Understand how Switzerland makes the super-rich spend up to $ 3.5 million on a wristwatch

Craftsman assembles a mechanical, all hand-made watch at the Minerva workshop. The brand, owned by the Richemont group, is one of the oldest in Switzerland

The timepieces made in the mountains of the Jura Valley, have unique complications and movements.

Since watches were replaced by smartphone as tellers of time, there have never been so many people willing to pay more for them. A sort of haute couture for powerful men, the Swiss watchmaking industry is going through a golden moment, in which one single wristwatch can be worth $ 3.5 million. No taxes.

In a record edition that attracted more than 23,000 visitors, the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), an International Watchmaking Trade Fair that takes place every January in Geneva, is the culmination of the creative spirit of the various ateliers scattered among the snow-capped mountains that surround the north of Switzerland. Chronographs, chronometers built into the watches, perpetual calendars, moon phases, solar time equations. The more details - or "complications" in watchmaking jargon -, the more seductive the piece will be in the eyes of collectors, many from Brazil, by the way.

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