When Justin Bieber got married this fall, the Biebs celebrated by buying himself a gold Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. As role models go, we could all do better than a man who wears hotel slippers as outdoor shoes, but — begrudgingly — there’s a lot to respect here. Not only is the watch in question extremely tasteful, the whole idea of a nice timepiece as a wedding gift makes sense. It’s a great excuse to splash out on something you’ve been eyeing for years, and the symbolism is undeniably fitting. If you choose a watch with a time-tested design (like Bieber’s Royal Oak), chances are you’re going to love it just as much in 50 years as you do the day you first lay eyes on it — much like the person you’re marrying (we hope). Whether you’re choosing a watch for yourself or trusting your betrothed to make the call, here are a few that will stand the test of time.
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IWC Portugieser Chronograph
Taste is a highly personal thing, but it’s hard to find fault with the Portugieser, which has been part of the IWC lineup since the 1940s. This chronograph’s combination of steel case, white face, and blued hands and numerals is classy, without being too classical. We’d wager this will still be true in the 2040s and beyond.
TAG Heuer Aquaracer
Much like a marriage, there’s a lot to be said for a watch that will stand up to the occasional knocks of life. This Aquaracer, with its brushed steel case, screw-down crown, and fine alligator leather strap, strikes a perfect balance of ruggedness and refinement. And with a Swiss-made Calibre 5 movement inside, it’s bound to keep ticking for many years to come.
Vacheron Constantin Overseas Chronograph
Stainless-steel chronographs may be trending hard these days, but sometimes things are popular for good reason. One such reason is the striking “reverse panda” dial on this sports watch. But you can be sure that Vacheron Constantin, as the world’s oldest watchmaker, put just as much care and attention into every other aspect of its design as its looks.
Cartier Tank Louis Cartier
You don’t have to be a square to love a square watch. In fact, given how rare they have become these days, they’re a bold style choice backed by many great vintage designs. To that end, the Tank’s basic format — blue steel hands, Roman numeral hours and a “railroad” chapter ring marking minutes — is over 100 years old. Who could ask for a better symbol of longevity?
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust 36
Worn by presidents, world leaders, and countless others who appreciate traditional elegance, this Rolex’s fluted bezel, “Cyclops” date lens, and Jubilee bracelet have remained virtually unchanged for decades. This year’s update gives the Datejust a stately black face, white gold hour markers, and a new-generation Rolex movement.