A Journey through Time : 5 Iconic Watches and Their Stories

Horologists, (those who study time and measure it), watch enthusiasts and collectors all have one enduring (possibly never-ending!) debate; What is the most iconic watch of all time?  If we were to enter into this debate on this blog, it is guaranteed that our comment section would be well and truly lit up with differing (and valid) opinions. 

So, in NO PARTICULAR ORDER… We bring you…

5 Iconic Watches and Their Amazing Stories! 

Just like Alice in Wonderland’s famous watch obsessive White Rabbit, let’s disappear down a rabbit hole of historical watch stories, and there is nowhere better to start than with a watch’s exploration of the final frontier…space. 



In 1965 NASA qualified the OMEGA Speedmaster Professional as the only watch for manned space missions. So when Buzz Aldrin stepped on the moon in 1969, his NASA supplied OMEGA Speedmaster Professional became part of the history books as the first watch worn on the moon. (Neil Armstrong also had one, but according to legend he had opted to leave his inside the lunar module as a backup, because the lunar module'bs electronic timer had malfunctioned.) The OMEGA Speedmaster is still to this day the only NASA qualified and issued watch for space missions.  OMEGA Speedmaster even played an integral part in the successful re-entry of the infamous Apollo 13 mission and rescue. The watch was used to time critical burns required for safe re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. 

And if it was possible to be any cooler… the OMEGA brand is also synonymous with the James Bond character as played by Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig. We’ll have to wait and see if the next James Bond continues this connection. 

Timeless Luxury has a collection of effortlessly stylish OMEGA Luxury watches available here.


ROLEX is going to play hard ball here with two iconic models, simply because their stories are too great not to tell.


In 1953, the world was watching two incredible events, the live television broadcast coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, and the news of the incredible New Zealand adventurer Edmund Hillary and the intrepid sherpa mountaineer, Tenzing Norgay, having reached the summit of the highest mountain in the world, Mount Everest. 


And there was a special watch along for the journey, the Rolex Oyster Perpetual.  Edmund Hillary’s expedition Rolex was returned to Rolex for ‘testing’ and can be viewed at the Beyer and Clock museum in Zürich. However, depending on who you believe,  Rolex does like to fudge the point slightly. The watch was apparently carried to 22,000 ft, where it was left at the base camp for the other competitior’s watch, the British made Smiths de Luxe which Hillary said he carried to the summit. Tenzing apparently was wearing a Rolex, so you could say they were both there. (Very clever maximising of sponsorship deals there Sir Edmund!) 


Following the theme of Rolex pushing the boundaries of extreme adventuring, while not the first dive watch, the Rolex Submariner was the first to be waterproof to 100m and feature a rotatable bezel for divers to read. The model came into its own in the golden period of sports watches, the 1960s and these days are waterproof to 300m. Rolex being Rolex, the Submariner also gains icon status from its famous actor owner, Sean Connery, who wore his own Rolex Submariner in the film ‘Goldeneye’. 


Disruptor Icon status goes to the Japanese designed Seiko: Astron 35SQ. Launched on Christmas Day 1969. This first ever quartz-powered wrist watch single handedly brought the Swiss watch industry to its knees. Seiko had quietly been developing the Astron for nearly a decade and the Swiss struggled to catch up. Amongst other economic and industry issues that affected the Swiss luxury watch industry, in the 1970s the watch market was taken over and destabilised by the introduction of mass produced cheap quartz watches. Undoubtedly the single biggest innovation in watchmaking in recent history.


Timeless Luxury has a collection of Seiko Luxury watches here.

Luxury watches are synonymous with keeping time in extreme sports, exploration, aviation, water sports, and even the Olympics, but here is a pick for the most iconic motor sport watch, the Tag Heuer Monaco. 


The Monaco wasn’t the first square (or square-ish) watch, but it was the first-ever square chronograph, as well as the first water-resistant square-cased watch. However its appeal is its totally cool 70’s factor. Tag Heuer was the first non-automotive brand to sponsor motorsport, namely the 1956 Monaco Grand Prix.  And after legendary actor, racing driver, Steve McQueen paired his Monaco with a Porsche 917 in his movie Le Mans, the endorsement proved so valuable that he’s still listed on the watchmaker’s website as a brand ambassador, despite having passed away in 1980. The Monaco’s cult appeal grew alongside enthusiasm for the 1970's sleek design, and it has remained popular ever since.

Timeless Luxury has a stylish selection of Tag Heuer luxury watches available here



So to recap, OMEGA, Rolex, Seiko, Tag Heuer. All impeccably crafted luxury watch brands with incredible lineages. If they could talk, what tales they could tell! (‘Tell us again what the Moon was like, OMEGA?!’) While we may never travel to the moon, race in a Grand Prix, scale Mount Everest or be James Bond, admiring (and owning) a piece of craftsmanship with a link to epic moments is possible. 

What more incredible watches and stories could we list?
Did we mention your favourites?
Comment below what your top 5 iconic watch brands and models would be.
Let’s compare notes. 



Browse Timeless Luxury's stunning collection of preowned luxury watches here. 

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