as well as leap year indicator, the watch – surprise – also displays the easy-to-read time: hour, minute and seconds with an instantaneous jumping hour display as well as separate power reserve indicators for the mainspring and sonnerie.

Hybris Mechanica Grande Sonnerie .... Gyrotourbillon .... Reverso Complication
Hybris Mechanica Grande Sonnerie .... Gyrotourbillon .... Reverso Complication

Wait – there’s more! For the paltry price of $2.5 million, Jaeger LeCoultre throws in two more very expensive, highly complex complication watches at no additional cost: the original model Gyrotourbillon and the Reverso Complication a Triptyque.

And finally, there’s even more. Your collection of these three extremely expensive complication watches will arrive – at absolutely no extra cost – accompanied by the largest and heaviest presentation gift box ever devised – a full size safe. I kid you not.

Only 30 sets of these three remarkable watches will be available and each buyer will also get the full size safe in which to store his limited edition complications collection. Serious collectors who pay serious prices are certainly entitled.

Favorite time quote: Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana. Groucho Marx

© Copyright BJ Rakow 2011, 2014. All rights reserved.

B. J. Rakow, Ph.D., Author, "Much of What You Know about Job Search Just Ain't So" - a serious book about job search which readers say is enlightening but also fun to read.

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    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 2 years ago from south Florida

      Nice to meet you, Taranwanderer. I have occasionally seen high-end LeCoultre watches available when estate sales are announced. But they have never been inexpensive . . . so far. :)

    • Taranwanderer profile image

      Taranwanderer 2 years ago

      The Turbillon movement is truly a marvel to behold. I had the opportunity to really look at one during a showing by a (now rich) old college friend. Perhaps I'll one day be able t snag a Le Coutre.

      https://bellatory.com/fashion-accessories/-7-Jaw-D...

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 2 years ago from south Florida

      If you happen to own an oil well or two or three, feel free to purchase any of these wondrous timepieces. Good luck in your watch quest, etaCarinae.

    • etaCarinae profile image

      Sara Johnson 2 years ago from United States

      These watches are simply marvelous to behold. I wonder if I'd ever be able to get my husband one someday.

      https://bellatory.com/fashion-accessories/-7-Jaw-D...

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 3 years ago from south Florida

      It's nice to hear from a fellow elegant-watch enthusiast. Interested in the Jaeger LeCoultre Hybris Mechanica Grande Sonnerie complications watch? No problem. Cough up 2 million and a half and this beauty is yours.

    • profile image

      Terry 3 years ago

      If you ever feel like giving a watch away, please keep this poor Canadin Watch Collector in mind. I have a few Invicta's , Red Line, Kennith Cole, Swiss Legend, Diesel, etc. but nothing this beautiful. Again! Just keep me in mind.

      Thanx.

      Terry. ethouse1@hotmail.com

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 4 years ago from south Florida

      And priceless was your clever comment, molly. Thank you, m'dear.

    • mollymeadows profile image

      Mary Strain 4 years ago from The Shire

      Drbj, it's more like sauntering in in my sequined Tar-zhay flipflops, fashionably ripped jeans and 10-year old Banana Republic tee shirt. The watch may cost $2,500,000, but the split second of doubt on the salesman's face -- priceless! XD

    • drbj profile image
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      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      So you discovered that free snack and drink secret, too, molly. We have several expensive watch salons in a large mall nearby and if you saunter in wearing a diamond-encrusted Cartier carrying your tiny ShihTsu in your genuine, gigantic Vuitton handbag and teetering on Manolo Blahnik stilettos, you are also offered a free libation - champagne.

      Now a time travel watch - that would be a hoot!

    • drbj profile image
      Author

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      You are too funny, John, but look at it this way. If you can afford to buy this two and a half million dollar watch, you can also afford to pay for the services of several bodyguards to watch over you so you can leave the safe at home. Loved your very funny comment, m'dear.

    • mollymeadows profile image

      Mary Strain 5 years ago from The Shire

      Drbj, I've learned that if you're in the mall and have no money you can get a free drink and a free snack by entering a high-end watch store and pretending to be interested (and able) to buy an outrageously overpriced watch. XD

      And to heck with chimes. For that price, I would expect the watch to be able to transport me back in time!

    • John MacNab profile image

      John MacNab 5 years ago from the banks of the St. Lawrence

      A fascinating hub drbj. I was thinking of buying the watch just so I could get the two freebies, but I realised that the safe would be too heavy for my wrist.

    • drbj profile image
      Author

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, Vellur. Delighted you enjoyed reading this; thanks for making the trip. Answering questions, when I can, is one of my favorite things to do. Thanks for the up.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 5 years ago from Dubai

      THis is very interesting and informative. Thanks for answering my question and linking to your hub. Enjoyed reading.Voted up.

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 6 years ago from Michigan

      LOL you are TOO funny... the master... hehehe he only wishes. He trys to tell ppl "I own this", referring to me of course and my wonderful assets... I respond thusly "You're makin' payments buddy"..

      Oh gee, if I got him one of those nifty watches, he'd in the bedroom hollering "What time is it?" every 12 1/2 minutes...

    • drbj profile image
      Author

      drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

      Picky, picky. You don't have to use up precious energy reading the time, susie. This bargain of a timepiece will chime on demand.

      Thanks for finding this marvel. After you read about the Exelero sports coupe, you will want to order at least two - one for you and one for the, dare I say it? - master.

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 6 years ago from Michigan

      So... I was looking at this watch, top picture. Umm, where is the time? Do they throw in a degree to tell the time along with the 2 other watches and the safe?

      Headin' over to read about that fancy car now... I can dream!

    • drbj profile image
      Author

      drbj and sherry 7 years ago from south Florida

      Thank you, kal, delighted you find my hubs interesting. You're no slouch yourself.

      I wouldn't be surprised to see this outrageous watch worn by James Bond in his next film - Daniel Craig, that is. He would be perfect because he's cool, too.

    • kaltopsyd profile image

      kaltopsyd 7 years ago from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA

      Wow, that looks like the cool spy watches you see in the movies. haha. I can barely read a normal watch. My goodness! That's ridiculous.. but still cool. You write the most interesting Hubs, drbj.

    • drbj profile image
      Author

      drbj and sherry 7 years ago from south Florida

      Actually, habee, if you purchase this watch, LeCoultre throws in two more at no extra charge. So you will have three Xmas gifts for the price of one! What a bargain!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      I'm sure I'll get a couple for Christmas...NOT!! Interesting hub!

    • drbj profile image
      Author

      drbj and sherry 7 years ago from south Florida

      Of course it's expensive - could I promote anything less?

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 7 years ago from Ohio, USA

      I assume it's the most expensive safe in the world? It only makes sense.

    • drbj profile image
      Author

      drbj and sherry 7 years ago from south Florida

      Nicomp - I checked with Maybach and they had considered adding the most expensive watch to the dash of the most expensive car, but they couldn't figure out a way to get that tremendous safe that comes with it into the trunk.

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 7 years ago from Ohio, USA

      I did see that hub. I ordered one for myself.

      The most expensive car should have the most expensive watch built into the dashboard. It's only right.

    • drbj profile image
      Author

      drbj and sherry 7 years ago from south Florida

      nicomp - you're a hoot! And a wit! Thanks for the visit. Did you see my hub on the most expensive car? You need one of those.

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 7 years ago from Ohio, USA

      A watch that expensive should make lunch.