It doesn’t matter if you’re a watch nerd or newly introduced to the world of watches, you would at least have some inclination about the some of the most iconic watches that have existed. From Royal Oaks to Submariners to Calatravas, the 1940s to 1980s saw some of the most iconic watches ever designed. Getting hold of one of the original iterations is near impossible so why not settle for watches that share similar design DNA or the same source of inspiration?
Pictured Above: The Pilot Watch — Zenith Pilot Type 20 Ton Up Black
Though the IWC Big Pilot is extremely basic in design, it is instantly recognisable thanks to its utilitarian appearance and hulking presence on the wrist. The appeal of pilot watches is made stronger because of its cool association with the world of aviation.
If a guy was looking for a tool watch and is not into dive watches, there is a big chance he would settle for a pilot watch. Zenith took a slightly different approach with its interpretation of the pilot watch with the Zenith Pilot Type 20 Ton Up Black. Though the dial is executed differently with the omission of the navigation triangle and the use of “cathedral” hour and minute hands, the look and feel of the Type 20 Ton Up is very much in line with pilot watches — large in diameter while being extremely legible with the dial execution.
The aged stainless steel case gives the watch a military rugged appeal with its worn-in appearance. The Zenith Pilot Type 20 Ton Up Black would be for the guy who wants a pilot watch with a “non-mainstream” design.
The Calatrava — Omega Seamaster 1948 Small Seconds
Elegance and timelessness are some of the things that spring to mind when describing a dress watch. Incidentally, those are the hallmarks that make the Patek Philippe Calatrava a legendary dress watch. Though there are numerous interpretations and references of the Calatrava, it remains true to its original DNA when it was founded in 1932. As such numerous brands have designed dress watches that share the same ethos as the Calatrava, with some even given the moniker “poor man’s Calatrava” because of its steep price tag.
The Omega Seamaster 1948 Small Seconds is certainly not a “poor man’s Calatrava” but is Omega’s interpretation of a modern dress watch. Measuring at 38mm, the dial is elegantly executed, free from clutter and distractions. Beneath the dial sits the Omega’s anti-magnetic Co-Axial Calibre 8804. Given the charming execution small seconds sub-dial, the Omega Seamaster 1948 Small Seconds is ideal for someone looking at a modern dress watch with vintage nostalgia.
The Submariner — Tudor Black Bay Type 20 Ton Up Black
Of the numerous interpretations of dive watches, the Rolex Submariner is by far the most iconic. Its popularity shot through the roof when it made its way to the silver screen in Goldfinger. The Rolex Submariner ref. 6538 was seen strapped onto James Bond’s wrist with a striped NATO strap. Since then, the Submariner has graced the wrists of countless individuals. Reinterpreting and replicating the success of the Submariner is no easy task but is one Tudor has aced when it relaunched its Black Bay collection in 2012.
Though Tudor has been producing dive watches since 1958, it was overshadowed by its illustrious big brother, Rolex. Tudor took the radical approach with the red coloured Black Bay, going against the monochromatic approach of the Submariner. Other colours have been introduced since including dark blue, black, two-tone and even one in bronze. The choice of watch hands is different from the use of Tudor’s historical “snowflake hand” in place of Rolex’s iconic “Mercedes-hand”. The Tudor Black Bay would be a good purchase for someone who already owns a Submariner and would like a dive watch with an alternative design approach.
The Gerald Genta — Bell & Ross BR05
Legendary watch designer Gerald Genta has designed a host of iconic watches but the two standout pieces by far are the Royal Oak and Nautilus. The iconic watches were way ahead of their time when they were released but remain to be timeless designs ever since. Getting hold of either piece is no easy feat given their price and scarcity so why not go against the grain with one that shares similar traits to both watches?
Enter the Bell & Ross’ newest collection the BR05. The watch is Bell & Ross’ resolutely new approach to designing an everyday watch inspired by architecture and cities. Measuring 40mm across, BR05 watch case and bracelet features clean and fluid lines with alternating brush and satin finishes. Though it shares a similar design DNA with the use of geometrical shapes and integrated bracelet design, it certainly should not be considered as a blatant copy of Genta’s designs.
The Racing Chronograph — TAG Heuer Heuer Heritage Calibre Heuer 02
Prior to TAG Heuer’s acquisition by the TAG group in 1985, it was known to the world as Heuer. By then the manufacture was deeply rooted in the world of motorsports. The Heuer Autavia 2446 was one of the most iconic designs by the manufacture alongside the Carrera and Monaco. The Heuer Heritage Calibre Heuer 02 by TAG Heuer is part of the heritage collection which pays tribute to important collections of the manufacture. This particular model is an homage to the Heuer Autavia 2446.
Apart from the vintage Heuer logo on the dial, everything else about the new Heuer Heritage Calibre Heuer 02 is modern. The 42mm diameter is appropriate for everyday wear while the automatic chronograph calibre would be far greater appreciated than a manual winding calibre. The Heuer Heritage Calibre Heuer 02 would be a good addition for racing and motorsport enthusiasts looking to acquire pieces with historical ties.