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From the world’s most emblematic watch complications, to the sturdiest and the most stylish pieces to have entered pop culture, here is our guide of the most iconic time pieces to have donned the wrists of the world’s luckiest few.
\nThis list is compiled with Tariq Malik, a veritable watch connoisseur and Co-founder of Momentum in the DIFC.
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Breguet is known as the best main spring manufacturer among all high-profile watch houses, and the Marine Tourbillon, which ranges from $152,000- $177,000 is a mechanical masterpiece, with hand-wound mechanical movement, balance-spring, lever and escape wheel in silicon. The watch face has a 30 minutes totaliser at 3 o'clock, 12-hour totaliser at 6 o'clock and running seconds on the part-titanium tourbillon carriage at 12 o'clock.
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Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo automatic was the first stainless steel luxury watch designed by the famous Gerald Genta, with the thinnest self-winding movement (Cal. 2120) ever made, and introduced the octagonal design on which most of the company’s models are based on today. The stainless steel model sells for $24,000, while the rose gold edition is sold at $53,000.
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Patek Phillipe Nautilus Jumbo is the most sought after model in the collection and has the highest appreciation. It was first introduced in 1976 as a sports watch to fill a void in the brand’s line-up. The case is water resistant up to 120 metres, but you should think twice before dipping such a valuable watch into the water! Entry level cost of a Nautilus is $25,200, while the grand complications infused version can go up to $48,000.
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Though a relatively young brand, Richard Mille has gained a reputation in the market for their highly complicated movements. The limited edition Richard Mille RM027 released on Rafael Nadal’s 8th victory at the French Open is such an example, with manual winding and skeleton tourbillon movement. It’s made of carbon and weighs just 19 grams. It retailed for as much as $690,000 when the limited 50 pieces where available in the market!
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The Daytona has become the most coveted Rolex sports model and has always had a long waiting list. The Paul Newman Daytona has everyone from serious watch collectors to hedge-funds bidding heatedly at auction houses striving to own it! The classic Daytona in stainless steel starts at $12,500, and the more bling you add the more expensive it gets. The most expensive version in the Middle East currently is the white gold with diamonds which goes for $130,600.
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The original Reverso by Jaeger LeCoultre was an instant classic. Developed in the 1930s for Polo players, it introduced the first double face with a dual time. The back case also served for personalisation. Amelia Earhart had the itinerary of her first flight, from Mexico to New York, engraved on the back of her watch case. The most exclusive range comes in pink gold with a perpetual calendar oin the back and sells for $109,000.
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Introduced in the roaring 20s, the Vacheron Constantin Americaine was a limited edition range of eccentric wristwatches made exclusively for the North American market, reflecting the Art Deco decade. At retail, this timepiece is sold for $36,000, but at an auction in 2005, one of this exclusive timepieces changed hands for $58,300.
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The Glashütte Original Senator Sixties collection has a very distinct aesthetic. In 2013 Glashütte Original introduces the great looking Senator Sixties in an elegant midnight blue color, with two different models available, one with the date on the dial and another without. The limited edition platinum flying tourbillion with perpetual calendar is handcrafted and takes more than 300 hours to produce. This specific top of the line version is sold at $465,000, but the entry level option can be owned for $6,300.
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The LANGE 1 is one of the four timepieces that were first presented after the re-establishment of A. Lange & Söhne in 1994. It features three asymmetric, overlap-free displays. It has become the icon of Saxon watchmaking as defined by A. Lange & Söhne. Prices range from $32,500-$47,000 depending on the precious metal used.
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The IWC Big Pilot 7 Days Power Reserve is a remake of the 1940s pilot watch, containing the largest IWC-manufactured movement ever made. Sold at $18,000, It builds up the energy for over seven days' power reserve in virtually no time. The movement stops after exactly 168 hours, ensuring the same precision throughout the entire time it is actually running. The 46-millimetre stainless-steel case encloses a soft-iron cage that protects the movement against magnetic fields.
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Blancpain Fifty Fathoms is an entire collection of diving watches first made for the French Navy in 1953. It had different interpretations throughout the years, the most recent being at Baselworld 2013, which saw the release of the vintage-inspired Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe and sold for $16,200. It also comes in a rose gold version that features a tourbillion and is priced at $148,600.
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Limited to 88 pieces worldwide, Roger Dubuis Excalibur Skeleton Double Flying Tourbillon is the most emblematic watch complication in existence. It has an exceptional hand-wound RD01SQ mechanical skeleton movement made of 319 parts, beating at a frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour (2 x 3 Hz) for a power reserve of 48 hours. The last available piece of the rose gold edition is now here in Dubai and is sold for $460,000 at the boutique in Emirates Towers, along with the last diamond fully paved incredible piece, which is sold for $625,900.
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The Luminor Submersible 3 Days Power Reserve Automatic Bronzo, a.k.a. PAM 507, was released as part of Panerai's 'Special Editions' collection unveiled at SIHH 2013, a follow up from the Pam 382, the first bronzo. Its most distinguishable feature is the dial which displays the power reserve of three days on an arc-shaped indicator positioned at four o'clock. You are provided with two different straps and the tools needed to change them, one made of leather and the other in rubber for more casual occasions. Only 1000 pieces were produced worldwide and they are currently sold for $10,000.
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Carrera 40th Anniversary Jack Heuer Edition was the first attempt by TAG to tap into its history and successfully bring re-edition models to a new generation of collectors. Named after the famous “La Carrera Panamericana” rally that was held from 1950-54, the original watch was the first Heuer model with its own model name. The 40th anniversary watch was available as a limited edition and was engraved on the back with ‘Carrera 1964 – 2004, 40 years of legend’ and the signature of Jack Heuer. Now the 80th Anniversary edition is sold for $5,150.
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The OMEGA Speedmaster Professional is one of most iconic timepieces, having been a part of all six lunar missions. At the heart of this chronograph is OMEGA’s mechanical calibre 1861, the famous manual-winding movement that was worn on the Moon. It is currently priced at $4,850.
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Inspired by the Renault tanks used in WWI, the Cartier Tank introduced in 1917 had a square case which was considered revolutionary at the time. The watch was an instant classic and donned the wrists of royalty and celebrities alike for the rest of the 20th century, but you can get a hold of one for around $10,000.