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Mankind has marked the passing of time for millennia. First it was the sun’s shadow and the phases of the moon, but now we can measure even the smallest fraction of time with technological timekeeping masterpieces.
Watches sometimes earn the title of "iconic". Whether it is for innovation or design, some watches have garnered an iconic reputation recently or in years gone by. Sought after by collectors or admired by enthusiasts, there are few timepieces that are worthy winners of the iconic status.
Here are seven iconic men’s luxury watches that all watch collectors need to know about and admire.
Rolex produces iconic watches in droves, so it’s pretty hard to narrow down the most iconic in its range. The Day-Date is probably the most widely recognized and admired for its design. These days, the Day Date is known as the Rolex President. This is because the Day-Date has long been the choice of wristwatch worn by the world’s most powerful and most glamorous. Who is more powerful than the president?!
Instantly recognizable for its bracelet design with semi-circular link, precious metal construction and its duo of calendar windows on the dial. This is a watch of exceptional quality, a timekeeping masterpiece that has already and will continue to stand the test of time, earning its well deserved title as “iconic.”
Breitling released the Navitimer in 1952 and equipped it with a slide rule bezel, a component first used in the earlier Chronomat chronograph. This piece was designed for pilots and was intended to aid them with flight-related calculations. We are now living in a time where those calculations are automatically made, yet the Navitimer is as popular now as it was when it was first released. The Navitimer is the oldest chronograph timepiece to be still available that has been continuously produced.
Tag Heuer is the sports watch of sports watches. It is known globally for its unparalleled design. The Tag Heuer Monaco was first released in 1969 in honor of the Monaco Grand Prix. This watch was a ground breaker, the first automatic watch and the first square-cased chronograph. The watch demonstrates a large case cut at perfect right angles and a bevelled sapphire crystal. It's a collector’s must-have because of its originality and beauty of design.
The Santos de Cartier is arguably one of the brand's most iconic watches. Still in production today after more than 100 years of production, it’s a favorite among enthusiasts.
This wristwatch was originally made for Alberto Santos-Dumont, an aviator friend of Louis Cartier. Created as a reliable timepiece that could be worn around the wrist, this watch has also been described as the "first wristwatch for men". This watch now comes in various iterations but was once crafted from gold and steel.
Swiss-owned and Swiss-made today but quintessentially American, Hamilton originates from Pennsylvania. This brand gained a reputation for making accurate pocket watches. The Hamilton brand was the only watch brand to survive WWII.
The Hamilton Field Medical is a faithful recreation of the original forebear and is a testament to its military heritage. Built to last, this watch is the archetypal soldier’s watch.
The Nautilus was introduced in 1976. Said to draw inspiration from the sea, the case shape is fashioned after a porthole. It came complete with ears to represent the window hinges and a grooved dial that was horizontal. This watch came with an integrated bracelet and octagonal bezel.
These days, this collection offers other material options such as gold. However, despite the additional functions offered on today’s pieces, the desired men’s luxury watch from this brand is the simplest time and date Nautilus in stainless steel.
Omega is an iconic brand, with multiple timepieces that help it earn this label. Omega was first introduced in 1957 and was the first chronograph that had the tachymeter scale on the bezel rather than the dial. Famed for its trip on the Apollo 11 and being worn by Buzz Aldrin as he stepped on the moon, the Speedmaster can only be described as iconic.
Since the original Speedmaster was photographed around the wrist of Aldrin on the moon, there have been several direct descendants. These luxury watches are easily recognizable by their 42mm steel case, three registers, black bezels and tachymeter scales, and manual-winding chronograph movements.