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The List: Watches

 
 

Blancpain Fifty Fathom

The diving watch has proven to be one of the most popular variants of the sports watch, despite the fact that few owners use them for the purpose for which they are designed. Their popularity, perhaps, is due more to their potential, rather than their actual, capabilities; the notion that the watch is able to operate at depths far beyond which the human body can survive provides a comforting sense that it will easily withstand the knocks and bangs of prosaic everyday life... click here for more


 

 

Breguet Type XX

Many works of fiction over the years have made reference to the watches worn by their protagonists, the most famous example being, perhaps, James Bond’s association with the Rolex Oyster (despite, in recent films, the best efforts of the marketing department of Omega to convince us that 007 is a Seamaster fan.) But few watchmakers can lay claim to the kind of name-checking in great works of literature that Breguet can, with Balzac, Dumas, Verne and Pushkin all mentioning the company’s creations in their novels... click here for more
 

 


 

Breitling B1

Quartz – the mineral that almost destroyed the Swiss watch industry – is not, you might argue, something that you would expect to find in any watch that has earned itself a coveted place on The List. It is the cheat’s way of making a timepiece; the accuracy achieved, not through rigorous design and meticulous attention to detail, but by the simple and cheap expedient of utilising a crystal that vibrates at a constant frequency when an electrical signal is passed through it... click here for more
 

 

 

Breitling Top Time

Ask a member of the general public which watch they associate with the iconic super-spy, James Bond, and the answer may vary depending on the age of the person being questioned: those above a certain age will answer “Rolex Submariner”, those born more recently will state “Omega Seamaster”. But there have been other watches, besides these, featured in both the films and the novels, and one such watch is the Breitling Top Time; a somewhat unusually named chronograph from the mid 1960s that doubled as a geiger counter in Thunderball... click here for more
 

 

Heuer Carrera

The term Carrera has its origins in La Carrera Panamerica, a long distance race across Mexico that was once widely described as the most dangerous race in the world. Since then the name has been appropriated by both Heuer and Porsche to describe model lines; the former in homage to drivers, such as the great Juan Manuel Fangio, who both competed in the event, and wore Heuer watches, the latter in reference to their involvement, (and at times, victories) in the competition... click here for more
 

 

 

Heuer Monaco

There is a scene towards the beginning of the Steve McQueen movie. Le Mans, in which the actor’s character, Michael Delaney, drives his 1970s Porsche 911 along the public roads that form part of the famous race track. Despite this being the decade that brought us nylon flares and beige tank tops, McQueen looks as cool as it is possible for a man to be. Later on in the film he is revealed to be wearing a Heuer Monaco, one of the Swiss manufacturer’s first automatic chronographs. At this moment, when the film was first screened, a horological cult item was born... click here for more

 

 

Heuer Silverstone

here must have been few jobs around in the 1960s and 1970s that were easier than the one that involved being responsible for naming new Heuer sports watches. Step one – realise that Heuer has associations with motorsport. Step two – think of a suitably famous European racetrack. Step three – name watch after racetrack. Step four – repeat as necessary. Step five – retire to restaurant for three Martini lunch... click here for more

 

 

IWC Pilot's Watch

There are many luxury watches available today that have some connection with flight. The Rolex GMT Master, for example, will forever be associated with Pan-Am and the glamour of being a commercial pilot in the 1950s, when much of the populace had not been near a plane, let alone travelled to far flung continents on one. But it is IWC that can, arguably, lay claim to possessing one of the longest associations with flight, having supplied watches to military pilots since before the Second World War... click here for more

 

 

Jaeger Le Coultre Reverso

Few would claim that polo is an egalitarian sport. The twin requirements of owning numerous polo ponies and having had a public school education tend to discourage any widening of participation in the game amongst the less affluent portions of society. That JLC is now inextricably linked with its Reverso line, which has strong historical ties to the game of polo, is perhaps fitting, then; after all, the Swiss company’s watches, worn by polo-playing royals, mirror the values of the sport, both in expense and in exclusivity... click here for more



 

Omega Speedmaster

Although there are a small number of people of varying levels of lunacy (pardon the word-play) who still believe that the 1969 moon landing was the world’s greatest hoax, most of us could not fail to be astonished by the achievements of Armstrong et al. That they navigated and travelled the three hundred and eighty thousand kilometres with the assistance of roughly as much computing power as the average Sinclair Spectrum only increases one’s admiration. On the astronauts’ wrists, as most Omega fans will know, was the Speedmaster; the only watch at the time that was certified by NASA for space flight... click here for more

 

Patek Philippe Nautilus

Some manufacturers of luxury goods are known for being at the cutting edge of design, where mutability, as Shelley once wrote, is all that endures. Such brands define themselves by their ability to reinvent continually, moving in new directions far before the hint of staleness is detected. Occasionally, by chance, items are produced that transcend the short-termism of their origins to become iconic, but this is generally the exception rather than the rule... click here for more

 

 

Patek Philippe World Time

Complicated watches, for many enthusiasts, represent the zenith of the watchmaker’s art; here are engineering miracles in miniature, enabling the wearer to know the exact phase of the moon, the equation of time or the price of fishcakes in Hong Kong (we jest).
Unfortunately, in our opinion, the majority of complicated watches, by dint of all of their garish extraneous dials and features, do not possess the necessary aesthetic qualities to earn a place on The List. Substance they may have, but style they almost always do not. The Patek Philippe World Time, though... click here for more
 

 

Rolex Paul Newman Daytona

Sometimes a watch becomes so inextricably linked with its wearer that it attains iconic status by association. Steve McQueen had the Heuer Monaco, James Bond (despite the best efforts of Omega in recent years) had the Rolex Submariner, and, as popular wisdom tells us, Paul Newman had the 6241 Rolex Daytona with the ‘exotic’ dial... click here for more

 

 

 

Rolex Explorer II

any watches over the years have been designed to suit the particular demands of specific sports or activities: the Rolex Submariner for divers; the Jaeger Le Coultre reverse for polo players and innumerable watches, from brands such as Breitling and IWC, for pilots. However, even watch enthusiasts may find it difficult to name a watch that was designed with the activity of caving, or speleology, as it is technically called, in mind... click here for more

 

 

Zenith El Primero

It was once said of Ferrari that the engine was what you actually paid for; the rest of the car was thrown in for free. A similar vein of thought may be applied to the watchmaker Zenith, whose El Primero movement could be compared to a high revving Ferrari V12, such is the level of its technical excellence. Unlike Ferrari, however, which remains one of the world’s most widely recognised luxury brands, Zenith is not a name with which the layman would be instantly familiar... click here for more



 

 
 

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