Recently, we showed you the novelties you should really consider to buy in 2014. It included all the new models presented this year and that were for us, at Monochrome-Watches, already classics. Now, we would like to turn out to the real classics, the watches that could have been on your wrist 10 years ago and that will adorn it in the next 10 years too. The members of the Monochrome team sat down around the table and after long and passionate discussions, here is the watch buying guide of the real timeless timepieces to buy in 2014.
Tissot Visodate 1957
A lot of pleasure for the money. The Tissot Visodate brings a simple but reliable ETA movement with day and date features, together in a 39mm case, very well made considering the price. Vintage style, automatic calibre, functional complications, Swiss made… A real good deal for watch lovers with a low budget.
Price: 475 euros
Hamilton Pilot Auto
A sporty, military inspired watch, with a masculine design and size (46mm). The Hamilton Pilot Auto brings back all the elements of WWII pilot watches in a contemporary style with nice details (applied indexes for example) and a reliable ETA movement showing the day and the date. A watch that will certainly please the young and active men sensitive to military and vintage objects.
Price: 795 euros
Meistersinger became popular for something quite unique in the watchmaking industry: single hand or mono-aiguille watches. It might be disturbing for the first minutes, but once used to it, the legibility is great. And who cares if it is 4h32 or 4h34… For the rest, the Meistersinger N°1 is a very clean, pure and inspired watch, with a simple but reliable hand-wound ETA movement. The quality however is very pleasant and the vast choice of colours for the dials and straps allows an almost unique watch.
Price: 1,200 euros
Oris Aquis Date 43mm
A very cool tool-watch, made with high quality standards, a strong and reliable movement, water resistant to 300m and using all the typical elements of a diving tool: unidirectional bezel, large indexes and hands, high legibility. It comes on a stainless steel bracelet or a rubber strap, and in multiple colours (black, grey, orange, blue, DLC…)
Price: 1,300 euros
Nomos Tangente 38mm Doctors Without Borders
Many reasons to go for this visually simple watch: it looks very cool, the size is perfect (38mm), it comes with an in-house movement, it will look brilliant even in 30 years and it will help people in the need. This special edition supports Doctors Without Borders. A good reason to mix your love for watches with charity actions (also exists in non-limited edition).
Price: 1,600 euros
Longines Legend Diver
A truly inspired watch, with a beautiful design paying tribute to a 1960s diving tool from Longines. The Legend Diver shows almost no difference with the original. The ‘compressor style’ (inner rotating bezel actuated by a crown) of the 42mm case is clearly not actual but who cares. It looks gorgeous, it has a ETA movement made to run for years and the price / quality ratio is perfect.
Price: 1,650 euros
Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Automatique
A pure classic watch. Time-only (no second hand), bombé white dial with sunburst pattern, gold hands and applied indexes, automatic movement, usual Montblanc quality and extremely pleasant design. For those seeking for a luxury watch from a famous brand, with no compromise on the quality but for a reasonable budget, the Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Automatique is the solution. The perfect graduation watch.
Price: 1,965 euros
Junghans Meister Calendar
A very clean look and a large dial (due to the absence of bezel), a pure feeling with these simple and finely applied indexes, some useful complications (day, date, month, moon phase): quite an interesting cocktail from Junghans. The Meister Calendar is both simple, clean and complex. And the price remains very competitive. Another edition with a mesh bracelet exists and it looks extremely nice.
Price: 1,990 euros
Tudor Heritage Chrono
This year was the time of the Black Bay in Blue, which we totally fall in love for. But we also have to consider this Chronograph, inspired by the 1970s Montecarlo, with its very cool sub-counters and its colorful dial and hands. All of that is of course made by Rolex, with Rolex standards. So expect quite a serious feeling on the writ with the Heritage Chrono. The ETA movement allows to keep an interesting price. (also exits in a bright blue edition)
Price: 3,590 euros
Omega Speedmaster Professional
A true icon, almost unchanged since 1965. A true classic that looks superb on the wrist. A long and rich history as it was the watch worn on the Moon in 1969 (and not a prototype, the same as this one). Owning a Speedmaster is like having a piece of history on the wrist. And one that is perfectly shaped and with a superb manual-winding movement.
Price: 3,950 euros
Cartier Tank MC
Another icon, in a modern interpretation. The Cartier Tank exists in multiple shapes, styles and with all sorts of complications. Into this crowd, the MC stands out, with its more masculine squared shape and an interesting in-house movement with date and small second. It will fit every outfit and look perfect in every occasion. A classic: yes. A boring watch: absolutely not. The kind of object you can’t go wrong with.
Price: 5,650 euros
Breguet Type XX
Together with the Omega Speedmaster and the Rolex Daytona, certainly one of the most iconic chronographs. This pilot watch, with its strange dial, unusual display, multiple fonts and hands could appear odd at first sigh but it has an absolute charm on the wrist. The Type XX is vintage inspired but also totally coherent with the actual Breguet collections. The proprietary movement with flyback is also pretty interesting.
Price: 6,200 euros
Jaeger Lecoultre Grande Reverso Tribute to 1931
A timeless classic, an horological icon, an extremely elegant watch with a clever protection mechanism… The words to describe the Reverso are infinite. Since its introduction in 1931, it has always been the appanage of dandies and gentlemen, due to its slim and slightly off-the-road rectangular shape. The Tribute to 1931 is a very nice reinterpretation of the very first edition presented. Classic and efficient.
Price: 6,600 euros
Zenith El Primero 38mm
The Zenith El Primero is the essence of the Automatic Chronograph. Of course, it was (one of) the first chronograph with a self-winding mechanism to be introduced in 1969. Since, the style remained exactly the same, as well as the superb hi-beat movement, an integrated chronograph with column-wheel. The Tri-Compax layout, with these coloured overlapping sub-counters, and the 38mm could be seen as outdated, but for us it has an outstanding charm. A real classic!
Price: 6,600 euros
Rolex GMT Master II BLNR
Do we really have to say a word about the Rolex GMT Master II? This watch is pure Rolex. But instead of going for the usual Submariner that some might find mainstream, why not enjoy the same feeling on the wrist, both sporty and elegant, together with a very practical GMT function and a nice blue / black bezel made of ceramic. The GMT Master II has to be seen as the most versatile watch of the collection.
Price: 7,250 euros
IWC Portuguese Chronograph
A both classy and sporty chronograph, another watch you can’t go wrong with. The IWC Portuguese Chronograph (not the new edition but this classical edition) is in the catalog for ages but why should it change. It looks extremely pure, it is recognizable among every other watches, it has a superb aura and the quality is set to tremendous standards. For a Marine touch, go for this blue hands/indexes/strap edition instead of the usual black one.
Price: 7,300 euros
Montblanc Chronograph Nicolas Rieussec
When Montblanc introduced the Chronograph Nicolas Rieussec, they surprised us with a very interesting horological content (an in-house movement with unusual sub-counters) and a superb design. This watch was the starting point of the new conduct line wanted by the German brand and definitely placed Montblanc as a real watchmaker. It quickly became a classic and should be regarded as a serious competitor for famous brands, with the right touch of originality.
Price: 8,600 euros
Chopard L.U.C XPS
The L.U.Chopard XPS is the perfect definition of a dress watch: thin, discreet and elegant. However, the back of the watch reveals a superb micro-rotor movement with two barrels and a superb finish. It is the perfect definition of the restrained, hidden luxury: not a bite of ostentation, an extreme apparent simplicity but a superb calibre (for the eyes of the owner only). A real gentleman’s watch.
Price: 12,950 euros
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Ultra Thin 15202ST
Another icon, designed in 1972 by the genius Gerald Genta and a revolution in the world of luxury watches (a steel watch more expensive than a gold watch…). The Royal Oak is a source of inspiration for many competitors and its success may be unbeatable. Clearly, it looks superb. Instead of the classical 15400 edition (too thick, too large, too shiny), we prefer the ultra-thin 15202ST, closer from the original Jumbo and way more elegant and refined.
Price: 19,500 euros
Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1A
Another 1970s icon, also designed by Gerald Genta, practically unchanged since its introduction in 1976 and the main competitor of the Audemars-Piguet Royal Oak. Compared to the previous one, you’ll probably get the same package (very high quality of the case and bracelet, very nice slim movement, superb dial, same price). What does change is the design and the aura of the brands. The choice between these two is just a matter of tastes. A true icon that has to be in every sports watch collections.
Price: 20,210 euros
Piaget Altiplano 43mm Automatic
The essence of a red-carpet watch. The Piaget Altiplano remains unbeaten in terms of thinness (especially the 900P) and brings a true elegance. Perfect to fit a tuxedo, it won’t be shocking with a pair of sneakers, because of its 43mm case, due to the automatic movement (with micro-rotor). It will remain extremely discreet with its 5mm thickness and silver dial / white gold case / black strap combination.
Price: 20,700 euros
Girard-Perregaux 1966 Full Calendar
A vintage look, a balanced display, some useful complications and a very classical / discreet look. The Girard-Perregaux 1966 Full Calendar is elegant and restrained in every way. However, the horological content and quality are superb. We loved the 38mm edition in blue, but this Rose Gold / white dial with complicated movement is certainly a more rational choice for a daily basis. Also exists with a white gold case.
Price: 22,600 euros
A. Lange and Sohne Lange 1
20 years old and not a single wrinkle. The Lange 1, as we’ve seen recently, is a true classic of German watchmaking. Under this quite unusual and unbalanced layout hides a pure mechanical beauty, finished with all the teutonic rigor. In twenty years time the Lange 1 has become an icon, it has become known for its striking looks and for its spectacular finish. A must have for who can afford it. (exists in white gold, yellow gold, pink gold and platinum)
Price: 28,300 euros
Richard Mille RM 029
It’s fascinating to see how fast Richard Mille gained the status of icon. The brand, launched in 2001, is already known all over the world by both watch-nerds and non-aficionados. The RM are extreme in every way: design, complications, materials and prices. The entry-level, a.k.a the RM 029 may be only a 3 hands watch with large date, it is very far from being simple (technology and finishes are outstanding). A true racing machine for your wrist.
Price: 70,000 euros
Grönefeld One Hertz
We enter here the small but fascinating world of the independent watchmakers (the indies as we call them here at Monochrome). The Grönefeld One Hertz is almost legendary among he community of watch lovers. Its pure design, its poetic complication (a dead-second) and it superb movement, finished with attention and pride, are elements to justify its value. The price of exclusivity and Haute Horlogerie.
Price: 73,500 euros (ex. taxes)
Ulysse Nardin Freak Blue Cruiser
As the most expensive watch of this selection, we could have chose something extremely classical, such as a Tourbillon from Vacheron-Constantin or a Blancpain. However, if you’re reading Monochrome, you know that we always try to go for exclusive and unusual creations. The Ulysse Nardin Freak is one of those watches recognizable among every others and already iconic. The orbital tourbillon and the unusual display are things we praise here, especially when spending close to 6 figures.
Price: 82,500 euros