If you’re about to drop a few thousand dollars on a new mechanical timepiece, you might want to know what everyone else is wearing first. Whether you want to follow the crowd or stand out from the pack, it’s important to know what’s on trend and what’s unique. So, we’ve rounded up the 10 most popular luxury watches in the United States. It’s dominated by names like Rolex and Omega, but there are also a couple “entry-level” watches for those looking to spend less than $1,000. This list is in alphabetical order, and focuses on new (not vintage) watches.
Whether walking down Wall Street, Michigan Avenue or Rodeo Drive, these are the luxury watches you’re most likely to spot
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak
Gerald Genta’s classic design from 1972 never goes out of style. The distinctive sporty and stainless steel look ushered in a new era of watch-making, an era that is still dominated by the Royal Oak and its younger brethren, the Offshore.
Audemars Piguet ($17,800)
Hamilton Khaki Field
Hamilton’s Khaki Field collection has something for everyone. The entire collection is made of military-inspired field watches, ranging from the hand-winding reference above to automatic chronographs that clock in at nearly 4 times the price. Regardless of which model you decide on, the Khaki Field collection is an ideal choice for those looking for a bit of Swiss watch making packed inside a classically styled American design.
Hamilton Khaki Field ($425 and up)
The Omega Seamaster 300 is about as classic as a dive watch gets. I mean, who doesn’t want to wear James Bond’s watch? And, at a fraction of the price of a certain dive watch a few clicks down, it’s a bargain. The blue wave pattern on the dial and matching ceramic blue bezel make the watch endlessly interesting, and you’ll surely find your eyes wandering back to it during your daily desk diving.
Omega Seamaster ($3,800)
Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch
If the Omega Seamaster is as classic as a dive watch gets, the Speedmaster is as classic as a watch gets, full stop. A part of all of NASA’s space missions, the Speedmaster has lived on as one of the most iconic watches in the world. Picking up a piece of watchmaking history is a great way to make a statement with your first watch purchase.
Omega Speedmaster Professional ($5,150)
Love it or hate it, the Panerai Radiomir (and its crown-guarded cousin, the Luminor) has endured as a horological favorite, especially among i-banker babies looking to spend their first bonus. The 45mm cushioned case begs for attention on the wrist, so make sure you’ve got the fortitude to handle it. Oficine Panerai has a well-known history of supplying watches for the Italian frogmen (Italian Royal Navy), beginning in World War II.
Panerai Radiomir ($4,000)
Perhaps the quintessential Rolex, it’s hard to go wrong with a Datejust. The distinctive fluted bezel and variety of size and color combinations make it a grail watch for men and women the world over. Pictured above in two-tone Oystersteel (Rolex’s special, durable steel) and yellow gold; if you’re going to get a Rolex, get a Rolex.
Rolex Datejust (starting at $6,000)
While the Datejust is the Rolex, the Submariner is the steel sports Rolex. And for a brand that’s come to be defined by its range of steel sports models, that’s high praise (sure, the Daytona is more desirable, but you won’t see those walking through the streets every day). It’s perhaps the most counterfeit and most homaged-to watch in the world, but there’s nothing like wearing the real deal. First released in 1953 as a legitimate tool watch for divers, the Sub finished its transition to fashion market accessory in the 1960s when Rolex added a date to the dial (above). For a cleaner dial harkening back to the watch’s origins, opt for the no-date Reference 114060.
Rolex Submariner (starting at $7,500)
Tag Heuer Carrera
For those with a soft spot for car racing, Tag Heuer is the touchstone. Created by Jack Heuer himself in 1963, the Carrera line defines Tag Heuer’s classic-yet-contemporary ethos better than any other collection, as the first chronograph specifically designed with drivers in mind. With over 20 models in the collection, there’s something for everyone, but none is more robust in complications than the Calibre 01 (above).
Tag Heuer Carrera (starting at $4,100)
Tissot Heritage Visodate
Back in the 1950s, Tissot first released a watch with a date function in an automatic caliber, and the modern Heritage Visodate seeks to recall the simple elegance of that original timepiece. A dress watch that also goes with jeans and a t-shirt, the Heritage Visodate is one of the most accessibly priced pieces of true Swiss watchmaking (Tissot is owned by Swiss mega-firm Swatch Group).
Tissot Heritage Visodate Automatic ($650)
Tudor Black Bay
First released in 2012 and steadily expanding since, Tudor’s Black Bay collection of watches has become synonymous with the brand, helping them break away from the “Rolex’s sister brand” moniker once and for all. With the Black Bay, Tudor has created an identity of its own, defined by a classic-yet-quirky aesthetic. The Black Bay 58 is the fullest expression of this, with its classically styled divers’ watch case and distinct snowflake hands.
Tudor Watches ($3,250)
Methodology: This top 10 was arrived at by surveying a number of watch-selling websites for their most popular models and using Google Trends to discover the most searched-for models.