Watch icons from the past

Watch icons from the past

Oh, how time passes. Here are some watches that have become icons thanks to their wearers or creators.


Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch

A watch that went down in history. In 1969, the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch took off in the direction of the moon on the wrist of each astronaut on the Apollo 11. And it was a success. The Moonwatch with its black dial and tachometer scale stands out clearly from other models with its 42-mm diameter. The dial is protected with a hesalite crystal, and the hour and minute hands are coated with tritium. The timepiece was already powered with a Calibre 321 in the 1960s. A short time later, the watch was equipped with a stronger Calibre 1863. And so, the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch became Nasa’s official watch and thereby the first watch to land on the moon.

Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch

Rolex Explorer

This watch really set its sights high. As high as 8,848 metres, to be precise. On 29 May 1953, a New Zealander and his Nepalese partner made their way up to the summit of Mount Everest. When they looked at their watches at 11:00 am, they had done it. They were standing right on top and were the first two people to reach the peak of the world’s highest mountain. The watch on their wrists was a leather-bound Rolex Explorer, designed especially for this expedition. Many people thought that the Rolex would be available to purchase afterwards, but it was actually a prototype built specifically by Rolex in 1950 to face the harsh elements. No other watch at the time could withstand such a high altitude combined with the extremely low pressure and temperatures. 


Audemars Piguet Royal Oak

This story begins in 1972 at the Audemars Piguet watch factory when the new director general decided he wanted a wristwatch that was just as suitable for taking a spin in a sports car as it was for an elegant evening out with his wife. Together with Geneva designer Gérald Genta, the first luxury watch made of steel was introduced to the world. With an octagonal bezel, “tapestry” dial and an integrated band, the Royal Oak challenged prevailing norms and took its well-deserved place as a true legend of the modern age. However, it did experience a few start-up difficulties. Its original extremely high price of 3,650 Swiss francs and the large diameter of 38.8 millimetres put buyers off initially. Today, the Royal Oak is by far the most important watch series in Audemars Piguet’s lineup.

Royal Oak front
Royal Oak back

Patek Philippe Nautilus

Patek Philippe also sought assistance from Gérald Genta in the 1970s and found new fame with its Nautilus. The watch brand was known for watches with complications and elegant, slim gold watches. With the Nautilus, it broke new ground and launched the brand’s first sports watch. The bulls’-eye design of the case was based on a ship’s porthole and, with its satiny components and a band of stainless steel, it was a completely new style for Patek Philippe. Today, the company is considered one of the most prestigious watchmakers in Switzerland. With its slogan “You never actually own a Patek Philippe. You merely take care of it for the next generation.”, it has played a major role in the history of Swiss watchmaking.  

Why not try your luck at one of our CPO lounges in Zurich, Geneva, Lucerne and Lugano? Browse through our selection of second-hand watches and let our staff advise you. You just might acquire your very first second-hand luxury watch with a rich history behind it.

Learn more about our CPO Lounges here.