Brand recognition, exclusivity, unique horological complication, history, and association with any significant happening or wearer, all plays an important role in ensuring the timepiece’s status as iconic. Boasting timeless looks and function that could last for decades, the timepieces that impressively stands the test of time, withstand all odds, are actually recognized as true classics. Here, we have compiled a list of some iconic luxury watches launched in 2012 that stands apart for one or the other reason, and includes examples like the Richard Mille’s world’s lightest mechanical watch used by Rafael Nadal, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s 101 jewelry watch whose history goes back to 1929, the Zenith’s El Primero Stratos Flyback Striking 10th chronograph which broke the speed of sound ‘Mach 1.1’ in a near space environment with Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner, the Omega Seamaster ”Skyfall” Limited Edition watch which marks its 7th performance in a supporting role in a Bond film, the TAG Heuer MikrotourbillonS wristwatch which comes equipped with two tourbillions, and the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Apollo XVII limited edition watch which features ‘Caliber 1861’ manually wound chronograph movement that was in the watches that actually went on the moon back in 1972, to name a few.Richard Mille RM027 Rafael Nadal Watch “world's lightest mechanical watch”
Price: Over $500,000
Billed as the world's lightest mechanical watch, the Richard Mille RM027 is truly a winning high-performance watch that goes into the battle, gracing the wrist of ‘The King of Clay’ Rafael Nadal. Built to withstand high-shocks loads in high-energy sporting events, this light-weight, enigmatic, and highly sophisticated tourbillion have the escapement and balance wheel in a rotating cage to negate the effect of gravity. With a see-through dial and watch caseback, one can view the inner mechanisms.Jaeger-LeCoultre’s 101 jewelry watch for Queen Elizabeth II
This one-off version of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s iconic 101 jewelry watch was presented to Queen Elizabeth on her 60th year of reign. Notably, Her Majesty wore the same piece at the time of coronation. Featuring the smallest mechanical movement "Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 101," this jewel-watch is made up of 98 tiny parts weighing around one gram each. Notably, the 101 watch was born in Jaegar-LeCoultre workshops back in 1929.
Jaeger-LeCoultre’s master craftsmen and artisans blends age old watch making techniques with latest breakthroughs to create this spectacular piece that has found lace in record books as one of the most expensive watches.
Yohan Blake Richard Mille Tourbillon
Expected Price: $500,000
Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake who defeated the planet’s fastest man and the #1 attraction of the London Olympics Usain Bolt, was the only sprinter to run the much-hyped 100 meter dash at the London Olympic final with an ultra-lightweight custom Richard Mille tourbillion on his wrist, thus becoming the watchmaker’s new brand ambassador. Boasting the Jamaican colorway of black, green and yellow, the wristwatch which is reportedly worth $500,000, is not yet available for sale.
Felix Baumgartner Skydives From Space Wearing Zenith Stratos Watch
Known to be the first ever timekeeper to break the speed of sound ‘Mach 1.1’ in a near space environment with Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner, the El Primero Stratos Flyback Striking 10th chronograph impressively proves the reliability of Swiss luxury manufacture Zenith’s watches in extreme conditions. Housed in a 45.5 mm stainless steel case which comes outfitted with a commemorative caseback displaying the Baungartner’s daring motto ‘Learn to love what you have been taught to fear’, the watch comes equipped with the world’s most accurate automatic chronograph movement. Notably, the watch’s markers and hands are inlaid with Super-Luminova to ensure legibility even in darkest conditions.
Omega Seamaster ”Skyfall” Limited Edition watch
Availability: Limited to 5,007 pieces
Associated with the James Bond movies since 1995, the Swiss luxury watchmaker Omega celebrated its 7th performance in a supporting role in a Bond film by launching the exclusive Seamaster planet Ocean 600M ‘SKYFALL’ Limited Edition. Designed to be ready for underwater adventure for up to 600 meters/60 bar, this timekeeper comes equipped with a uni-directional rotating diving bezel, which is further distinguished by its matt-black ceramic ring with a helium escape value and chromium nitride diving scale. It also sports a polished and brushed 42mm stainless steel case and a patented and matching screw-and-pin bracelet whose drivers’ clasp is embellished with iconic code number ‘007’. At the 7o’clock position is a 007 logo and at 3o’clock, there is a date window.
Powered by Omega’s exclusive new Co-Axial caliber 8507, this watch which will be delivered in a special presentation box also sports SKYFALL 007 on its rotor in black-varnished engraving. Also, its movement is visible through sapphire crystal in the neatly brushed screw-in caseback.
TAG Heuer MikrotourbillonS wristwatch
Equipped with two tourbillions escapements, one for timekeeping and other for the chronograph, the MikrotourbillonS wristwatch is TAG Heuer’s most most ambitious luxury chronograph t date, and is yet another impressive development of the brand's ‘Mikro’ platform that actually powers the wide range of chronographs with ultra-high frequency.
This conventional watch sports a 45mm Carrera case finished in Rose Gold, and a black metal called Tantalum adds a perfect contrast to the Rose Gold finish. The watch sports a dial divided into two halves; the left is dedicated to the two tourbillions, and the right side houses the sub-dials and power reserve.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Michael Schumacher Limited Edition Watches
Price: $42,500 for ref. 26568IM watch, $110,000 for ref. 26568PM, and $75,000 for ref. 26568OM.
Availability: Limited to 1,600 examples
The greatest F1 race driver of all time who has won record 7 world championships, Michael Schumacher has been involved himself in the creation of the three Royal Oak Offshore Michael Schumacher Limited Edition Watches. Especially engineered by the Swiss watchmaker to the exacting standards of this F1 racer, the watches comes with self-winding chronograph with date display and small seconds at 12 o’clock, along with a choice of special titanium case, 18-carat pink gold case, and 950 platinum case, and Cermet bezel.
Notably, the dial boasts seven stars in blue and red, representing Michael Schumacher’s 7 world championship title wins.
Burberry’s ‘The Britain’ Watches inspired by its Iconic Trench Coat
Described to be the embodiment of Burberry’s rich heritage and all inspirations, the automatic timepieces ‘The Britain’ impressively marks the fashion brand’s first venture into the luxury watch market. These exclusive-new watches boasts rounded octagonal shape with distinctive bolts entirely inspired by the classic Burberry trench coat's D-ring closure, while its functional design combines with careful engineering to create elegant timeless watches. And, the Swiss made Soprod 9040 self-winding mechanical movement gets further magnified with its transparent case back with sapphire crystal. Notably, the hands feature custom designed trench colored Super Luminova.
Louis Vuitton Tambour Monogram Tourbillon
Described to be an exclusive work of art where both the technical and precious aspects overlap with a clockwork precision, the Tambour Monogram Tourbillon actually shows the impressive horological skills of the French fashion house Louis Vuitton. Both strong and to the point, the watch which is the first tourbillon from Louis Vuitton, boasts hands hollowed out from solid gold, and the wheels and the tourbillion carriage inspired by the rounded petals found on the antique trunks. Fitted with an exotic stingray strip, the 41mm skeleton case of the timepiece comprises of an 18k white, yellow and pink gold.
The hour-marker around the polished case impressively spell out 12 letters of the brand ‘L O U I S V U I T T O N’, engraved in gold.
Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Apollo XVII Limited Edition
Availability: 1,972 pieces
The 2012 Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Apollo XVII limited edition watch impressively celebrates the 40th anniversary of the 1972 moon landing mission, in which the brand ambassador of Omega Eugene Cernan was the commander of Apollo 17, being the 11th person to walk on the Moon and ‘the last man on the Moon. Billed to be unique among the limited edition Moonwatchs, the watch’s entire Speedmaster dial has been replaced with a sterling silver engraving of the Apollo XVII mission patch. Despite this exclusive dial, the watch will have a caseback for each of the pieces. The watch is being powered with the same Omega caliber 1861 manually wound chronograph movement that was in the watches that actually went on the moon.Breitling Navitimer Cosmonaute limited edition
Breitling’s limited edition Navitimer Cosmonaute actually marks the 50th proud anniversary of the historical first space going wristwatch chronograph ‘Navitimer Cosmonaute’, which became the first ever wrist instrument to share in the conquest of space by accompanying the Aurora 7 flight that orbited the earth on 24th May 1962.
Equipped with the high-performance Manufacture Breitling movement Caliber 02, the Navitimer Cosmonaute is distinguished by its 24-hour display serving to distinguish day from night, its manualwinding mode, and two nods to the original 1962 chronograph, along with the Aurora 7 mission insignia engraved on the caseback that also carries a Celcius/Fahrenheit conversion scale.
The watch features a black dial with silver counters, with the dial motif created using the refined ‘par epargne’ process on a sterling silver base and offers over 70-hour of power reserve.