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5 classic watches to covet

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Rolex Yacht-Master

Every man – or Simon de Burton at least – wants these iconic pieces in his personal collection...

There was a time when a decent wristwatch was seen as a one-off buy, something to be worn day-in, day-out until either it or its owner expired. Indeed, collecting watches was something of a niche area until relatively recently and, certainly until 20 years ago, the idea of doing so as an investment as well as enjoyment was virtually unheard of.

Partly thanks to the internet, interest in high-quality watches has spread throughout the world to the point where it is becoming the norm for even entry-level horophiles to either own a “watch wardrobe” or to aspire to put one together. And, just as women should have at least one “little black dress” and men a bespoke suit or two, there are certain watches that no collection should be without. It’s unlikely that any two enthusiasts would select the same five key pieces; these are merely the selection I would love to see revealed every time I opened my personal watch box.

Inevitably there must be a Rolex in there and the obvious choice would be the evergreen Submariner – the gold standard diving watch since its launch in 1954. But, given our bias towards things on top of the water rather than below it, I think a better buy would be the Rolex Yacht-Master, a far less commonly seen watch that first appeared in 1992. Go for the now discontinued version combining a steel case and platinum dial.

Expect to pay: £4,000 - £5,000

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