Flagship Watches: 5 Ultimate Pieces Worth Owning

Having a huge watch collection is impressive, but the truth is, most people will only have a few select pieces in their watch box. So it pays to start strong and be selective.

Swiss watch brands actually have a few (or many) classic watches in their portfolio. But there is that one watch that sets the standard for the rest of the watches in their collection – the ultimate piece that embodies their heritage and prestige.

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We can’t mention them all here, but here are five definitely worth aspiring for:
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Rolex President Day-Date

Launched: 1956

Rolex has arguably the most number of iconic watch models – such as the Datejust, Submariner, Daytona – but their pièce de résistance is definitely the Rolex “President” Day-Date.

Not only is it the last flagship watch that Rolex founder Hans Wildorf created, it also set a remarkable first in horology: a waterproof, self-winding chronometer wristwatch that indicates the day of the week written out on the dial, and in a choice of 26 different languages. These, on top of the features that makes it a Rolex.

Its technical prowess earned it a place on the wrists of more leaders, dignitaries, royalty, and other influential people than any other watch.

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Omega Speedmaster

Launched: 1957

The Omega Speedmaster was created as a racing chronograph, but it ended up being the famed Moonwatch. In 1962, NASA purchased a series of chronographs to test for their astronauts to wear in space. Only the Speedmaster passed the assessment, and in 1969, it was worn by Buzz Aldrin on the Apollo 11, making it the first watch on the moon.

Even without any of its history, the Speedmaster would still be a highly desirable watch. At the heart of the Speedy is Omega’s mechanical calibre 1861, the same manual-winding movement that was worn on the Moon – proving its durability.

Today, it still is the official watch for extra-vehicular activities performed by NASA astronauts. If it’s good enough for NASA, then it may be good enough for you.

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Jaeger Lecoultre Reverso

Launched: 1931

Considered the first ever sports watch, the Reverso has reinvented itself as a timeless one-collection watch: that is, one that can cross over from casual, sporting or formal events. Created to suit the needs of polo players for a watch whose case won’t break, it was the first watch with two faces, through a case that can be reversed.

With striking but elegant rectilinear lines, clear-cut gadroons and almost “golden rectangle” proportions, it embodied the Art Deco era perfectly. That is why, despite being discontinued after the second World War, it was able to come back successfully in the 80’s.

Apart from its two faces, what makes it so versatile is its simplicity: it displays the time on a white guilloche dial and very readable Arabic numerals.

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Audemars Piguet Royal Oak

Launched: 1972

The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak was a response to the need for a game-changer in the watch industry. As Japanese quartz watches were all the rage in the 1970’s, the watch house asked legendary watch designer Gerald Genta to create a watch that would put them back on the map – it also paved the way for the luxury sports watch as we know it today.

Launched at the 1972 Basel, the Royal Oak had a never-before-seen design: a case and body made of steel instead of precious metals, a unique octagonal-shaped bezel, visible gasket and screws. In the time of tool watches, it was a sports watch for all occasions.

It had many detractors when it first came out, but the decidedly different watch won over the discerning watch community and became a success.

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Patek Philippe Calatrava

Launched: 1932

One look at the Patek Philippe Calatrava and you will know why it is considered the epitome of the classic round watch.

Inspired by Bauhaus design principles, its design was very studied and made to last through finicky changes in fashion. The round case reflects the movement of the wheels and the motion of the hands through the day; while the creamy, lacquered dial and the silky black numerals are sublime but easily readable.

The only embellishment of the Calatrava is the iconic Clous de Paris guilloche hobnail pattern on its bezel – but even that does not distract from its purity and grace.

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SEE MORE OF THE WATCHES IN OUR VIDEO:

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