Most & Best Iconic Watches of All Time

Written by Paul Morrison
| Last Updated on May 4, 2021

Watches have been around for so long, and the watch world is full of awesome selections. There are already some that have even been made into an icon!

And no, these icons aren’t anything like a pocket watch. We’re talking about actual wrist watches for you. Whether you’re a watch enthusiast or not, we’re sure you might have heard of them.

Today, we’ll review some of the most iconic watches on the market. Most definitely, we’re sure you’ll love each of them!

Keep reading and get to know the best timeless and iconic watches of all time.

Best Overall

Omega speedmaster steel

Omega Speedmaster

Best Value

Breitling Navitimer

Breitling Navitimer 

Best Budget

TAG Heuer Men's 'Monaco' Swiss

Tag Heuer Monaco

Here Are the 9 Best Iconic Watches

  • Omega Speedmaster
  • Breitling Navitimer 
  • Tag Heuer Monaco
  • Audemars Piguet Royal Oak
  • Cartier Santos
  • Jaeger Lecoultre Reverso
  • Patek Philippe Calatrava 
  • Rolex Submariner
  • Rolex Cosmograph

1. Omega Speedmaster Professional Timepiece

Best Overall

Omega speedmaster steel

Of course, this list should open with the best piece of accessory in the world, the Speedmaster Professional timepiece.

For many years, Omega has been the official timekeeper for the Olympics thanks to their accurate timekeeping. And sure enough, Omega is known around the world for its great craftsmanship.

The Speedmaster bears the iconic Calibre 321, which other brands all around the world have drawn inspiration from for their movements. With that said, it’s a great testament to how awesome Omega is.

The earliest versions of the Speedmaster don’t fall too far from the latest versions we have now.

There are several versions of the Speedmaster Professional, and they still bear a close resemblance to the original.

What was once an iconic timepiece for the air force on their space missions, remains to be the same true testament today. The Speedmaster is a beautiful looking timepiece the world is lucky to have.


  • Beautiful black dial and face
  • Made with high-quality and durable materials
  • Very accurate timekeeping
  • Perfect for any style


  • Model: 311.
  • Case Diameter: 42mm
  • Material: Stainless Case and Band; Hesalite Crystal Dial Window;
  • Movement: Manual-winding Chronograph Movement
  • Power Reserve: 48 Hours
  • Water Resistance: 50 meters

2. Breitling Navitimer

Best Value for Money

Breitling Navitimer

The Breitling Navitimer comes first in our mind when we think of a reliable and beautiful accessory. Its looks alone are enough for a watch collector to want it, and we’ll tell you why.

If you look at the face of the Navitimer, you might think a lot is going on. Well, everything you see on it has a purpose especially for those in the aviation industry.

The Navitimer is a chronograph watch that integrates a flight computer. This is why a lot of pilots enjoy using the Navitimer even up to this day. 

So if you’re someone who goes around the world often, the Navitimer makes a great piece of accessory. It makes navigating through the cloud a breeze.


  • One of a kind pilot watches in the world
  • Beautiful color options
  • Features a slide rule bezel
  • Ideal case size


  • Model: Breitling Navitimer 1 Chronograph 41 AB012721-CA05-102X
  • Case Diameter: 41mm
  • Dial Color: Black; Aurora Blue; or Mercury Silver
  • Features: Bidirectional Slide Rule Bezel; Running Seconds on the 9 o’clock mark; Date Display on the 3 o’clock Mark
  • Material: Steel or Steel and Gold Case
  • Movement: In-House Caliber 13 Self-Winding Movement
  • Power Reserve: 48 Hours
  • Water Resistance: 30 meters

3. Tag Heuer Monaco

Best Budget Pick

TAG Heuer Men's 'Monaco' Swiss

The Tag Heuer Monaco is one of the good-looking sports timepieces in the world. It looks unparalleled, which is sure to get heads turning. 

The original version sports a beautiful yellow gold case and complemented by a leather strap, which you might be familiar with.

But now, the face looks very different. Yet we guarantee that both look really well.

Today, Monaco holds the title as the first automatic watch, featuring a very square case and sapphire crystal window.

Now, this iconic timepiece has a certain charm to it, especially to racing enthusiasts. It gained a lot of popularity because of Steve McQueen, who rocked the racing scene wearing this beautiful timepiece.


  • Beautiful square design
  • A timeless piece for car racing enthusiasts
  • High quality and durable tough material
  • Great story behind this timepiece


  • Model: CAW211P.FC6356
  • Case Diameter: 39mm
  • Features: Date Function on 3 6 ‘clock mark; 60 second and 30 minute sub-dials chronograph
  • Material: Stainless Steel Case; Leather Strap; Sapphire Crystal Window
  • Movement: Swiss Automatic Movement Caliber 11
  • Water Resistance: 1000 meters

4. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Timepiece

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak

When it comes to luxury pieces, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak is the one to beat. It’s a luxury watch that can double as a sports watch, making it a highly versatile timepiece.

We all have Gerald Genta to thank for this iconic watch and many more creations.

He’s responsible for other iconic timepieces you might be familiar with, such as the Patek Philippe Nautilus and Universal Geneve Polerouter.

This watch certainly set itself apart because of its material composition. Unlike other luxury timepieces, the Piguet Royal Oak is the first watch from a luxury brand that’s not made of gold.

With that said, this is one of the best watches of all time that doubles as a sports and luxury watch.

Today, the watch remains to be an iconic model. Several brands have even drawn inspiration to the Royal Oak’s unique design. But nothing will ever compare to the octagon bezel, exposed screws, and steel body of the original.


  • Bestseller watch since the 1970s
  • Game changer for watch designs
  • The perfect watch for every occasion
  • Revolutionary design


  • Model: Royal Oak Self-winding
  • Colors: Steel w/ blue dial; Steel w/ grey dial; Steel w/ Black dial; Rose Gold w/ Bracelet; Rose Gold w/ Strap
  • Case Diameter: 41mm
  • Features: Luminous hands and hour markers; Date Function on 3 o ‘clock mark
  • Movement: In-House Caliber 4302
  • Reserved Power: 70 Hours
  • Water Resistance: 50 meters

5. Cartier Santos

Cartier Santos-dumont

The Cartier Santos has become an iconic watch from Cartier, and it’s been a best selling timepiece from them.

For nearly over 100 years, Santos has always been the prize for a lot of watch collectors.

Looking at the timepiece certainly tells us why. It looks highly fashionable and comes with great functionality. We noticed that the Santos looks like a bigger version of the Cartier Tank.

Now, we all have Alberto Santos-Dumont to thank for this incredible watch.

Louis Cartier originally made the watch for him, and the rest is history for the brand. It’s the one watch that sparked a generation of iconic timepieces from Cartier.


  • Designed for the wrist
  • Various colors and build to choose from
  • Familiar square case design
  • Looks perfect regardless of style


  • Model: WSSA0022
  • Case Diameter: 39mm
  • Features: Date Function on 6 o ‘clock mark
  • Material: Polished and Brushed Stainless Steel Case; Sapphire Crystal Dial Side; Steel Bracelet or Leather Strap
  • Movement: In-House Caliber 1847
  • Reserved Power: 42 Hours
  • Water Resistance:

6. Jaeger Lecoultre Reverso

Jaeger Lecoultre Reverso

The Jaeger Lecoultre Reverso caught our attention because of its art deco-inspired design. As its name suggests, Reverso, you can flip the face of this watch. And there’s a pretty interesting and rich story behind this.

Back in the days, men would look for a timepiece fit for a game of polo.

The reversing case protects the dial against any damage that might happen in the game. And from there, the Reverso was born and is now dubbed as one of the best iconic timepieces today.

Safe to say, the Reverso is a watch known to combine functionality, elegance, and design. It’s one of the best watches of all time that you certainly don’t want to miss.


  • Unique reversible dial
  • Comes in beautiful colors and design
  • Simple and modern looking design
  • Comes with great functionality


  • Model: Q3732420
  • Case Diameter: 34mm Small; 40mm Medium; and 45.6 Large
  • Features: Date; Hour; Minute; and Seconds
  • Material: 18K Rose Gold Case; Brown Leather Strap; Sapphire Crystal Dial
  • Movement: Mechanical movement
  • Water Resistance: 30 meters

7. Patek Philippe Calatrava

Patek Philippe Calatrava

Another one of the most iconic watches of all time is the Patek Philippe Calatrava.

It’s a timepiece that will never go out of style, similar to Patek Philippe’s very own perpetual calendar chronograph watch. That said, the Calatrava is one of those mechanical watches you’d want to have.

Now, the Calatrava has a very simple design and functionality. It has your standard markers and a simple date display on the 3 o’clock marker.

It’s unlike the perpetual calendar chronograph, which has a ton of design details and comes with great functionality. Safe to say, these two Patek Philippe timepieces are unique on their own.

The Calatrava is iconic for its minimal design, suitable for any fashion. While the perpetual calendar chronograph is popular for its pretty looks and great functions.


  • Comes from a reliable Swiss brand
  • Simple and elegant design
  • Perfect dress watch for any occasion
  • Crafted with high-quality materials


  • Model: 5196R
  • Case Diameter: 37mm
  • Material: 18k Rose Gold Case; Brown Alligator Leather Strap; Sapphire Crystal Dial Window
  • Function: Small seconds sub-dial above the 6 o’clock mark
  • Movement: Caliber 215 Manual Winding
  • Reserved Power: 44 Hours
  • Water Resistance: 30 meters

8. Rolex Submariner

Rolex Submariner

We can pretty much say that the Submariner has a pretty rich history that stems from the Rolex Oyster in the 1920s.

Through the years, Rolex has committed itself to improve the water-resistance of its timepiece.

And because of their efforts, the Rolex Submariner came to life carrying a rich history.

One of the reasons why the Submariner timepiece became iconic even after so many years is because of the movie James Bond.

The Submariner has been a consistent timepiece in the movie, making it an iconic fashion statement along with the movie.


  • Comes from a reliable watch brand
  • A rich story in the making
  • Perfect dive watch
  • Offers great water resistance


  • Model: 116610LN
  • Case Diameter: 40mm
  • Features: Luminous hands and hour markers; Date Function on 3 o ‘clock mark
  • Movement: Self-winding Automatic Chronometer
  • Water Resistance: 300 meters

9. Rolex Cosmograph

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona

When we talk of history, the Cosmograph offers the richest story of them all. And when we say rich, we mean the price it comes with.

The Cosmograph (also known as the Paul Newman Daytona) is a masterpiece every watch enthusiast should never pass on.

Believe it or not, the Cosmograph was auctioned for $17.8 million in 2017. That’s the highest amount ever bid for a watch, surpassing the perpetual calendar chronograph of Patek Philippe.

Today, the Cosmograph has evolved to many variations. Nonetheless, each timepiece carries with it the craftsmanship of making a Rolex.

Each piece preserves the great functionality and design of the original Cosmograph for you to enjoy.


  • Comes with a warranty
  • High-end luxury timepiece
  • Stands as the highest bidding timepiece to date
  • Great functionality


  • Model: 116500
  • Case Diameter: 40mm
  • Features: Three sub-dials: 60 seconds, 30 minutes, and 12 hours;
  • Material: Stainless Steel Case and Band; Scratch Resistant Sapphire Crystal;
  • Movement: Rolex Calibre 4130 automatic movement
  • Reserved Power: 70 Hours
  • Water Resistance: 100 meters


We hope you enjoyed our review of the best watches of all time. We made sure to list only the best that you deserve, whether you’re looking for quartz watches, dress watches, and many more.

With many styles and brands to choose from, you won’t have a hard time making a decision.

That’s a wrap for this review! The watch world sure is full of awesome iconic timepieces you need to get your hands on.

Don’t forget to leave a comment below on what you think about this list. Which watch did you enjoy? We’d love to hear from you!


Omega Speedmaster


Omega speedmaster steel


What Makes an Iconic Watch?

Iconic watches bear a lot of stories. They’re timeless pieces coming from different brands, which every enthusiast would be happy to have.

But many factors make a watch iconic. What exactly are those factors? Keep reading to find out more.


Whether you’re new to the world of watches or not, we’re sure you’re familiar with the luxury watch brands. They have some of the best selection, although it comes at a big price point.

These brands, since the moment of their birth and up to now build their legacy by crafting only the best timepieces. Sometimes, these watches become so rare because there are only a few pieces left from the line.

And because it’s so rare, a lot of people put a premium on this one watch. But of course, it’s not just any other watch. Iconic watches always carry with them great style, design, and function.


Like we’ve said before, iconic watches offer a very rich history. And it could be for very diverse reasons.

Some have become iconic for being unique back in the days. And often, these types of watches have paved the way for creating similar timepieces that new brands hope to meet.

There are even some watches which make it to the history for being the first of each kind.

Take the Omega Speedmaster for example, which is the first watch on the moon. Another great example is the Rolex Submariner, which has been an icon along with the James Bond franchise.

Is an Iconic Watch Expensive?

Iconic watches don’t have to be expensive. Take the Casio G Shock for example!

It’s been around for ages, and both form and design have evolved greatly! Regardless of your budget, you’re sure to have an iconic watch to wear.

About Paul Morrison

For years I’ve been buying and selling watches as a hobby, which led me to the decision of starting Watch for Tomorrow. I write a lot of the content, and I enjoy doing it. The most important aspect for me is the guidance of buying watches as well as avoiding bad ones. There are many bad watches out there, that are just too expensive. Hopefully, I can help you find your dream watch!