The Cult Of Unicorn Watches: Why Are They So Revered?
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The Cult Of Unicorn Watches: Why Are They So Revered?

The Cult Of Unicorn Watches: Why Are They So Revered?


Unicorns. Fluffy, colourful and have a fetching horn on the end of their noses. While we could go through the ins and outs of what make up these mythical creatures, we are focusing on a different breed of unicorn today.

Unicorn watches tend to be those timepieces which you can only ever dream horological fairytales. This really is the land of make believe for some. They come around so infrequently that they get labelled as unicorns due to their insane rarity. Not to fear though, Timelords. Just because they are rare doesn't mean they are extortionately expensive. 

So, fasten your seatbelts as we examine the growing cult of the “Unicorn”.


What Is A Unicorn Watch?


Defined as a model that is extremely difficult to source when you buy a watch, they can typically be associated with a high resale value due to their rarity. As slick as George Clooney, these timepieces are stylish, premium and ooze luxury refinery. Adorning the wrists of those in the world of glitz and glamour, these luxury watches for men are few and far between. Note this, my friends. Not all of them are extremely expensive either so don't be disheartened and believe you can’t buy a watch from these mystical realms. 


Patek Philippe Nautilus - Source - Watches World

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Their importance in the horological world shouldn't be underestimated. For example, The Richard Mille 72-01 which was the first in-house chronograph in their famed tonneau case or The Hublot Classic Fusion Takashi Murakami Sapphire Rainbow which combines the skills of Hublot with phenomenal artist Takashi Murakami with its gem encrusted dial.  

While they may seem to be rare figments of our imaginations, they offer a crucial role in developing other luxury watches for men. Take for example the influence that Royal Oak watches had upon their release in 1972. The collection has since expanded and become Audemars Piguet’s most sought after collection. This is due to it being an icon in its own right as the world's first luxury sports model. Consequently, this adds a marketplace which was previously unheard of with many brands following their lead. 

And shall we mention Omega’s Seamaster Aqua Terra Fine Jewellery or Patek Philippe’s highly successful and renowned Nautilus collection? You should have the horological lowdown by now.

Key tip, Timelords. Keep your eyes and ears to the ground because it could be any model that becomes a global sensation. Now that we’ve gone through a failsafe description of what constitutes a unicorn model, we think it's best if we run through some real life examples of models you should consider when you buy a watch. Who knows, you may just have one lying in your drawers gathering dust!


Cartier Cheich


For those of us lucky enough to have travelled to the Sahara Desert, you will be more than familiar with the Cartier ‘Cheich’.

To those of us that aren't, the Cheich is a piece of cloth that is worn around the head as a form of protection against the burning sun. Take notes. You will need to know this later on. The model was created for the consecutive winner of two Paris-Dakar races or for timekeeping nerds, the ‘Cartier Challenge’. 



Cartier Cheich - Source - Forbes

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These are almost impossible feats of racing due to the incredible distance at 6,200 miles per event. When this feat was achieved by Gaston Rahier in 1984 and 1985, he was awarded a highly rare Cartier Cheich model, specifically created for the victor.




More exclusive than a rare whisky, The Cartier Cheich sold for around £900,000 in 2022. There are only 4 models which have been released. 1 has been lost, its existence unknown and futile, 2 are owned by Cartier who keep them locked up as securely as Alcatraz and lastly, the 1 we are referring to, has been sold to someone who decided to buy a Cartier for £900,000!




While it would’ve been more than suitable to add a little text or engraving like Richard Mille did to its Flying Tourbillon Rock’n’Roll, Cartier enjoys pushing the boat out a little further than its competitors.  Remember the Cheich lecture? Where have you been time peeps! The model is designed to look like a person wearing a Cheich. This is achieved through the case being made up of various layers which the headwear typically consists of. 

Crafted from various colours including different types of gold like white, yellow and rose gold, the model is seamless in its appearance and fluid in its design. This isn't the first time Cartier has dared to try and craft a timepiece so innovative. The Cartier Crash typifies the distinctive style of craftsmanship the Cheich goes for, focusing on keeping the dial legible and the case creative. Salvador Dali? Never heard of him. 


Is It A Unicorn Watch?


The Cartier Cheich is therefore in our view a unicorn model due to its inherent rarity and its incredible value. Furthermore, it's designed in such a creative way that we wouldn't be surprised if someone hung it up like a painting. Forget Banksy, this is horological art on an epic scale. The Cartier Cheich is so unique in its appearance that it could be worn with anything. It could update your standard suit and tie outfit to add a creative edge or add culture to your turtleneck jumper when you visit that latest art opening. 

The timepiece has held and vastly exceeded its original value. In fact, it was estimated to sell for around £330,000 but instead someone chose to buy the Cartier Cheich for around £900,000 at a Christie's auction in Paris. Talk about money well spent!


Rolex Daytona 6265


Released in 1971, the Rolex Daytona 6265 is so rare it makes pigs flying out your back window look like an everyday occurrence. 


Rolex Daytona 6265 - Source - Perezcope

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Picked up by John Goldberger, a well known timepiece collector, it represents the zenith of his collection. We would not be surprised this would lead to a phenomenal resale value. He kept it hidden until 2013 and has since sold it to raise £5.2m for charity at auction. Not a bad chap, eh?




What makes this model so rare? It is crafted from white gold which may surprise you as quite a few Rolexes were made from white gold during the 1970s. For example, the Day-Date collection was regularly updated with white gold and even in the modern era, white gold is adopted such as the Rolex Day-Date 2282239 or the Rolex Datejust in Oyster Steel and White Gold. 




The 70s was the time of sports models and as such, stainless steel was commonly used due to its inherent durability over other materials like gold. Even then, the presence of yellow gold is present on some Daytona’s from the 70s, for example the Daytona 6264 and even the coveted 6265. 

Crafted out of this sublime white gold material which was rare at the time, the dial is black with white gold indices, keeping consistency with the craftsmanship of the case. Doubt it's real? The ‘Sigma’ symbol on the dial is indicative of the model being made of solid gold. The prospect of a white gold Daytona is therefore extremely exciting and got the engines revving of the most established collectors looking to buy a Rolex.


Is It A Unicorn Watch?


As the only manual wind, white gold Daytona to ever grace the horological world, the Rolex Daytona 6265 is extremely rare and as such is definitely a Unicorn model. Suggested to make upwards of £2.5m the timepiece is certainly a talking point amongst the horological community as it sold for £5.2m at auction held by Philipps and Bacs & Russo, making it the second most expensive Rolex sold at auction. 

Wonderfully finished like a Savile Row suit, it would look great on any given refined gentleman in his tux. While it is a sports model per se, we recommend keeping this out of the way of any rough and tumble. The timepiece is extremely valuable as it surpassed its expected price range by around £2m meaning this is a timepiece for the big boys looking to buy a Rolex!

Hey John, got any more gems hidden away?


Girard-Perregaux Casquette 2.0


We told you not all these models are extortionately priced, especially if you decide to buy a Girard-Perregaux Casquette 2.0. Coming from the late 70s, the original Casquette laid down the foundations for the aptly named ‘2.0’ to take control. Only 8200 models were released during its original stint between 1976 to 1978, meaning the ‘Casquette’ collection is already heading into the realms of unicorn model territory. Its unique design was heralded by the stylish and collectors among us so Girard-Perregaux deemed it fair to release part 2 of this very thrilling model in 2022. 


Girard-Perregaux Casquette 2.0 - Source - Girard-Perregaux

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The Girard-Perregaux Casquette 2.0 is capped at 820 pieces, an ode to the 8200 models sold by the original. This isn't the only thing that's been inspired by the original. Following the same design structure as the original, it is now built for durability and style.




Encased in ceramic and grade 5 titanium, it is virtually indestructible while still retaining its lightness due to the properties of the materials. Fearing you’ll forget you are even wearing this 107 gram machine? The Girard-Perregaux logo is emblazoned on top as a titanium badge which matches the titanium pushers on the side of the case. The calibre is also updated. Still retaining its original functions of the hours, minutes, seconds day and date, this particular model features the month, year, chronograph, second time zone and a secret date for those forgetful fellas who forget a wedding anniversary, hot date or late night cocktails. 

Highly ergonomic, the model is like no other and designed to stand out from the horological crowd. 


Is It A Unicorn Watch?


While the model may have been released fairly recently, it brings the 70s design and style to the modern era and updates it to be strong and resilient. It's rare due to its low production count and is certainly a unicorn timepiece due to its unique design. Rising from the 1970s, it was a period of predominantly 2 handed watches so this represents a different perspective entirely and another reason as to why this timepiece was so and still is lauded. 

You could wear this to add a retro feel to your work attire or blend it in with a black jumper at the weekend to keep your ensemble looking seamless and refined. The model will hold its value as it is rare and is constructed like no other timepiece, creating a majestic avant garde piece for those with taste. You can buy a Girard-Perregaux Casquette 2.0 at retail for £5,000 - at the time of writing.

Let’s face it. If Casio and Richard Mille collaborated, this would probably be their brainchild. 


Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary


Got a friend who’s into space? Better try and buy an Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary for their birthday!


Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary - Source - Omega

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Celebrating 50 years of the moon landing in 1969, this is a remarkable timepiece that’s out of this world…literally. Although Neil Amstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped onto the moon, Omega was there with them, becoming the first brand to make a lunar landing. And it was a major deal. If their watches could take on the moon, they could easily take on your day to day life!




Limited to 1,014 pieces, The Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary marks the celebration of when man landed on the moon in 1969. Sounds like one giant leap for this Swiss powerhouse as they have now gone down in history as part of this magnanimous event. Continuing on the Speedmaster collection, the legacy allows this timepiece to be extremely coveted. There can be no greater achievement than being on the moon! 




Omega have gone all out with their golden anniversary celebrations of the Omega 11 50th Anniversary. The case is made from 18K Moonshine gold, Omega’s own gold alloy which was created in 2019 while we like vertically brushed dial that gives a seamless aesthetic. Down to the intricacies, the indices are made of onyx which contrasts beautifully with the shimmering Moonshine gold dial. The 1969 piece is referenced throughout, namely in the touches of burgundy which are present on the ceramic bezel as well as some elements of the movement which can be seen through the exhibition back. 

We all know the American’s fancy themselves a bit too much so Omega has appeased them through a decorative caseback ring which proudly states ‘The First Watch On The Moon’, ‘Apollo 11 - 50th Anniversary’. You cannot get more exclusive than that can you? Top this off with a slice of the American continent as well as a ‘domed lunar meteorite inlay’ and you have a cosmic timepiece that’s fit to grace any horological top table. Did we mention its calibre 3861 is a Certified Master Chronometer, approved by METAS and resistant to magnetic fields up to 15,000 gauss? Talk about jam-packed!


Is This A Unicorn Watch?


The Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary is very rare at only 1,014 pieces made and is worth vastly more than its other steel variants. Its rich heritage and place in pop culture ensures no other timepiece can compete. Add in its own Moonshine alloy and you have a genuine contender. 

Rolex has its Rolesium, Omega has its Moonshine and never the twain shall meet. It is quite flashy due to its intense gold colour and would suit a nice black dress shirt to make it pop. If you really want to go all out, pair it with an all white suit at your best friend's wedding. Just don't steal all the attention! You can buy an Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary for £37,100 at retail at the time of writing. This is comparable to the value of an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. Its rarity should boost this pricey retail value even further on the secondary market due to its inevitable demand exceeding supply.




That’s it, Timelords. We’ve been to the 70’s, the moon and even the Sahara desert to find out what makes unicorn watches so revered. From what we’ve analysed, it's usually an amalgamation of rarity, iconic style, history and their very high resale value which gets the watch from your standard horse at Cheltenham to your mythical beasts in no time. 

Unicorn watches are becoming more and more frequent with the prevalence of technology, allowing us to see into the past and deciding for ourselves what makes them so sought after. We could look to the past and say that Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona is a unicorn watch due to it being the most expensive watch sold at auction, its associations with the famous actor and the Daytonas impeccable racing heritage. 

This might be applicable to modern times too by way of the Richard Mille UP-01 Ferrari. Considered one of the slimmest watches ever produced, this 150 limited edition timepiece could be elevated to unicorn status due to its rarity and pioneering aesthetics. What else can we say? Unicorn watches are as lusted after as that new sports car on your social media feed. It’s just a case of finding them now! Although we cannot predict what the latest unicorn watch will look like, we can foresee they are a break from the norm, pioneering and rather daring. But hey, we all know where we were when we rode our first unicorn

Can't wait any longer to grab a unicorn watch? Want to be a horological trailblazer? Contact us today and see why we are so revered by the public. Using our dedicated app, cut through the noise and get your hands on the watch of your dreams. You can buy a watch or sell a watch with Chrono Hunter with consummate ease and comfort. Enjoy 24 hour live updates of deals so you always have your finger on the horological pulse.


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Further Reading: 

9 Grail Watches You Should Start Collecting Today

Rolex Daytona Waitlist 2023: Why Is There A Minimum 5 Year Wait?


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