Throwback Sundays Six Modern Watch Icons, from Our Archives (Part II)

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Last week, we talked about six modern watch icons that have made an impact in the watch industry.

We think that although we have featured six watches, it is certainly not enough to cover the array of wonderful watches that deserve a spot on the list. Hence, in this week’s article, we have decided to expand the list with yet another six more timepieces.

What have we selected this time? Let us find out!

Omega Seamaster Professional

The Omega Seamaster Professional, or the SMP for short, is a series of professional diver’s watch that was produced by the Swiss watch manufacturer. But this is not just any other watch – it is one of the most recognisable watches that had made numerous appearances on screen.

The popularity of the SMP can be easily traced back to the James Bond franchise. Its first appearance was made in 1995, starring in Goldeneye. In fact, Pierce Brosnan (and Daniel Craig, for Casino Royale) was wearing different iterations of the SMP in the subsequent series of films. It was only in 2008’s Quantum of Solace that James Bond was issued a Seamaster Planet Ocean.

The SMP had certainly made a lasting impression. In fact, it is one of the many reasons why collectors and non-collectors alike had bought a SMP. The cool factor is simply immense, and frankly, it is a solid timepiece that is relatively accessible as compared to some of its other competitors.

The new 42mm SMP, which is fitted with the in-house proprietary Co-Axial Master Chronometer movement, is priced at S$7,150. The Omega Seamaster Professional is undoubtedly a great watch, but it is also an icon in its own right as well.

Panerai Luminor

The Panerai Luminor 8 Days Set (PAM 785), based on two Pre-Vendome "Slytech" watches.

For collectors who have been collecting watches since the early noughties, Panerai is certainly a brand that needs no introduction. Once touted as one of the most popular and most sought-after brands in the world, Panerai is one of the early manufacturers that introduced the concept of a “wait-list”.

It is not difficult to see the appeal of Panerai watches, especially for its Luminor collection. Featuring a compelling history and a unique case design, the Luminor is certainly a highly attractive watch. Its popularity can also be traced back to the rise of larger sized watches, and the 44mm Luminor (typically the more popular option, as compared to its smaller sized brethren) is at a position where all the stars were aligned perfectly.

While the brand had courted some controversies in the past, we would say that the new generation of Panerai watches have the capabilities of reviving the fortunes of the brand. Armed with a relatively modest priced point and a repertoire of well-built in-house movements, the new series of Panerai watches are definitely overlooked at this point in time.

For us, the base Panerai Luminor models best capture the essence and DNA of the brand. The 44mm Luminor Base Logo (PAM01086) is our top pick, and it is priced rather nicely at S$7,200.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore

“In order to break the rules, you must first master them.”

The above is one of Audemars Piguet’s company taglines, and it is one that describes the Le Brassus-based watchmaker perfectly. The Royal Oak first broke the rules of luxury watchmaking by positioning itself as the world’s first high-end sports watch. Not only is the concept rather novel, but the watch design was special, being the creation of late Gerald Genta. In 1993, Audemars Piguet broke the rules once again with the Royal Oak Offshore (ROO). The Offshore is basically a Royal Oak on steroids, and it is widely touted as the extreme sports version of the latter. As with the trend in the noughties and beyond, the ROO became highly popular – all thanks to its large and chunky case which provides a good wrist presence.

Over the years, Audemars Piguet had spawned many different variants of the Royal Oak Offshore. Some of the more notable ones include the Diver, Rubberclad, Themes, End of Days, and the Terminator 3 (T3, for short). These pieces range from 42mm to 53mm, with different colour themes and case materials. Overall, it is no doubt polarising, but there is no question about its huge following especially amongst the younger collectors as well. This is no longer a watch, but a fashion statement.

A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1

The A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 needs no introduction. It debuted in 1994 with three other models to a select audience but become instantly recognisable with its signature asymmetric design via off-centre dial and big date indicator.

When different elements combine seamlessly in a seemingly proportional dial, what ensues is intrigue and appeal. Mathematically, we understand the reason for the appeal of the Lange 1; it was actually designed with the golden ratio and “Rule of Third” in mind. This ensures that each individual element is placed strategically, allowing the different elements to look well-balanced when the timepiece is rotated 90° clockwise.  We highly recommend this article for more information on the Lange 1, as well as the watchmaker itself.

The attention to detail, as well as the skills demonstrated by the craftsmen, ensures that the movement is decorated to the highest standards. As a brand, Lange’s perfectionist attitude put Saxony watchmaking on the map comparable, if not outright surpassing, the Swiss at their own game.

The 38.5mm Lange 1 retails at €33,000 (approximately S$44,500) for the base model in gold. This watch – together with the other Lange timepieces that were debuted in 1994 – changed the world of high-end watch manufacturing forever. It is no longer the “holy trinity” of Swiss watchmaking that rules the industry – A. Lange & Söhne literally just entered into the arena and rewrote the rules of the game altogether.


The MB&F HM3 has been around for quite a number of years now, but this striking timepiece is perhaps one of Maximillian Büsser’s most recognisable work. The watch, which features an unusual case shape and two intriguing time indicators (each for a separate hour and minute display), certainly possesses a mysterious aura around it.

First launched in 2009, the timepiece had cemented Max’s position in the horological world. It had also placed the category of independent watchmaking on the map, with more collectors (and non-collectors) getting acquainted with this concept. To say that the HM3 had made a tremendous impact is an understatement; we dare say that the watch – together with other key players – had helped to shape the industry as we know today.

Even though MB&F had launched many outstanding watches since the HM3, but this watch is perhaps the one that best represents the brand. It is not just refreshing and unique, but it personifies the values and ethos behind MB&F. This is definitely an icon – but beyond that, it is one of the watches that helped to champion the independent watchmaking scene.

Richard Mille

Richard Mille. The eponymous brand that is synonymous with wealth and power. It is unthinkable that within such a short period in time, the brand had achieved so much in terms of brand equity and desirability of their timepieces.

First launched in 2001, the brand had one goal in mind: To create a new, ultra-high-end luxury segment within the high-end watch business. And boy, they sure did and carved a niche for themselves in the last two decades, with their pursuit for innovation and their bold take on watches. We are amazed at the new composite materials that the brand is producing regularly, as well as the use of engineering prowess to make lightweight and robust watches.

Most known for its tonneau shaped cases, the brand has also garnered a following for both its rectangular and round shaped cases too. Either way, it is almost instantly recognisable by many, and it is definitely a vibrant watchmaker that had invigorated the watch industry with its bold (and sometimes controversial) take on watches.

Concluding Thoughts

Following the new novelties that we are bombarded with on a regular basis, it is easy to forget about some of the older watches that we have grown so fond of in the past. This is especially true when a new trend or fad appears. Panerai is a good example of this unfortunate circumstance.

We are not here to select the best watches for sure. The idea behind this article, as well as the previous one, is sort of a reminder – to refresh our minds with some of the watches that have made a strong impact on the scene over the last two decades. These watches have somehow changed the way we see watches, and they have been (or still are) some of the watches that we have desired to own. In fact, watches such as the Lange 1 and HM3 have went on even further by changing the rules of the game. We must not forget where we have come from since then.

We hope that you have enjoyed this week’s article as well. Let us know your thoughts, as well as some of the watches that you think deserves a spot on the list. Till the next time, ciao!


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