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World’s most complicated wristwatch on the auction block for $3 million

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The traditional curtain raiser for the global luxury watch auction’s year takes place in Monaco’s Hotel de Paris this weekend, with more than 300 lots going under the hammer at the Antiquorum sale including a Vacheron Constantin Tour de L’Ile, considered one of the most complicated wristwatches in the world.

The Tour de L’Ile astronomical and astrological watch, first created in 2005, took 10,000 hours of research and development to create a timepiece with 834 components.

It has two dials, front and back, and 16 complications: hours and minutes, seconds at 6 o’clock, hour, quarter and minute repetition on demand, tourbillon, power reserve, second time zone, moon phases, age of the moon, striking cut, perpetual calendar, equation of perpetual time, sunrise, sunset and celestial map.

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Even brand new, the 18ct rose gold watch with black dial sold for $2.1 million when it was auctioned in 2005. This time, it is on the block with an estimate of $1.8 to $3 million, which is likely to be beaten by a considerable distance.

Less certain to beat its estimate is a c.1958 Rolex Milgauss, a watch designed with protection from magnetic fields so it could be used in places like nuclear power stations.

The reference 6541 was only made for four years, so it is rare, but the thought that this 3-handed steel tool watch could sell for its Antiquorum estimate of $298,000 to $536,000 shows a level of delusion in the vintage watch collecting world that is hard to fathom.

If that doesn’t appeal, perhaps a more contemporary F.P. Journe would suit. Antiquorum has two examples. First is a 2004 Octa Calendar, a reference that won the special price of the Jury at the Grand Prix de l’Horlogerie when it first launched in 2002. It could be yours for between $67,000 and $105,000.

Secondly, a 2002 Octa Jour Nuit Ruthenium self-winding, platnum wristwatch with date, power reserve and night/day indicaton. It has a pre-sale estimate of $110 000 to $208,000.

The Antiquorum auction takes place at the Hôtel de Paris, Place du Casino, in Monaco on Sunday, January 24, from 2pm CET (8am EST).

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