Spending money like a baller — it’s not something I ponder a lot. Like Daan, I tend not to think about buying really expensive watches. Of course, I can appreciate them for their technical merits or stories, but generally, I do not spend too much time thinking about watches I cannot have. But what would I get if I had infinite money? I can tell you it wouldn’t be limited to just one or a couple of watches. That’s why I had to trim this list down quite a bit. Ultimately, I would love to see so many ideas come to fruition. So for once, I’ll tell you about some of the watches I love that would require serious funds.

Taking you through my world of exclusive watches is mostly a journey focused on design and stories rather than the most impressive technical timepieces. Sure, I am mesmerized by technical wizardry as much as the next guy, but I am not drawn to complications per se to create a list like this. Instead, we have to look at the watches that come with a great story. I prefer the more individual stories of previous wearers, so that’s where we enter the world of vintage watches. Therefore, it might come as no surprise that I would gladly spend a lot of money on some of the vintage icons rather than the overwhelming technical masterpieces.

It’s not that complicated

A recent exception that I would love to make is Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Ultra-Complication Universelle RD#4. Take all my money because that watch is an absolute stunner! But the people that have read my recent introduction article will know that it’s all about one specific version. The version that features an opaline beige PVD gold dial with black chronograph counters and a black outer ring with pink gold details is breathtakingly beautiful. Not only is the watch a conceptual masterpiece, but the technical wizardry and overall execution are also stunning. But the absolute cherry on top is that dial design. It’s not that often that we see the stylish combination of beige and black with rose gold details. The results of this combination are brilliant.

Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Ultra-Complication Universelle RD#4 Jorg's unlimited money picks

On top of that, this watch shows the great evolution the Code 11.59. When the collection was first introduced, I was not impressed. The idea of the case construction seemed forced, the font type of the numerals was and still is pretty awful, and the loud introduction made things very underwhelming. But there were also signs of hope. The Code 11.59 Perpetual Calendar with its blue aventurine dial that lacked the numerals showed how good the Code 11.59 could look. It proved that a no-numeral dial was the way to go for the Code 11.59. But what the brand achieved with the RD#4 was on another level. A watch with 23 complications that is only 42mm in diameter and 15.55mm in thickness is jaw-dropping. With the brilliant dial execution of this conceptual masterpiece, it makes me want to swipe my card and pay the necessary CHF 1,450,000 without thinking.

The A. Lange & Söhne conundrum

If you are a regular reader of Fratello, you might have read my story about the 1815 Rattrapante Honeygold “Homage to F. A. Lange.” I picked that watch as my grail because it found a special place in my heart. The watch has everything I could ever want from a timepiece, including a design twist that I first doubted but turned out to be the perfect option. Of course, I would gladly pay the €132,200 for my grail piece. But if you find the time, I suggest you read the article because I picked a different A. Lange & Söhne for this list.

A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus Jorg's unlimited money picks

But when it comes to A. Lange & Söhne, it doesn’t stop there. The Triple Split, the Zeitwerk, and the Handwerkskunst pieces… I would gladly get the black card out for an abundance of models. But there is one in particular that I have grown to love. Last year, A. Lange & Söhne introduced the titanium version of its Odysseus. This new version of the brand’s luxury sports watch has become one of my overall favorites in the industry. I love it specifically because it’s such a statement piece. Maybe it’s even better to call it the anti-statement. When Lange hinted at entering the arena of luxury sports watches, many fans expected the brand to develop something inspired by the Genta-designed Royal Oak and Nautilus. If not that, they predicted something that would at least compete with these legends.

Disconnecting from the Genta legacy for a reason

But instead, the brand did what it always does and made a typical A. Lange & Söhne watch. It is developed according to the incredible German design standard that the brand developed. As a result, the design signature oozes Glashütte rather than Genta. And I absolutely adore that. Don’t get me wrong, I love Genta’s vision, designs, and watches, but the anti-statement has my sympathy in a world of hype. And it’s not like I was a fan from the beginning. It took the most sporty of the Odysseus versions executed in titanium with nothing short of a stunning ice-blue dial made of brass to win me over. The execution and finishing of the first Lange in titanium are breathtaking. The case shape has grown on me tremendously, the bracelet is a peach, and that dial completes this unique design statement.

Turn the watch around, and you’ll be greeted by what makes A. Lange & Söhne an even more impressive brand. The in-house caliber L155.1 Datomatic is designed for the Odysseus and looks amazing. The beautiful movement features a skeletonized and partially black rhodium-plated central rotor with a centrifugal mass in 950 platinum. As you can see, it is signed “DATOMATIC,” referring to the automatic date function of the movement. Additionally, you will see that the mass is signed “PLATIN.” The manually engraved balance bridge, which is fixed on both sides, features a stylish wave pattern. Furthermore, the characteristic German silver plate is decorated with the famous Glashütte stripes and the screwed gold chaton that marks the position of the escape wheel. This is the full package at a steep €55,000 in titanium, and all 250 pieces are long gone. But in this imaginary world, I would still want one.

Image: The Watch Club

Can you hate on Genta?

While I genuinely hate the hype around the Royal Oak, it doesn’t mean that I hate the Royal Oak itself. Two specific Royal Oak models are among my favorite watches of all time. The first is the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak “Jubilee” ref. 14802. In the Buying Guide series, I wrote about this special stainless steel model with its salmon dial for the best Audemars Piguet models of the 1990s. It was introduced in 1992 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Royal Oak. Audemars Piguet produced a total of 700 pieces of the ref. 14802 in steel, another 280 in yellow gold, and 20 in platinum. Most of the steel models came with the standard blue dial. However, some of them were equipped with a brilliant salmon-colored dial. It looks stunning. The price on the pre-owned market these days is ridiculous at more than €200K.

Royal Oak 15202 salmon Jorg's unlimited money picks

In 2019, Audemars Piguet reintroduced this aesthetic with the Royal Oak Extra-Thin “Jumbo” ref. 15202 in 18K white gold with its stunning salmon dial. There is no need to spend many words on that release because the pictures will tell the story. I love the combination of the salmon color with the Petite Tapisserie motif. Do you see how the brand also executed the date disc on the new version in the same salmon tone? In all honesty, I prefer a white date disc for once. What is the price of the white gold version? It’s a little under €200K, so it’s cheaper than the older stainless steel version. The world has truly gone mad.

Rolex 6238 unlimited money

Image: Hodinkee Shop

Rollin’ with the Rolexes

While I can think of so many more watches, I will end with a vintage Rolex. As we all know, the prices for vintage pieces from The Crown have gone bonkers. That’s why quite a few vintage classics could be additions to my wishlist in this article. But I’ll stick to one. The Rolex ref. 6238 “Pre-Daytona” is the one vintage Rolex that I absolutely adore. I wrote a lengthy article about the ref. 6238 and why I love that watch so much. I adore it for many reasons, but mostly, I love its design and the fact that it’s not a Daytona. Yes, it is another anti-statement. With prices for a Daytona easily being twice or triple that of the “Pre-Daytona” in some cases, I’d much rather have the classic ref. 6238. It’s one of those classic chronographs that looks amazing and marked a turn in the design development of Rolex.

Image: Phillips

The ref. 6238 was introduced in 1963, and the first versions featured leaf hands and a so-called “transitional dial” that with applied diamond markers and the wording “Rolex Oyster Chronograph.” After some time, Rolex updated the watch by introducing baton hands and indexes and simplifying the wording on the dial to simply “Rolex Chronograph”. This watch also marks a leap in dial design from classical to contemporary, and that’s the statement it makes for me. And let’s not forget it is a Bond watch too. Any of the stainless steel versions of the brilliant ref. 6238 — powered by the iconic Valjoux 72 or later Valjoux 722 — will do for me. Finding one will likely set you back anywhere from €40K to €200K. In this imaginary world of unlimited money, I’ll swipe my card one more time. Not a problem at all!