What makes a timepiece iconic? In most cases, it has something to do with age and heritage, but more importantly, in my opinion, its design should be truly timeless. If you can easily identify a watch as having been around since the 1950s or 1960s and that watch can still be worn today without looking old — well, that’s the definition of timeless. Another important aspect of an icon is that it should be easily recognizable as a specific model and brand. Think of the Royal Oak by Audemars Piguet, the Santos by Cartier, or the Datejust by Rolex.
Most of these watches do not need introduction, but I’ll introduce them anyway. You’ll notice that I’ve selected the most up-to-date versions of these chronograph watches, i.e., the models you can buy today.
So, in ascending order:
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore
The original Royal Oak goes back to 1972 and was designed by the legendary Gérald Genta. The Royal Oak Offshore collection was introduced 21 years later in 1993 and was meant to be a more rugged and up-to-date version of the regular Royal Oak to attract a younger and perhaps a new target customer. The themed models from the Royal Oak Offshore collection bear interesting names as ‘Safari’, ‘Navy’, ‘Vulcano’ and so on. Watch aficionados even nicknamed them ‘Panda’ and ‘Elephant’.