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Most Expensive Rolex Watches

Rolex is undoubtedly a champion brand when it comes to watches. By investing in one of the core classic pieces (your Submariners or your Daytonas, for example), you’re giving standard wrist wear a massive upgrade. But if you’ve got more exclusive tastes, there’s a small division of the Rolex brand that surpasses the usual levels of aspiration – these pieces are almost mythological. But with expensive tastes comes expensive price tags, and if you’re after something rare, it’ll cost you quite the pretty penny.

The Rolex GMT 116769TBR is the most expensive watch to come directly from the brand at a staggering $547,000. A wave diamond dial is bolstered with luminous hour markers and hands lined in reflective black. The bracelet is made of white gold weighing in at 18 carats (bit different to your Argos line-up) that is flanked with diamonds to the outer dial. A self-winding automatic movement offers 100 metre water resistance alongside an Oysterlock clasp – a hallmark of iconic Rolex design. And, if that wasn’t enough, there are 76 brilliant round diamonds encrusted throughout.

Limited editions from renowned collectors also fetch the old pound sterling, with seriously value stemming from the covetability factor. On April 23rd 2008, at Sotheby’s (of course), Eric Clapton’s 1971 Rolex Daytona exceeded all expectations and clocked over 5 times the amount some experts initially predicted. The final sum? A record $505,000. Featuring a silver monochrome dial (an unusual departure from the more popular Rolex models), this piece was nicknamed the Albino and recently sold for a colossal $1.3m. He might not chart in the top 40, but Clapton’s still laughing all the way to the bank.

In the same vein, an 18 karat pink gold Rolex was gifted to India’s very first president – Dr Rajendra Prasad. The piece was a present to celebrate the nation’s first Republic Day and showcased a unique dial with a bespoke map of India engrained within, dated to the 26thJanuary 1950. This unique watch was re-sold by Sotheby’s once more in Geneva 2011, selling at $444,000 – the third most expensive Rolex ever sold at auction.

Both of these models however were blown out of the water however by an incredibly rare Rolex made in 1942. Only 12 pieces were ever crafted and although initially valued at around $680,000, it actually hit the $1.16 million mark when it went to auction – a record at the time. The piece itself has an unconventional nickel finish with lever movement and silver matte dials, three things are ultimately finished with 17 jewels and a pink gold case.

In 2013, a 1950 Sleeping Beauty Rolex timepiece recently fetched 1.14 million, four times its estimated value and set a new world record when it was sold at Christie’s New York. The stainless steel ref. 8171 Rolex was initially estimated to fetch $250,000-$350,000. The timepiece, previously nicknamed the “Padellone” (Big Frying Pan in Italian) is one of the most complicated Rolexes ever made – which probably explains the price tag with only 100 pieces ever being made.

Think you fancy one of those coveted timepieces? Better get saving (or applying for the credit cards).