If you're a true watch enthusiast, you know that luxury watches are an investment and an appreciating asset. Adding a high-end luxury timepiece from brands such as Cartier, IWC Schaffhausen, Jaeger Le-Coultre, Omega, or Piaget to your watch collection means not only investing in status symbols but quality and longevity too. A carefully assembled timepiece means opulent standards and high levels of craftsmanship. These iconic and timeless watches make for great heirlooms and stay with you for generations to come, and so, it only seems fitting for brands to consistently work towards the evolution of these timepieces. While most luxury brands offer a wide range of timeless watches, below is our curation of some iconic collections that have constantly been evolving with time in design and technology to keep up with generations.
CARTIER - SANTOS DE CARTIER
This Cartier collection has been travelling through time since 1904. Introduced by Louis Cartier, this aviation collection was inspired and named after his friend, a Brazilian aviator named Alberto Santos-Dumont. 1915 saw the Santos break stereotypes with larger dials as opposed to other watch counterparts, the designs of which were adopted from the original smaller pocket watches. 1978 saw a revised version with a less expensive steel case and bracelets with golden bezels and screws. The year 1987 saw a redesigned version called the "Santos Galbee". A Santos 100 XL version was released in 2004 for the monumental 100-year celebration of the Santos de Cartier collection.
Twelve years later, in the year 2016, the Santos 100 Carbon caused a sensation among Cartier enthusiasts. In 2018, Cartier then went on to introduce thirteen revised timepieces in both, medium and large dial sizes. The Santos collection expanded in 2019 with coloured dials, a Chronograph and the Santos-Dumont, taking the collection's heritage into the 21st century. While new designs displayed pink gold, gold and steel, and coloured cases, they retained the original 1904 elegance. If there was something amiss in the Santos collection through the years, it was diamonds. That was until 2021, when Cartier launched the medium-dial Santos de Cartier with 206 brilliant-cut diamonds in two colours, with a choice of red and navy blue leather straps. Cartier took the expression of modern masculinity to the next level in 2022 with the launch of the new Santos de Cartier which featured a PVD bezel. This watch, too, was launched with an option of two dial colours- a grey striated dial and a blue striated dial. With multiple timepieces gracing its collection, the brand has been continually focused on reinventing Santos while retaining its original charm.
IWC SCHAFFHAUSEN - THE PILOT
IWC produced its first pilot's watch, the "Special Pilot's Watch", in 1936. From the "Special Pilot's Watch" and robust and rugged navigation watches to the modern Pilot's Watch, the collection has adhered to a design that has made it an integral part of timepiece history.
Developed in the 1940s, the IWC Big Pilot's Watch Calibre 52 T.S.C. is the largest wristwatch created by the brand and continues to influence the design of the Big Pilot's Watch even today. If you're familiar with the history of IWC, you know that the Navigator's Wristwatch Mark 11 introduced by the brand was the most famous Pilot's Watch ever created. IWC reached a milestone with the launch of the Big Pilot's Watch, now considered one of the most well-known watch designs ever made. Interestingly, The "Pilot's Watch Ceramic", manufactured in 1994, was the first Pilot's Watch made with tough, scratch-resistant material.
Tom Cruise's "Top Gun" was not the only Top Gun to break records. The "Pilot's Watch Double Chronograph" was later engineered to develop a double chronograph that enabled two short periods to be measured simultaneously. The Pilot's Watch Double Chronograph Edition TOP GUN (2007) followed suit with a double chronograph and a case made of black ceramic, an anti-reflective and scratch-resistant material essential for cockpit use. In 2019, IWC introduced the first lightweight Pilot's watch "Double Chronograph TOP GUN" with an unbreakable and scratch-resistant Ceratanium case. The timepiece made waves for its mesmerizing matte black colour.
IWC debuted four special-edition "Pilot's Watch Chronograph TOP GUN Edition" timepieces at Watches and Wonders 2022- Lake Tahoe, Mojave Desert, Ceratanium, and Jet Black. The word "Iconic" best describes the Pilot watch collection that has carved its way into everyday lives.
JAEGER-LECOULTRE - REVERSO....90 YEARS YOUNG
The Reverso, a classic creation by Jaeger LeCoultre, was first introduced in the year 1931, built to withstand rigorous movements during Polo matches. An epitome of innovation and invention, the Reverso is perhaps the most unique representation of the brand and one of the most opulent collections of the 20th century.
The 1931 Reverso Classique was skillfully put together with a flip dial that shielded the timepiece from harsh movements or shocks. A personalized case back and a rectangular dial sealed the design of the very first Reverso, which became a trend in no time. The rarest and perhaps the most enchanting customization of a Reverso case back was the portrait of a queen, the story behind which was never revealed by the brand. Fascinating? We'll say!
After a dormant couple of years, JLC revived the Reverso in 1985 with the launch of its first-ever water-resistant timepiece. What followed was a plethora of limited-edition watches. 1994 saw a Duoface watch concept, the case back of which featured a second dial in a different colour. 2006 marked another milestone for the brand with the launch of the Reverso Grande Complication a Triptyque that featured three dials driven by a single movement. For the collection's 80th year, JLC launched the "Grande Reverso Ultra Thin" while the 85th year saw the "Reverso Tribute Gyrotourbillon". Showcasing revolutionary movements, the 2000s era saw a reinvention of older models with innovation and new technology. In 2009, JLC was honoured for two of the collection's famous timepieces, the Reverso Gyrotourbillon and the Master Tourbillon. Another timepiece that graced the collection in 2013 was the Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Jubilee. In 2018, JLC took things a notch higher and combined the Duoface concept with a flying tourbillon, introducing the Reverso Tribute Tourbillon Duoface. 2021, marked the 90th anniversary of the Reverso with the introduction of the most complicated timepiece ever presented in this collection, the Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185 Quadriptyque, the world's first wristwatch with four functioning display faces.
A classic for watch enthusiasts and collectors, the iconic Reverso, Pilot, and Santos de Cartier collections have been designed proficiently and as the story continues …………..
We can't wait to see what's next for these collections.