There’s no doubt that a steel watch looks great on any wrist. Through the years, there have been some outstanding steel watches that combine eye-catching looks with functionality and durability. The following list includes eight of the most iconic steel watches ever made, and why they occupy a special place in history.
8 of the Most Iconic Steel Watches
Almost every Rolex watch is an iconic watch, but the Rolex Daytona is particularly iconic. Why? Because it was Paul Newman’s choice. He loved it so much that he wore it from 1972 until the day he died in 2008.
This watch was first released in 1963, and it’s closely related to the automotive industry. In fact, some people describe it as the drivers’ watch, as it’s a sports chronograph that can withstand all the rigors of life in the fast lane. There’s no doubt this is one of the most iconic steel watches ever made.
This is another iconic steel watch with a very famous fan by the name of Bond, James Bond. Ever since 1995, Britain’s most famous secret agent has worn an Omega Seamaster on his wrist. This is an iconic watch that’s fit for an icon.
The Submariner is another iconic steel watch made by Rolex. This sports watch was first introduced back in 1953. Since then, it’s found itself on the wrists of countless professional divers, as well as high-profile businesspeople. It offers a wonderful combination of stunning looks and high-level functionality, including water resistance down to 300m. This classy watch epitomizes all that’s stylish about Rolex. Few watches have the same understated, yet eye-catching looks of a Rolex Submariner.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak
This watch, designed by Gerald Genta, is universally recognized as the very first luxury steel watch ever put on the market. Quite clearly, this is an iconic watch. It’s also one of Audemars Piguet’s most popular watches, despite the eye-watering price tag. Then again, this isn’t just a watch you’re buying.
It’s more than a watch. It’s a statement. But don’t be mistaken, this is not a piece of flimsy jewelry made to be looked at. The new version of the Royal Oak has a tough, 42mm case that can withstand the most rugged and robust damage.
This watch has had its fair share of famous fans through the years too. One icon who adored the Royal Oak was Alain Delon, whose personal watch was sold at auction after his death.
IWC Ingenieur SL
This is another of Genta’s designs. Initially, it was meant to be part of a series of steel watches that Genta designed for IWC. But in the end, it was only the Ingenieur that made it to the market, which means this watch is a true one-off. The Ingenieur is stunning, thanks to the tonneau-shaped case and the lovely integrated steel bracelet.
One of the biggest innovations this watch exemplified was the 40mm case. This was much bigger than you’d find on many other watches of the day. Now, of course, it isn’t such a rare sight to see a 40mm case, and, when you do, then remember that it was the IWC Ingenieur SL that set the trend for larger cases.
Patek Phillipe Nautilus 3700
Patek Phillipe is renowned for its beautiful, luxury watches. The Nautilus – first launched in 1976 – represents everything great about Patek Phillipe. This is another Genta design, and it’s another icon too. As the name suggests, there’s a nautical inspiration to the design of this legendary, iconic steel watch. Genta had the idea to create a watch that resembled the portholes found on ships.
Many other models have followed the original Nautilus in the same line. It’s now possible to purchase a Patek Phillipe Nautilus for women too. But it’s the original Nautilus 3700 that is still the most iconic, with its jumbo 42mm case that is only 7.2mm thick. When it was released, many were shocked by the price. Few steel watches were sold for such a high price tag at the time. Since then, luxury steel watches have become increasingly popular – the original price tag was a steal for this steel watch.
Santos de Cartier
The original Santos watch from Cartier was one of the very first wristwatches ever created. It was made after the pilot Alberto Santos Dumont asked Louis Cartier to design a watch that he could use to tell the time while he was in the air.
The watch that Cartier created firmly established itself as an iconic timepiece. In fact, this is not just one of the most famous steel watches of all time, but simply one of the most famous watches of all time.
This incredibly elegant watch is still available today, with Cartier selling it in a few different lines. It epitomizes class and is the choice of many discerning people around the world.
Breitling Transocean Chronograph
This gorgeous steel on steel watch from Breitling is one of the newest on the list. Some might say that it’s too soon to call this an iconic steel watch, but all the signs that this is a modern classic are there already. It has a lovely, thick 43mm case that has a lovely black dial.
This watch proves that simplicity is the key to good looks, and the understated bezel is a feature that truly enhances its aesthetics. It also offers water resistance up to 100m, making it a highly functional watch too. The original Breitling Transocean was made back in the 1950s, and this is a worthy relative to its namesake.