5 Watches that have Stood The Test of Time Starring Rolex, Patek Philippe, Omega, and Cartier

Why is it that watch brands celebrate watch anniversaries so enthusiastically?

That is actually a question I’ll answer below because first, I’d like to highlight five classic timepieces that celebrated anniversaries in 2017.

Patek Philippe Calatrava: 85 Years

It’s more than fitting that Patek Philippe decided to use Caliber 240 – which celebrates 40 years of existence in 2017 – in its 85-year-old Calatrava model.

Patek Philippe Calatrava Squelette Reference 5180/1R-001

Patek Philippe Calatrava Squelette Reference 5180/1R-001

The Calatrava was born in 1932 and has become Patek Philippe’s signature model as it champions svelte lines and elegant simplicity. Now considered a unisex model, the Calatrava remains impervious to trend, though not to the addition of complications or old-school skeletonized movements.

For more on the skeletonization process, see Give Me Five! 5 Skeletonized Watches That Came Out Of The Closet At Baselworld 2017 and for more on the watch, please visit www.patek.com/en/mens-watches/complications/5180-1R-001.

Quick Facts Patek Philippe Calatrava Squelette Reference 5180/1R-001
Case: 39 x 7 mm, red gold

Movement: automatic Caliber 240 SQU with micro rotor, Gyromax balance, Spiromax (Silinvar/silicon) balance spring, Patek Philippe Seal
Functions: hours, minutes
Price: $98,660



Rolex Sea-Dweller: 50 years

Celebrating the first Sea-Dweller model introduced in 1967 – referenced by the detail of the red lettering of the Sea-Dweller name on the dial – this new rendition of the classic sports diver does not show its age in the least.

Rolex Sea-Dweller 43mm

Rolex Sea-Dweller 43mm

It does however show the date quite clearly thanks to a new Cyclops magnifier on the dial.

For more please visit www.rolex.com/watches/baselworld/new-sea-dweller.

Quick Facts Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller
Case: 43 mm, stainless steel

Movement: automatic Caliber 3235 with 70-hour power reserve, certified chronometer
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date
Price: $11,350 / 10,800 Swiss francs

Omega Speedmaster: 60 years

Despite the fact that 1957 seems to be too far back for Omega to have saved plans (as head of product management Gregory Kissling explained at Baselworld 2017), the brand still managed to recreate three of its star models from that year using digital scanning technology.

One of these is the Speedmaster, which was born in 1957.

Omega Speedmaster 1957 Chronograph

Omega 1957 Trilogy Speedmaster 60th Anniversary Limited Edition 38.6 mm

Omega presented a loyal recreation of the original Speedmaster within the 1957 Trilogy Limited Edition box, which includes technical updates where it makes sense – like to the bracelet.

Omega Speedmaster 1957 Trilogy Limited Edition box set

Omega Speedmaster 1957 Trilogy Limited Edition box set

For more information, please visit www.omegawatches.com/watches/baselworld2017/1957-trilogy.

Quick Facts Omega Speedmaster 60th Anniversary Limited Edition 38.6 mm
Case: 38.6 mm, stainless steel

Movement: manually wound Caliber 1861 (based on Lémania Caliber 1873)
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; chronograph, tachymeter (scale on bezel)
Limitation; 3,557 pieces
Price: $7,250



Patek Philippe Aquanaut: 20 years

As the watches in this selection go, the Aquanaut is the new kid on the block. And that’s okay because it’s not every day that Patek Philippe introduces a casual chic watch with a contemporary feel.

Patek Philippe Aquanaut Reference 5168G

Patek Philippe Aquanaut Reference 5168G

The sporty Aquanaut was introduced in 1997, but it has never appeared in white gold until now. Here is that first example, introduced at Baselworld 2017. And at 42 mm, it is a “Jumbo” Aquanaut with a very attractive graduating blue/black dial: it is very blue toward the center and gradually gets black outward toward the flange.

For more information, please visit www.patek.com/en/mens-watches/aquanaut/5168G-001.

Quick Facts Patek Philippe Aquanaut Reference 5168G
Case: 42.2 x 8.25 mm, white gold

Movement: automatic Caliber 324 S C with Gyromax balance and Silinvar Spiromax balance spring; Patek Philippe Seal
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date
Price: $38,557

Cartier Tank: 100 years

The classic Cartier Tank turns 100 years old in 2017, which is hard to believe as it still looks as fresh as the day Louis Cartier designed the Tank Normale in 1917.

Pre-CPCP Louis Carter Tank in platinum (left) with CPCP Louis Cartier Tank in platinum (right)

Pre-Cartier Privé Collection (CPCP) Louis Carter Tank in platinum (left) with CPCP Louis Cartier Tank in platinum (photo courtesy George Cramer)

Martin Green describes the history of this famous model in What’s It Like To Get Your Grail Watch And Live With It? The Story Of My Louis Cartier Tank.

Quick Facts 1990s Louis Cartier Tank
Case: 33.5 x 25.5 mm, platinum with sapphire cabochon in crown

Movement: ultra-slim manual winding Caliber 21 by Frédéric Piguet for Cartier, 20.8 x 1.73 mm
Functions: hours, minutes
Years of manufacture: 1990s, pre-Collection Privée Cartier Paris (CPCP)
Original retail price as of 1997 on German market: 14,900 German marks

What does an anniversary mean for a collector?

I recently came across some interesting information from Collector Square, which demonstrates what watch anniversaries actually mean in terms of collecting.

Collector Square has developed a tool it calls the LuxPrice-Index to gather and analyze data on thousands of auction results over the past 12 years. This digital marketplace with a brick-and-mortar showroom in Paris was launched in 2013 by the founder of Artcurial, Nicolas Orlowski, and digital entrepreneur Loïc Bocher.

And in the framework of this, Collector Square has determined that an anniversary generally means that a watch’s value will increase. Notably, it could also mean an influx of new collectors, making it a lucrative time to both buy and sell.

This is in part thanks to a marketing drive by brands that capitalize on the potential to create renewed interest by introducing celebratory new models. Furthermore, auction houses and pre-owned websites often mark the occasion by hosting special sales dedicated to these brands and models (Omegamania, anyone?).

Average price of Rolex Daytona, Paul Newman models excluded (graphic courtesy Collector Square)

Average price of Rolex Daytona, Paul Newman models excluded (graphic courtesy Collector Square)

Collector Square put together a neat little graphic for us on the 50th anniversary of the Rolex Daytona in 2013; as you can see in the graph above, its LuxPrice-Index recorded a 79 percent jump in value for this model during the anniversary year (the jump in 2008 corresponds to Rolex’s brand centenary).

Chanel Première Camellia Skeleton

Chanel Première Camellia Skeleton

By the way, according to Collector Square, the Chanel Première is currently the global bestseller among women. This watch celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2017 (see Chanel Introduces Première Camellia Skeleton With Manufacture Movement for the celebratory model).

Coincidence? Maybe not.

You may also enjoy:

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Cartier Santos Review: The Luxury Sports Watch You Might Not Have Considered

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