Watch Hunt: The Superheroes of Luxury Watches

With Superhero Day around the corner (April 28, for the uninitiated), this got us thinking about which timepieces we would consider as superheroes of luxury watches. And we’re not referring to nicknames like the Rolex Batman or the Rolex Hulk, but rather, the watches that are so revered that they champion above the rest. Like superheroes, these timepieces are instantly recognizable thanks to a signature style, have intriguing histories, are often mononymous, and have more than a few tricks up their sleeves. After plenty of back and forth, here are the models that we consider as the superheroes of luxury watches.


Audemars Piguet Royal Oak

Bursting onto the scene in 1972, the big, bold, and brash Audemars Piguet Royal Oak was vastly different from the refined and demure gold timepieces that elegant men wore every day. Yes, there were other steel watches from top watch brands during this era, but this was not created to be a tool watch like, let’s say the Rolex Submariner, but as a daily luxury sports watch.


The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak (Image: Audemars Piguet)
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak (Image: Audemars Piguet)


Audemars Piguet enlisted the help of famed designer Gerald Genta to design a groundbreaking watch that would—like a superhero—save the day since the manufacture was facing bankruptcy at the hands of the Quartz Crisis. Genta’s Royal Oak design featured a 39m steel case, an octagonal bezel with exposed screws, and a glorious integrated steel bracelet. Over four decades later, the Royal Oak is still one of the most coveted watches with a host of different versions available.


Breitling Navitimer

Making its debut in 1952 as a spinoff of the Chronomat watch, the Breitling Navitimer quickly became a favorite chronograph of professional pilots due to its slide rule that allowed the computation of complex navigational calculations while in flight. The large size and technical look of the Navitimer—a name that aptly combines the words “navigation” and “timer”—is now enjoyed by an audience that goes far beyond the pilot population.


Super Hero of Luxury Watches Breitling Navitimer
The Breitling Navitimer


Like most popular luxury watches today, the Breitling Navitimer aviation watch is offered in a range of materials, sizes, configurations, and price points. Regardless of the version, the Navi’s unique aesthetics is always on-point and well deserving of its iconic status.


Cartier Santos

While the Cartier Santos is probably not the first watch you think about in the realm of pilot watches, it was indeed the first pilot watch ever created. Made especially for aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont by Louis Cartier in 1904, this square Cartier timepiece was developed to be worn on the wrist for easy accessibility during flights—a much more practical and safer solution than digging for a pocket watch.


The Cartier Santos
The Cartier Santos


Although the model is well over a century old, the Cartier Santos has retained its signature style characterized by a square case and bezel, Roman numeral dial, sword-shaped hands, and a blue stone on the winding crown. Just this year, Cartier presented a brand new Santos collection available in an array of materials and featuring an innovative strap changing system.


Omega Speedmaster

As the first watch to reach the moon, the Omega Speedmaster Professional has certainly earned its superhero standing! When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made history in 1969 as the first men to make it to the moon, the Omega Speedmaster went along for the ride. In fact, Aldrin had his Omega Speedmaster strapped around his astronaut suit when he took his lunar steps. Since then, the Omega Speedmaster, a.k.a. the Moonwatch, partook in all of the six lunar landings and other space exploration missions.


The Omega Speedmaster
The Omega Speedmaster (Image: Omega)


Omega has continuously offered new iterations of the famous Speedmaster Moonwatch chronograph, many including key elements like a stainless steel construction, a black dial and black tachymeter bezel combo, and a hand-wound movement.


Panerai Luminor

The Panerai Luminor began its life as a stealth superhero watch as it wasn’t available to the public. Exclusively made for the Italian Royal Navy (and a few other countries’ militaries too) Panerai dive watches were military grade instruments built to accompany the Navy’s frogmen unit during their missions. It was only in the 1990s that these massive timepieces were finally sold to civilians and they caught the eye of Hollywood action stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone. The brand took off and legions of Panerai fans, known as Paneristis, followed.


The Panerai Luminor


Compared to the Radiomir, the Panerai Luminor is the more robust model from the brand’s lineup, donning its customary oversized bridge-like winding crown protector, highly luminescent dial, and large cushion-shaped case.


Patek Philippe Nautilus

Following in the footsteps of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, Patek Philippe also released a Genta-designed steel luxury sports watch in 1976. This time, the legendary watch designer took inspiration from circular ship windows and created the now-famous porthole-shaped case of the Nautilus watch, pairing it with a steel integrated bracelet and a grooved dial with two center hands and a date window.


Patek Philippe Nautilus (Image: Patek Philippe)
The Patek Philippe Nautilus (Image: Patek Philippe)


Since the inaugural steel version, Patek Philippe has reissued their flagship sports watch in a variety of precious materials, as well as with an array of watch complications. However, the steel Nautilus watches with simple time and date functionality remain as the most popular—and hardest-to-find—editions.


Rolex Submariner

A superhero watch that has the biggest fan base by far, the Rolex Submariner is in a league of its own. While the Submariner was explicitly built as a tool watch for divers in the 1950s, today it is the ultimate status sports watch. Despite its specs and heritage, you’ll most likely find the Submariner on the wrist of desk divers over actual scuba divers.


The Rolex Submariner


While Rolex has greatly enhanced the Submariner over the last 65 years, the famous dive watch has retained its distinct style. Whether in steel or gold, in black, blue, or green, with or without a date window, vintage or modern, the Rolex Submariner is immediately identifiable due to its unidirectional rotating bezel, Mercedes-style hands, round lume plots, Oyster bracelet, and iconic crown logo.


From the Sub to the Navi to the Speedy and all the other top timepieces we listed, these particular models have endured decades of fleeting trends and remain as living legends in the luxury watch world.

Watch of the Month: New vs. Older Omega Seamaster Diver 300M

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Omega Seamaster Diver 300M collection, so to commemorate the occasion Omega refreshed their popular dive watch collection. Let’s find out what the new changes are and how they compare to the preceding versions of the Omega Seamaster Diver 300M. Plus, in honor of Earth Day (Sunday, April 22 in case you forgot) we also take a quick look at Omega’s other dive watch lineup, the Planet Ocean.


What’s New with the Omega Seamaster Diver 300M Design?


As always, Omega like to go big so they released no less than 14 new Seamaster Diver 300M watches at Baselworld 2018! These new models come in a range of material choices and color options ranging from full steel to two-tone steel and gold (yellow or rose) with familiar blue, black, and silver shades.

New Omega Seamaster Diver 300M (Image: Omega)
New Omega Seamaster Diver 300M (Image: Omega)

While the new Seamaster Diver 300M watches retain the overall recognizable style of the longstanding Omega dive watch, there are a few notable changes. First, the size of the case has increased slightly from 41mm to 42mm. Omega seems to be bucking the trend of scaling down case sizes and proudly going bigger this time around.

New Omega Seamaster Diver 300M (Image: Omega)
New Omega Seamaster Diver 300M (Image: Omega)

Another modification found on the new Seamaster Diver 300M is the use of ceramic for the bezel, replacing the once-favorite aluminum material. This isn’t much of a surprise as ceramic has become a darling in the luxury watch space. Cherished for its striking looks and robustness—especially resistant to scratching and fading—it makes perfect sense that ceramic is becoming the go-to material for high-end sports watches. As a dive watch, the ceramic bezels on the new Diver 300M models only rotate in one direction to prevent divers from overestimating their immersion times.

Ceramic continues on to the dials of the new Seamaster Diver 300M and fans will be delighted that Omega revived the wave pattern on the face of the watch. The signature pattern was a distinct feature of this collection for a long time, such as on this Seamaster Diver 300M 2531.80 circa 2007, but Omega did away with it for a few years. But it’s back, and even more prominent now thanks to the use of ceramic. Moreover, Omega kept the characteristic skeletonized center hands but they have been reshaped ever so slightly.


The Omega Seamaster Diver 300M’s New Movement

Master Chronometer Calibre 8800 (Image: Omega)
Master Chronometer Calibre 8800 (Image: Omega)

For the first time in the Seamaster Diver 300M’s 25-year history, Omega has equipped the new models with their new generation METAS-certified Master Chronometer 8800 automatic movement, ramping up the watches’ precision, accuracy, and durability. Omega’s modern self-winding anti-magnetic caliber—visible from the exhibition sapphire caseback—offers 55 hours of power reserve and operates at a frequency rate of 25,200 beats per hour (3.5 Hz).

As a result of the new caliber, the date window has moved from the traditional 3 o’clock position as found on the older Omega Seamaster Diver 300M 2532.2000 to a new position at 6 o’clock. Of course, as the model’s name suggests, the Seamaster Diver 300M retains its water resistance to 300 meters. Also continuing on the watch is the customary helium escape valve protruding from the case at the 10 o’clock position. The valve permits built-up gases to release from the watch during decompression periods, thus avoiding the crystal to pop off from pressure.

All in all, Omega did not drastically change the Seamaster Diver 300M but rather, added a few modern enhancements that’ll surely be welcomed by many.


What’s the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Watch?


One of the newer collections from Omega, the Seamaster Plane Ocean made its debut in 2005, positioned as the Seamaster Diver 300M’s bigger, bolder, and more robust brother. Take for example the Seamaster Planet Ocean 2200.51.00, flaunting a hefty 45.5mm case! Boasting double the water resistance of the Seamaster Diver 300M, the 600-meter rated Seamaster Planet Ocean is built for professional divers who love to explore underwater worlds.

Emphasizing Omega’s commitment to marine sustainability, the watch brand joined forces with the GoodPlanet Foundation in 2011 to raise awareness of the conditions of our oceans and to promote feasible ways to preserve their wellbeing. Omega has continuously produced special edition Goodplanet watches, including Planet Ocean versions along with Aqua Terra models, where a portion of the proceeds from these watches is donated to the foundation.

While Omega may be famous for having created chronographs for astronauts to take on space explorations, the Swiss watchmaker is clearly as dedicated to crafting impeccable dive watches for marine exploration too. And this is why we have chosen the Omega Seamaster Diver 300M (and its buffer brother the Planet Ocean) as our Watch(es) of the Month.

Watch Talk: How to Sell or Trade a Luxury Watch

Spring is in full swing, which for many means some spring-cleaning tasks ahead. But aside from cleaning out the closets, garage, and the dark space under your bed, may we suggest clearing out the clutter from your watch box too. There may just be some luxury watches stashed away in there that haven’t seen the light of day in years (decades?) that you should probably deal with. The good news is, that while you may not want to wear your old luxury watches—perhaps they’re too small, too big, too outdated, or simply not your style—as the old saying goes, one’s man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Okay “trash” is way too harsh when speaking of fine timepieces, but you get our drift. Turn your clutter into cash or credit with these three steps on how to sell or trade a luxury watch.

1. Gather Your Used Watches and Do Some Research

Preowned Luxury Watches


Like with most things in life, preparation is everything. So, first things first, go through your drawers, closets, your safe, and watch box and gather any luxury watches that you haven’t worn in a while. Bonus points if you can locate the watches’ original paperwork and packaging. Take a long hard look at what’s in front of you and be realistic—will you ever wear these again? Are you just holding on to them for nostalgic reasons or perhaps you feel bad getting rid of them? Think about it this way, watches that gather dust in a dark space does nobody any good! Let them go to a better home, where they will be appreciated and worn! Plus, it’s not like you’ll throwing out these valuable items—sell them or trade them in for watches you’ll actually enjoy wearing.

Do some basic research on the pre-owned watches you have. There are plenty of resources out there from watch forums to watch blogs to online watch magazines to auction results to get a better picture of the history, current value, and existing demand of your used watches. Also, and this is very important, have realistic expectations. While in your mind these may be priceless items worth a bucket load of cash, the reality is often a much different story. Just because you found one example of a watch similar to yours that sold for five-figures, does not mean that yours will be valued the same. There are plenty of factors that play into the perceived value of a pre-owned luxury watch including provenance, condition, and most importantly, demand.

2. Take Clear Pictures and Prepare Detailed Descriptions

 Preowned Luxury Watches

Once you have your watches ready and have a ballpark figure or what you’re expecting to get in return for selling your watch, it’s time to take some pictures. Take clear higher resolution pictures so as many details of the watch can be seen in the photographs. Also, take pictures from all angles of the watch—front, back, sides, bracelet/strap, buckle/clasp, box/papers, and so on. The goal here is to give a clear and honest look at the watch in its current state. No use trying to hide any flaws and/or damage to the watch because these will eventually be uncovered.

Once you’re happy with the pictures, head to the Phigora Sell Page to fill out the quotation request form. Similar to the pictures, be as detailed and honest in your accompanying descriptions as possible. Also indicate if you want to sell or trade a luxury watch and one of our team members will get back to you in less than 24 hours.

3. Find a Watch to Fall in Love With

Preowned Luxury Watches

Reward yourself for a job well done by browsing our collection of pre-owned watches to find one that you love. Consider your budget (taking into account the credit that your old watch will get you), lifestyle, and taste and pick a watch that you’ll be happy to wear often. Do you gravitate more towards dive watches, pilot watches, dress watches, or understated time-only watches? What about metals—do you wear stainless steel or gold more?

It’s always a good idea to look at popular brands like Rolex, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, Cartier, Omega, and Breitling. These types of luxury watches are better at retaining their values, which is something to think about if you’ll sell your watch again in the future. And for even more savings, don’t miss our Spring Sale happening right now for a limited time.

Although “fun” isn’t the first thing you think of when it comes to spring cleaning, selling or trading your old watch for a new one certainly is. Out with the old and in with the new, we say!

Watch Talk: How to Shop for a Pre-Owned Luxury Watch

Buying a pre-owned watch is a great way to get your hands on an affordable luxury watch, yet it can be a daunting task filled with uncertainty if you’re unsure of what you’re doing. We want to make sure we equip you with as much information as possible and so we developed a quick how to on how to shop for a pre-owned luxury watch with confidence.


1. Research Watch Brands, Models, and Styles

You have a wide variety of luxury watch brands, styles, and models to choose from. High-end watch brands are rich with history, which makes for some interesting timepieces.

Generally speaking, a watch manufacture is one that designs and produces most of their own timepiece components and mostly constructs their own mechanical watch movements in-house (there are always exceptions). Some leading luxury watch manufactures include Rolex, Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe, Jaeger-LeCoultre, and A. Lange & Söhne. Other luxury watchmakers, such as Cartier, Breitling, and Omega, sometimes manufacture their own movements and sometimes take standard “ebauche” movements and modify them. Most watch brands also offer more affordable battery-operated quartz models along with their more expensive mechanical watches. The type of watch movement is something to take into account when buying a pre-owned luxury watch.

In terms of style, there’s an abundance of options to consider. It’s standard for most high-end watchmakers to offer pieces in robust stainless steel and fine 18k gold, while other companies focus on other materials like titanium, carbon fiber, and ceramic. The size of wristwatches has progressively increased over its history — what once was considered the average size for a men’s watch, 26mm – 32mm, is diminutive compared to today’s average size of 40mm and beyond. However, there’s been a notable trend these days back to smaller men’s watches hovering around the 36mm – 39mm mark.

Research some top watch brands to see if their heritage, styles, and models resonate with you.


2. Taste and Lifestyle Fit

Many watches offer specific functions, for instance, diver’s watches have high levels of water resistance, pilot’s watches have multiple time zones, chronograph watches measure elapses events, and fine classical watches boast traditional complications such as calendars and indicate moonphase. When contemplating buying a preowned luxury watch, consider your lifestyle and what type of watch would best suit your needs.

If this is your first pre-owned watch purchase, a versatile and affordable luxury watch may be the right choice for you. Some great starter luxury watches for men include the Rolex Oyster Perpetual, the Breitling Colt, and the Omega Seamaster Diver 300M. For women, the Cartier Tank Française and the Rolex Lady-Datejust are classic entry-level luxury watch choices.

Check out our beginner’s guide to starting a luxury watch collection to learn more.


3. Select a Brand That Will Retain Value

If the possibility of reselling your pre-owned luxury watch in the future is an important factor, then selecting a brand that tends to maintain its value, such as Rolex, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, and Cartier, is something to keep in mind.

When purchasing a second-hand luxury watch for the first time, look for watches that historically retain their design characteristics without too many drastic changes for easier reselling later. For instance, the Rolex Submariner, Breitling Chronomat, and Omega Speedmaster Professional, have all kept their iconic looks virtually untouched for decades.

Stainless steel luxury watches have always been a popular choice with their demand steadily increasing, thus, may be easier to resell than other, more expensive, materials.


4. Buy From a Reputable Source

There are a number of advantages of buying a pre-owned luxury watch over a brand new one, including better prices, availability of discontinued models, and a wider range of options. However, in this case, it’s very important to “buy the seller” to avoid getting cheated.

Be cautious of companies that promise cheap luxury watches without the necessary measures to protect the buyer from fraudulent sellers. Aside from the price, examine other factors like condition, proof of authenticity, reputation, and after-sales service. Opt for reputable sources like Phigora that offer pre-owned watches for sale within a safe and secure online marketplace.

If you’re in the market to buy a luxury watch online, then take advantage of Phigora’s valuable features to protect the buyer. Not only are all of our watches backed by an authenticity guarantee, they also come with a one-year warranty. Plus, we also have an easy return policy should you not be satisfied with your purchase.

Consider the above buyer’s guide tips, browse through our catalog of pre-owned watches for sale, and buy with confidence.

Ready to shop a preowned watch? Shop our Spring Sale from now until April: