Four Watch Designs That Stood The Test Of Time

Four Watch Designs That Stood The Test Of Time

Martin Green
By Martin Green March 5, 2020

Staying power is something that every watch brand hopes for when they launch a new model. Achieving this is far more complicated than it might seem at first. Many new models will be tweaked in their design within a relatively short period after their launch, while others ride a wave of fashion only to be discontinued as soon a this wave is taken over by another one. Only with a rare few, the passing of time doesn’t seem to get a hold of them. They have become icons for their respective brands, and benchmarks for the rest of the industry. But that doesn’t mean that they achieved it by merely being idle.

Cartier Tank Louis Cartier Skeleton Sapphire Watch SIHH 2015 Front

Cartier Tank Louis Cartier
While the Tank Louis Cartier wasn’t the first design of ‘La Maison,’ it would become the one that would play an essential role in the history of the brand. Although slightly fine-tuned over the years, and in more recent years also available in more progressive designs such as the skeletonized version above, it has always been part of the collection. It has graced the wrists of many celebrities, including Lady Di, and Andy Warhol, who passionately collected them. Actor Rudolph Valentino was even so smitten with his Tank Louis Cartier that when he was filming the movie ‘The Son of the Sheik’ in 1926, he refused to take it off. The Tank Louis Cartier would grow and become a benchmark for rectangular shaped watches and one of the pillars of Cartier’s watch collection.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Moon

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso
The Tank Louis Cartier is not the only rectangular watch that would grow to become a benchmark in its category. The Reverso was created in the early 1930s to fit a need of British polo player, who kept shattering the crystals on their watches during a match. The unique slide-and-flip mechanism designed by Rene-Alfred Chauvot proved to be the perfect solution, and a legend was born. Where Cartier went on to only fine-tune the design of the Tank Louis Cartier, Jaeger-LeCoultre used the Reverso to build an entire collection upon. While the classic, two-hand models are still part of the line-up, incredible complications have also found their way into the rectangular case, making it that there is a Reverso to fit pretty much everybody’s taste and needs.

Hublot Classic Fusion Berluti

Hublot Classic Fusion
When Hublot launched its very first watch, shortly after it was founded in 1980, it was already making waves. Its gold case, with distinctive porthole design, and rubber strap was something unheard of in these days. Soon the King of Spain took a liking to them, and the who-is-who of the world followed. It was also this watch that inspired Jean-Claude Biver to develop the Big Bang, creating another benchmark model within the brand. The watch that is now known as Classic Fusion also never stood still but kept being ahead of the curve of fashion by constant showing a different side of itself, such as this unique model created in collaboration with Berluti, featuring a dial made of leather.

Rolex Sea-Dweller

Rolex Sea-Dweller
Few brands curate their collection so well as Rolex. Evolution, supported by technical revolutions, has always been their credo. This also becomes clear with the Sea-Dweller. The watch is by itself the more extreme sibling of the famous Submariner, and could already at its launch in 1967 decent to a depth of 2,000 feet/610 meters. It has grown to become the favorite watch of professional divers around the world, who like it for its legibility, dependability, and rugged build quality. Visually the Sea-Dweller has only evolved, although technically it’s advanced considerably. The current model features a cyclops over the date, just as the Submariner, has a Cerachrom bezel and runs on caliber 3235, which Rolex developed with a particular focus on precision and dependability. A perfect movement for a model that has grown to become what many consider the ultimate tool watch.