“You never actually own a Patek Philippe, you merely look after it for the next generation.”
For many watch collectors, this is probably one of the most famous taglines in the industry. While this tagline is part of Patek Philippe’s marketing strategy, the act of passing down watches as an heirloom is a popular practice. Mechanical timepieces are particularly suited as heirloom as they have no design lifespan and if well cared for and maintained can last several lifetimes. However, we think watches which are suitable to stand the test of time are perhaps the best for this intention. Here are our picks or 6 of the best.
Patek Philippe 5101
Naturally, Patek Philippe gets our first pick.
The Patek Philippe that we are featuring today, however, is a little more unusual. Unlike the Calatravas or the Grand Complications, we thought that the Gondolo (Reference 5101) deserves more exposure than its more illustrious counterparts. We particularly like this model, because of its discreet looks, as well as its beautiful and extraordinary salmon dial. The 5010 features a tourbillon regulator, And in typical Patek tradition, the tourbillon can only be enjoyed through the display caseback. It was the only Patek wristwatch to only feature the tourbillon as its only complication other than the rather astonishing power reserve of 10 days!
We did a Watchscapes photo essay of Reference 5101, and we think this is a highly desirable watch. Good luck finding one, as the 5101 is discontinued and a rare find.
Vacheron Constantin Historique Ultra-Fine 1955
Next, we are featuring in today’s Throwback Sunday a simple and timeless dress watch: the Vacheron Constantin Historique Ultra-Fine 1955. The Historique collection, as it name suggests, is Vacheron Constantin’s contemporary interpretation of the historical pieces. The result is amazing, as we have been reintroduced to some excellent timepieces that the company’s long archives.
We particularly like the Ultra-Fine 1955 from the Historique collection, mainly because it is a very refined and supremely elegant dress watch. There are no other complications; it only consists of two hands that indicate both hours and minutes. It is also fitted with a simple manual-winding movement, in which it is finished exquisitely to the standards of the “Hallmark of Geneva”. Furthermore, the watch is 36mm in diameter (and 4.13mm in thickness), which makes it really graceful and discreet.
We think this is one of the most beautiful dress watches that Vacheron Constantin have created, and will surely stand the test of time. We have done a short introduction on this piece, and we highly recommend you guys to take a look at some of the pictures that were taken for this timepiece. We think it will your breath will be taken away. It certainly did take ours!
A. Lange & Söhne Cabaret
The A. Lange & Söhne Cabaret, as mentioned in our feature here, is one of the most underrated and understated collection in the company’s line up. The collection was discontinued some years back (together with the Arkade), but for many Lange enthusiasts, the Cabaret certainly holds a special place in their heart.
Although we believe that there are many Lange models that are worthy of having a place in today’s article, we feel that the Cabaret gets our pick because of its rarity and uniqueness. We love how Lange choos the uncommon rectangle shape for the watch case with a form movement, and the sober, classic look of the watch.
We are perhaps sticking our necks out to predict that its value will increase in time to come.
Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-plat Automatique 5377
Next up, we have the Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-plat Automatique 5377. We picked this Breguet, particularly because of its classic look, as well as the fact that it features the tourbillon, which was an invention of A.L. Breguet.
As mentioned in our review here, the Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-plat Automatique 5377 features many design cues that were synonymous with historical Breguet pieces. This includes the magnificent guilloché dial, the dial layout, those blued-steel “Breguet-styled hands”, as well as the “secret signature”.
We feel that this watch is great for an heirloom piece because its aesthetics are very enduring. It is very refined, and it will definitely not go out of fashion for a very long time. On top of it, the timepiece is very well-finished.
Kari Voutilainen No. 28
Following the Breguet, we have another watchmaker that is famous for its guilloché dial and the exquisite finishing. It is none other than Kari Voutilainen, a Finnish independent watchmaker working in the Swiss Jura.
We love Kari’s creations, because they are always so elegant and in good taste. The attention to detail is amazing. The detailing on the dial is magnificent, and the quality of finishing for its movement is excellent. It seems as though we are not looking at just a watch, but rather, a work of art itself. This particular piece is no exception, and we highly recommend this article (and this interview with him) for those who want to be immersed into the wonderful world of Kari Voutilainen’s creations.
The Kari Voutilainen No. 28. Definitely worth a look and a second look to consider as a heirloom piece.
Rolex Daytona Cosmograph
Owning a Rolex is a symbol of success, and what better way would it be to pass on one’s legacy to the next generation with a Rolex timepiece?
The Daytona Cosmograph is perhaps one of Rolex’s most well-known models, and there is no reason why it shouldn’t be. Since its inception back in 1963, the Daytona is perhaps one of the most stylish and well-recognized models in the Rolex’s line-up today. Although its popularity was only more pronounced in the later part of its life, the Daytona is now an icon with many collectors.
We like the Daytona Cosmograph for its robustness, as well as its handsome looks. It offers a lot of watch for the price. Take a look at our review on the Rolex Daytona for more information on this fascinating watch.
The Daytona Cosmograph line has historically done extremely well in auctions and very collectable.
When it comes to heirloom watches, we feel that one of the main criteria would be the ability for the watch’s aesthetics to stand the test of time. As an heirloom piece, it is going to be passed down from one generation to another, so a watch with a timeless design will be a much more feasible choice. Furthermore, it should be a well-made timepiece, since it is going to be utilized and handed-down to one’s offspring in the future.
We hope that we have given you some ideas to select your heirloom watch for your children. Have fun! and Throwback will see you again next Sunday.
Nice write up Robin but alas, how many of us have a Patek or Voutilainen to pass on 🙂
Perhaps Deployant can follow up with a more “common” list – one that many more can afford and maybe then you can include the Omega Speedmaster Pro, maybe a Seiko and perhaps a JLC Reverso all of which are probably a lot more “affordable” and equally next-generation worthy.
Thank you for your comments! Great suggestion you have got there, and we promise you that we will feature your ideas someday!