Sex sells: X-rated watches worth millions
Sex sells ... pretty much anything, including watches. Believe it or not, there's a collectible market for sex-filled timepieces, both old and new. They're called "erotic" watches, or what some might call "pocket porn."
These timepieces are definitely not for the faint of heart.
"Erotica has been a very important part of watchmaking history from when we first started with pocket watches," Chris Del Gatto, consultant to high-end jeweler Jacob & Co., tells CNBC. "In the beginning, people would commission pocket watches with faces of their wives or lovers because oftentimes people were separated for months or years at a time."
Unless you're a serious watch collector, you probably haven't heard of these titillating timepieces. Hand-painted and very detailed (oftentimes extremely graphic) images are hidden behind dials in watches.
For centuries, portable porn has been carried around discreetly, but with a simple twist of a knob, an original erotic scene was revealed. And this "pricey porn" only gets more expensive with age.
(Read more: 10 eye-popping views with jaw-dropping price tags)
In March 2011, a dentist and self-proclaimed "erotica artifact collector" auctioned off more than 33 erotic watches and animated objects in Switzerland. Twenty-six of those objects were watches that sold for more than a total $750,000.
(Read more: $15,000 to sleep here for one night)
The auction house, Antiquorum Auctioneers, says "about 90 percent was sold to Chinese collectors over the phone or the Internet." One Chinese bidder couldn't get enough, taking home 10 triple-X watches.
The highlight of the Swiss dentist's erotic collection? A rare 18-karat gold, enameled pocket watch from 1810 with a concealed, animated erotic scene that sold for more than $220,000.
But "pocket porn" comes in all shapes and sizes. Modern-day versions like the "Caligula" diamond watch from Jacob & Co. sound a little scary as it shares the name of sex-crazed and violent Roman Emperor Caligula. But this "blinged-out" version is the present-day answer for the super-rich watch collector who doesn't mind a supersized price tag of $1,600,000.
Covered in pave, triangle-shaped diamonds—the Caligula diamond watch is a one-of-a-kind piece that reveals an animated erotic scene behind the diamond dial.
But, if you're not willing to spend a small fortune on an erotic watch, you can purchase the "regular" Caligula watch that simply comes in rose or yellow gold for just $69,000. And yes, the company is serious when it tells us there are only 69 pieces being commissioned.
"We have people come in [to buy the watch] who want their wives, who want their girlfriends," says Del Gatto. "We're the only brand I know of that's doing that today."
—By CNBC's Erica Emmich. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @MegaMoneyGal.
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