When I think of a legendary watch, a few big names come to mind. Names like Submariner, Speedmaster, Reverso, Big Pilot and Royal Oak. These names are quite literally etched into horology's history books and will forever have the mantra as being collection staples, must-haves and family heirlooms. I went out on a limb and put together a handful of legendary watches that transcend time, no pun intended. These watches are what I like to call generational timepieces, legendary both in stature and importance, iconic in significance and industry impact. Each watch here represents something, whether it be the tell-tale signs of affluence and success, of being deemed the ultimate tool watch, of having the prestige of leaving the Earth, of having the verve as being a style icon and of having the quintessential spirit to disrupt. Enjoy!
The most iconic, most recognisable and most revered watch in the world, the Rolex Submariner holds its own as the quintessential generational horological legend.
The Omega Speedmaster ranks high amongst these other legends, not only because it was the first watch worn on the Moon, but also because of how pure and unaltered its aesthetic has been over the decades since its introduction to the world.
As overlooked as Breitling's Navitimer is, there is no getting around just how important a watch it really is. Chock full of information that was once-upon-a-time used by pilots around the world, the Breitling Navitimer's status as a bona fide legend of watchmaking is uncontested and just.
Cartier Tank Solo
Picking between this and the Santos was far from easy, but I felt that the Cartier Tank embodied the maison more than the beloved Santos. Classical, timeless and with an air of nonchalance, the Tank is an absolute legend.
Combining the Art Deco movement with sophistication and classicism, Jaeger-LeCoultre's Reverso has for years been held in the highest regard amongst even the most hardcore of watch collectors. For good reason, too.
IWC Big Pilot
The battle for IWC's legendary watch was a close call between the Portugieser and the Big Pilot. In the end the Big Pilot triumphed, but only just. The Big Pilot is the stereotypical pilot's watch and holds its own as the archetypal IWC.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak has long been lauded as the watch that changed the landscape for high end stainless steel sports watches. And still, after almost 50 years of existence, the Royal Oak continues to be considered one of the greatest watches, ever. Le-gen-da-ry.
Patek Philippe Nautilus
Like the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, the Patek Philippe Nautilus did away with convention and instead marched the beat of its own drum. The end result is a watch whose design and style continues to reverberate well into the 21st century.
Vacheron Constantin Overseas
Vacheron Constantin, like Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe, was introduced to the world in the 1970s. But after laying dormant for a number of years, Vacheron Constantin revived the collection in 2016 much to the delight of collectors and enthusiasts worldwide. And more than 5 years since its phoenix-like rebirth, the Vacheron Constantin Overseas continues to hold its own in one of the most competitive market niches in watchmaking.
Originally launched in 1975, three years after the Royal Oak, one year before the Nautilus and two years before the Overseas, the Laureato is a true legend of watchmaking in every sense. Perhaps the most overlooked of the four, the Girard-Perregaux Laureato is an exquisite piece of machinery whose significance and importance to haute horlogerie is matched only by its mystique. A genuine legend for sure.
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