It has been said that "The most treasured heirlooms are the sweet memories of our family that we pass down to our children.” And it’s true – the bonds of family are enduring, and more precious than gold or diamonds.
The age-old tradition of passing down treasured family heirlooms to the next generation is an important one, because it helps us remember the past, and it reminds us to be thankful for the legacy that was passed down to us.
One of the most traditional objects to pass on to future generations is a fine watch – and to that end, I’ve selected some of the watches that would make the perfect heirlooms.
Vintage Omega Seamaster 1970s
I know of more than a few watch collectors who started out buying a vintage Omega.
It’s a safe choice. Omega always delivers consistent value for what you spend. Depending on what you want, it is possible to get your hands on a decent vintage Omega for under $500, and provided it is original, and if you look after it, it might even grow in value.
When discussing Omega, the conversation almost always turns to the famous Speedmaster, but I’ve found that it is the Seamasters, particularly those from the 1970’s make some of the best heirloom watches available.
Rolex Day Date Ref 1803
Officially released in 1956, the Rolex Day Date has become established as the classic symbol of enduring style: “The President.”
Gracing the wrists of the world’s most powerful men, in business, and in public service since then, it makes the perfect heirloom. Best of all, the Ref. 1803, like many other Rolex models, tends to grow in value over time.
Patek Philippe Calatrava 1980s
The Calatrava was named for the cruciform logo used by Patek Philippe, taken from the knights order which was founded 1158 in the city of Calatrava by the Abbot Raimondo. It has deep historical roots, with the first one made as far back as 1932. My personal pick is the Ref. 3796 from the 1980’s.
The classic Bauhaus lay-out with stunning polished dauphine hands and a small seconds counter at 6 o’clock make this an heirloom piece of note.
Simplicity, elegance, and timeless class – all rolled into one.
Rolex Submariner 5513 1970s
The Rolex ref. 5513 is one of the most sought after vintage Submariners. With its perfect proportions and dateless dial, this watch makes a wonderful watch for just about any occasion – besides being the ultimate dive watch.
Heirlooms should be worn and loved – in my opinion – rather than spending all their lives locked up in a drawer somewhere. The Sub is one of those watches that just fits like skin with every situation – and provided you service the watch from time to time, it’s a solid investment too – and one that future generations will love to wear.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Ref 5402ST
Last, but certainly not least, is the Royal Oak – and here I mean the original “A series” watches that revolutionized watchmaking back in the day.
The Royal Oak has a lot going for it, as far as Heirloom watches go. It was the most important design from the mind of the legendary Gerald Genta, it was the first luxury sports watch, in stainless steel, it had a completely unique shape and design ethos, and a new kind of bracelet - and it continues to grow in value on auctions down to this day.
As far as heirloom watches go, there are few that can compare to the Royal Oak.