Limited Edition Watches: Everything You Need to Know and 6 Great Watches To Buy In 2021
What is a Limited-Edition Watch?
Limited Edition Watches have an enduring appeal. Created in a limited number, if you are lucky enough to own number 001/500 or even 001/2000, then generally you will have a timepiece that is pretty exclusive on your hands. Each Limited-Edition Watch is engraved with its own unique serial number.
What is the difference between a Special Edition and a Limited Edition?
A Special Edition is distinct from a Limited Edition in that it is not created in a limited number. Usually produced to celebrate a collaboration, Special Editions can continue to be manufactured indefinitely, particularly if they prove very popular.
Why do Watch Brands produce Limited Editions?
Limited Editions are a great vehicle for watch brands to tell a story. They can be produced for a variety of reasons but the most popular include as a tribute to someone, to raise awareness for a cause, as a collaboration or to commemorate an anniversary or milestone. The generally accepted view is that there must be a genuine reason for the Limited Edition. After all, it is the story behind it that makes it interesting and therefore appealing.
Limited Editions also create news-worthy stories and help to keep collections fresh. Furthermore, they give brands the opportunity to test the market with new ideas, concepts and innovative materials in a way that they wouldn’t be able with their core collection.
Are Limited Edition Watches just for collectors?
Absolutely not! It’s certainly the case that when Haute Horologie brands create Limited Editions (if indeed, they create them at all), these are usually snapped up by collectors at International Watch Fairs. They rarely ever make it as far as watch retailers. These Limited Editions are rare masterpieces, purchased as investments. They are usually produced in low numbers because of the time it takes to create and develop them. It is simply not cost-effective to produce any great number.
However, if you are quick off the mark, it is possible to snap up a Limited-Edition Watch from the luxury Swiss brands and more niche manufacturers. There are also many collectors at this level, although many will buy watches that appeal to them personally. Collections often reflect the interests and preferences of their owner.
If you are not a collector, a Limited-Edition Watch is a route to owning a timepiece that is exclusive and interesting. Wear it, enjoy it, and share its story with pride!
6 Great Limited Edition Watches Available Now
This edit of Limited-Edition Watches, priced from £695 to £6,050 are all available from watchspecialists.com – the home of UK Independent Watch Retailers. All the retailers are Authorised Dealers for the watch brands that they sell.
ORIS Carl Brashear Calibre 401 Limited Edition Bronze Watch 0140177643185-SET
Resplendent in bronze, the Oris Carl Brashear Calibre 401 Limited Edition is limited to 2,000 pieces. The third Limited Edition that Oris have made in collaboration with the Carl Brashear Foundation, the first two have gone on to be highly collectible.
Carl Brashear was the first African-American diver in the US navy and the first amputee Master Diver. Discover more about his inspirational life and the Limited Edition Watch here.
Based on the Oris Divers Sixty-Five, the watch is only the second model produced by Oris to be equipped with a movement based on their ground-breaking calibre 400. This version has a subsidiary seconds and is subsequently calibre 401. Highly resistant to magnetism, highly accurate and with a fantastic 120-hour power reserve, it is truly setting a new standard. Best of all, Oris is so confident in the movement that it is covered by an incredible Ten-Year Warranty.
JUNGHANS 1972 Automatic FIS Limited Edition 027/4160.44
As official timing partner for the 2021 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships, Junghans has produced the 1972 Automatic FIS Edition. Limited to just 500 units, this timepiece encapsulates all that is fascinating about winter sport.
The 1972 Automatic FIS Edition has a strong, retro look. Compared to the main Junghans collection which has a classical feel, it stands out with its powerful, energetic sports styling. It is also a practical piece: robust enough to withstand the high speeds and impacts of competitive skiing.
SEIKO PROSPEX – 1968 Professional Divers Re-creation Limited Edition SLA039J1
The Seiko Prospex 1968 Professional Divers Re-creation marks the 55th anniversary of Japan’s very first diving watch. Created by Seiko, it became the benchmark for all subsequent dive watches. To celebrate this anniversary, Seiko have created a trilogy of commemorative Limited-Edition timepieces. This Limited Edition is a recreation of the 1968 Diver’s Watch which was Seiko’s first high-beat diver’s watch. With its 10-beat high precision automatic calibre, one-piece structure, mono-directional rotating bezel and screw-down protection crown, the success of 1968 model laid the foundation for Seiko’s development of divers watches. Limited to 1,100 pieces worldwide, this special watch is perfect for both watch and dive enthusiasts alike.
FREDERIQUE CONSTANT – Vintage Rally Healey Limited Edition FC-397HGR5B6
Inspired by the aesthetics of classic automobiles, Frederique Constant has created the Vintage Rally Healey Watch. A Limited-Edition of 2888 pieces, this “must have” timepiece reflects the DNA of this iconic British brand. A sponsor of vintage car rallies since 2004, Frederique Constant has created this unique timepiece which embodies the shared values of “passion for racing” and “performance backed by excellence”.
With a sleek 42mm case in polished stainless steel, the dial has enough space for maximum readability. In classic green, the chronograph counters are a contrast in white. Additionally, the applied indexes are coated with a luminous material for improved legibility. Moreover, the second and counter hands are bright red which gives a bold splash of colour to the dial. The green leather strap has perforations to increase air flow to the wrist whilst racing. This is a design cue taken from vintage racing watches and driving gloves. In addition, the red contrast stitching also complements the red hands.
Equipped with a 25 jewelled automatic FC-397 chronograph movement, the Frederique Constant Vintage Rally Healey has a power reserve of 46 hours. A see-through caseback also ensures that the movement can be appreciated by the wearer.
MÜHLE-GLASHÜTTE – Terrasport IV Bronze Pilot Watch M1-45-08-LB
The Mühle Glashütte Terrasport IV Bronze Watch is a Limited Edition of only 250 pieces. With its vintage styling, it looks back to the original aviation pioneers such as Otto Lilienthal and the Wright brothers. These intrepid adventurers made the dream of flying a reality despite the dangers and their lack of understanding. Therefore, absolute precision and reliability are key factors in the design of the watch as well as legibility.
Firstly, the Terrasport IV has a 42mm bronze case with an elegant fluted bezel. This draws the eye to the dial and adds to the vintage charm of the timepiece. Similarly, the crown is also fluted and is large enough to be operated with a gloved hand. Secondly, for maximum contrast the dial is brown with white arabic figures and minute markers. Coated in Super LumiNova, the hands and hour markers are consequently easy to read even in poor light. The pilot triangle at 12 o’clock is a nod to the heritage of this design and the second hand has a red tip which corresponds with a red marker at 12 o’clock.
The automatic movement is a reliable SW 200-1 calibre with the brand’s own rotor and surface finishes. Completed with a vintage style leather strap in brown, contrast overstitching near the case is a nice retro detail. Choose the Mühle Glashütte Terrasport IV for a legible, well-designed automatic timepiece with watchmaking heritage.
CITIZEN – Promaster Bullhead Racing Chronograph AV0076-00X
The Citizen Promaster Bullhead Racing Chronograph pays homage to a retro 1973 Citizen Bullhead model. With its crown and pushers on the top of the case, the watch resembles the head of a bull with horns. This style first started to appear in the 60’s and 70’s and gives this newly modernized version a unique and on trend look. Furthermore, it is a Limited Edition of 1,973 pieces to reflect the year the original watch was released.
For convenience, all the Limited Editions (plus many more!) featured in this article can be found on our dedicated Limited Editions board on Pinterest.
Author: Suzie Brooks
Watches have been in my life for as long as I can remember. Growing up, my dad was an Area Manager for Seiko in the 1970s and 80s. Later we had a family jewellers in London. I spent hours sitting behind the counter helping out when it was busy and eventually became the Buyer and General Manager when I left uni. In the early 90’s we started our own watch distribution company for the UK and Ireland. For over 25 years we were the sole distributor for Michel Herbelin plus a number of other famous names. Having experience both as a retailer and a distributor has definitely given me a 360 degree view of the watch industry! I’m passionate about affordable luxury watches. I love the quirky and interesting, but mostly I appreciate great design.