Watches are far too subjective to rank, you say? We did it anyway. For this list of the 50 Greatest Watches of All Time, we identified timepieces with a combination of compelling features, influence and lasting popularity, as well as a few overlooked but exceptional models. Deriving from all watch categories and from the past hundred or so years, this ultimate tally culminates in the single greatest, most perfect watch ever created.
Seiko is renowned today for its dive watches, a story that began in 1965. Basic principles and design elements established with the release of the 62 MAS in that year continue to inform the modern Japanese brand's highly capable, fun, affordable and deservedly popular dive watch range, as well as more upmarket models.
Movement: Seiko 6217A automatic
One of the earliest watches by design luminary Gerald Genta, the Polerouter was made to promote the first trans-Atlantic flights over the North Pole. A remarkably well made and well designed watch featuring a micro-rotor to help keep it thin, the Polerouter remains notable today many decades after its debut.
Movement: Various Universal Genève automatic
The Tudor Black Bay is one of the most popular modern sports watches on the market, and the downsized Fifty-Eight model is arguably its best iteration. Rolex's sister company offers an exemplary level of quality, incredible value and a remarkably compelling package.
Movement: Tudor MT5402 automatic
Omega's flagship Seamaster Diver 300m stands out among a crowded field not only for the prestigious name on the dial and its contemporary looks, but because of its associations with a certain fictional spy: Yes, it's the watch choice of the modern James Bond, and that's a cool factor that's hard to beat.
Movement: Omega 8800 automatic
The Heuer Monaco is notable for several reasons: Not only is it a unique-looking sporty chronograph in a square case, but it housed the brand's famous automatic Calibre 11 movement. It's best known, however, for its iconic silver-screen appearance on the wrist of Steve McQueen. Modern versions span a wide arrange of prices.
The Rolex Datejust is neck and neck with the Submariner among the most recognizable and iconic watches of all time. In 1945, it was the first automatic watch to feature a date window, changing the watch industry forever. The ref. 1603, with its engine-turned bezel, epitomizes what's made the Datejust so swanky and versatile and beloved the world over.
Movement: Rolex 1570 automatic
With roots in military timepieces, the pragmatic, technical M2 by German brand Tutima is one of the most distinctive pilot's chronographs available. Produced in titanium at 46mm on an integrated bracelet, it's not for the faint of heart or wrist.
Movement: Modified ETA 7750
Affectionately nicknamed the "Turtle," this affordable dive watch is one of the most popular modern Seiko's for good reason: It recalls the brand's past and makes for a bold but comfortable daily wearer just bursting with character.
Movement: Seiko 4R36 automatic
The Sinn EZM 1 "mission timer" is a professionally oriented chronograph watch that displays its stopwatch features on its main dial rather than via a more typical subdial layout. It's visually striking, tough as nails and one of the most notable watches from the German brand known for making no-nonsense, function-first tools.
Movement: Modified ETA 7750 automatic
No watch better represents the German design philosophy of Bauhaus than the Junghans Max Bill collection, designed by its namesake in the 1950s. With clean and functional but captivating aesthetics, the Chronoscope is a masterpiece that still looks fresh today.
Movement: ETA 7750 Automatic