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Top 10 Luxury Watches Every Collector Must Own

Last updated on April 25, 2024

Yes, watches provide the necessary function of knowing the time. But in a day when everyone’s connected to calendars, phone, email and text messages 24/7, a luxury watch is so much more.

Watches signal style. They provide a peek into your psyche (Is this mysterious man an adventurer? A sophisticate? A magnet for danger?). Luxury watches keep you grounded, with a constant nod to past technologies that continue to measure time flawlessly, all through the upheaval and madness of modern days.

Fine timepieces embody craftsmanship and simplicity, and, as every watch collector knows, they are the quintessential heirloom.

If you’re just starting to acquire luxury watches, you’ve probably wondered which iconic timepieces should serve as the pillars of your collection. Read on.


10 Luxury Watches Every Collector Must Own

These ten seminal timepieces provide the building blocks for the ultimate luxury watch collection.


1 - Rolex Submariner

The Rolex is nearly synonymous with the term “luxury watch,” and you might as well begin your collection with one of the all-time greats, the Submariner. First introduced as a professional diving watch (when scuba was the next great frontier), the model was widely recognised for its impressive quality and elegant design. In fact, Sean Connery wore a Submariner in the first James Bond film, cementing its reputation as a necessary accessory for the distinguished man. Rolex continues to improve upon this timepiece’s technology, but they all exhibit the same timeless design that makes it an enduring classic.

 Rolex SubmarinerImage via Rolex

2 - Omega Speedmaster

While mid-century gents plummeted to unheard-of depths in their Rolex Submariners, astronaut Buzz Aldrin wore his Omega Speedmaster on the moon. In the 1960s, NASA searched for a reliable-enough timepiece to serve as their lunar landing program’s official watch. Four brands contributed offerings: Omega, Longines-Wittnauer, Rolex and Hamilton. After rigorous testing, only the Omega chronograph remained. The Speedmaster’s personality has changed quite a bit over the years, but it’s still beautiful, functional and a must-have for luxury watch collectors.

Omega Speedmaster

Image via Omaga 

3 - Audemars Piguet Royal Oak

It’s been nearly fifty years since Audemars Piguet introduced its Royal Oak, but this timepiece remains a favourite today. Celebrated watch designer Gerald Genta overturned conventional norms by presenting a gorgeous octagonal-porthole design and integrated bracelet. It has been released in an incredible array of versions since 1972, so it’s easy to find one that seems to be made for you.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak

Image via Audemars Piguet


4 - Breitling Navitimer

Designed to help pilots navigate the skies, the Breitling Navitimer can perform a range of calculations with its circular slide rule. Introduced in 1952, this precision instrument has an elegant design that looks as stylish today as it did back then. It’s instantly recognisable style makes it a must-have for luxury watch collectors, especially for aviation enthusiasts. 


Image via Breitling

5 - Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso

If you haven’t seen a Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso in action, we suggest visiting your favourite watch seller or viewing a video. One of the most iconic rectangular timepieces ever created, this watch still wows people with its unique reversible case. 2021 marks the Reverso’s 90th anniversary, and somehow, the Swiss brand always finds new ways to impress with various movements, sizes, colours and dials. Your watch collection needs a Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso.


Image via Jaeger-LeCoultre


Top 10 Luxury Watches Every Collector Must Own

6 - Tag Heuer Monaco

The Tag Heuer Monaco may have cornered the market on cool. Inspired by the famous Monaco Grand Prix, this timepiece was the world’s first waterproof square-shaped luxury watch. When introduced in 1969, it was also the world’s first automatic chronograph, and it became synonymous with Steve McQueen after he wore it in the 1971 film Le Mans. Today’s designs include new features and mechanisms, but it retains its classic speedster persona.

Tag Heuer Monaco

Image via Tag Heuer 


7 - Patek Philippe Calatrava

A true classic, the Philippe Patek Calatrava hearkens back to a simpler time. Its understated perfection makes it an absolute must for any serious watch collector. Patek Philippe released the timeless Calatrava in 1932, and its pure lines and mechanical self-winding movement have charmed each generation since. 

Patek Philippe Calatrava

Image via Patek Philippe 


8 - Cartier Santos

In 1906, Alberto Santos-Dumont became the first man to achieve sustained flight in a fixed-wing aircraft. One of the significant flying obstacles he faced was that he couldn’t check his pocket watch without removing his hand from the flight controls. He spoke with his friend Louis Cartier about this issue, and Cartier set about designing a wrist-mounted watch that would allow Dumont to time his flights without putting himself in danger. The Cartier Santos is now over a hundred years old, and its distinctive square-style case and roman numeral dial still excite watch collectors today.

Cartier Santos

Image via Cartier 


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9 - IWC Portugieser

In the 1930s, a group of Portuguese ship merchants visited IWC in Switzerland and asked for an easy-to-read, precise timepiece to wear while onboard a ship. At the time, chronometers were necessary because there was no way for vessels to update their clocks while far away from land. IWC based this watch’s design on ship instrumentation and marine clocks, and the Portuguiser remains one of the company’s most popular sellers even today. Its large-size dial and applied Arabic numerals create a practical, innovative, and elegant horology piece.


Image via IWC 


10 - Vacheron Constantin Patrimony

It’s historical, traditional, and outclasses other brands that make thinner watches for today’s market. The Vacheron Constantin Patrimony looks effortless with its easygoing design, but upon further inspection, you notice that its craftsmanship is unmatched. This timepiece features a movement awarded the Poinçon de Genève, the Geneva Seal. In other words, it has passed an incredibly stringent set of criteria governing everything from accuracy to finishing standards. 


Image via Vacheron Constantin 

Protect Your Collection

A growing luxury watch collection connects you with the past and the future--the most coveted designs of the past meld with today’s most celebrated technologies. As your collection grows, protect it with specialised, affordable jewellery insurance that allows you to wear your timepieces freely without having to worry about theft, damage and loss. 

To learn more about our watch insurance, get in touch with us at JewelCover or get an instant quote today.


Top 10 Luxury Watches Every Collector Must Own


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