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In 2015, a Patek Philippe 5016A sold for $7.5 million in Geneva—the most expensive wristwatch ever sold at auction. This spring another rare Patek Philippe received a winning bid of more than $2.5 million in Hong Kong. These excellent examples of masterful watchmaking feature the sort of superplative design and manufacturing that make timepieces hold (and increase) their value. Here, Harry Lee, assistant store director and horology manager at Bellusso Jewelers, offers insights on current collector-worthy watches. 

Luxury TIMELESS A-Lange-Sohne-Zeitwerk-Striking-pink-gold-1 "Fewer than 6,000 watches a year": A. Lange & Sohne in pink gold Photo: Modern Luxury

A.Lange & Sohne Zeitwerk Striking Time in pink gold ($117,500)

Distinction:
 “The Zeitwerk model was the first mechanical wristwatch that displayed hours and minutes with jumping numerals. The addition of a striking time mechanism evolved from a historic movement that featured a minute repeater, adding a new dimension to an already unique timepiece.”

Collector Cred:  “A. Lange & Sohne manufactures fewer than 6,000 watches a year.”

Luxury TIMELESS PortugieserIW503401-big Portugieser, "accurate until the year 2400." Photo: Modern Luxury

IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar in white gold ($42,100)

Distinction:
 “Since 1868, IWC has contributed to the advancement of mechanical watchmaking. The Portuguese family of watches launched in 1939 and the current editions resemble original designs.”

Collector Cred:  “The perpetual calendar: With its dial featuring date, day, month, year, perpetual moon phase, and a seven-day automatic movement, this watch will be accurate until the year 2400.”

Luxury TIMEZONECartier Drive de Cartier Cartier "expertise" in the Drive de Cartier Photo: Modern Luxury

Drive de Cartier  ($19,300)

Distinction:
 “The design is inspired by automotive features, with the guilloche dial patterned after a radiator grill and the crown shaped like an engine bolt.”

Collector Cred:  “Cartier has developed dozens of proprietary in-house movements. That expertise is reflected in the drive, which was subjected to almost 150 separate tests.”

luxury TIMELESSbreguet "Beautifully finished" Breguet Photo: Modern Luxury

Breguet Tradition 7077 Chronograph Independent ($78,900)

Distinction:
 “With a horological history dating back to 1775, and its founder recognized as a true master of his craft, Breguet continues with watch innovations and excellence. The timepiece has open dial fronts and exhibition backs, exposing beautifully finished movements and guilloche designs.”

Collector Cred:  “The Tradition family accounts for about 4 percent of Breguet’s annual production.”