Rolex Cosmograph Daytona
With Paul Newman's personal Rolex Daytona fetching a record $23 million at auction this year, who could argue about the power of having its descendant on your wrist? For 2017 the 40mm Daytona comes attired in gold topped with a black scratch-proof Cerachrom bezel and matching bracelet, while under the skin the movement carries Superlative Chronometer certification. Priced in the $35,000 range, you could have 657 of them for the price of the used one.
Honourable mention: The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, any AP Royal Oak, the other steel sports watch that's stood the test of time.
Bell & Ross Garde-Cotes
Why wear drab seven days a week? A touch of orange does wonders for the wrist and the Bell & Ross Garde-Cotes (coast-gard inspired) uses touches of it on the hands and perimeter where it contrasts nicely with a cool grey dial. Spanning 41mm there are chrono and three-hand time-only versions, both water resistant to 100 meters.
Honourable mention: Omega's Speedmaster Racing Co-Axial Master Chronograph, another orange accented beauty celebrating the brand's 60th anniversary this year.
Ulysse Nardin Diver Le Locle
Inspired by a 1964 model this limited edition diver combines vintage looks with modern technology thanks to a self-winding in-house movement incorporating silicium technology, highly legible Super Luminova indexes, and 100 metre water-resistance. It's the handsome option to Blancpain's hard-to-get Mil-Spec Tribute to Fifty Fathoms diver, another modernised veteran.
Honourable mention: the Breitling Superocean Heritage ll, a model first seen in 1957, now sleeker than ever and good for 200 metres – more than enough for that dip.
Dressed to kill
Bulgari Octo Finissimo Ultra Thin Automatic
Not only ultra-thin, but at 5.15mm the thinnest self-winding watch out there, and so light thanks to sculpted titanium construction that you hardly know you're wearing it. A platinum micro-rotor helps keeps thing trim, but it's the stealth-grey appearance that makes it the under-the-cuff winner in the elegance stakes – by a fat margin.
Honourable mention: the Panerai Due, the new slimmed down Luminor that delivers that Panerai look without the lard.
Cartier Tank Louis Cartier
It's hard to get more classic than a model that's been around for 100 years and graced the wrists of luminaries – and louches – since 1917. Warhol, Bogart, Mick Jagger, the list goes on and why not? The straight-sided Tank is effortlessly elegant whether in Tank Americaine guise or the new Louis Cartier model on alligator strap here.
Honourable mention: Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso, the other iconic rectangular master of time.
Longines Avigation Big Eye
In a year of a thousand re-runs this Longines pilot's watch nails it with a 41mm case, semi-gloss black dial, highly legible markers and self-winding column-wheel mechanism. Provenance? It's based on a recently acquired 1930's model Longines snapped up for their museum.
Honourable mention: IWC Pilot's Watch Tribute to Mark Xl, the newest limited version of the best known pilot's watch marries retro looks, modern internals.
Hublot Big Bang Unico GMT Carbon
You want to make a statement, well here's your watch. 45mm carbon-fibre case, in-house 358-part movement that switches from one timezone to another at the push of one of those rectangular buttons, 72-hour power reserve – we could go on but the real button it presses is the one labelled 'look at me.'
Honourable mention: Franck Muller Vanguard Skeleton 7 days Power Reserve, because it's larger than life and less than a Richard Mille.
Breguet Tradition Dame
After indulging yourself with fancy wrist-wear what better way to pacify your partner than a watch even you can admire. Breguet have taken their cog-baring Tradition model and given it a feminine makeover to die for, down to its gold case, diamond dusting and delicate decoration.
Honorable mention: Tag Heuer Autavia, because she might find it too big and let you wear it. Might…
Check out the gallery above to see the top eight timepieces you should have on your wrist by now.