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.

Trend Watch: Best Mens Watches for Women

5 Men’s Watches That Look Amazing on Women

When it comes to the rules of fashion, chic women aren’t very good at following them. In fact, the most stylish ladies throw the rulebook out and abide by their own guidelines.

First thing that comes to mind is our centuries-long curiosity with men’s clothing and accessories. Women are particularly good at taking items conventionally labeled as menswear and making it their own. It’s hard to imagine now, but women only started wearing trousers in the in the 1920s. Could you imagine your wardrobe without your favorite pair of pants? Thank goodness for fashion rebels that pave the way for new trends.

Almost a century later, we see the same approach in the luxury watch space. There are plenty of women out there who are sporting watches that were in fact designed for men—and these ladies look fab doing it.

Traditionally, women’s watches have been smaller, more bejeweled, more delicate, and less complex than their male counterparts. Which is fine because a dash of diamonds is always welcomed, but it’s shouldn’t be the only option for ladies who love watches. Particularly frustrating is the prevalence of quartz calibers at the heart of women’s watches rather than mechanical movements. Consequently, women are turning to larger, more robust, more complex, and ultimately, more interesting men’s watches to wear.

Have a look at some of our favorite men’s watches that would look great on a woman’s wrist.

 

Rolex Datejust 36

As Rolex’s signature dress watch, the Datejust is offered in a variety of sizes, from the petite to the oversized. However, for a long time, the 36mm Datejust was classified as the men’s option—the brand only introduced a larger Datejust II in 2011.

Yet, for a long time women have been opting for the men’s Datejust 36 rather than the smaller Lady-Datejust given that 36mm is neither too big nor too small for most. Celebrities like Victoria Beckham, Jennifer Anniston, and Eva Longoria proudly sport their “men’s” Datejust 36 watches. The best part about the Rolex Datejust 36 collection is variety. The famous luxury watch is available in a slew of metals, along with an immense choice of dial colors, bezel designs, bracelet styles, and gems embellishments.

 

Omega Speedmaster Reduced

Based on the design of the Omega Speedmaster Professional that went to the moon, but equipped with modern features, the Omega Speedmaster Reduced marries legendary status and contemporary practicality.

Similar to the “Moonwatch,” there Speedy Reduced has the rugged stainless steel body, the chronograph functionality, the Hesalite crystal, and the sleek black bezel and black dial combo. However, rather than a manual-wind movement, the Omega Speedmaster Reduced runs on an automatic movement with 40 hours of power reserve. Plus, it has a 39mm case rather than the larger 42mm case of the Professional versions, making it ideal for ladies looking for a sub-40mm chronograph watch. A fantastic sporty chronograph, even Stana Katic from ABC’s Castle show wears a Speedy!

 

Cartier Ronde Solo

We can thank Coco Chanel for endorsing menswear-inspired clothing for women, ditching the frills and adopting a more androgynous fashion style. In fact, this has remained a very French approach to fashion and Cartier is no exception. In fact, the chic timepieces that come out of Maison Cartier are often considered unisex in style, offered in a range of sizes to suit different wrist measurements.

While the 42mm Cartier Ronde Solo is categorized as a men’s watch due to its large case, its slim profile and classic design make it easy for a woman to include it in her wardrobe. Just like the little black dress, a stainless steel round case paired with a black leather strap is always appropriate.

 

Rolex Daytona

With a case size measuring 40mm and the added bulk of the two chronograph pushers, the Rolex Daytona is certainly not a shy watch. But it has been the it luxury sports watch among the fashion-set and celeb A-listers for a while now. Some famous ladies who are often spotted with their Rolex Daytona chronos are Elle McPherson, Sofia Vergara, Madonna, Chiara Ferragni, and members of the Kardashian clan, just to name a few.

Available in a range of metals including steel, gold, and platinum, gold versions of the Daytona are particularly beautiful for women to wear. Prestigious, precious, and technically sound, the Daytona is well deserving of its iconic status among luxury chronograph watches.

 

Panerai Luminor

Most often associated with Hollywood action stars like Sly Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, Panerai is a heavyweight player in the oversized watch trend. But Heidi Klum got onboard and showed us that ladies can rock a mega Panerai too!

With a 44mm cushion case outfitted with the signature bridge protecting the winding crown, the Panerai Luminor Marina is a hefty timepiece. Yet, its time-only dial is characteristically minimal, displaying oversized markers on a dark background, while the classic black leather strap adds a touch of elegance.

If you’re a lady looking for a fine timepiece, don’t limit yourself to those labeled as women’s watches—browse the men’s department too. You might just find the perfect piece waiting for you there.