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€100m watch goes on display in France – but how to get it to work

It is insured for €25million but experts say it could fetch four times that if it ever went to auction

It was the most complicated watch in the world up until 1989 Pic: Pierre Guenat

A gem-studded gold watch that has gone on display in the historic capital of French watchmaking is estimated to be worth €100million – even though it does not tell the time. 

The Leroy 01, with its precious stones and 18-carat gold case, is insured for €25million but experts say it could fetch four times that if it ever went to auction. 

Manufactured in 1900 for a Portuguese millionaire, the watch includes an altimeter, compass, barometer and hygrometer, to measure atmospheric moisture. It tells the local time in 125 cities worldwide, can display three different maps of the sky, and lists 600 stars. 

It is on show in Besançon, where it was made over seven years. With its 24 functions, it was the most complex watch in the world until 1989, when Swiss watchmaker Patek Philippe created one with 33 functions. 

In a testimony to its intricacy, it is currently not working. There is a project to repair it but experts cannot predict how long this might take or if, once dismantled, anyone could put it back together again due to its complexity. It can be seen at Besançon’s newly refurbished Musée du Temps.

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