Forbes recently published its list of the 10 richest people in the world, with Bernard Arnault, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos ranking in the top three, with a net worth of $225.9 billion, $202.4 billion, and $126.4 billion, respectively.
With such large fortunes at their disposal, they can afford to buy the most expensive personal items in the world – and that includes watches, of course.
If the seven men on this list do indeed opt for high-end watchmakers, their choices may surprise you. So which of the seven richest in the world billionaires seems to have splashed the most cash on wrist candy?
7. Bill Gates – Tag Heuer Professional 2000 ($1,400)
For many years, the world’s richest person, Bill Gates, was nevertheless known to be humble, sporting a modest US$50 Casio most of the time. As for luxury watches, he was spotted wearing a Tag Heuer Professional 2000 at a conference in the Philippines – but not for long. Watch Ranker reports that Gates encouraged the conference audience to guess the price of the watch, and when an attendee approached with his estimate of US$600 (it’s actually worth US$1,400), the founder of Microsoft gave it to him.
The watch has a stainless steel case and bracelet and a blue dial with steel hands and luminous indexes. It also has a unidirectional rotating bezel with Arabic numerals at 12 o’clock. Seemingly inspired by Formula 1 racing, the watch is also water resistant to 200 meters, making it ideal for swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving. The success of the 2000 series then led Tag Heuer to produce the 3000, 4000 and 6000 series.
6. Jeff Bezos – Ulysse Nardin Dual Time (US$12,900)
The Amazon founder’s watch of choice isn’t particularly obvious or popular, but he reportedly wore the Ulysse Nardin Dual time zone for years.
The 42mm watch has a polished stainless steel case and bracelet as well as a clean silver dial with blue sub-dials and luminous hands and indexes. It uses a Swiss caliber UN-24 automatic movement with 42 hours of power reserve and has GMT functions as well as water resistance up to 100 meters. The discontinued model is worth US$12,900, Business Insider estimates.
5. Carlos Slim – Rolex Daytona 116520 (up to $35,000)
A Rolex Daytona seems to be Mexican business tycoon Carlos Slim Helú’s watch of choice. Launched in 2000 to replace the legendary Zenith Daytona model, its 116520 featured the brand’s first-ever self-winding chronograph, considered one of the best mass-produced chronograph movements of all time, according to The Watch Lounge.
The 40mm case is stainless steel with an Oyster bracelet and a black dial with three sub-dials for seconds, minutes and hours at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock, respectively. Its power reserve has been leveled out to 72 hours versus 54 hours on the Zenith Daytona and it is water resistant to 100 meters. It can cost up to $35,000 on the used market.
4. Warren Buffett – Rolex Day Date ($42,000)
Another billionaire Rolex fan is the Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, warren buffet. “The Oracle of Omaha” has different models but is usually seen with a classic Rolex Day Date, for rolex magazine.
Known as the “President” watch, the watch has been worn by former US leaders from Lyndon B. Johnson and Gerald Ford to Donald Trump, according to the same source. Warren Buffett’s piece features an 18k yellow gold case with a fluted bezel and signature President bracelet. Its silver dial has the distinctive face of a Rolex watch with the yellow gold crown logo, Roman numeral hands and indexes. It’s powered by the brand’s Caliber 3255 self-winding mechanical movement and has a list price of US$40,200.
3. Larry Ellison – Richard Mille RM005 ($100,000-200,000)
Another tech mogul, Larry Ellison is spotted with different watches from Rolex to Panerai, but the Richard Mille RM005 seems to be his favorite and most valuable.
Launched in 2004, the watch is the brand’s first automatic model with a semi-instantaneous date change. It features a 37.8mm 18k white gold case with the brand’s signature skeleton dial and a black leather strap.
This model also inaugurated the exclusive variable-geometry rotor, allowing the winding mechanism of the Caliber 005 movement to be optimized and personalized according to the lifestyle of its owner. Its cost varies between 100,000 and 200,000 dollars, according to Sotheby’s.
2. Elon Musk – Richard Mille 029 (up to $250,000)
Richard Mille is also a watch of choice for Tesla and the founder of SpaceX Elon Muskby Superwatchman, in addition to its Carrera Caliber 1887 SpaceX Chronograph, a SpaceX collaboration with Tag Heuer in 2012.
Her Richard Mille 029 is housed in a gray titanium case and bezel, with a black dial, silver hands and a black rubber strap. It uses a skeletonized self-winding movement with hours, minutes, seconds, oversized date display at 4 o’clock and variable geometry rotor.
Chrono24 estimates this model to be worth up to nearly US$500,000 for the diamond-paved editions, with the more “everyday” model mentioned above still worth US$250,000 when new.
1. Bernard Arnault – Tiffany Patek Philippe 5740 ($6.5 million)
The richest man in the world Bernard Arnault also takes first place for his watch. The CEO of French luxury conglomerate LVMH has a taste for luxury fashion, of course, so he opts for an extremely rare Tiffany patek philippe Nautilus 5740, by Highsnobiety.
The watch is a combination of the Tiffany Patek Philippe 5711 and the Nautilus Perpetual Calendar 5740, blending Tiffany’s signature turquoise dial and black and white hour markers and hands from the 5711, with the sub-dial lettering and moon phase of the black perpetual calendar. window of 5740. In December 2021, the first example of this Tiffany Patek Philippe was sold at auction for the incredible sum of 6.5 million US dollars, more than 120 times its retail price.
Note: This story originally appeared on SCMP and has been republished on this site.