Whether it’s for military, commercial, or private use, some machines can be very costly to build. Sometimes they’re expensive because of advanced technology, and other times is due to their shear size. Today we’re going to look at which machines are considered top of top, financially and otherwise, in this episode of The Infographics Show: Top 10 Most Expensive Machines In The World
1. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited is a British luxury automobile maker, which is actually owned by BMW. They’re responsible for manufacturing some of the most expensive cars in the world as well the engines that go in Boeing passenger planes. The Rolls-Royce Sweptail is a luxury car hand-built in the United Kingdom, and inspired by the coach building of the 1920s and 1930s. At the time of its debut, in May 2017 at the yearly Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este event, the Sweptail was the most expensive new automobile in the world, costing around $12.8 million. To put that price into perspective, the next most expensive car is the Bugatti Chiron that costs around $2.9 million, so you could buy 4 of those Bugatti’s for the price of a single Rolls-Royce and still get $800,000 back in change.
2. When you think of expensive machines, watches don’t immediately come to mind, but then over the years Rolex has been known to release some classics that have sold for millions. Most notably, the legendary, monumental, and highly sought-after Rolex, the exotic-dial Daytona watch owned by Paul Newman. When it went to auction in 2017, bids started at $1M, and with all the interest, it quickly climbed to $15 million, which is where the audience thought it would stop, but it kept climbing, and eventually sold for $17.8 million.
Everyone in the room rose to give a standing ovation. That’s a high price for a wristwatch but not the most expensive. The Chopard 201 Carat Watch is completely handmade and contains 874 first-grade diamonds. There is a 15.37-karat heart shaped pink diamond in the middle of the dazzling yellow gold and white gold hardware, as well as a 11.36-karat heart shaped diamond and another blue heart shaped diamond weighing 12.79 karats. The price? A whopping $25M!
3. Bertha was a 57-foot-diameter tunnel-boring machine built specifically for the Washington State Department of Transportation’s Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement tunnel project in Seattle. It was made by Hitachi Zosen Sakai Works in Osaka, Japan, and this incredible giant machine drill is 326 feet long and weighs 6,700 short tons. Completing the Alaskan Way Viaduct meant Bertha had to dig a 9,270-foot tunnel. One of the trickiest megaprojects in history, Bertha was the largest drill on Earth, and a machine that cost $80 million was only part of the the larger price of the eight-year construction project that totaled $160 million. “You see it, and you’re just kind of overwhelmed by what humans can do, what they can accomplish,” said former Gov. Chris Gregoire when the tunnel was complete.
4. When it comes to passenger jets, the Airbus A380 custom private jet tops them all at $500 million. This Flying Palace is the passenger version that’s been converted, and it has everything from a private entrance by elevator to bypass the aerobridges, fixed dining tables, en suite private showers, a two-car garage, a stable, a room for the prince’s hawks, multiple bedrooms, bathrooms with showers, and even a wellness area. One nearly made its way into the hands of Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal in 2013, although the Saudi Arabian royal sold the decked-out jet for reasons unknown, before even taking it for a test flight.
5. So is this A380 top of the list of pricey private jets? Well actually no. There are a few world leaders who have lashed out more on lavish machines. Vladimir Putin’s IL-96-300PU cost $523 million, President Trump’s Air Force One is a hefty sum of $1.1 billion, but none match Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani’s fleet which has a price tag of $1.6 billion. The emir of Qatar is one of the wealthiest people on the planet and has a host of aircraft at his disposal, including two Airbus A320s, two A330s and two Boeing 747-8s, required to transport his entourage of a thousand or more on his official engagements. He once arrived in Japan to meet the prime minister with 10 aircraft. Technically, the emir has a few machines, so you could argue that President Trump actually has the single most expensive private jet.
6. We can’t talk about expensive machines without mentioning a jet fighter, and the B-2 Spirit stealth plane is top of the list of most expensive military planes manufactured in America. It looks more like an alien spaceship than a fighter jet, and that’s because it was designed to evade radar, electromagnetic, visual, and infrared signals. It was originally built to carry nuclear bombs, but was later updated to carry other types of missiles. The production program cost a total of $45 billion and 21 units were delivered to the US military; each B-2 Spirit plane cost $2.1 billion to make in 1997. The high cost was due to the fact that nothing had been developed like this before. The plane’s large payload space, aerodynamic efficiency, advanced, stealth technology, and avionic radar systems make it a unique and lethal fighter jet.
7. And again from the military, we have The Virginia-class, also known as the SSN-774 class, a new class of nuclear-powered fast attack submarine in service with the United States Navy, with the aim of use for a variety of missions, including both knee-deep and deep water combat as well as stealth. It comes with a cool $2.7 billion price tag and includes four torpedo tubes and twelve vertical missile launchers, which are capable of launching up to 16 cruise missiles in a single burst. That’s one serious sub!
8. In the realm of science, The Large Hadron Collider, or LHC, is the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator. It’s used by physicists to test the predictions of different theories of particle physics so they can better understand the universe. The LHC consists of a 27-kilometre ring of superconducting magnets with a number of accelerating structures to boost the energy of the particles along the way. This machine is nearly 30 years in the making and cost an estimated US$6.4 billion. And there are also extras, such as detectors and computing capacity, that add millions more to the ongoing costs. The United States contributed approximately $531 million to the development and construction, with the US Department of Energy providing $450 million and the National Science Foundation fronting the remaining $81 million.
9. Back to military once more, The Gerald R. Ford class is a class of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and the lead vessel within the U.S. Navy’s current fleet. It’s the most expensive warship in U.S. history at $13 billion. This massive machine is 1,092 feet long and displaces upward of 100,000 tons. It can house around 4,400 staff and personnel while also carrying more than 75 aircraft. The amount of electricity onboard makes the Ford-class carriers ideal for field laser and directed-energy weapons such as rail guns and missile interceptors, the future of weaponry that’s being developed. The ship’s systems and configuration are optimized so that the The Gerald R. Ford class can maximize the striking power of its F35 air wing and cause maximum destruction in battle.
10. You don’t get much larger and costlier than the International Space Station, or ISS. This is likely the most expensive single item ever constructed and it’s not actually on earth, but orbiting over our heads. ISS is estimated to have cost more than $115 billion. That’s quite a price tag, but luckily the figure is shared over a period of almost 30 years between a number of participating countries, including the United States, Russia, Canada, Japan and 10 of the 20 European nations. ISS is in low Earth orbit, which is between 250 and 252 miles above the earth. It completes 15.54 orbits per day. Its first component launched into orbit in 1998, the last pressurized module was fitted in 2011, and the station is expected to operate until 2028.
So, that’s our list of 10 expensive machines. Can you think of any that we should have added to the list? Let us know in the comments! Also be sure to check out our other video called Top 10 Most Expensive United States Military Projects. Thanks for watching and as always, don’t forget to like, share and subscribe. See you next time!