Editor’s note: Heritage is no longer a thing of the past — it’s here to stay. Retro-inspired watches are no longer just a little something extra tacked onto a product category, they’re an increasingly important, mainstream part of the product offering. It’s also a design trope that’s become increasingly diverse, incorporating near 1:1 reissues, all the way down to thoroughly modern offerings with a vintage twist. Last year, we rounded up 10 of the best watches that looked to the past. And now, as we’re thinking about this year’s crop of reissues, we thought it was a good time to revisit the list …
Cartier Tank Américaine
When it comes to heritage, it’s hard to beat Cartier’s venerable Tank, which celebrates its centenary this year. But having said that, the version we particularly liked this year is a little younger, from 1989. The Américaine is a more modern design, and now it comes in steel! RRP $8050
We know the Railmaster had to make this list, but the only question is — which one? Do you go for the super legit, super limited reissue of the 1957 original, or go with the vintage-esque vibes of the regular production, Master Chronometer version? Availability and a seriously smart price meant we opted for the latter. RRP from $6525
Have you ever wondered what sells quicker than hotcakes? The answer — Seiko’s SLA017, a reissue of their first ever dive watch, the 62MAS. Like all of Seiko’s greatest models, the 62MAS has a serious fanbase, and they couldn’t get enough of this high-end Seiko, limited to 2000 pieces. RRP $5500
Grand Seiko re-creation
Seiko don’t have a monopoly on smart remakes of mid-century designs, as this very straight up and down remake of Grand Seiko’s first watch (from 1960) proves. No bells. No whistles. But pure class. RRP $25,200 in yellow gold.
Montblanc 1858 Automatic Dual Time
This year, Montblanc continued to evolve their heritage-inspired collection, the outdoorsy 1858. They added automatic movements and bronze bezels into the mix, combining the two in this handsome (and, at 44mm, handsomely sized) dual timer. Love those cathedral hands.
IWC Pilot’s Watch Tribute to Mark XI
I’ve had a soft spot for the Mark XI ever since I worked out that watches were about more than just telling the time. So when IWC announced this smart remodel of the Mark XVIII, I had some unexpectedly visceral feelings of desire. The fabric strap, the triangle at 12, those hands. This watch has it all. Only downside? Yup, limited to 1948 pieces. RRP $4150 USD
The Laureato, a 2017 update of a 1975 original, has to be one of the contenders for ‘most photogenic watch of 2017’, with its brushed finishes, that deep dial texture and its strong architectural lines. And while the steel will likely be the crowd favourite, I still can’t get over this two-tone gold and titanium option. RRP $22,100
Eterna KonTiki Bronze Manufacture
The Eterna KonTiki is one of those under-the-radar models that has chugged along for decades, with a great adventure backstory and dial details to die for. This latest version adds a bronze case and manufacture movement to the equation. RRP 2990 Euro.
Longines Heritage 1945
When do salmon and cinnamon go together? When you pair the brushed, salmon-y, coppery dial of this 1945-inspired watch with a cinnamon suede strap. Pure magic, and smart design, especially with those blued leaf hands. Well done, Longines. RRP $2340
Oris Big Crown 1917
Another entrant in Oris’ long line of savvy archival finds, this bubbly little number — inspired by a Pilot’s watch from 1917 —makes a strong argument for bringing the bund strap back, and has a pin-set movement, just like the original. RRP $3250