Best Watches of the Decade (2010s)

rolex daytona ceramic

The Top 10 Watches of the 2010s


New watches come out every year. Some have been anticipated for a long time, while others come as complete surprises. In the past decade, we’ve had those, and more.

It was a decade that gave us new classics — watches that would go on to define their category, or become landmark pieces of their brands, it’s hard to imagine they were created just years ago.

Here are our picks for the best watches of the 2010s, or ones that we think will set the standard for this decade’s timepieces:


Cartier Calibre

2010 | Cartier Calibre

Cartier has always been known for making refined dress watches; but with the Calibre de Cartier, the French maison proved that they can make sports watches. And it’s not just any sports watch – it’s both robust and elegant.

The Calibre is also the first watch to be powered by the 1904 MC, Cartier’s new in-house chronograph movement, making it a landmark piece for the brand.



Rolex Explorer II Orange Hand

2011 | Rolex Explorer II Orange Hand

While it wasn’t entirely new, the ref 216570 Rolex Explorer II Orange Hand made waves when it was introduced.

The much bigger Explorer II was upgraded to 42mm, powered by a brand new movement never seen in any other Rolex model, and featured an orange 24-hour hand in homage to the iconic “Freccione” of the 1970s. Upgraded features, vintage inspiration, and overall versatility makes this the choice everyday watch of many.



Tudor Heritage Black Bay


2012 | Tudor Heritage Black Bay


The Tudor Heritage Black Bay is one of the most successful dive watches introduced during the decade. Tudor had been rebuilding their brand with a very clear strategy: to look into their iconic styles for inspiration and combine them with modern design and technology.

The Tudor Heritage Black Bay took the brand’s most memorable vintage elements (not from one watch, but from many), and with a harmonious combination, was able to capture Tudor’s heritage in a modern timepiece. Launched in Baselworld 2012, the Heritage Black Bay was a hit from day one, and was followed by successful iterations in the following years.



Omega Dark Side of the Moon

2012 | Omega Dark Side of the Moon

The use of ceramic in watches gained traction in the 2010s, and Omega had one of the best executions.

In 2014, Omega launched the Dark Side of the Moon, an all-black Speedmaster made from a single block of ceramic. It was the first watch to have its main components, including the dial, crown, buckle, and pushers, to be made out of ceramic – a technical feat, and one of Omega’s greatest successes in recent history.



Rolex GMT Master II Batman


2013 | Rolex GMT Master II Batman

In 2005, Rolex launched the trailblazing Cerachrom – their patented ceramic production technology that makes bezels virtually scratch- and fade-proof. Used in their sports watches, they hit a wall with the bi-colored bezel of the GMT-Master, which was deemed impossible to produce with a single piece of ceramic.By 2013, Rolex outdid themselves with the first GMT-Master model to be equipped with a Cerachrom bezel: the Rolex GMT Master || “Batman” Blue Black Bezel Watch. Rolex uses a patented process to produce a bi-color, single ceramic ring, with no bleeding of color and gradual fading.



Tag Heuer Carrera Caliber Heuer 01

2015 | Tag Heuer Carrera Caliber Heuer 01

Heuer has created a bevy of variations of their iconic Carrera watch, but none has been as modern and avant-garde as the Carrera Caliber 01. The large 45mm watch has an open working dial that shows the partially skeletonized in-house chronograph movement.

The watch is bold, masculine and exotic – and one that successfully crossed over Tag Heuer from the era of Steve McQueen to the future.



Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Ceramic


2016 | Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Ceramic

This wasn’t the first time that Rolex has used the Cerachrom on the Daytona (that honor belongs to the Platinum 50th Anniversary Daytona 116506), but this was the watch that fans have been waiting for.

The ref 116500LN has the same technical capabilities as its predecessor, the stainless steel Rolex Daytona, but the use of the Cerachrom made it less prone to scratching and fading and gave it an edgier look. The ref 116500LN became the most talked about watch of 2016 and has a very long waiting list until today.



Rolex GMT Master II Pepsi


2018 | Rolex GMT Master II Pepsi

The Rolex “Pepsi” Blue Red Bezel Watch has always been on the must-have list of collectors, but in 2018, Rolex offered them what they have been waiting for, for a long time: the return of the Pepsi in stainless steel.

Not only did Rolex bring back the metal, it also resurrected the Jubilee bracelet in the GMT-Master line, which was last seen in vintage models. The 2018 Pepsi also introduced what seems to be Rolex’s strategy of making their tool watches more luxurious – last year, we’ve also seen the new GMT-Master II Batman don the Jubilee and the Sea-Dweller in a Rolesor steel and yellow gold model.




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