Watch designs to last a lifetime
When considering which watch design to invest in, disregard trends and consider classic pieces characterised by timeless design
Watchmakers have long known the value of lasting style over seasonality, and they continue to nurture collections that have endured for decades. These classic watch designs never go out of style – made to be worn, then handed down through the generations, they will look just as modern next century as they did the last.
In the 1970s, watch designer Gérald Genta’s timepieces transformed watchmaking, subverting traditional designs and breathing new life into an industry in flux. One of his most iconic pieces, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, is just as popular today as it was then; inspired by the eight screws with which a vintage diving helmet was attached to the suit, it was revolutionary in being made of steel long before this was considered a precious metal. Now available in many versions, its distinctive octagonal shape is instantly recognisable.
The Bauhaus movement, with its focus on form following function, was the inspiration behind the Patek Philippe Calatrava watch, originally created in 1932. The simple ethos was translated into a watch with clean design principles, its gently curved form and integrated lugs making for a streamlined silhouette. Today’s versions, with the round face and understated hour markers, are just as graceful as their predecessors.
Jaeger-LeCoultre is marking 90 years of the Reverso this year, a chic design that first appeared in 1931. While nodding to the art deco period in which it was created, it was originally intended for polo players who wished for a watch tough enough to withstand a match. The Reverso’s combination of elegance and practicality, with a dial that can flip, instantly made it a popular choice. The collection’s newest Duoface model, created in burgundy red to mark the anniversary, is a chic investment complete with two contrasting dials, a feature first introduced in 1994.
The generous silhouette and bold bezel of the Rolex Submariner create maximum impact. First introduced in 1953, its beginnings were as a diver’s wristwatch, meaning the emphasis is on legibility. The simple dials play with geometry, letting triangles, circles and rectangles mark the hours, quickly telling the time when visibility may be poor. This latest piece, with its slightly increased case size, is created from Oystersteel – Rolex’s particularly tough alloy – for a practical and timeless appeal.
Japanese brand Grand Seiko is a favourite of watch connoisseurs for its unwavering commitment to accomplished technology and skilled design. This piece from the Heritage collection is a case in point – with a highly precise movement and a case crafted from titanium, it is light, easy to wear and reliable.