11 Classic Watches for Men

Esquire

Not too long ago, some friends of The Style Blog were interviewed by the New York Times because they all had begun buying and wearing nice watches again. We never realized people had stopped doing this, but we're delighted these men are back on board. And if you'd like to join their ranks, where should you begin? So many companies, new models, and quotes about how James Bond wore a Rolex all boggle the mind. It can be a tough purchase, not least of all because there's surprisingly little retail information available online.

Which is why we're proud to introduce our new watch columnist, Jeremy Kirkland, who's a watch forum uber-nerd and the founder of the excellent Start With Typewriters blog. With his arrival comes another introduction: Specifically, to the watches all men should know (or learn) as they consider their own preferences.

Which timepieces will remain truly timeless? If you've considered ditching your iPhone, here are The Style Blog's best replacements for both now and decades-from-now, priced in order from most affordable to, well, you can decide yourself.


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Braun:
The Analog

Designed by Dieter Rams and Dietrich Lubs in the 1970s, these simple timepieces were just re-issued this year. You should buy two: One to wear right now while fidgeting with your iPad and one to sell in 20 years.

Analog Wrist Watch ($220) by Braun


Hamilton: The Khaki Field

Field watches are hot these days, but this one (the official timepiece of Indiana Jones) is actually meant for "the field." Change the straps as you wear them out, as the ETA Swiss movement will likely outlast the bracelet — and may outlive you too.

Khaki Field ($550) by Hamilton







IWC: The Pilot

The watch aficionado's watch company, IWC makes some of the most stunningly simple watches on Earth. But the Pilot, from 1936, was complicated for it's time: It protects itself against changes in high altitudes and strong magnetic fields — which will never prove useful if you're not a pilot, but is still pretty damn cool.

Classic Pilot Mark XVI ($3,900) by IWC





Omega: The Speedmaster

It's good enough for Nasa so it's good enough for you. The watch has also barely changed since its 1957 release — with the exception of the acquisition of George Clooney's wrist real estate.

Speedmaster Tachymeter ($3,900) by Omega








Cartier: The Tank

When Louis Cartier wanted a watch to give his friends, he chose this one, named after a real 1917 tank (The Renault, which fought on the Western Front). Made of precious gold attached to a crocodile watch band, Cartier's may be the more fragile of tanks from the World War era, but probably the most elegant too.

Tank Solo Large ($4,500) by Cartier



Tag Heuer: The Monaco

Revolutionary for making the square case cool, but perhaps more so for being the timepiece Steve Mcqueen wore while filming Le Mans. Models from the 1970s are especially coveted, but modern versions are respected today — in part due to their attainable price.

Monaco Chronograph ($5,295) by Tag Heuer




Rolex: The Submariner

By combining one part status with one part aesthetics, few things suggest success quite like a Rolex Submariner. Since it was introduced at Basel in 1953, it's changed only slightly: Notably, a ceramic bezel and glide-lock clasp (for diving) were added. The price does keep changing, though, so grab one before it keeps rising.

Submariner Steel ($7,000) by Rolex





Jaeger LeCoultre: The Reverso

Designed for rugged polo matches of the 1930s, the Reverso can be flipped between two faces to protect the crystal. Unsurprisingly, this became a luxury item worn by (actual) kings and queens. Now, it's on the wrist of Ryan Gosling, which is sorta the same thing.

Grande Reverso Duo ($9,450) by Jaeger-LeCoultre







Zenith: El Primero

This company is basically the Lapo Elkann of watch companies: Everyone's always looked to them to see how to move forward. The El Primero, born in 1969, has a renowned movement that was borrowed by Rolex for a time, and it's chronograph (the first on a watch) can measure up to a tenth of a second. More impressive: Zenith is one of few companies that still manufactures their movements in-house.

El Primero Striking 10th Chronograph ($10,900) by Zenith



Panerai: The Luminor

The hand-wound Luminor dates back to the 1950s, when Panerai was the supplier of watches for the Italian Navy — luminescent paint mixed with tritium meant these fellas would (and still) glow like crazy. Now, the chunky face and crown locks look great with wooden bracelets on the style leaders at Pitti Uomo.

Luminor 8 Days Chronograph ($21,100) by Panerai







Audemars Piguet: The Royal Oak

Because it's what Lino Ieluzzi — the father of double monkstraps on shoes— wears. And because it'd look right on your wrist, too.

Selfwinding Royal Oak ($21,375) by Audemars Piguet

 

 

More from Esquire.com:

Our Favorite Inexpensive Watches

The Women of Summer 1985-2011

A Brief History of the Bikini

10 New Ways to Buy Jeans Now

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