5 of the best Art Deco watches 5 of the best Art Deco watches

5 of the best Art Deco watches

Buffy Acacia

The 1920s and ‘30s were an exceptionally important period in the history of watchmaking, as the First World War brought wristwatches into widespread popularity for the first time. It stands to reason that the watches reflected the art around them, and so early examples adopted the precise and exuberant style of Art Deco. Today, Art Deco’s influence can still be felt in both watches which survived the test of time, and new ones which pay tribute. Here are 5 of the best Art Deco watches.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Monoface Small Seconds

Jeager LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Small Seconds Red

First released in 1931, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso could be considered the quintessential Art Deco watch. While its iconic flipping mechanism was originally devised to protect the crystal during polo games, it’s become one of the ultimate dress watches of modern times thanks to its clean lines, beautiful proportions and simple elegance. The Reverso Tribute Monoface Small Seconds has evolved significantly from the 1931 original, but the sumptuous dial colours, dauphine hands and the small seconds subdial all contribute to its timeless aesthetic. Price: A$17,000

Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921

Vacheron Constantin American 1921

The cushion case may had a big comeback in the 1970s, but it was the 1920s when cushion-cased wristwatches were at their peak of sophistication. Based on a reference from 1921 and reissued to celebrate its 100th anniversary, the Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921 is instantly captivating. The 45° tilt of the dial originated for the drivers of the day, traditionally worn under the wrist so that you could glance at the time without straining your neck or awkwardly lifting your arm. Admittedly it’s not really a problem which needed a solution, but the result is so gorgeous it’s impossible to complain. Price: A$67,500 (40mm, 18k gold)

Longines Heritage Classic “Tuxedo Chronograph”

Longines Heritage Tuxedo Chronograph

Based on the 13ZN-calibre flyback chronographs of the 1940s, the Longines Heritage Classic “Tuxedo Chronograph” brings its Art Deco influence into the 21st century. The black and white sector dial glows with its touches of blued hands and a blue tachymeter, plus the 40mm case diameter has been enlarged for modern tastes. The slightly off-white tone enhances the dial’s sense of age, as does the soft, matte texture and the concentric guilloché within the chronograph counters. You can also feel its antique presence in the case design, especially with the stepped bezel. Price: A$5,575

Cartier Tank Américaine

Cartier Tank Americane

Although the original Cartier Tank predates Art Deco having been unveiled in 1917, the Tank variant which most represents the Art Deco style only came about in 1989. Elongating the case created a refined, slender profile that echoes the rectangular motifs of Art Deco well, and the ovate rendition of the Roman numerals contributes to this effect further. There are many references that vary in types of movement, size, and case material with or without diamonds, but all are equally elegant. If you’re interested in something even more luxurious, take a look at the Cartier Les Rééditions Tank Cintrée Platinum. Price: A$8,250 (medium 22.6mm, stainless steel)

Hamilton American Classic Boulton Quartz

Hamilton American Classic Boulton Quartz

The Boulton Quartz, from the Hamilton American Classic collection, recently featured on the silver screen in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, but while it’s not one of the mechanical versions that Hamilton also makes currently, it’s actually the most faithful recreation of the original watch from 1941. The gold PVD-coated steel case offers an affordable way to get a decadent taste of Art Deco, as do the 27mm x 31.6mm case dimensions. The typeface of the Arabic numerals is unique, typifying the eccentricity that vintage dials had, and distinguishing the Boulton as something from a bygone era. Price: A$1,200