People often ask me, “Chris, what’s the best watch that I can buy?” There’s no real answer to that one – there are truly great watches at all price points, and it really comes down to what you want and need from your watch. What I thought I would do on this post is briefly run through some of the watches that any collector would be proud to own – from the timeless icons to cutting edge greats, here are my picks (in no particular order)
Omega Speedmaster Professional
landing on the Moon in 1969. This watch was worn by Buzz Aldrin (on the outside of his space suit) s Speedmaster left in the landing capsule to provide back up for a broken timing computer. The watch passed a barrage of bruising tests to become flight certified by NASA, and is still used by Astronauts today. A piece of history you can wear on your wrist.
[image: 0730516 – £2880]
Another timeless classic and, for me, the most instantly recognisable watch that Breitling makes. Designed for pilots, it is more than just a watch, it’s a wrist instrument. The rotating bezel operates a logarithmic scale which allows pilots to make calculations on the go. The design has never deviated from the original, and it has been in continual production since 1952. This latest version houses Breitling’s superb in-house B-01 movement, backed up with a 5 year international warranty.
[image: 0731075 – £5760]
Tissot Racing Touch
This is one for all of you gadget fans there – what can be cooler than a watch with a touch screen face? The T-Touch has established itself as one of Tissot’s most popular families, and the Racing Touch is, for me, the best value model variant they offer. It features a lap timer, stopwatch, countdown timer, tide indicator, alarm and compass, just to name a few! An absolute steal of a watch at £395.
[image: 0731166 – £395]
Rolex GMT-Master II
This is a watch I consider to be the best all-round luxury watch on the market, and is, indeed, the watch that sparked my passion for watches. Originally developed for Pan Am’s pilots in the 1950s to allow them to keep track of two time zones, the watch has developed into a companion for travellers. By using a combination of the independent hour hand, and the external rotating bezel, the modern version can display three time zones simultaneously. Useful, stylish and tough – what more could you ask for? (Ref. 116710BLNR)
[image: Rolex GMT-Master II (image from www.rolex.com)]
From a technical standpoint, this is one of the cleverest watches available to buy right now. By using an in built GPS system, the watch knows the precise time, plus which time zone you should be in. This system means that the watch has timekeeping linked to the atomic clock, giving accuracy to within one second every 100,000 years. If that wasn’t already good enough, the watch is also solar powered, reducing the need for battery changes.
[image: 0733603 – £1595]
Zenith El Primero
The El Primero movement is a thing of legend amongst collectors – this high beat (ticking at a frantic 10 times per second) movement is seen as the gold standard amongst chronographs, and even powered the Rolex Daytona for over a decade. The El Primero family of watches takes its inspiration from the original model from 1969, which was the world’s first fully integrated automatic chronograph. An extremely important historical piece, this should never be overlooked.
[image from http://www.zenith-watches.com/)
IWC Portuguese 7 Day
The Portuguese originally came from a commission from two Portuguese businessmen for a chronometer rated wrist watch in the 1930s. With only a pocket watch movement accurate enough, IWC came up with an oversized s superb 7 Day power reserve automatic movement, which is fully in house. Elegance for the modern gentleman.
[image: 0735145 – £9,250]
Cartier Tank MC
When one thinks of Cartier, the immediate model that springs to mind would be the Tank. The square faced wrist watch, inspired by the tanks of the First World War, has become one of the enduring icons of this most refined brand. The latest addition to the Tank family is the new MC, standing for Manufacture Cartier. This watch features Cartier’s brand new fully in-house movement, which can be viewed through a display caseback. Larger than previous Tanks, the MC has plenty of presence on the wrist.
[image from http://www.cartier.co.uk/]
Some might wonder why the humble G-Shock is here, but it deserves its place purely on merit. Many collectors have one of these in their collection as their “tool watch,” a rough-and-ready timepiece that can be worn without fear of damaging it. Designed to withstand extreme punishment, the G-Shock is a combination of functionality, solid construction and a no-nonsense attitude. For the money, you won’t get more robust!
[image: 0733620 – £250]
Like many of the models discussed, this too is the jewel in the crown of its brand – the Monaco is distinctive and closely tied to the king of cool himself, Steve McQueen. Any motorsport nut will remember it taking pride of place on his wrist in the epic Le Mans, every bit as evocative as the Porsche 917 that McQueen drove in the film. As chronographs go, it’s one of the absolute greats.
[image: 0731158 – £5,900]
All of the above are available through Fraser Hart, get in touch to find out where you can see these greats for yourself