2020 was an incredible year for luxury watches, but which ones should be dubbed as ‘iconic’? Last year saw many popular models fly from the shelves, but did any designs particularly stand out?

Rolex Sea Closeup

Which watches were in style in 2020?

We saw retro return in 2020. Leather straps have made a comeback and are giving steel straps a run for their money. People are also looking for more sustainable options as we become increasingly conscious of the planet. If we’re purchasing new, this may mean that we lean towards companies that are heading for net-zero or net-positive emissions. Alternatively, we might see which brands are using recycled materials. Or, we may even look at purchasing pre-owned luxury watches as a way of being greener/more ethical and lowering our carbon footprint even for the luxury items we purchase.

What is the best entry-level luxury watch?

There are a few watches you might want to consider if you’re searching for your first luxury watch. Regardless of the brand, there are a few things to look out for when purchasing a quality timepiece. Mechanical movements tend to trump quartz ones but are often more expensive. If budget is a huge factor, purchasing something like the Cartier Tank Solo might be an option, however, it does have the quartz movement. Compare this to entry-level Rolexes that are priced around double (at around £5000) and you’ll always get the mechanical movement. Omega tends to retail a little cheaper than some Rolex models and you can get the Omega Seamaster (similar to the Submariner) for around £4000. If your heart is set on a Rolex, the Datejust or the Oyster Perpetual are both great options and are easy to purchase from your local dealer. Other Rolex models can be a little harder to source.

Vintage Luxury Watches

Vintage luxury became all the rage this year with celebrities like Kanye West wearing models like the Cartier Crash. But there are a whole bunch of vintage luxury watch designs that are equally as striking as they are stylish, and, thanks to the high-quality craftsmanship, still work as good as new. Watches like the Omega Speedway are a great alternative to the elusive Rolex Cosmograph Daytona and can be as little as two thousand pounds on consignment. While brands like Heuer and Breitling have some great leather strap vintage chronographs such as the Autavia, Navitimer and Top Time.

Luxury Watch Gold

4 Most iconic luxury watches of 2020

With the above in mind, here are some of the best luxury watches you should try to get your hands on this year.

1. Rolex Submariner (2020)

This classic sports model was given an overhaul this year and a new size. The all-new Submariner has a slightly larger case measuring 41mm. This subtle difference makes the dial ever so slightly bigger, making things much easier to read. Inside the movement has also been given a dramatic update. The power reserve has now jumped up to 70 hours from the previous 48-hour life. The watch also doesn’t need to be serviced as frequently as there’s less friction and improved anti-magnetism properties. It’s also available in several more options than previously offered. They’re vibrant and bold and have made the watch more sought after than ever; meaning the only way you might be able to straight-up buy one is if it’s pre-owned.

2. Audemars Piguet [Re]Master01

If you’re looking for something a little (well a lot) rarer, you can try to get your hands on the £54,500 remaster of the Audemars Piguet signature 1940s chronograph watch. The watch is pretty much a perfect replica of the 1943 icon, just crafted with modern elements that make the watch easier to read and a little better quality; its self-winding movement offers its wearer 70 hours of reserve power. Though only 500 of these watches were made, that’s a lot more than the three that were originally made. The watch is a perfect combination of gold and rose gold. The chronograph hands feature a brilliant blue colour with just another touch of pink gold on the bottom dial and second and minute hands. Its hand-stitched leather strap creates a perfect Audemars Piguet signature touch which is elegant, expensive and understated.

3. Patek Philippe Nautilus

The Patek Philippe Nautilus range is a spectacular example of a classic, yet luxurious watch that can be worn on any occasion. That’s if you’re lucky enough to get one. Rumour has it that waitlists for this watch can be as long as 8 years. The Nautilus comes in a range of colours and precious metals but one of the most outstanding options is the £282,000 12.69 carat diamond encrusted reference 7118, which features 2,553 brilliant-cut diamonds. For those of us who don’t have a spare quarter-million lying around, there is still the highly coveted 5711 reference which is their stainless steel model. Nonetheless, it’s still pretty hard to get a hold of. With wearers including celebrities like Brad Pitt and Victoria Beckham, this watch oozes luxe without being too brash and can simply be dressed up or down. The finer details also have to be admired with this timepiece, with the bezel designed just like the porthole of a submarine.

4. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak

There are few watch designs out there that can compare to the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, especially if you opt for the open-worked design. This watch first graced us back in 1972 and the fact that it was designed in just 24 hours really emphasizes how creative this iconic brand can be in such a short amount of time. This watch was the first steel sports watch on the market and is a prime competitor of the Patek Phillipe Nautilus and is inspired/named after the HMS Royal Oak Battleships.

Instant Quote For Your Luxury Watch

No matter your choice of luxury watch this season, we guarantee that if it’s any of the above options, you’re sure to have a fine investment that’ll possibly even make money in the long run. Have you ever been lucky enough to snag one of these prestigious watches? Let us know in the comments below.