In my last article, ‘In Search Of The Holy (Watch) Grail Part 1‘, I took a look at what makes a grail watch just that – a grail watch. In this second part, we take a look some options for grail watches and why you would want to put them on your list.
When people think of Grail Watches, many people think abut rare and expensive models. Maybe your mind wanders to a Jacob and Co Astronomia Sky, or you fancy a Greubel Forsey GMT Balancier Convexe? Two very nice marvels of engineering timepieces, but unless you’re a very wealthy, and seasoned collector (or Jay Z) very out of reach for mere mortals like most of us! However in this article, I’ll look at a range of potential grail watches that are obtainable, and as explained in the previous article, a Grail Watch can change across your collecting journey based on your experience with brands, knowledge of the industry, maturity and budget. And just for fun, many of these won’t be your go-to grails, but some left of centre pieces that will (possibly) make you re-think your choices.
Two very impressive Grail Watches – Greubel Forsey GMT Balancier Convexe and the Jacob and Co. Astronomia Sky.
The Novice Collector
When many of us enter the watch world, we have some ideas of what we’d love to own one day. Now I’m making an assumption here that as a novice starting your collecting journey, you’re not flushed with cash and your first watch isn’t a Daytona. Maybe you’ve dipped your toes in the water with a TAG Heuer Aquaracer as a great entry level steel sports watch, or you want something slightly different to fuel your adventurous spirit and decided on a Longines Spirit Zulu Time – two great choices for under AUD $5,000 and a solid start to your collection. But what would a potential grail watch be in this point of your collecting journey? Let’s explore a couple of options:
IWC are know for their Pilot’s watches, and the Pilots Watch Chronograph in Blue is a great Grail watch for those that have a sense of adventurous spirit. Great looking, wears well and is versatile – can be dressed up or down depending on your preference. A little bit of casual luxury at its best.
Australian Recommended Retail Price: $11,400
Zenith has a great history and the El Primero movement is classic, and at one point in time, Zenith supplied the Chronograph movement to Rolex to use in the Daytona. The Chronomaster Sport when released a couple of years ago was an instant hit! Despite some calling it Fake Daytona, this is a good looking watch and the perfect Grail for those wanting a great blend of classic and modern looks in a sports watch.
Australian Recommended Retail Price: $16,600
The Intermediate Collector
So you’ve collecting now for about 5 or so years. You’ve got some decent pieces in the collection, perhaps you’ve been lucky to obtain one of the above Novice Grails, and you’ve now moved your Grail Goal to something a little higher. You want something that people will instantly notice, and recognise, and know you’re serious about watches. So what do you put on your list? Here’s a couple of pieces that you could aim for…
Whilst not much more price wise than a Chronomaster Sport, the fact that this is a Rolex puts it into a higher tier, as generally speaking, you’ve had to have bought a few pieces through your chosen dealer to score one of these (Unless you buy grey or 2nd hand, then you’re paying more!) The Yacht-Master is a great Grail choice as it’s not your standard Submariner or GMT Master II or Daytona that everyone lusts after. It’s both sporty and elegant with the polishing on the case and inner links, can be dressed up or down and is just that little bit different!
Australian Recommended Retail Price: $17,350
Now here is one for the true watch lovers. The Omega Blue Side Of The Moon (BSOTM) with moonsphase, Ceragold bezel and Adventurine dial with 18k Sedna Gold indices in an all blue ceramic case looks visually stunning, and stands out from the crowd. The Adventurine dial mimics the night sky and each dial is unique, due to the way the glass is made, and the Senda Gold Moon on the moonsphase display is stunning. At 44.5mm it’s on the larger side, but wears very well!
Australian Recommended Retail Price: $22,500
The Seasoned Collector
You’ve been in the game now for a while, you’ve got a pretty good knowledge of most things watch related, and you’ve bought, sold and built your collection over many years. In all probability, you’re a little older and financially secure (unless you’re a crypto kid, won the lotto, or have mastered your TikTok influencer game!) and now you’re looking for that “special piece” to round out your collection…for now. Two timepieces that you could explore adding to your wrist, I mean, list:
Yes, you read that right. Piaget. I could have gone with a Rose Gold Daytona with diamond baguettes, but that would be too obvious. The Piaget Polo Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin is a fantastic statement piece that says “I don’t follow the crowd”. The green dial is stunning, and Piaget pioneered the Ultra Thin movement over 50 years ago, which you can read here. It’s a 42mm case, only 8.65mm thick, and to cram all those complications into a movement that’s only 4mm thick is a work of art and science!
Australian Recommended Retail Price: $89,000
Breguet are known for their beautiful watch making, and whilst not a hype watch brand, they are steeped in history, and have some very elegant and classic pieces. The 18k Gold Hora Mundi 5727 combines instant time-zone jump with synchronised date, 24-hour and city indications, perfect for those wanting to travel and do it in style!
Australian Recommended Retail Price: $100,000
Money Is No Object
You’ve made it. You don’t worry about money and the world is your oyster. Perhaps you’re an A-List Hollywood celebrity, or a multi-platinum recording artist and your watch collection has it’s own room in your mansion. And for us mortals, these Grail Watches are what dreams are made of, or rather, just in our dreams! However, I won’t be showing any Patek Philippe’s or AP’s here, again those are too obvious. Here are some alternative pieces to drool over!
Blancpain may be known for their dive watches, but their complications are special. The Carrousel Volant Une Minute has a one-minute flying carrousel complication that Blancpain has revived and incorporated into a watch for the first time and all enclosed into a 43mm Platinum case and 14mm thick. Oh, and it’s limited edition too just to ensure exclusivity.
Australian Recommended Retail Price: $293,200
Not for the faint of heart, Roger Dubuis makes some out there watches, but they are engineering marvels, on par with the likes of Richard Mille. The Excalibur DT Black Ceramic is a manual winding, Double Flying Tourbillon, limited to 28 pieces in a 45mm case. Oh, and it’s got a Geneva Seal, so the movement is up there with the best. This is a real stealth baller watch on another level!
Australian Recommended Retail Price: $415,000
So fellow watch friends, there are some grail watch choices that you can aspire to, and work towards. They may not be the most obvious, or the most popular choices that many would have on their list, but they are fantastic pieces that should be considered. Happy collecting, and I hope that you find your Holy (Watch) Grail.