Analysis, Graphic, QP Loves..., Watch culture 0

What’s in a name? The wide and wonderful world of watch names

Watch Names

Welcome to QP’s Taxonomy of Watch Names – a graphic representation of the enormous variety of names given to watches from Calatrava to Commando 

By Chris Hall
Graphic by Josh Mowll

There is some magic in a good name. The most famous watches transcend brands – we know them as Submariners, Speedmasters or Navitimers. They bring these devices that we strap to our wrists to life, give them character.  

When brands don’t give their watches interesting names, we create our own nicknames for them. What we thought would be fun – and what no-one has done before – is to visualise these names thematically. What are we looking for in a watch name – an evocation of athletic or mechanical performance? A sense of place, perhaps? Or a more abstract affiliation, a word whose actual meaning has become detached from the watch over time? Here, then, is the QP Taxonomy of Watch Names, charting more than 280 watch names from 78 brands. Zoom into the image and enjoy!


Graphic by Josh Mowll

The underlying logic

This is not an exhaustive list of all watch names. It only includes current models, and for reasons of space it does not include every brand in the world. Dozens of the most enduring, most popular and most interesting brands are represented, however.

The point of this idea was to have a little fun, and show just what a broad spectrum of influences are used when it comes to naming the little devices we all love to put on our wrists. The more interesting and diverse, the better: for that reason, and also because it would have been incredibly repetitive, names that simply describe the watch were excluded. That means no “Day-Date” and no “Extra-Flat”; no “Perpetual”, “Automatic” or “Chrono”. Also excluded were watches that are simply known by a number or code. We wanted to celebrate the thought and creativity that goes into a good name (and potentially flag up some weird ones), and while we all know how the right reference number can get a Patek fan’s pulse racing, that’s not the story we’re telling here.

Some of these names refer to collections, others to specific models. Nicknames haven’t been used – sorry, Seiko fans – and neither have watches named for a partnership, sponsorship or endorsement; again, that doesn’t get to the heart of what we’re celebrating here. Where possible we have classified the names along a consistent logic – the words’ common, accepted meaning – but some acknowledge the naming intention. For instance, Speake-Marin’s Shenandoah refers to a yacht of the same name, not the US national park, folk song or anything else. So it’s under “Nautical”. Likewise Vulcain’s Cricket has nothing to do with the sport – it’s named for the insect thanks to its incredible noise.

We hope you enjoy browsing the poster: it has been a labour of love to put together. Of course, the constant flow of new models means it will be out of date almost as soon as it’s made, but such is the way of things…


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