The world of horology is filled with innovative timepieces, intricate designs, clever mechanisms and boundary-pushing pieces. Brands are consistently creating new ways to ensure that their customers have the best they can buy in terms of complications and style and will commission experiments to push the watches to their limits to ensure staying power, precision and accuracy. A new watch and a new launch will always be exciting, to both brands and watch collectors, but as with many industries, sometimes, you just can’t beat a classic.
There are many reasons for a watches staying power. Some pieces are limited edition and hard to get hold of, some were created and put on the map for their connotations to influential people, others feature in iconic films. Or, it could just be that some timepieces create such strong emotional connections, they represent nostalgia and a time gone by that customers wish to hold on to. It is no wonder then, that brands tap into their own history to recreate, re-launch or redesign a classic.
We have chosen a few watches below that embody the spirit and ethos of the brand, and stay true to their original predecessor while still being relevant in these modern times.
Breitling Top Time
The original Breitling Top Time was launched in the 60s, an era of unprecedented creativity, and inspiration. It was designed to suit the needs of the “young and active professionals” but became so much more than that. It was a stylish and modern sports chronograph that piqued the interest of both sexes due to its sleek silhouette and undeniable elegance as well as it’s lower price point. The Top Time were positioned as entry-level chronographs and were inexpensive at the time in comparison to the Navitimer and Chronomat.
This helped capture the hearts of many beginner watch collectors, and was a great addition to any flourishing collection. It was also favoured by many celebrities within the sports and entertainment world which also helped pave the way to an instant horological classic. Today, the limited edition Breitling Top Time echoes its predecessors design in the large dial and bold styling. It comes in a 41mm stainless-steel case paired with a brown nubuck strap, ensuring it’s versatility and attraction to all watch wearers is upheld. It also houses a COSC-certified Breitling Caliber B23 chronograph movement.
TAG Heuer Monaco
TAG Heuer introduced the world’s first automatic chronograph’s in 1969 in the form of the Autavia, Carrera, and the Monaco, but it would be the latter that would capture the world’s attention. Hollywood star Steve McQueen set his heart on channelling racing hero Jo Siffert for the inspiration of his character in the movie Le Mans. Siffert was an ambassador for TAG Heuer, which lead to McQueen wearing the Monaco chronograph on his wrist, and the ‘Heuer Chronograph’ patch for his racing suit. The bold combination highlighted and helped to cement TAG Heuer’s connotation with racing, something they continue to be involved in to date. Watch collectors clamoured to be a part of watch history, and the legacy of the Monaco was born.
The new TAG Heuer Monaco takes its inspiration from its predecessor with a square 39mm stainless steel case that frames a rich, blue dial and vibrant red luminescent hands. Driven by a powerful Calibre 11 automatic movement, this iconic timepiece also offers a 40-hour power reserve and is water resistant to 100 metres.
Zenith El Primero
The Zenith El Primero, or ‘the first’ in Spanish, was the first fully integrated, high frequency automatic chronograph movement, launched in 1969. There was a myriad of things that made this watch an impressive feat; an integrated and slimline calibre with no additional module but instead a column wheel and a central rotor on ball bearings, a movement beat at 36,000 vibrations per hour and a 50-hour power reserve. But it was an exceptional journey that really let the brand earn its horology stripes. In 1970, the watch was fixed to the landing gear of a Boeing 707 on a flight from Paris to New York. From withstanding 4°C in Paris to a cool -62° at an altitude of 10,000 meters, changing atmospheric pressures and turbulence when landing, the watch remained accurate to the nearest second- apart from the obvious time difference! This meant that throughout all of that, the El Primero had kept to its 36,000 vibrations per hour, making it world’s most precise series-made calibre.
The modern update of the El Primero is the Zenith El Primero Anniversary Revival and is every bit as impressive as the original. With a stainless steel 37mm and sleek yet versatile leather strap, this watch is a must have for watch collectors all over the world. To date, its accuracy is still unparalleled.
Chopard Alpine Eagle
In 1980, Chopard, a luxury brand renowned for jewellery and delicate timepieces, made waves with the launch of a steel sports watch: the St. Moritz. While it still retained every bit of elegance as the other styles from Chopard, it was designed to be an every day watch, and was watertight and shock resistant. This change in tact proved successful for the brand, and it is one of the most recognisable and sought after Chopard timepieces to date. While the original design, created by Chopard’s co-president Karl-Freidrich Scheufele, was discontinued, the re-emerged revival is that of the Chopard Alpine Eagle, also created by Scheufele.
The inspiration behind the piece was that of the Alps, where he frequents often, and the eagles that reign supreme there. Crafted from an exclusive, ultra resistant light reflecting metal named Lucent Steel A223 with a Chronometer-certified movement. It is the perfect choice for those who want to add a touch of luxury into their day.
Glashütte Sixties Collection
The Glashütte Sixties collection reflects the spirit of the swinging sixties, in a design that has proven popular with many customers. It is striking and stylish and the characteristic details and form of the watches bring the typical look of the 1960s back to life. The Sixties models feature domed dials and lightly arched hour and minute hands, both with Super-Luminova highlights. The Arabic numerals are presented in a font that expresses the unmistakeable signature of the 60s. and the specially formed sapphire crystal case ensures a comfortable fit.