Stainless steel watches are supposed to be the cheaper, thus more accessible versions of precious metal originals. Cut away the complications and the price tags become even less intimidating. But there are legendary exceptions, namely Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak and Patek Philippe’s Nautilus. These are so popular that you’d be hard-pressed to find any stock in boutiques, and their prices in the secondhand market often far surpass the original retail price. The Nautilus Ref. 5711/1A is even said to have a waiting list of up to eight years.
Material worth and function clearly aren’t the draw here, so their pull is derived largely from rarity and incredible design. Throw in an integrated bracelet and a sports watch instantly becomes chic enough for formal wear, so the versatility is an added bonus. Even brands that are better known for their dress watches have started to pick up on this trend. Vacheron Constantin and Girard-Perregaux have brought back their Overseas and Laureato collections respectively and this year sees the return of Chopard’s St. Moritz in the form of the Alpine Eagle, as well as Bell & Ross’s entirely new BR05.
Even without the investment potential, we recommend these full-metal tickers because they successfully straddle the worlds of sport and elegance, and are usually engineered for utmost comfort to boot. Here are the ones to put on your shopping list – if you can.