What does it take to become an icon in the temple of watches? We take a look at five men’s watches dreamed up in the last century, which endure as iconic watches today. Shop iconic watches: http://ow.ly/ZhUX6
The Rolex Submariner of 1953, a professional dive watch capable of fathoming depths of 100 metres, opened the hatch on an exciting new underwater world. The Submariner’s professional attributes and rugged good looks accompanied Jacques Cousteau on his adventures and caught the eye of ex-Navy commander Ian Fleming as the ideal watch for his spy. Sean Connery wore a Submariner throughout his seven 007 appearances and these Rolex watches became so associated with Bond that collectors today still refer to this model as the James Bond Submariner.
Ever since that epic day in July 1969 when the Apollo 11 Lunar Module touched down on the surface of the Moon with a 1957 Professional Speedmaster strapped to Buzz Aldrin’s wrist, these iconic Omega watches earned the nickname “Moonwatch”. Still bearing the distinction as having participated in all six lunar missions, and as the first watch to have accompanied an astronaut on the pitted surface of the Moon, this watch is a perennial favourite among collectors.
Panerai’s first luminescent diving watches were trial-run by the underwater human torpedoes in 1936, glowing in the dark thanks to the radium paste patented as Radiomir by Panerai. Renowned for the XXL military-inspired models, the latest Radiomir 1940 3 Days Automatic Acciaio PAM655 is decked out in a crisp white dial with vintage beige luminescent material instead of the more characteristic green glow that we associate with the brand.
Designed by Gérald Genta in 1972, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak watch – inspired by the old-fashioned diving helmets that were attached to a suit with screws – turned the tables on the prevailing concept of a luxury sports watch and was clad in robust stainless steel armour and retailed for a price far above that of a similar gold model. For 2016, these Audemars Piguet watches have reversed the equation with a 37mm automatic version in a sumptuous yellow gold case and matching bracelet.
Inspiration can be found in the most unlikely places. Towards the end of World War I, Louis Cartier became fascinated by the boxy profile of the Renault armoured battle tank and decided to model a watch on its clean, rectilinear design, giving birth to the Cartier Tank wristwatch in 1917. The myth of these Cartier watches rolls on and features in the brand’s permanent collection with their rectangular case, classic Roman numerals, “railroad” minute track, blued-steel hands and sapphire cabochon in the beaded crown.
These five time-tested classics from the last century, reassuringly faithful to their ancestors, prove that the test of time is an infallible judge when it comes to singling out iconic watches.
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