You need to own at least 1 of these watches before you dieNovember 5, 2014
THE GREATEST COMPLICATION
Tour De L'ile, Vacherin Constantin It took 834 individual parts, five years of research and development, and over 10,000 hours of design work to create Vacheron Constantin’s Tour De L’Ile, considered today the world’s most complicated double-face watch. Revealed in 2005 as a limited edition of seven pieces, each priced at AED 5.5 million, this masterpiece marked the 250th anniversary of the venerable Swiss watchmaker Vacheron Constantin, the oldest watch manufacturer still in existence today. Naturally, this horological wonder bears the Geneva quality hallmark and was awarded the L’Aiguille d’Or at the 2005 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneve.
THE RACE WINNER
Daytona Rolex The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona was first manufactured in 1963. The original concept for this racing-inspired watch was the Rolex LeMans. The name didn’t really click with the Americans though, and, as Rolex was looking to become the official sponsor of the 24-hour race at Daytona, they ended up naming the 6239 Cosmograph just that, The Daytona. It was the first time Rolex used inverse colours for sub-dials and the tachymeter scale was moved from the dial to the bezel. Not much of a change one might say, but it made the watch look a lot more interesting than all the previous chronographs Rolex had been manufacturing over the previous three decades.
KING OF COOL
Heuer Monaco, Tag Heuer The Tag Heuer Monaco – originally called the Heuer Monaco – was a series of automatic chronograph wristwatches originally introduced by Heuer in 1969 in honour of the Monaco Grand Prix. It was quite a notable introduction, being both the first automatic and first square cased chronograph in the world. As the story goes, Steve McQueen chose the watch himself for the filming of the racing scene in the classic film Le Mans (1971). Over the years, the original McQueen Monaco has become one of the most sought after pieces, which is precisely why the very watch worn by Steve McQueen in the film Le Mans was auctioned off for an impressive AED 2.9 million.
Royal Oak, Audemars Piguet An exceptionally gifted watchmaker, Gérald Genta contributed to the advancement of the watch industry more than any other designer of his time. Genta did not think of himself ￼as a ‘company man' but as a ‘designer for hire’, and the Royal Oak is unquestionably one of the most recognizable watches designed by Genta. The steel luxury wristwatch featured an octagonal bezel secured by eight hexagonal screws, visible water resistance gaskets, and dials adorned with exclusive engine-turned ‘Grande Tapisserie’ motif. It was nicknamed “Jumbo” because of its 39 mm diameter, which was considered oversized at the time.
Nautilus, Patek Philippe When the Royal Oak first came out a number of competitors reacted, including Patek Philippe, who also hired Genta to design the Nautilus. It was first introduced as a sports watch to fill a void in the brand’s line-up and soon became the most sought after model in the collection and continues to have the highest appreciation to date. The case is water resistant (120m); but please think twice before dipping such a highly-priced watch into water!
Speedmaster, Omega In 1964, NASA was on the hunt for watches that could endure the demands of spaceflight and had their astronauts chose from the many available chronographs including Breitlings, Bulovas and Omegas, which they proceeded to test. The testing consisted of countless means of destruction: sticking them in vacuum chambers, accelerating to massive speeds then stopping suddenly, baking them in ovens only to freeze them later. The Omega Speedmaster was the only watch to survive this wrath with its mechanical calibre 1861 and co-axial escapement mechanism still intact. In March 1965, NASA declared it the official watch for all manned space flights, making the Speedmaster a companion in mankind’s greatest journey.