We all have at least one! Among us watch collectors, the term “grail watch” is used to describe the ultimate collection piece – if a collector got it in their hands, they would never sell it. It’s the kind of watch they would pass down through generations.
Most people in the horology community have an (endless) wish list of watches, they would love to acquire, but only the top is defined as “grail timepieces”, which happen to be (most of the time) out of their price range. Over the course of time we add but also remove pieces from that list as taste and preferences changes. A grail watch doesn’t need to be necessarily super expensive, it can also watch collectors have coveted for years for any reason.
Whenever I meet horophiles and we started talking about our passion, some of the most interesting conversations are those of grail watches. There is no formula to the ultimate grail watch. Personally, I look at some criteria like rareness, size, condition, provenance, and even wearability. In this post I would like to share my top 5 grail watches, which I don’t own, but hopefully will one day. It was hard to pick those 5 as there are so many to choose from.
At the end of this article, I will provide you with a template which you can share on your Instagram story or feed so that you can let your followers know about your personal choices. I will then take some of the finest pieces you mention and write an article about YOUR holy grails…so make sure to tag The Collectors Circle on your post so we see what’s on the top of your wish list.
I will start my top 5 grail watches with the Patek Philippe 5270J with a yellow gold case and white dial - it’s my favorite dress watch at the moment. Generally, I am more the type of guy you would see with a sports watch on his wrist even with a suit and tie rather than a dress watch. But I couldn’t resist putting this beauty on my wish list as I believe a man’s collection can only be complete if it includes a dress watch.
As mentioned before, I love wearing sports watches with a suit. At the moment, I am switching between my Rolex Submariner Hulk and my Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 15500 with the blue dial as it fits perfectly with almost every suit in my wardrobe. Although both are jaw-dropping pieces, the grail watch that would match my closet would be the Patek Philippe Nautlius 5711/1P-010. This series was introduced in a very low number (no official limitation but very low) and is different from the anniversary platinum version ref. 5711/1P-001 - as my grail watch comes without the special stamping on the dial to celebrate the 40th anniversary. The 1st series platinum Nautlius without the stamp can easily be mistaken with the steel version of the Nautilus and this is the understatement that I love about the watch.
A man’s collection (in my eyes, at least) is also only complete when it includes at least one gold watch. I know many of our clients and readers are not fans of gold watches but, luckily, we all have our own preferences. My choice would be the Rolex Day Date Anniversary. When the “President” watch turned 60 years old in 2016, Rolex decided to introduce the rose gold Day Date with green dial. This specific model is on my wish list and, who knows, maybe I will be lucky enough to pick it up soon. Stay tuned!
I will stay with Rolex for my fourth pick. People who know me know my love for platinum watches. It’s no wonder that I would go with the Daytona in platinum with ice blue dial and baguette indexes. Just look at this beauty.
Last but, for sure, not least is the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Tourbillon Extra-Thin ref. 26522TI with a blue dial. As a big Audemars Piguet fan, a watch of the Le Brassus brand has to be in my top 5. The tourbillon belongs to my favorite features of a luxury watch and AP did a great job on this one, just look at the smoked blue dial with “Tapisserie Evolutive” pattern.
Again, there is no defined criteria for a grail watch but always remember the wise words of our friend @watch_1505 – one of the most sought-after collectors on Instagram – who keeps saying “Your watch is a way to show our style without having to speak”… so, make sure to pick your watches right!
Photography by the respective brand:
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Tourbillon Extra-Thin 26522TI by www.audemarspiguet.com
Patek Philippe 5270J Chronograph Perpetual Calendar by www.patek.com
Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1P-010 Non Anniversary by www.patek.com
Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Platinum 116506LN Ice Blue Baguette Index by www.rolex.com
Rolex Day-Date 60th Anniversary Edition Rose Gold by www.rolex.com