We run the rule over a collection of timepieces that will never go out of style.
TAG Heuer Monaco
This timepiece was released in 1959 to celebrate the Monaco Grand Prix, but really shot to stardom when Steve McQueen wore it in the 1971 film Le Mans, typifying the legendary actor’s ‘don’t crack under pressure’ attitude. The Monaco claims two world-firsts — the first water-resistant timepiece with a square case, and the first automatic chronograph — but was discontinued in the 1970s before being re-issued in 1998, then again in 2003 with entirely new mechanisms.
First released in 1954 as a specialist diver’s watch, the Submariner’s functional, durable design has become iconic over the past six decades — the polished stainless steel aesthetic, the black ceramic bezel’s 60-minute graduations, and the ‘glide lock’ clasp added to later models are all signatures of this Rolex classic. Sean Connery first wore the Submariner as James bond in 1962’s Dr No and it quickly became a style staple of his portrayal of 007.
This line of chronographs was introduced in 1957, but the best known and most popular piece in the collection is the manual-winding Professional, or ‘Moon Watch’, so called because it was the first watch worn by an astronaut on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission in 1969. The NASA connection has spawned a string of commemorative models, making it an affordable purchase for collectors ($2000-3000).
Breitling Top Time
Connery wore this piece as Bond in 1965’s Thunderbolt, when he used it to track down two stolen nuclear bombs. We’re not sure the regular models have that capacity, but they’re a timeless classic nonetheless. Extending Breitling’s links with the aviation industry, the Top Time was first introduced in 1964 for use by pilots, at an entry-level price that made it more popular than the watchmaker’s higher-end flagship pieces, the Navitimer and Chronomat. Features a tachymeter scale on an uncomplicated bezel.
Patek Philippe Calatrava
This watch’s ad campaign boasted: “You never actually own a Patek Phillipe, you merely hold it for the next generation” — and it’s the elegant, simple design that makes the Calatrava so eternally stylish. The dress watch was introduced in 1932 with a design based on the Bauhaus principle of minimalism — and it’s that uncluttered white dial and uncomplicated design that has resisted short-lived trends to preserve the Calatrava’s timeless aesthetic for almost a century.