Horology Retrospective: Watch Anniversaries not to Miss in 2024

A comprehensive look at the legendary watches and brands marking significant anniversaries this year, from Piaget's 150th to Breitling's Orbiter Mission 25th and more.

Horology Retrospective: Watch Anniversaries not to Miss in 2024

The watch world loves an anniversary. Don’t get me wrong, we all love cake and presents. So I'm all for celebrating these things. But give a watchmaker half a chance and an anniversary for something with came out of the blue! As a result, we had to share and celebrate a few for 2024! But before I do – I must get something off my chest. I forgot my wife’s birthday a few years ago... On our honeymoon… It's fair to say I won’t be doing that again. It is officially engrained in my memory – with notes everywhere around the house! But the less said about that the better! Let's celebrate 2024! 

Piaget Turns 150, and the 1979's Polo Watch 45 

Piaget itself is celebrating 150 years of life. Quite remarkable when you consider the average new business lasts just over two years on average in the UK. So take a moment there, 150 years! That’s something. One design, launched earlier on in the year but worth noting is the Polo. I think we can honestly say at this point it enjoys iconic status – the Polo from 1979 has turned 45 and has finally been made with the same grace and elegance so many collectors were hoping for. 

Piaget Polo 150th Anniversary Watch.
The Piaget Polo 79 18ct in yellow-gold.
Piaget Polo 79 craftsmanship.

Breitling Celebrate 25 years of the Orbiter Mission 

On March 21, 1999, Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones achieved the first nonstop circumnavigation of the globe in a balloon. Landing in the Egyptian desert, their Breitling Orbiter 3 journey covered 45,633 km in 19 days, 21 hours, and 47 minutes. To commemorate the 25th anniversary of this epic journey, Breitling has released the Aerospace B70 Orbiter. The dial is a vibrant orange dial mirroring the capsule’s colour and adorned with the mission logo. Its titanium case houses the COSC-certified Breitling Manufacture Caliber B70. This SuperQuartz™ movement, ten times more accurate than standard quartz, powers a multitude of features including a 1/100th of a second chronograph (with split-time and lap time), countdown timer, second timezone, two alarms, and perpetual calendar. The cherry on the cake? This special edition watch contains a segment of the original balloon, visible through the open case back. Bonkers. And a conversation piece no doubt.

Aerospace B70 Orbiter, Breitling.

Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Turns 20 

The new Vacheron Constantin 39 mm Patrimony was launched earlier this year at Watches & Wonders. It now comes with a new 39mm case and a new dial, with a so-called “old silver” finish, reminiscent of vintage watches from the ’50s / ’60s. Staying true to the elegant shape of the model, Vacheron kept the signature convex dial featuring slim hands, hour markers, and a circular ‘pearl’ minutes track consisting of 48 polished 18-carat gold ‘pearls’. All you need to know is that it's pure class! And maybe the best dress watch launched this year. 

39mm Patrimony, Vacehron Constantin.

A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Turn 25 

The A. Lange & Shöne Datograph exists within the Saxonia line but has a name and level of recognition that transcends its collection. It comes in a few variants, including those with complications such as a perpetual calendar, and there have been more in the past, but the Datograph Up/Down is the modern base model. Adding a handy power reserve indicator at 6 o’clock, it replaced the original Datograph in 2012 with a redesign that also included a larger case and other updates (such as stick indices replacing Roman numerals). When the Datograph was introduced in 1999, it took the watch world by surprise as even many high-end Swiss brands hadn’t yet introduced in-house chronograph movements. It was an important step in establishing the celebrity Lange enjoys today. The brand marks the occasion with a pair of blockbuster limited editions. First up, a Saxonia Datograph Perpetual Honeygold Tourbillon Lumen that ticks all the boxes for the Lange lover: complicated, proprietary honey gold and with a lumen dial. And if that weren’t enough, the second is a Saxonia Datograph Up/Down ref. 405.028.

Saxonia Datograph Perpetual Honeygold Tourbillon Lumen, A. Lange & Shöne.
Saxonia Datograph Up/Down ref. 405.028, A. Lange & Shöne.

A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Turns 30 

I love the Lange 1. It's elegant and well proportioned at 38.5mm – it's historically significant as the design that has almost single-handedly brought the brand into the limelight. And as an owner of 101.027X, I would love to see a painted dial model for this year. Maybe with a grained dial like we saw on the larger model last year. Time will tell!

Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar, A. Lange & Shöne.