FP Journe Chronometre Optimum – A watch with a sole purpose to be as accurate as possible (to the point master watchmakers at FP Journe opted out of using oils in the escapement). Priced around $90,000.

Patek Philippe 3939 Grande complication – Price moves around $200,000 – $500,000 on auctions.
patek 3939 d

Girard-Perregaux Constant (Force) Escapement – GP made this watch with a watchmaker from Rolex who got the idea of using a unique silicon based escapement to compensate for variable energy delivered from the barrel. It should prove to make the watch more accurate. Priced around $100,000 in a limited edition of only 10 watches.
Girard-Perregaux Constant (Force) Escapement

The A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Tourbillon “Pour le Mérite” – Tourbillon was invented with intent to improve accuracy in a watch by rotating the escapement and the balance wheel to lesser the effect of gravity. Price: $212,900.

Another ALS watch movement: Richard Lange Perpetual Calendar Terraluna – On the picture the back of the watch which displays a graphic orbital moonphase complication. The perpetual calendar is so accurate it won’t need any adjusting (even for a single day!) for 1058 years. Price…. $230,400.



Are they ultimately worth the price?

What a reader who’s not too familiar with mechanical watches might find interesting is that the cheapest Chinese battery powered (quarz) watch will be more accurate than any of these costs-more-than-a-house high end pieces. So from a practical standpoint, no, of course they aren’t. If you want an accurate watch that doesn’t need any adjustment for years stay away from mechanical watches.

However practically mechanical watches aren’t inaccurate to the point of being just a piece of jewelry. My Omega Speedmaster has a daily deviation of -5 sec. This means I have to adjust it about once per month which takes me only a couple seconds. Watches like those above are usually around -2 to +2 per day and in some cases deviate only a couple seconds per week. A regular $10 quarz Casio is accurate in the range of +/- 15 seconds per month.

Therefore, since these high end mechanical watches don’t even do a too good of job at what they’re designed for – which is accurate measurement of time, you have to see something subtler, deeper in them.

I and many other watch enthusiasts mainly appreciate the craftsmanship, beauty and attention to detail in mechanical watches. It’s also a kind of nostalgia… wearing an outdated highly sophisticated miniature machine on your hand.

And in the case of FP Journe, Patek Philippe and A. Lange & Söhne (which are just some of the high end manufactures) their creations are closer to true works of art than being simply a thing of utility.

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