Top Shelf showcases luxury vacations, goods, restaurants and more that you can indulge in after your investing pays off.
For years, tennis’s French Open has served as a stage displaying the abilities of Spaniard Rafael Nadal, one of the sport’s current greats and arguably the finest clay-court player the world has ever seen.
It also has served as the advertising stomping grounds for numerous high-end products, not the least of which is one of my favorite accessories: the timepiece.
Longines. Omega. Rolex. These names and others grace the screen and court linings for Grand Slams much like Budweiser takes center stage NFL and NASCAR events.
Regardless of what these watches represent to their owners — mobile art, status symbol — they’re the playthings of the well-heeled. They’re a reward for years of hard work and smart investing … or just fortunate inheritance.
And no matter how you’ve lined your wallet, you should be able to appreciate these luxurious timekeepers:
Rolex: The Rolex Day-Date is among the most classic and cherished watches in the world, frequently finding its way at the top of “best” and “most popular” lists. This 36-millimeter yellow gold Oyster Day-Date in green with a sunray finish and green alligator leather strap won’t pair with much, but realistically, your clothes will act as accessories to this timepiece … not the other way around.
Breitling: The Superocean Heritage 46 is a clash of simplicity and luxury. The steel-housed selfwinder features blue and black rotating bezels, and an additional option for 18-carat red gold on the 42-millimeter edition. For anyone who weighs practicality, this is a diver’s watch — it’s water-resistant to 660 feet and can be paired with a rubber strap. I also enjoy this watch’s cousin, the Superocean Heritage 42, with black or green casing and volcano black dial.
Jaeger-LeCoultre: Jaeger pitches the Grande Reverso 1931 Rouge as “one of the major icons in the sphere of Haute Horlogerie.” Translation: “high watchmaking.” But the Reverso speaks for itself, with a symmetrically lined steel case meeting a new bold, red dial, advancing 1930s inspiration toward a truly modern, fashionable look.
Armani: Compared to the rest, Armani’s black-and-gray watch — simply titled “Watch” – from Armani’s Spring-Summer 2013 lineup is hardly as aspirational, but its smoky tones give off an air of mystique … at least as much as a timepiece can give off such things. (Full disclosure: I’m the proud owner of a gorgeous steel rectangular Armani watch with silver dial — a generous gift from my sister — and can say firsthand that its products are equal parts quality and naked elegance.)
Lange & Sohne: Tourbillion mechanics might be an outdated technology, but they still have a welcome place in watch aesthetics. The Richard Lange Tourbillion 41.9-millimeter watch with a platinum case displays its tourbillion underneath the small seconds of the silver dial, while featuring rhodium gold hands and black leather strap.
Tag Heuer: The Swiss watchmaker’s 27-millimeter Carerra exudes strength — seemingly fit more for a work suit than a dress, but still offering the gentle touch of 18-carat rose gold, both in case and bezel. The watch’s whites are its mother-of-pearl dial and glossy white alligator strap, featuring a rose gold pin buckle, and it’s protected by scratch-resistant sapphire crystal.
Longines: The official timekeeper of Roland Garros — home of the French Open — offers this stunning La Grande Classique de Longines, which pairs stainless steel with woman’s best friend. The black lacquered dial sets off 12 diamonds marking the hours, while the stainless steel case is set with 48 diamonds of its own, summing 0.437 carats across the Classique.
Rolex: The 31-millimeter Datejust Lady 31 is a customizable piece of luxury, making this timepiece … well, just plain fun. The steel and gold watch features various options such as floral patterns on rhodium, champagne and pink dials, or a plain chocolate dial, as well as various bezels, including diamond-set. It also features Rolex’s magnifying Cyclops lens. Tennis fans can hear some words from Serbian great Ana Ivanovic, the 2008 French Open women’s champion, about the Datejust Lady 31 via video on the above link.
Breguet: The 18-carat white gold Reine de Naples is the stuff of royalty, with hundreds of diamonds gracing caseband, bracelet and dial. The self-winding timepiece sports classic hands as well as moon phases, respectively gracing the bottom and top of its oval façade. The Reine collection also features variants such as satin straps, small seconds, pear-cut diamonds at 6 o’clock and bracelets with pink Akoya pearls.
Omega: However, the queen of diamonds — at least as far as this list is concerned — is Omega’s Constellation Quartz 27-millimeter, which glistens with the power of more than 1,900 diamonds across bezel, case, dial and bracelet. The “Griffes,” or claws, on its 18-carat gold and mother-of-pearl dial resemble a spiraling sunset.
Kyle Woodley is the Assistant Managing Editor of InvestorPlace.