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.

Spring Trends: Top Luxury Watches to Wear this Season

As the weather warms up, it’s natural for us to trade in heavy coats and bulky boots for lighter jackets and brighter shoes. However, there’s another wardrobe staple that could benefit from switching as the seasons change—the wristwatch. From Rolex to Breitling and Cartier to Omega, here are some of our favorite luxury watches for both him and her to wear for spring.

 

Rolex Explorer II 16570

While the white dial version of the Rolex Explorer 16570 is nicknamed the “Polar,” its crisp face is perfect for the spring season. This particular version is an older generation of the Explorer II—produced from 1989 until 2011—so it sports a slightly smaller 40mm case rather than the current Explorer II’s 42mm case.

Along with the white dial, there’s the full stainless steel case, bezel, and bracelet, which all come together in an appealing monochromatic sporty style. The steel bezel is engraved with large numerals to be used in conjunction with the red 24-hour hand on the dial to indicate a second time zone. Coupled with the two time zones, there’s also the familiar date window at 3 o’clock on the dial, magnified by the Cyclops lens on the sapphire crystal. Depending on the production date, the Explorer ref. 16750 runs on either the Caliber 3185 or the Caliber 3186—both automatic movements, of course.

Pair your spring outfits with the Explorer II 16570 “Polar” for some much-needed freshness.

Breitling Avenger II Seawolf A17331

Say goodbye to the dark days of winter and welcome spring by sporting some sunshine on your wrist with the yellow dial Breitling Avenger II Seawolf ref. A17331. The bright watch face is encased in a large 45mm stainless steel case and for additional flair, the dial also includes flashes of red accents.

Furthermore, the Breitling Avenger II Seawolf A17331 also features a date window at 3 o’clock for added practicality and plenty of luminescent details for clear legibility in low light. Plus, as a super-diver model, the watch’s impressive water resistance to 3,000 meters (10,000 feet) can certainly withstand some springtime showers! The automatic Caliber Breitling 17 offers a 40-hour power reserve and like all Breitling watches, it is COSC-certified.

A robust dive watch with plenty of presence, step into spring with the vibrant yellow Breitling Avenger II Seawolf in hand.

Omega Seamaster 300M Chronometer 2255.80.00

The wave pattern on the electric blue dial of the Omega Seamaster 300M Chronometer 2255.80.00 signals plenty of sunny days ahead. If you’ve booked a well-deserved spring break with some plans for some fun in the sun, this is the ideal companion to have on your wrist.

 

A solid Omega dive watch, the Seamaster 300M Chronometer has all the functionality you’d expect from a watch built to explore marine environments. From its stainless steel construction to its 300-meter (1,000 feet) water resistance to its helium escape valve to its unidirectional rotating dive bezel to its highly luminescent dial, this is the Omega you want for water-based adventures. Moreover, the automatic Omega 1120 Caliber provides a practical 44-hour of power reserve.

Cartier Ballon Bleu W69010Z4

Although the Ballon Bleu is one of Cartier’s newest watch collections, it’s already established itself as a modern classic. This particular Cartier Ballon Bleu ref. W69010Z4 is just what a ladies’ springtime wardrobe needs. Seductively curvy thanks to its round convex shape and ideally sized at 28mm, this is one watch that’s easy to wear. Even Kate Middleton wears one!

 

This modern Cartier ladies’ watch flaunts all the traditional design hallmarks of the French Maison, including the black Roman numerals on the fresh white dial, the bright blue stone on the winding crown, and the blue sword-shaped hands. Furthermore, the quartz caliber means that the watch will keep running on or off the wrist.

 

The Ballon Bleu ref. W69010Z4’s stainless steel case and bracelet is a top choice for a contemporary everyday luxury ladies’ watch.

 

 

Omega Constellation Mini 1465.71.00

It may be discreet in size at just 22.5mm but the Omega Constellation Mini ref. 1465.71.00 shines bright with its diamond-set bezel. With its integrated bracelet and four griffes (claws) on the case, the Omega Constellation watch is immediately recognizable.

The clean white dial offers just the right amount of space for the center hands and faceted hour markers. A time-only watch that runs on a quartz caliber, the Omega Constellation Mini has everything you need and nothing you don’t.

Part precious jewelry and part wristwatch, the Omega Constellation Mini is a delicious piece of arm candy to sport during spring days.

 

As you refresh your wardrobe for the season, don’t forget your watch box. Browse our collection of fine timepieces to find the right watch to wear this spring and beyond.

 

Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Men’s Luxury Watch Collection

If you’ve been exploring the idea of starting a luxury watch collection but have no clue where to start, you are not alone. The notion of investing in a fine timepiece may be a daunting one, but with a few helpful tips—not to mention the fantastic prices the pre-owned and vintage market has to offer—you’ll soon be on your way to sporting a collection that is enviable. Here are our recommendations for some solid starter watches to begin building your high-end timepiece collection and the rich history behind each piece.

 

Omega Speedmaster Automatic

Few watches offer the recognition and cool-factor of the Omega Speedmaster. It was, after all, the first watch to go to the moon! And while the original Omega “Moon Watch” was a manual-wound chronograph, we would recommend an automatic version of the Speedmaster for your starter collection.

The automatic Omega Speedmaster, also known as the Speedmaster Reduced, sports the iconic “Moon Watch” look but with the added practicality of a self-winding movement. Therefore, as long as you keep wearing the watch, it’ll keep going without a need for batteries or regular manual winding.

As a sporty chronograph model, there is the duo of chrono pushers on the case flanking the winding crown, along with the trio of subdials on the dial in the 3/6/9 configuration. Built in stainless steel, sized at a very wearable 39mm, and equipped with the familiar black dial and black tachymeter bezel, the Speedmaster will undoubtedly be a favorite in your sports watch collection.

 

Cartier Tank Solo

Along with a sports watch, every gentleman should have a dapper dress watch in his collection. And no one does dress watches quite like Cartier. Famous for their elegant silhouettes, the Maison Cartier are masters of differently shaped watches, such as the Tank.

The history of the Cartier Tank watch dates back to 1917. As its name implies, the timepiece was inspired by the then-new military tanks used during WWI. Over the following century, Cartier offered plenty of iterations of the Tank watch, including the modern entry-level Tank Solo.

Cherished for its minimal approach, the Tank Solo Automatic has everything you need and nothing you don’t. Its iconic rectangular shaped case in stainless measures a perfectly sized 31mm x 41mm and houses a crisp white dial with Cartier’s signature black Roman numerals and blue sword-shaped hands. There’s also a date window for added practicality. As with most Cartier timepieces, the Tank Solo also has the blue cabochon-cut stone on the winding crown. Finishing off the sophisticated look of the Tank Solo is the classic black alligator strap.

From the office to dinner, this handsome dress watch is one you won’t think twice about wearing all the time.

 

Breitling Chronomat Evolution

If you’ve spent any time browsing through men’s luxury watches, you will have no doubt noticed that two-tone models have been a popular choice for decades. Rather than choosing between white or yellow metals, going for a watch that includes both is a great option.

Breitling approaches the two-tone combination on this Breitling Chronomat Evolution in a subtle way, only including a few yellow gold touches on the predominately 44mm steel watch. Famed for their technical and sporty aviation-inspired timepieces, this particular Breitling Chronomat Automatic is a dressier take on a sporty chronograph thanks to the yellow gold winding crown, chrono pushers, rider tabs on the bezel, and details on the dial. The rich blue dial sets the perfect background for the trio of registers at 6, 9, and 12 o’clock, while the date window sits at 3 o’clock. Plus, emphasizing the watch’s more formal look is the dressier five-link steel bracelet.

Whether or not we fly planes, we all need a robust wristwatch to keep up with our weekend adventures, and the two-tone Breitling Chronomat Automatic pilot’s watch certainly fits the bill.

 

Rolex Datejust

If you are thinking a Rolex is out of budget for a beginner’s watch collection, think again! The Swiss watchmaking giant—and the world’s leading luxury brand—boasts a diverse range of timepieces at different price points.

Rolex is no stranger to world firsts, and the Datejust is just one of many. Introduced in 1945, the Datejust was the world’s first automatic chronometer-certified wristwatch to include a date window on the dial. While we may take this for granted today, it truly was a mechanical feat during its era. Since then, the Datejust has enjoyed its iconic status in the luxury watch space, seamlessly balancing distinct design hallmarks with plenty of variety.

Although there are countless Rolex Datejust models to choose from, if you’re just starting out your luxury watch collection, we recommend a stainless steel Datejust ref. 16030. A vintage classic, the Datejust ref. 16030 dons a well-proportioned 36mm steel case topped with an intricate engine-turned steel bezel. The understated silver dial includes simple stick hour markers coupled with the famous date window at 3 o’clock. Of course, like most Rolex watches with the date functionality, the aperture is magnified by the Cyclops lens affixed to the crystal protecting the face of the watch. In keeping with its traditional looks, this Datejust is outfitted with the five-link Jubilee bracelet, which is in fact, the bracelet style that made its debut on the inaugural Datejust.

With a Rolex Datejust in your watch box, you’re well on your way to creating a stellar timepiece collection.

 

The Beginner’s Watch Collection

There are few hobbies as satisfying and style-focused as watch collecting.

A sporty chronograph, an elegant leather timepiece, a dressy aviator’s watch, and a prestigious date wristwatch lays a solid foundation for a men’s starter luxury watch collection. Whichever watches you choose to start with, make sure your timepieces fit your lifestyle, budget, and taste. If chosen correctly, your watches will be with you for life. But also, if you decide to sell or trade your watches down the line for other ones, there’s always a market for pre-owned high-end timepieces. There are plenty of watch enthusiasts out there with revolving collections, where they buy and sell watches as they see fit.

Holiday Gift Guide: The Best Luxury Watches To Give This Year

There are only six Fridays left until December 25th! So it’s about time to start thinking about what gifts you’ll be giving your loved ones this holiday season. We are of course partial to luxury watches. After all, a luxury watch is a fantastic gift that is both beautiful and practical. A fine timepiece is a special gift that will not only make a big impact on the day it’s given, but it will also be enjoyed for a long time to come. What’s more, a luxury watch is a suitable gift for either him or her. Finally, a pre-owned luxury watch is a savvier choice since you’ll be saving plenty of money while still gifting a prestigious and well-respected timepiece.

So with that, read on for our recommendations on the best luxury watches to gift this holiday season covering a range of budgets, for both him and her.

 

The Best Luxury Watch Gifts for Him: Under $2,000

 If you have less than $2,000 to spend on a high-end timepiece, then you’re in luck because there are plenty of fantastic choices in the secondary market.

For him, we’d recommend a Breitling watch. A masculine and sporty watch brand that boasts technical prowess and great design, Breitling is tough to beat. For less than $2,000 there are several choices. The super sporty stainless steel Breitling Transocean Chronograph Stainless Steel (ref. A530401) includes a generous 42mm case housing a dynamic red, white and blue dial. Plus, the watch offers tons of functionality including time, date, and chronograph, all powered by an extremely precise and accurate quartz movement.

If however, you’d prefer a smaller sized watch, then there’s the stainless steel Breitling Colt Ocean Chrono (ref. A53050) with a 37mm case complete with a black dial displaying the time, date, and chronograph functions.

Alternatively, for an automatic version, there’s the stainless steel Breitling Superocean (ref. A17040) with a 41.5mm case with time and date displayed on the rich blue dial topped with steel rotating bezel.

Or, for a touch more preciousness, then the automatic Breitling Chrono Cockpit (ref. B30012) fits the bill. With its 37mm stainless steel case and yellow gold rider tabs on the bezel coupled with a classic black leather strap and clean white dial indicating the time, date, and chronograph functions, this Breitling is an elegant approach to a luxury sports watch.

 

The Best Luxury Watch Gifts for Her: Under $2,000

For less than $2,000 we’d recommend a Cartier watch as the perfect gift for her. And at this price point, there’s an abundance of styles to choose from.

A favorite among celebrities and fashionistas the world over, the steel Cartier Tank Francaise (ref. W51008Q3 / 2384) with a 20mm x 25mm rectangular case features all the signature Cartier details. From the black Roman numerals to the blued-steel sword-shaped hands to the eight-sided winding crown set with a synthetic spinel cabochon, this is a modern take on the classic Tank watch.

Considering that Cartier just revived the Panthere watch collection earlier this year and that two-tone style is making a huge comeback, this yellow gold and steel Cartier Panthere (ref. 166921) is completely on-trend. Sporting a 24mm steel square case topped with an 18k yellow gold bezel and outfitted with the characteristic brick-lay link bracelet in both yellow gold and steel, this is the must-have ladies’ watch of the moment.

For a leather strap alternative that flaunts a retro vibe, the Cartier Tank Divan (ref. 2599) is a great choice. Accompanying the watch’s 32mm wide rectangular steel case is a sophisticated alligator leather strap in a dark blue hue.

Part jewelry piece, part wristwatch, the Cartier Panthere Ruban (ref. 2420) does double the duty. Set among the eight rows of the brick-lay link bracelet is the 21mm square case along with the bezel with exposed screws and famed Cartier dial with Roman numerals and blue hands.

 

The Best Luxury Watch Gifts for Him: $2,000 – $5,000

If your gift-giving budget ranges from $2,000 to $5,000, then we’d recommend an Omega as a men’s watch option. As one of the most popular high-end timepiece brands available today, Omega is cherished for their solid designs and reliable movements.

One of the most iconic Omega watches is undoubtedly the Speedmaster Moonwatch—named so for its historic journey in 1969 aboard the Apollo 11 mission during mankind’s first lunar landing. The Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch (ref. 3573.50.00) is a modern iteration of that legendary timepiece, complete with a 42mm steel case, black dial, black tachymeter bezel, and manual-wound mechanical movement powering the time and chronograph functions.

Turning our attention to marine exploration, the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M Co-Axial Chronograph (ref. 232.30.46.51.01.001) is part of the company’s line of professional diving watches. Along with the unidirectional rotating diver’s bezel on the 45.5mm steel case and water resistance to 600 meters, there’s also the duo of chronograph registers on the dial and the famous broad-arrow hands.

For a more classic watch, there’s the two-tone steel and yellow gold Omega Constellation Automatic (ref. 368.1201) featuring the distinct bezel with Roman numerals, four claws (a.k.a “griffes”) on the sides of the 36mm case, and an integrated bracelet. Driving the time and date functions is an automatic mechanical movement.

Vintage watch enthusiasts and dapper gents will appreciate the traditional style of the 18k yellow gold vintage Omega Automatic (ref. 2709) timepiece. Housed within the restrained 34mm gold case is a beautifully retro dial with yellow gold indexes, yellow gold hands, and a running seconds subdial at 6 o’clock.

 

The Best Luxury Watch Gifts for Her: $2,000 – $5,000

With a budget of $2,000 – $5,000, your best bet for a gift for her would be a ladies’ Chopard watch.

Famous for their floating diamond motif, the Chopard Happy Diamond Sport ladies’ watch collection is a varied assortment of modern gem timepieces. There’s the contemporary midsize Chopard Happy Sport 27/8236-23 where seven floating diamonds are housed within a round 32mm steel case. Particularly beautiful are the flashes of color on the otherwise monochromatic watch from the blue center hands to the blue cabochon sapphires on the winding crown and lugs.

For a sportier version, there’s the limited edition Chopard Happy Sport (ref. 28/8507) with a 38mm black ceramic case, stainless steel bezel, and black rubber strap. Of course, adorning the dial are the characteristic floating diamonds—a trio of them in this particular example.

Yet another version is the square Chopard Happy Sport (ref. 27-8325-23) sized at a refined 26mm. Within the steel case are seven floating diamonds while the lugs and winding crown are topped with the signature blue cabochon sapphires. Finishing off the stylish watch is a blue leather strap.

Finally, the Chopard A Fine Lady’s (ref. 493 1) timepiece in 18k white gold flaunts a flurry of diamonds on its dainty 19mm rectangular case and dial. The perfect companion to any cocktail party or grand gala event, the watch is presented with a sophisticated black leather strap.

 

The Best Luxury Watch Gifts for Him: $5,000 – $8,000

If you’re ready to spend between $5,000 and $8,000 on gifting a men’s watch this holiday season, then it’s got to be a Rolex watch. In terms of recognition, prestige, legendary designs, and dependable movements, this Swiss watchmaking giant is at the top.

Among the Rolex tool watches, the highly sought-after Submariner dive watch is in a league of its own. And a classic choice is the Rolex Submariner ref. 16610 with a 40mm steel Oyster case, matching steel Oyster bracelet, black dial with lume plots and Mercedes-style hands, and black aluminum diver’s bezel. Encased within the 300-meter water resistant case is the famous Rolex Cal. 3135 automatic movement driving the time and date functions.

The GMT-Master is yet another iconic Rolex tool watch, but due to its ability to keep track of multiple time zones simultaneously, it was built to serve pilots. A particularly popular variant is the Rolex GMT-Master II ref. 16710 “Coke”, nicknamed after the soda brand because of its black and red bezel. Completing the celebrated style of the watch is the 40mm steel Oyster case, ubiquitous steel Oyster bracelet, and red arrow-tipped GMT-hand on the black dial.

Along with their renowned sports watches, Rolex is also recognized for making iconic dress watches, such as the Datejust. The two-tone Rolex Datejust ref. 116233 dons a style typical of the collection thanks to its classic combination of yellow gold and stainless steel, fluted bezel, 36mm Oyster case, champagne dial, and Jubilee bracelet.

For a more robust version of the traditional Datejust dress watch, there’s also the larger Rolex Datejust II ref. 116334­. Measuring a heftier 41mm, the steel Oyster case sports an 18k white gold fluted bezel. There’s also the rich blue dial with luminescent baton indexes and sporty steel Oyster bracelet.

 

The Best Luxury Watch Gifts for Her: $5,000 – $8,000

Similarly, if you have $5,000 and $8,000 to spend on her gift this year, then a ladies’ Rolex watch is the way to go. Especially since women’s Rolex watches run on mechanical movements rather than quartz ones.

The stainless steel Rolex Datejust ref. 116234 with a pink floral and diamond dial is an everyday luxury watch with a difference. Moreover, adding to the fine details of the 36mm timepiece is the intricate Jubilee style bracelet, the 18k white gold fluted bezel, and the oversized 6 and 9 numerals joining the date window on the dial.

For added luxury, there’s the two-tone Rolex Lady-Datejust ref. 179173, which combines precious 18k yellow gold with rugged stainless steel. The 26mm steel Oyster case includes a yellow gold fluted bezel and yellow gold winding crown, while the steel Oyster bracelet features yellow gold center links. Around the periphery of the slate dial are yellow gold Roman numerals, along with the date window at 3 o’clock magnified by the Cyclops lens.

Offering the wearer a touch of jet-set chic is the solid 18k yellow gold Rolex Yacht-Master ref. 69628. Clearly inspired by the nautical lifestyle, the ladies’ Yacht-Master has a 26mm Oyster case equipped with a sporty rotating bezel. The matching champagne dial sets the stage for the luminescent hour markers and Mercedes-style hands, while at 3 o’clock is a date aperture.

For the lady who is drawn to the finest things in life, the solid 18k yellow gold Rolex Datejust ref. 69178 will surely impress. Nicknamed the “Lady President” for its legendary President bracelet with the distinct semi-circular links, the lavishness of the watch is further emphasized by the diamond hour markers on the black dial.

 

The Best Luxury Watch Gifts for Him and Her: $8,000+

With such a substantial budget allocated, you want to make sure that you select absolute icons from the finest watchmakers.

For him, we’ll start with the 18k white gold Cartier Tortue Perpetual Calendar (ref. 2540), whose tonneau-shaped case was designed in 1912 by Louis Cartier himself. Offering the very practical perpetual calendar function, the timepiece automatically indicates the correct time, day, date, month, and leap year without the need for manual adjusting (until 2100 when the leap year is ignored that year). Her equivalent would be the ladies’ 18k white gold Cartier Tortue (ref. 2644) with a lavish diamond bezel.

Following that, the solid 18k yellow gold Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Moonphase (ref. 25594BA.O.0477.BA.01) men’s watch is one not to miss. Originally developed by legendary designer Gerald Genta in 1970, the Royal Oak’s distinct octagonal bezel and integrated bracelet kicked off the entire luxury sports watch genre. This particular example includes a trio of subdials to indicate the day, date, and phases of the moon. Additionally, the 18k yellow gold ladies’ Audemars Piguet Royal Oak (Ref. 67601BA.ZZ.D012CR.03-FX2UC2) with diamonds on the eight-sided bezel and a white leather strap is a great match to the men’s version.

And finally, a holiday gift guide to the best luxury watches wouldn’t be complete without the famous Patek Nautilus—also designed by Genta in the seventies. Proudly showcasing its porthole-style 37.5mm stainless steel case and integrated bracelet, the Patek Philippe Nautilus (ref. 3800/1A-001) includes Roman numerals and a date window on its black dial. For the ladies, there’s the ultra-precious 18k yellow gold women’s Patek Philippe Nautilus (ref. 4700/51), beautifully embellished with diamonds on the bezel as well as diamonds serving as hour markers on the black grooved dial.

And there you have it; our holiday gift guide to the best luxury watches money can buy—regardless of your budget. Happy shopping!

 

 

Don’t Miss These Five Popular Luxury Chronographs

When looking at the abundance of luxury sports watches available in the market, one type stands out as the most prevalent and popular: the chronograph. More than just a time keeping instrument, the chronograph also records time. During its heyday, the chronograph was important to a variety of fields including sports, aviation, and military. While today, time recording is typically relegated to computers, this hasn’t stopped the popularity of luxury chronographs. Whether or not the chronograph function is used is of no consequence since it’s the aesthetics of a chrono that is particularly appealing for today’s consumer. Let’s review five highly popular luxury chronographs.

 

The Omega Speedmaster

Popular Luxury Chronographs: Omega Speedmaster Professional

Making its debut in 1957, the Omega Speedmaster is one of the most famous luxury chronographs on earth and beyond—literally. As the first watch to reach the moon on the historic lunar landing of 1969, the Omega Speedmaster quickly gained its celebrated nickname, the “Moonwatch.”

Staying close to the original NASA approved timepiece, modern Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch models sport the iconic black dial, black bezel with the tachymetric scale, stainless steel case. Plus, they run on manual-wound calibers.

However, as Omega’s signature chronograph collection, there’s a slew of other Speedmaster models too. With a variety of sizes, materials, and movements, there are plenty of Omega Speedmaster chronograph watches to choose from.

 

The Rolex Daytona

Popular Luxury Chronographs: Rolex Daytona

While Rolex had already manufactured chronographs prior to the 1960s, it was in 1963 that the Swiss watchmaking giant unveiled the Cosmograph. Later known as the Comosgraph Daytona, or simply, Daytona, this is arguably one of the most coveted luxury chronographs to own.

Prior to 1988, Rolex Daytona watches were manual-wound. In 1988 however, Rolex introduced the first automatic Daytona chronograph powered by a movement based on the famed Zenith El-Primero movement. Finally, in 2000, the company revamped the Daytona to include their own in-house movement—the Caliber 4130, which still powers the Rolex chronograph today.

In terms of style, the Daytona is instantly recognizable thanks to its 40mm case, tachymeter engraved bezel, trio of registers on the dial, and the duo of pushers flanking the winding crown. The Rolex Daytona is available in a range of materials including gold, platinum, and steel, and the most modern versions also have ceramic bezels.

 

The Breitling Chronomat

Popular Luxury Chronographs: Breitling Chronomat

Along with Heuer and Hamilton, Breitling was part of a consortium to develop the world’s first automatic chronograph movement. In fact, long before that, Léon Breitling—the founder of Breitling—was instrumental in the development of the modern-day chronograph.

Presented in the early 1940s, the Breitling Chronomat included an integrated slide rule along with the time and chronograph functions. Since the watch allowed for complex calculations, it quickly became the go-to timepiece for mathematicians and scientists of the era.

Fast-forward to the 1980s and the Chronomat made headlines again. During what is now referred to as the “Quartz Crisis” Breitling took a bold step by reintroducing the Chronomat. But this time, it ran on an automatic mechanical movement. The bet paid off and the Chronomat has since become one of Breitling’s most popular chronographs available in a range of metals, colors, and additional functions.

 

The Breitling Navitimer

Popular Luxury Chronographs: Breitling Navitimer

A direct descendant of the Chronomat, the Breitling Navitimer came out in 1952. Taking it a step further from its predecessor, the Navitimer incorporated an enhanced slide rule bezel. By allowing pilots to compute complex navigational calculations, the Navitimer became the quintessential aviator’s chronograph.

Although the Breitling Navitimer has undergone several enhancements throughout its 65-year history, the fundamental design traits are still there. For instance, a very technical dial and a large case.

Today, the Navitimer collection is Breitling’s signature line. In addition to in-house movements, the Navitimer also offers a variety of additional functions to the chronograph. There are Navitimers with GMT, World Timer, and others functions.

 

The IWC Portuguese Chronograph

Luxury Chronographs: IWC Portuguese Chronograph

The IWC Portuguese collection did not begin as a chronograph. However, the chronograph version became the company’s most successful watch ever produced since its introduction in the 1990s.

The inaugural Portuguese dates back to the 1930s. Two businessmen from Portugal commissioned large wrist watches from the International Watch Company. To this day, the look of the IWC Portuguese is very much like a pocket watch. Take note of the railway style minute track. The dials of the IWC Portuguese Chronograph watches are minimalistic and beautifully balanced while the bezels are super slim.

Always presented on a leather band, both steel and gold IWC Portuguese Chronograph watches lean more towards a dress timepiece than a sports watch.

 

The chronograph has always been a very popular luxury watch choice. As a result, every fine watchmaker includes several versions in their collections. And that’s great for the consumer because that means plenty of styles, sizes, materials, and price points to choose from.