Dreaming of buying your first classic watch in 2023, but unsure which model to choose in light of recent market volatility? We’ll show you our top three classics that you could own forever.
Before we get started, let’s look at what makes a watch an icon or a true classic.
While mechanical watches generally aren’t considered “trendy,” there are certainly timepieces that are enduring fan favorites. Across decades, these are the watches with designs and mechanics that are considered truly iconic. Classic is not synonymous with boring in fine watch circles; on the contrary, it means excellence in every sense of the word, both today and in the future.
So, what makes a watch a classic? And what determines whether a watch holds its value well? In short, a classic is a timepiece with a legendary design and top-notch mechanics that is revered among collectors. Classics have generally been in production for many years already, yet remain relentlessly popular and in demand.
Here are my three picks for classic watches that will always be popular:
1. Rolex Submariner
Let’s face it, nothing really compares to Rolex. The crown logo is a mark of success, both for the watch owner and the brand as a whole. Owning a Rolex is achieving a milestone in life.
The Rolex Submariner is an iconic model that is instantly recognizable and enduringly reliable. The Sub was clearly built to be a diving watch, but ever since its introduction, interest in the timepiece has reached far beyond underwater adventurers. This watch is undoubtedly a classic that will remain popular and is definitely worth buying in 2023.
Pros of the Rolex Submariner: The Submariner can be worn for virtually any activity on land or at sea. It’s suitable for work and casual wear.
Cons of the Rolex Submariner: The Submariner, while not as bulky as some watches, may feel heavy and big on the wrist.
2. Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch
As its name suggests, the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch has been to the Moon and back. It was worn by the astronauts of the Apollo 11 mission, the first mission to land on the Moon. For decades, the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch was the only watch that was approved by NASA for astronauts to wear in space. This rich history makes the Speedmaster the perfect choice for 2023 if you’re looking for a watch that will hold its value and can be worn forever.
The Speedmaster Moonwatch is a classic chronograph with three subdials and a tachymeter scale on its bezel. The watch has a black dial and bezel featuring luminescent hands and hour markers.
Pros of the Omega Speedmaster: The Speedmaster Moonwatch played an important role in one of the most outstanding moments in history. The chronograph is available on a strap or metal bracelet.
Cons of the Omega Speedmaster: Some people may not like the detailed tachymeter markings on the bezel.
3. Cartier Santos
The Cartier Santos is another model with a rich history tied to aviation. Louis Cartier created the Santos for friend and pioneering aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont, the first person to fly around the Eiffel Tower in an airship. Santos-Dumont famously complained to Cartier that he couldn’t use his pocket watch when flying because he needed both hands on the controls. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention: Cartier created the now-iconic Santos wristwatch for his friend.
The Santos has a robust look, with a thick square bezel interrupted by eight visible screws, two at each corner. The model is available in many different case materials, including stainless steel and white, yellow, or rose gold. It also comes in several sizes and with your choice of a strap or metal bracelet. Of the three classic watches on this list, the Cartier Santos is the most affordable. Nevertheless, it has historically held its value quite well, even when other watch prices dropped significantly.
Pros of the Cartier Santos: Strong masculine design, high-quality Cartier craftsmanship, and a unique look that suits both casual and office attire.
Cons of the Cartier Santos: Some people don’t like square or rectangular watches, and the exposed screws may not appeal to everyone.