Any watch enthusiast worth his salt would know this slogan by heart: “A Patek Phillippe watch will never really be yours. You merely look after it for the next generation.” Legacy, dynasty, and heritage. The three make an alluring case for an enduring heirloom watch that teaches responsibility to your lineages. A luxury timepiece is, after all, meant to be cherished, and well-cared for, as it travels between hands of different generations. Ahead, we picked five modern heirloom watches for the millennial man, with a mix of updated classics and recently launched award winners.
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Watch collectors old and young stand by the Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5711/1A. It made its debut in 2006, as a 30th anniversary edition of the first Nautilus (the Ref 3700). While it’s spoken of as the perfect everyday timepiece, it’a also regarded as the world’s most sought after steel sports watch — so much so that fervent potential buyers are willing to be put on years-long waitlist. It sports an octagonal-shaped bezel, that surrounds a horizontally embossed dial. In a 40mm casing, a sapphire crystal back reveals a Caliber 26-330 SC. Embodying its nautical spirit, an update to the model has introduced innovations such as better water resistance.
While this Bvlgari record breaker might be a newer model, it has already created a historic legacy for generations to come. The multi-award winner is the world’s slimmest self-winding watch, and is proof of the maison’s savoire faire and technical capacity. It has the thinnest chronograph ever at just 6.9mm, and sports a movement, the BVL 318 calibre, with a record of 3.3mm. Stylish and modern in appearance, it seamlessly fuses a chronograph and a GMT function.
You can’t think of horological icons without thinking of the Rolex Oyster Perpetual. The original version of the timepiece was first created in 1926, and quickly shot to fame when it emerged fully functioning after female swimmer Mercedes Gleitze swam across the English Channel with it hanging off her neck. In 1931, the Perpetual rotor, a self-winding mechanism with free rotor, was born and the combination of two birthed the famed timepiece. Timeless in form and function, the Oyster case is an emblem of its waterproofness. It can reach up to a depth of 100 metres and sports a corrosion-resistant Oystersteel, that belongs to the same family used in the aerospace and chemical industries.
The Constellation Gents is one of the oldest collection among the Omega stalwarts, having been created in 1952. But it was the 1982 release that cemented its look and reputation of today, with the famed four claws on the side of the case. Now into its fifth generation, its latest update sees 26 new 39mm models, all of which have been bumped up to Master Chronometer status, resulting in the highest certification for precision, performance, and magnetic resistance. Other new updates include slimmer bezels, slimmer claws that wrap around the case, and redesigned hands and hour markers that are inspired by the triangular facets of New York’s Freedom Tower.
Heritage and horology exist in a beautiful duet with the new NOMOS Glashutte Tetra, which is an ode to Beethoven’s 250th birthday. Four models make up the line, with each named after an iconic Beethoven track: Copper for Tetra Götterfunken (Divine Spark), olive green for Tetra Ode an die Freude (Ode to Joy), turquoise for Tetra Unsterbliche Geliebte (Immortal Beloved), and dark blue for Tetra Fidelio. The award-winning timepiece is powered by its superior mechanical movement: The Alpha, that only needs to be wound every two days, seen through its sapphire glass back. For piano-playing father and son duos, this makes a thoughtful heirloom.