Watch review: Four classic wristwatches that will stand the test of time and match any style

Timothy Barber
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Break out the baggy white Armani suit, yellow gold is back and there's nothing you or I can do to stop it.

Ties are just so very 2014, aren’t they? Right now, dressing down is the new suited up to the nines, which you’d think would make life easier. Inevitably, though, the opposite is the case: looking effortlessly relaxed requires considerable effort, and details are everything. That’s where a classic wristwatch comes to the rescue – designs that stand the test of time will bend with ease to the style of the moment, and give you an anchor that’s constantly classy. These four examples are among the very best.

Vacheron Overseas Ultra-Thin

The Overseas is ostensibly Vacheron Constantin’s travel watch (hence the name). That means it works in a roll-neck as well as a shirt and tie – a relaxed and faintly leisurely watch, but one that’s nevertheless designed and constructed with all the craft of a Rolls Royce. This new version is slim, understated (no date, no seconds hand, grey dial), while still ineffably luxurious. The best thing about it? It comes with three interchangeable strap and bracelet options, meaning you can adapt it to your outfit as you please.

IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII

Lots of watch firms have pilot’s watches, IWC has the pilot’s watch: one with both the history and the style to define a genre. IWC’s succession of crisply beautiful “Mark” watches are based on one it supplied to the RAF from the 1950s to the 1980s (the Mark XI), and reach their eighth iteration this year. Though white markings on black is the classic style, this silver dial version offers a dapper twist on a quintessential look.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Duoface

Pop fact: those engraved lines that run across the top and bottom of a Reverso are called "gadroons", a term otherwise unused in horology. You know you have a classic when it comes with its own terminology, but more importantly Jaeger-LeCoultre’s rectangular, Art Deco beauty has an ingenious idea that remains entirely its own: the watch that flips over, either to protect the dial or – as in this suave new example – to display a second time zone.

Baume & Mercier Clifton 10100

The company founded as “Frères Baume” in 1830 by brothers Louis-Victor and Célestin makes a host of timepieces that span the divide between smart and casual. Indeed, the Clifton is designed to “meet all possible requirements in any part of the world” – and it does so with a quiet verve. This 10100 model has a sleek black dial with a second display at the 6 o’clock and date at 3 o’clock.


Watch Focus,
Speed, motorsports, endurance, precision – the world of the chronograph is a fun one, and Harrods is dedicating itself to it in March with a month-long exhibition. Expect to see some of the finest and most exclusive examples in the world, from Rolex’s legendary Daytona (ultra-rare platinum edition, pictured) to A Lange & Sohne’s Datograph and a whole host in between, in the Fine Watch Room on the ground floor. This is a watch and motorsports geek’s dream – don’t miss out.

Hey, Gold Timer...
Remember yellow gold watches? If you liked Miami Vice or hung around the Marbella Club in the 1980s, then maybe – but in the modern era, coloured gold has been resolutely of the more cultured, pink variety. Enough, says Audemars Piguet, which is this year launching yellow gold versions across its Royal Oak collection. Time to roll up the sleeves on that baggy white Armani suit…

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