The 8 classic heritage watches getting bold new updates this year

By Billie Miro Breskin

Photo: Patrick Csajko

See how classic models are being modernised – and maintained – by luxury houses to shift with the times

Last month, Geneva came alive as thousands descended on the Swiss city for Watches and Wonders, an annual event that champions history and innovation in the watchmaking industry. Over the course of a week, 54 maisons showcased their designs, presenting on the technology and design behind each timepiece. Most exciting, however, were the updates to heritage models that were unveiled. These classic watches have been sought after for decades, making them highly coveted by watch-lovers globally.


Vogue Scandinavia’s editor in chief Martina Bonnier, who experienced the timepieces first-hand in Geneva, found the brands choosing to modernise classic designs “intrigued both seasoned collectors and new customers alike,” and, in turn, “are keeping the watchmaking industry abuzz,” she says. “From introducing sustainable metals to fashioning dials out of meteorite, the maisons have brought even more luxury to their watches, and these new editions are truly something to behold,” Bonnier adds.

Read on to discover eight of the most stunning new takes on iconic timepieces.


Chanel J12

Chanel J12, €17,700.

First launched at the turn of the 21st century, Chanel’s J12 watch was conceptualised by then-creative director Jacques Helleu to fill the niche of a sporty black watch that still followed the codes of the fashion house. Designed to be unisex, the watch appealed with its functionality and avant-garde black finish.

The new models unveiled last month include options in 18k gold and black or white ceramic, finished with brilliant-cut diamonds, adding sparkle to the androgynous design.


Chopard Happy Sport

Chopard Happy Sport, price upon request.

Chopard has been on the scene since 1860, and their jewellery and watches have dazzled ever since. In 1993, the brand launched the Happy Sport, a groundbreaking timepiece that incorporated diamonds and stainless steel for the first time.

Over 30 years later, Chopard is still innovating when it comes to their materials. Their watches are made with at least 80% recycled materials, and new models feature ethical 18k rose gold. Two new watch bands are available, one in black and another in pale blue, and a special addition is the model featuring aquamarines. With Julia Roberts as its ambassador and these stunning new looks, the Chopard Happy Sport has never been better.


Piaget Polo

Piaget Polo, €15,300.

The Piaget Polo was the brand’s first sport watch back in 1979, quickly adopted by stars of the arts like Brooke Shields, Björn Borg, and Andy Warhol. Named after the sport that Piaget once sponsored for a World Cup in Palm Beach, the Polo’s all-gold monochromatic look brought an unexpected twist.

Now, Piaget has come out with two new limited editions, one measuring 42 mm and the other 36 mm. The two new designs are produced with rubber straps for maximum comfort, yet are still elevated, with the smaller of the two bedecked in 91 brilliant-cut diamonds. These rare pieces (only 300 of each model will be released) are a mixture of sport and style that truly lives up to the Piaget Polo name.


Santos de Cartier

Santos de Cartier, €7,650.

The Santos de Cartier wristwatch was born out of necessity. Back in the early 1900s, Brazilian aeronaut, sportsman, and inventor Alberto Santos-Dumont complained to Louis Cartier that the pocketwatch wasn’t practical for his lifestyle and work. This prompted Cartier to create his first wristwatch, a model which would allow Santos-Dumont the ability to check the time while on the go (and in the air!). While the original 1904 creation has been lost, Cartier later returned to his design, finally producing it for sale in 1911.

Now, the Santos de Cartier is available in multiple colorways, produced in olive green and platinum, blue peacock and rose gold, and taupe grey and yellow gold. All the components are interchangeable, and the bracelet on the all-metal edition adjusts seamlessly to the wearer’s wrist size. With the ease Santos-Dumont so desired and over one hundred years of technological innovation, the Santos de Cartier has only gotten better over time.


Rolex Oyster Perpetual

Rolex Day-Date, €42,800.

First introduced in 1926 by Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf, the Oyster Perpetual was a groundbreaking creation. Prior to its arrival on the market, wristwatches were delicate machines: any dust, water, or scrapes could ruin them. The Oyster Perpetual, however, featured a case which shielded the watch, protecting it from the elements. It did away with the awkward, oversized attempts at making waterproof that had existed previously, instead favouring a sleek design that was hermetically sealed. At the time of its launch, the Oyster Perpetual was only available in steel, but in the intervening years new options have come into popularity.

At Watches and Wonders, Rolex unveiled two new versions of their Day-Date 40 model, one in Everose gold with a slate ombré dial, the other in white gold with a mother-of-pearl dial. These were accompanied by two new versions of the Day-Date 36, which pair yellow gold with a white lacquer dial and Everose gold with a blue dial and diamonds, respectively. A final addition was the Rolex Deepsea, a new Oyster timepiece with gold, RLX titanium, and a blue dial.


Omega Constellation

Omega Speedmaster, €18,800.

Originally designed for men in 1952, the Omega Constellation pioneered the brand’s Constellation Collection. Nicknamed the ‘Pie-Pan’ watch for its unique shape, the watch featured a small star on its face and a medallion depicting the Observatory of Geneva on the caseback. Omega expanded upon the collection, ultimately leading to the new Speedmaster models unveiled at Watches and Wonders.

This new range of timepieces features dials created from beyond-ancient meteorites, which are billions of years old. Due to this special material, no two dials are the same, as each has different striations. With a full suite of 20 models, there is an option for everyone in the collection, with personalization that is truly elemental.


TAG Heuer Carrera

TAG Heuer Carrera, €6,550.

Similar to the Cartier Santos, the TAG Heuer Carrera was devised to aid daredevils – this time, professional drivers and racing enthusiasts. With a 1963 design inspired by modern art and architecture along with racing itself, the watch’s design privileges clarity and a clean look. A new version of the Carrera came out five years later, modifying the original design to adapt to the needs of yacht racers.

These 1960s designs are still used to draw inspiration for TAG Heuer today, and the maison is set to release a new watch called the Carrera Chronograph. This new style will retain all the readability and sleek design of the original, with a steel bracelet and contrasting tones. Even if you aren’t speeding in a racecar or yacht, this new Carrera is sure to please.


TAG Heuer Monaco

TAG Heuer Monaco, €7,950.

TAG Heuer debuted not one but two new editions this year, with the Monaco joining the Carerra in the lineup. The Monaco was debuted in 1969 to commemorate the Monaco Grand Prix. The first watch with a square casing and water-resistance to 100 metres, the Monaco exemplified strength in both technology and style. After Steve McQueen chose the Monaco as part of his costume in the 1971 film, Le Mans, the design only grew in popularity.

Now, TAG Heuer has presented the watch in red and blue colourways, making the bold design even more eye-catching. The watch is also incredibly light, weighing only 85 grams. With trademark precision in timekeeping and these original developments in weight and design, the TAG Heuer Monaco will no doubt remain iconic for generations to come.