Innovation and invention are always celebrated-and rightly so-in the world of watchmaking. But the true icons of the horological universe are not the uber complicated and ultra modern one-off novelties that the world’s finest watchmakers showcase at watch fairs, but the tried and tested models that have endured over the decades. Instantly recognisable, the pedigree offered by these wristwatches has given them a cult-like following all over the world. Desired by serious collectors and regular wearers alike, these are the seven iconic timepieces that changed the way we thought about wrists.
1. AUDEMARS PIGUET ROYAL OAK.
Designed by the legendary Gerald Genta in 1972, the Royal Oak has within four decades become the backbone of the AP collection. The iconic octagonal shape of the bezel is derived from the Royal British Navy’s Royal Oak warships, after which the collection was named. Overtime, the watch has grown bigger, bolder and more complicated, but remains true to its roots as the most complete men’s watch. Some famous faces that can boast of ownership include rap stars Jay-Z and Fabulous, reality tv stars Scott Disick (whose gold royal oak offshore is worth $90,000 or just a little over 14 million in its Naira equivalent) and Kim Kardashian, sports star Lionel Messi and Lebron James, Justin Timberlake etc.
2. JAEGER LECOULTRE REVERSO.
As unique today as when it was first launched, JLC’s reversible watch, aptly named the Reverso, was first made in 1931 for polo players in India. The Watch could be reversed to protect the dial and the movement from the rigours of play. The Reverso remains almost identical in appearance to the original, though today the reverse is often used to display secondary complications like the moon phase, equation of time or a second time zone.
Also, JLC revealed the limited edition ‘Batman Reverso’ in 2012 to celebrate the premiere of Dark Knight Rises as the timepiece was worn by Batman in the movie.
3. ROLEX SUBMARINER.
It was only fitting that the company that made the first waterproof case in 1926 should also have made the most renowned dive watch of all time. Launched in 1953, the submariner was the first to guarantee water resistance to 100m and quickly became popular after Cousteau pioneered deep-sea diving. In the sixties, Rolex introduced another innovation in the submariner line with the world’s first helium release valve. With the exception of the hands, today’s submariners follow the same formula as the original: a rotating bezel, luminescent indices, a simple dial and almost unbreakable construction.
4. OMEGA SPEEDMASTER.
Introduced as a sport chronograph in 1957, the speedmaster was just another watch in Omega’s collection until it was picked by NASA (Yes, the NASA you know) as its official chrono. It became the first watch to be exposed to space in 1965 and the first on the moon in 1969. Though its design has been tweaked over the years, the Speedmaster remains NASA’s official watch, and the only timepiece certified for spacewalks.
5. PANERAI RADIOMIR.
The radiomir was conceived in 1935 when the Italian Navy approached Panerai to make watches for its Commandos. Named after a special compound that gives the hour markers their luminescence, the Radiomir collection is still prominent in the watchmaker’s repertoire. And while the watches have become bigger and more complex, the distinct panerai shape has remained the same since 1936.
6. TAG HEUER MONACO.
Though the Monaco, released in 1969, was groundbreaking in its own right (it was the first square water-resistant watch, and the first chronograph to feature a micro-rotor), it achieved cult status after the coolest man on the planet, Steve McQueen, wore it in the 1971 movie, Le Mans. Re-released to resounding success in 1998, the Monaco remains one of the most desirable modern watches.
7. BREITLING NAVITIMER.
The Navitimer is the definitive pilot’s watch, and has been since 1952, when it became the official timepiece of the ‘Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’, thanks to its excellent chrono, and a slide rule that was small enough to fit on to the dial and bezel, and was still clear enough to use. In the pre-computer days of flying, this was a godsend and helped pilots with calculations. Though not as useful today, it’s still the aviator’s quintessential timepiece.
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS.
- DJ Baddo – All Of Me Remix ft John Legend [AuDio]
- Naira Marley – Koleyewon
- Rema – Woman [AuDio]
- Fireboy DML – Vibration [AuDio]
- Mr P & Tiwa Savage – I Do [AuDio]
- Rema – Ginger Me [AuDio]
- Wizkid – Wizzy Baby [AuDio]
- Crayon – Jackpot ft Bella Shmurda
- Kizz Daniel – Madu [AuDio]
- Wizkid & Akon – Escape [AuDio]
- Deejay J Masta – Boogie Down Mixtape
- Burna Boy – Trap Symphony [AuDio]