Serious watch collectors across the world know that the best watches are about functionality and quality of parts rather than appearance. Flashy watches are designed for the purpose of display while simple watches are designed for everyday use. High quality watches may be far simpler in design, but they usually have plenty of useful features and a distinctive class. They are also fitted with accurate movement mechanisms and are better protected from the weather.
The world's best Swiss, French and Italian watchmakers have been designing watches for centuries. Today they use a combination of traditional watch making techniques handed down through generations along with modern cutting edge technology. The resulting creations keep excellent time (some of them even in extreme weather conditions). They also have extra protection against elements like water damage and the luxury style designs are simple yet classy. In addition, high quality watches and chronometers use top grade materials like 18k gold, soft iron for protection against magnetic fields, high grade stainless steel and other innovations in movement mechanisms. These are some of the features that differentiate a $200 chronometer from a genuine Rolex with a 5-figure price tag.
The design of the movement is one of the most important factors that determine the quality of a watch. A COSC certification for watch movement (such as in the $27,400 Rolex Yachtmaster II) promises professional quality, function and features. The COSC label is a confirmation that the watch has been assembled in Switzerland, where high standards are maintained in watch making.
Other features that high end watches possess include resistance to shock and magnetic fields. A good example of this is the IWC Big Ingenieur. This is a feature that comes in handy at extreme conditions such as expeditions and mountaineering scenarios.
The general price for luxury watches featured on this list that can easily be worn daily are between $3,000 and $30,000. It makes sense for someone just starting a business to wear one of these luxury chronometers rather than a flashy, ostentatious watch, since they are chic and sophisticated and quite affordable. Wearing a watch that spells class reflects taste and shows potential clients your true worth. So here are 20 ideal watches to show potential clients and associates that you are in it for the long whole and mean business.
20 Baume & Mercier Hampton: $3,600
Geneva watchmakers Baume & Mercier are known for their luxury watches, of which the Hampton model stands out. This rectangular watch for men comes with a stainless steel case and silver dial, and shows the time with roman numerals. It also features a top quality Swiss Automatic movement inside. The watch has a curved and scratch-resistant synthetic sapphire crystal; the bezel and case back are stainless steel, with an engraving of the HAMPTON and Baume & Mercier hallmark at the back. The strap is black alligator leather. Functions include hours, minutes, a small second’s panel and date. The Hampton has a water resistance up to 50 meters, however if you wish to keep it in good condition it is best to avoid water altogether.
19 Baume & Mercier Classima: $4,500
The Baume & Mercier Classima is a circular automatic chronometer with a diameter of 44mm. The Classima runs on a scratch resistant synthetic sapphire crystal. It features a black rubber strap with a deployment buckle and an attractive black dial with a self-winding automatic movement. The chronometer has a fixed bezel and a case of polished steel. The case back is pressure fitted. It is suitable for men looking for a classy and highly functional chronometer at a relatively low price.
18 Rolex Oyster Perpetual: $5,700
Luxury brand Rolex offers the Oyster Perpetual for men that want a simple, elegant and serious watch. The Oyster Perpetual series is known for its elegant models and this model stands out with its classic stainless steel design and detailing. It has a 36mm circular silver dial, a domed bezel and brushed stainless steel bracelet. The watch is a basic timepiece with no date function. A combination of easy to read numerber and index hour markers makes the self-winding automatic a prestigious timepiece for the new entrepreneur.
17 Baume & Mercier Classima Executives: $5,800
The limited edition Classima Executive belongs to Baume & Mercier's Classima Executives series for men, with crisp, clean designs plus useful additional date and annual calendar features. It has a round stainless steel 42mm case with a fixed stainless steel bezel. The dial is a striking silver Guilloche accented with gold, so a quick glance is enough to tell the time when the race to reach deadlines is on. The black alligator leather strap is fitted with a thrice folding buckle that is adjustable to your wrist size. The movement is automatic with a Swiss Dubois Depraz 14950 engine. The case has a transparent sapphire crystal exhibition back that reveals the beautiful movement, making it a great conversation piece.
16 Panerai Historic Collection Luminor Base: $7,000
Italian brand Panerai's Luminor Base watch is part of the special Historic Collection. The round dial watch with a polished stainless steel case runs on an old-school hand-wound movement, giving it a classic vintage appeal. The machine is a Panerai OP X with 17 jewels. The watch is a basic timekeeper so there are no date functions. The crystal is glare-proof and quality sapphire while the case back has a sapphire crystal display. A left-hand crown lock lever is fitted on the stainless steel crown. A brown alligator print strap completes the watch's no-nonsense look.
15 Rolex Professional Collection, Explorer - Explorer II: $7,000
The Rolex Explorer II belongs to the Oyster Perpetual series and is suitable as a mountaineering and expedition watch. The round black dial is mounted in a stainless steel case and stainless steel three-piece bracelet. The movement is self-winding Swiss automatic like most other Oyster Perpetual chronometers. The Explorer II has a screw-down stainless steel case back fitted with a winding crown. The Twinlock double waterproofing system keeps the timepiece waterproof up to 100 meters. Other features include shock absorbers and blue luminescent dial indexes with Chromalight display for use in all light conditions.
14 Cartier Ballon Bleu: $10,500
French watchmaker Cartier brings men the Ballon Bleu de Cartier model to tell the time in hours, minutes and seconds at board meetings and during client presentations. The classic watch has a round silver dial in a stainless steel case. The bezel is fixed and also stainless steel. The 18 carat yellow gold accents on the case and bezel add a touch of luxury to the chronometer. The movement is automatic with an in-house Cartier Caliber 049 engine. The crystal is anti-reflective sapphire and the strap is, like the rest of the watch, a combination of yellow gold and stainless steel.
13 IWC Vintage Collection, Edition Jubile Portugaise 1939: $11,000
Swiss brand IWC uses a hand-wound mechanical movement as the core of the limited edition watch belonging to its Jubile Portugaise 1939 series. The black watch dial is 44mm mounted on a stainless steel case with a black crocodile patterned leather strap detail. Besides the hour and minute hands, a small seconds hand is positioned at 6 and the hours are marked by a combination of numbers and indexes. It is a watch with a classic elegance and a clean dial without excessive detailing to interfere with reading time.
12 Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust: $11,900
The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust for men has the detailing and quality control of the prestigious Oyster Perpetual self-winding automatics, with the added feature of a date window. It has an attractive 36mm round dial set in a yellow gold case. The stainless steel and yellow gold strap is a bracelet type. The silver dial features roman numerals in yellow gold for a touch of luxury.
11 Breguet Classique Collection Simple: $12,500
The Classique Simple by Swiss brand Breguet is a 34mm round dial watch set in an elegant and classic yellow gold case. The dial is silvered and hand-engraved with gold accents. Breguet's hallmark hand-wound movement mechanism on a rose engine is featured in this model as well. The back has a sapphire crystal and the strap is black crocodile leather. The watch is water-resistant up to 30 meters. Watch functions include hour and minute hands with a small seconds hand and indexes at 6 o'clock.
10 IWC Vintage Collection, Edition Jubile Aquatimer Automatique 1967: $16,900
This Aquatimer Automatic from IWC's Vintage Collection is a part of IWC's collection of watches for divers, with an added touch of elegance from pink gold. The round silver dial shows up the pink gold casing and is complemented by the brown crocodile patterned leather strap. The dial has luminous hands with index hour markers so the time is easy to read underwater as well. The outer rim features minute markers and there is a date window at 3 o'clock.
9 Breguet Collection Type XXI: $20,400
The Transatlantique Flyback model from Breguet's XXI collection is a sporty and sturdy timepiece with a significant water-resistance of up to 100 meters. It has a round automatic dial set in pink gold with a brown crocodile leather strap. The dial is a fascinating feature made of ruthenium rarely used by other watchmakers, so it appears brown to gray in different light conditions. Functions include chronograph in addition to hours, minutes and seconds hands. The machine has 25 jewels and 48 hours of power reserve.
8 Blancpain Collection Villeret Chronographe Monopoussoir: $20,700
Swiss watchmaker Blancpain's Chronographe Monopoussoir has a round 38mm dial set in a white gold case with a sapphire back. The movement has a self-winding mechanism and one of the sleekest watch movements available today. This is because of updated construction techniques; the movement has only a single coupling clutch wheel that also doubles as a brake. The Monopoussoir has chronograph features and a date window at 6 o'clock. The chronometer has limited water-resistance (up to 30 meters).
7 Cartier Tank, Tank Louis Cartier: $22,400
Cartier's Tank Louis Cartier is a rectangular affair in pink gold with a 30mm thick casing. The white dial is striking with distinctive blue sword-shaped hour and minute hands. The contrasting black roman numerals make the Tank very legible. The Tank Louis Cartier also features a crown with a blue sapphire cabochon, a date window and a unique power reserve indicator at the 6 o'clock position. The Tank started out as a tribute to allied forces in 1917 and continues to be a formidable luxury timepiece.
6 Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Squadra: $26,200
The Reverso Squadra Chronograph GMT Black is a rectangular automatic chronometer with a pink gold casing and rubber bracelet strap. The rotor in the movement is mounted on ceramic instead of stainless steel balls, so the chronometer needs no lubrication or maintenance. The watch focuses on legibility, so the dials have contrasting indexes, white numbers set on a black dial and luminescent hours and minutes. It has chronograph functions and a red second’s hand, making it very easy to read in all light conditions. One special feature of this watch is it's ability to flip the face of the watch into the body in order to protect the glass from breaking. This watch was usually used by polo players because they could flip the fave of the watch and protect it from breaking during polo matches.
5 Rolex Professional Collection Yacht-Master II: $27,400
The Yachtmaster II professional chronometer has a 44mm round and 13mm thick white dial in a pink gold casing. The bracelet is stainless steel and pink gold. The movement is an automatic C.O.S.C with a Rolex caliber 4160 engine with 42 jewels. Functions include hour and minute hands, a small seconds hand at 6 o'clock, Regatta countdown and chronograph. The back is stainless steel and the 2-directional rotating bezel is made of pink gold with blue Cerachrom ceramic inserts. It features 72 hours of power reserve, luminous index markers, greater shock resistance and resistance to magnetic fields due to its Parachrom hairspring and Breguet overcoil.
4 IWC Big Ingenieur: $27,600
The Big Ingenieur has a round 45.5mm silver dial in an 18 carat rose gold casing. The movement is automatic Pellaton with Caliber 51113. This watch offers a seven day power reserve which means that the watch will continue to function even if you have not worn it for a couple of days. This is a great increase when compared to other watches that only have a 24-48 hour power reserve. Both faces of the scratch-resistant crystal used have anti-reflective coating, while lower end watches have single surfaces coated for anti-reflection. Functions include power reserve and date, along with hour, minute hands and a small seconds hand at 3 o'clock. The extra large timepiece is 15mm in thickness and has a fixed rose gold bezel. The inner case is made of soft iron to protect against magnetic fields.
3 Hublot Big Bang 41mm Red Gold: $28,400
Swiss watchmaker Hublot's Big Bang 41mm Red Gold has a round 41mm dial set in an 18 carat red gold case with a black ceramic bezel. The black dial has red gold minute and hour hands with numbers and index hour markers. The bezel has black composite resin inserts along the edges as well as bezel lugs. The movement is automatic HUB 4300 and beats at 28,600 VpH with an additional chronograph function and a power reserve of about 42 hours. The chronometer is made of 278 components and 37 jewels.
2 Girard-perregaux WW.TC World Time & Small Second: $33,300
Bankers and financiers love the Girard-Perregaux WW.TC Small Second watch, which is set apart from other watches by its ww.tc feature. This chronometer indicates the business hours of four major stock markets (London, Hong Kong, New York and Tokyo) and allows ww.tc or Worldwide Time Control with indicators for 24 different time zones. The watch has a circular silver dial set in a luxurious pink gold casing with a brown leather strap. The movement is a combination of automatic caliber GP03300 and mechanical. It also includes a day/night indicator.
1 Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time: $43, 531
The limited edition Overseas Dual Time watch from Vacheron Constantin is a round 42mm by 12.45mm chocolate brown dial in a brushed rose gold case with a rose gold bracelet strap. Watch functions include second time zone, date, night/day indicator and power reserve indicator at 9 o'clock. The crown is screwed down, the back is solid and the bezel is polished rose gold. Links of the bracelet form the Maltese Cross logo in titanium. Movement is through an automatic caliber 1222 SC with 38 jewels and a power reserve of about 40 hours. The Dual Time has a soft-iron anti-magnetic inner case.
All photos were taken from thewatchquote.com
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