These five superb watches represent some of the most desirable and sought after watches that serious collectors fight and haggle over and which nearly always attract a great deal of buyer interest. They are not the most expensive watches in the world, but they are definitely among the best, and each has earned its place in watch making history.
In reverse order they are:
No. 5: Patek Philippe Calatrava
For simple elegance and sophistication it has to be the Patek Philippe Calatrava. It really is a timeless piece. The Calatrava 5119 is the new version of the Calatrava “Clous de Paris”, Patek Philippe’s best known watches of all time.
The design of the case with the unique hand guilloché hobnail pattern and the original dial of the famous Calatrava 3919 was first introduced in the 1980’s and has now been enlarged to a more fashionable 36mm. Patek Philippe has a list of customers that include Queen Victoria, Tchaikovsky and Albert Einstein. A Patek Philippe watch is for those who pursue perfection in watch making, where there are absolutely no compromises. Only the finest materials are used for their cases and bracelets and the craftsmanship is of the highest standards, some pieces taking a year to make.
No 4: Panerai Radiomir 1936 Special Edition
Back after 70 years away, the model originally created in 1936 for the 1st Submersible Group has become one of the most fascinating and historically influential of the current Panerai collection. The new watch recaptures the aesthetic lines of the prototype developed in response to the request made by the Royal Italian Navy in 1935 for a luminous underwater watch for its divers.
The Panerai Radiomir 1936 Special Edition is a very striking looking watch. With its distinctive cushion shaped case, in keeping with the style in vogue in the 1930’s it is a large 47mm wide, highly polished stainless steel with an unusual black “Californian” style dial, which has the top half of the dial using Roman numerals and the lower half using Arabic numerals.
No 3: Rolex Cosmograph
The Rolex Cosmograph was introduced in the late1960’s and was not good a seller at the time. It was subsequently re-modelled in the late ‘70’s and was the first chronograph to have waterproofed screw down pushers. This meant that if the pushers were inadvertently pushed whilst the watch was in water, water would not engulf the watch movement causing damage. Paul Newman wore one in the movie “Le Mans”, released in 1971. This sparked huge demand for the Cosmograph, which by now already had the Daytona wording in red lettering above the lower sub dial. In the 70’s and 80’s the wristwatch craze grew in America and the UK and these watches started to change hands for over the retail price. The Daytona has become a watch that is hugely imitated so look out for cheap replicas. The most sought after is still the Paul Newman Daytona.
It was made by Rolex in a few dial options and was also made in 18ct Gold and Steel and Yellow metal as well as the most popular model all Stainless Steel.
No 2: The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph
The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph is truly a beautiful watch if not a little ostentatious. It is manufactured in a variety of precious metals and is also made in high grade stainless steel and occasionally in Titanium. Audemars Piguet have worked hand in hand with many famous racing drivers and their time piece made in unison with Pablo Montoya is a work of art, the detailing in the unique dial, the chronograph pushers and carbon fibre bezel are just a few of this watches striking features. The most popular piece within the Montoya collection is made in 18ct Rose Gold. Their latest signature watch from the world of Formula 1 is the Jarno Trulli edition.
And straight in at no. 1: The Rolex Sea Dweller
The Rolex Sea Dweller is an iconic watch; it is highly regarded within the watch trade and with watch enthusiasts the world over as the watch never to let you down. It is a must have in your watch collection.
Throw it against a wall, climb a mountain or actually use it to dive to 4000 feet and it will still keep on going, it’s truly an outstanding watch.
It has changed so little throughout its life, with simple subtle changes to the case and bracelet. Over the years there have been a few dials made for the Sea Dweller, with the most famous and desirable being the “Double-Red Sea-Dweller Submariner Mark II” version, it has two lines of red text SEA DWELLER, SUBMARINER 2000 on the dial, escalating the price into the tens of thousands.