Becoming the world’s most valuable watch doesn’t just happen overnight. For Graff Diamonds, it took its founder years of hard work and hard dreaming to bring this crown jewel of timepieces to fruition. As well, a team of gemologists, designers, and elite craftsmen were required to finish this lofty project. Bearing a hefty 55million dollar price tag, the Hallucination is definitely a percentage of the 1% kind of watch. Being a non-conventional piece, perhaps sporting so much bling that even wealthiest jewelry enthusiast would blush at it, it’s an overall impressive piece of lapidary engineering. Veritably—the fact that it’s a quartz watch, with such an impressive price tag, is a testament to Graff Diamond’s design-work. With other elite watches relying on complications and mechanical designs to run up the total, it’s surely quite a feat for this piece to take the top spot. Although Graff Diamonds has likely received criticism regarding the overall look, this piece goes beyond aesthetic in design. The Hallucination is about the prestige involved with precision precious stone work—and the dextrous skill it takes to shape, set, and mold rare materials.
In historical terms, the Hallucination is still a decently fresh release. Considering the watch industry has been around for centuries, the 2014 release date is hardly the distant past. As it were, this timepiece debuted at Baselworld in Basel Switzerland—to much critical praise. Adding to its notable impression, the Hallucination was displayed in a mock version of one of Graff’s boutiques. Being no strangers to hiring the best, this mock Graff showroom was set up by their Monaco-based interior design team. Setting being a big part of the release, this display at Baselworld was like a pristine musical accompaniment to the world’s most well trained vocalist. Having an artistic flair, the showroom’s atmosphere framed the release of the Hallucination in a way that surely made the watch take on an ethereal air—for the event’s attendees. Watch work aside, it was a masterful way to add even more value to their impressive piece.
In terms of design, the Hallucination features a platinum bracelet, set with over 110 carats of colorful diamonds. Each diamond is like a snowflake, with its own unique cut and setting. And much like snowflakes, each one is a true rarity—carefully selected to stand out on the Hallucination. Sporting vivid yellows, fanciful greens and oranges, and many shades of pink, this piece is a real rainbow machine. The quartz movement itself—the part of the watch that makes it a watch—is set with so many smaller pink stones that it’s almost invisible. Being named the “Hallucination” is therefore quite fitting, since the dial itself seems almost an imagined image embedded in the dazzle of the diamonds.
Though the Hallucination was not their first timepiece, it certainly set a new precedent for Graff Diamonds’ wristwatch endeavors. A few years after their Baselworld Hallucination release, they released their equally impressive “Fascination”. This wristwatch didn’t quite knock the Hallucination out of the top spot, but coming in at ~$40,000,000USD it’s still extremely valuable. Part of the Fascination’s fascination is that its (38.13 carat white-diamond) centerpiece converts to a wearable ring. Being completely covered in ~153 carats of white diamonds, the true value of this watch—much like the Hallucination—comes from the well worked/placed rare stones covering its entire case and band.
As it stands, Graff Diamonds is relatively new to the luxury watch world. Although the company has been around for nearly 60 years, their first luxury design was released in 2009. For Graff Diamonds, this was a smart move in brand diversification—and in showcasing their design prowess. Though many jewelers try to make their horological mark, no one is coming close to the prestige that Graff Diamonds has garnered thus far. Furthermore, with CEO and founder Laurence Graff being the highest shareholder of the South African Diamond Corporation (SAFDICO), and Graff Diamonds having offices in London, Geneva, New York, and Tokyo, Graff Diamonds is certainly here to stay with high-end diamond watches. With the top two most valuable watches in the world belonging to their name, it’ll be exciting to see what they have in store for the world in their next decade of watchmaking—even if the piece is far out of reach for the every man.