Who owns the best watches? Depending on your definition of the world’s “best watches,” this might not be an easy one to answer – but history does record the top watch patrons of all time and what has become of their properties, even to this day. We also know that many of these watches have survived the test of – what else? – time, and remain some of the world’s finest and most extravagant pieces of property.

Where are the best watches found? How much money did they go for, and who on Earth could come up with the millions of dollars to purchases the world’s best watches? To find the current answers, we’ll have to start out in the past.

How The Best Watches are Sold

It’s good to keep in mind that the world’s “best” watches usually aren’t bought and sold the traditional way. Many of the world’s watches can be found in the marketplace – in stores, retail outlets, in shops, and even inside con artists’ jackets. This isn’t typically how someone who wants to acquire some of the world’s most precious antique watches would go out to purchase their watch.

Instead, these watches are typically sold at auctions, or commissioned for manufacturing by a VIP (Prince Albert II of Monaco might make an excellent patron, for example). These are usually watches with an extremely limited availability – and, for the world’s most expensive watches availability typically slims down to “just one.” Other rare watches, such as watches made out of materials from the Titanic, might be more available for purchase but are also extremely rare.

If you’re asking “who owns the best watches” in regards to the world’s best manufactured watches – that is, watches produced for larger amounts of people – then the question is a simpler one. People who buy these watches are people with the means to spend four-to-five figures on an excellent watch from a company like Patek Phillippe or Rolex.

Many of these customers are looking for “luxury” watches that typically have elevated functions over other non-electronic watches, and are typically associated with precious metals and stones, such as diamonds, platinum, and gold.

There are too many such owners of these types of watches to list here, but with the rarest and most expensive watches, it is easier to track down history and follow the watch as it exchanges hands.

What is the world’s most expensive watch? Who is its owner? These questions are simple and direct, and they have simple, direct answers:

The World’s Most Expensive Watch and Its Owner

Henry Graves (1868-1953) was a New York financier and famous art collector who loved some of the world’s most valuable possessions. Also and avid patron of watchmakers, Graves vied with another collector, James Ward Packard, to acquire a pocket watch made with the most functions (or compilations) possible.

The pocket watch was produced by Patek Phillippe after a long period of time – three years to design and five years to actually produce. Ultimately, Henry Graves won this battle for what became known as the “Supercompilation.” For a long time, it was Henry Graves who owned this watch. Upon his death, his heirs sold the watch to the Time Museum in Illinois.

Today, the Supercompilation is the world’s most expensive watch, according to Forbes Magazine. It was sold at auction in December of 1999 for an astounding price of $11,002,500.

Who on the planet has enough money to buy that watch? Well, there are plenty of rich people capable of making that kind of purchase.

As it turns out, the collector who made the purchase chose to remain anonymous, meaning that the question of “who owns the best watch” can’t be answered unless the collector chooses to reveal his or herself. But we do know one thing – the purchase set them back 8 figures.

Many other watches are similarly purchased by anonymous bidders, which includes a wide field of the world’s most famous watches. Many of the most expensive watches on Earth will set you back over $100,000, and the rarer the watch is, the more valuable it becomes.

The anonymous bidder makes the question of “who owns the best watches” a bit of a frustrating one, but it is interesting that we can track down all of that history as well as the exact price of the world’s most expensive watch itself. To find out more about the world’s most expensive watches, feel free to visit Forbes Magazine here.