In the 1970s the rise of quartz technology threatened mechanical watchmaking's heritage while a general decline in good taste threatened their aesthetics as well. With more perspective however we've come to appreciate that there were in fact several gorgeous designs that emerged from that era, and their increasing prices reflect this revisionism. Here are 10 of the best:
Perhaps the most iconic '70s watch design, it was designed by the great Gerald Genta and first introduced in 1972 sporting a revolutionary integrated bracelet.
The version pictured here celebrates the 40th anniversary of the original orange hand Explorer II, which came to be known as the "Steve McQueen" though there's no evidence he actually owned one.
In 1976 Patek brought on Genta to design its first sports watch, and the results are legendary. Over four decades the sinuous timepiece has changed very little.
Inspired by the ever-popular Carrera, the original limited edition Monza celebrated the Formula 1 racing title won by driver Niki Lauda in 1975; Heuer recently re-issued it.
In late 1969 Omega launched its first redesign of its famous "Moon watch," ushering in an era of swingin' 70s Speedmasters that took many years to gain appeal beyond diehard collectors.
The Da Vinci debuted in 1970 equipped with the first Swiss-manufactured quartz movement, which was extremely expensive at the time. IWC later brought it back, fitted with in-house mechanicals.
A groovier version of the watchmaker's classic Navitimer, the Chrono-Matic made concessions to the era's desire for more colorful watches without sacrificing its timeless appeal.
This re-issue of a handsome panda dial 1973 chrono is the biggest bargain on the list and packs enough style to handle anything your wardrobe, occupation or hobbies can throw at it.
This evolution of a classic 1970s sports watch has little in common with the original yet shows signs of its DNA. The first Polo was a quartz model and only came in solid gold.
Corum captured the ethos of 1970 perfectly with its first Feather Watch, which went on to inspire a range of other animal-inspired designs. The Python version is considerably more badass.