This is always the time of year to celebrate the best things in life – looking back over the past year, looking forward to the new one, and cherishing the family and friends that make it all worthwhile. More so than in any other season of the year, our minds turn to the fleeting nature of Time.
Luxury watches are always a fitting token of appreciation, no matter whether you’re rewarding yourself for the year’s accomplishments, or showing your admiration and respect for a loved one or passing down an heirloom. They can be some of the most thoughtful of gifts – or perhaps something to put on the wish list for the coming year.
I’ve selected four classics that represent some of the best perennial watches – and which I believe are the most suitable for the Festive Season.
1. AudemarsPiguet Royal Oak
Created in 1972 by the watchmaking legend, Gerald Genta, the Royal Oak has one of the most recognizable watch dials in the world.
The octagonal steel bezel is an unmistakable symbol of the original luxury sports wristwatch. It was created as the perfect balance between style and utility.
Today we are used to luxury watches in steel, but back when it was designed, the Royal Oak was a revolutionary first in the timepiece market. Who would have thought stainless steel would be more expensive than precious metals?
Since the 1972 AudemarsPiguet has widened their design philosophy with the ever popular Royal Oak Offshore – but for me, the original design will always be the first choice.
2. Jaeger LeCoultreReverso for Ladies
With a design inspired by the art deco movement, and clear, elegant rectangular lines, the Reverso is certainly worthy of being called a classic in luxury watches.
The idea for a watch that flips with a single movement on the wrist dates back to a polo match in India in 1931, and it is a singular idea that has stood the test of time.
The Ladies Reverso comes in many variations, but the classic gold is a personal favorite of mine and my first choice for a very special gift over this special season.
3. Patek Philippe Nautilus steel Ref 3700
Patek Philippe is watchmakers that are best known for their refined, delicate and complicated watches – so the Nautilus stands on its own in some ways.
This watch is another brainchild of Gerald Genta – and it was first conceived as a five-minute sketch in a restaurant during the BaselWorld watch fair in the early 1970’s. It’s the stuff of watchmaking legend.
It went on to become one of the brand’s most popular watches over the years, and vintage models are some of the most sought-after by serious collectors.
The watch is perfectly proportioned. At 42mm diameter and a trifling 7.6mm thick, it set new standards for watchmaking and created a world trend when in was released in 1976. The black dial with strongly embossed lines, together with the highly refined curves of the polished bracelet work together to make this watch the horological classic that it has become.
4. Cartier Tank for Ladies
I enjoy the sense of irony in the fact that something as utilitarian as a British army tank could inspire something as rare and graceful as a wristwatch – and even more so a ladies watch with a fashionable pedigree like Cartier.
It was in post-war Paris that this happened, and for nearly a hundred years the watch has lived on. The earliest examples from the 1920’s still excite auction enthusiasts today, and maintain their value as investments.
The Cartier tank has assumed many forms over the decades, such as the long, curved Tank Cintrée, the Chinoise which has elements of classic Chinese lines, or the Tank Folle with warped lines like a surrealist work of art.
In 1932, the famous Parisian Jeweler presented a reversible edition of the Tank, the Basculante.
Whichever variation appeals to you – the Cartier tank certainly makes the Festive season list in my books.