The 15 Best Luxury Steel Sport Watches at European Watch Company

It seems like every brand these days is rushing to release their own take on a stainless steel sport watch. And not every brand has been successful. Many have released watches that are simple retreads (bordering on knock-offs) of the icons like the Patek Philippe Nautilus and Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, but thankfully some brands have gotten it right. With this in mind, we decided to take a look at 15 of our favorite stainless steel sport watches, ranging from the iconic to the obscure. Let’s go!

Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5711

When it comes to stainless steel luxury sport watches with integrated bracelets, perhaps no watch is more famous (or more in demand) than the Patek Philippe Nautilus ref. 5711. In a twist that shocked pretty much everyone back in 2021, after the hype of the short-lived green 5711 and the ultra-exclusive Tiffany Blue 5711, Patek discontinued the steel 5711 altogether. The follow-up model, the 5811, is offered only in white gold, making it (understandably) a bit more expensive. We still love the Nautilus in its original steel variation though. This Gerald Genta design is one the best stainless steel sport watches ever made. End of story.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Ref. 16202

4 years before the Nautilus made its debut, another iconic Gerald Genta stainless steel timepiece was unveiled: the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. The story goes that Genta was asked to design a watch in a single night, and the Royal Oak was what he came up with. We’re not sure how accurate this is, but it definitely makes for a fun party story! Whether designing the Royal Oak took a month or a single night, 50 years later it remains one of the most iconic timepieces in the world. From the unique bracelet, to the octagonal bezel with exposed screw heads, to the Grand Tapisserie dial, the Royal Oak is often imitated but has never been duplicated. When you think of a stainless steel sport watch, you think of the Royal Oak.

Girard-Perregaux Laureato

When people first see the Laureato, they immediately draw comparisons to the Royal Oak. And while there are some similarities (specifically in the case design), many don’t realize that the Laureato boasts quite the heritage of its own. First released in 1975, the Laureato came after the Royal Oak but before the Nautilus. Clearly, the 1970s was an important period for the development of stainless steel sport watches. Since its introduction, GP has continued to expand the Laureato line, adding different complications and dial colors, and even producing it in different materials, including forged carbon. If you want a stainless steel sport watch with heritage (and that is actually available to buy…), the Laureato is for you.

H. Moser & Cie Streamliner

Believe it or not, not all steel sport watches date back to the 70s. In recent years, there have actually been a number of new players offering their take on the category and one of our favorites comes from independent brand H. Moser & Cie. The Streamliner is just incredibly unique. From its cushion case to its armadillo-like single link bracelet, there is nothing else like it on the market. If you want a steel sport watch with retro-futuristic design language, this is a great piece.

Chopard Alpine Eagle

While the Chopard Alpine Eagle is clearly a modern watch, it was actually inspired by a previous model from the brand’s catalog, the St. Moritz. The St. Moritz was released in 1980 and its design was absolutely a product of that era. The new Alpine Eagle is a definite improvement. It has a much better case to bracelet ratio, a more interesting bracelet design, and a dial (inspired by the iris of an eagle’s eye) that brings the watch to the next level.

A. Lange & Sohne Odysseus

When most people think of A. Lange & Sohne, they probably don’t think of a stainless steel sports watch. But in 2019, the venerable German brand entered the crowded category with the launch of the Odysseus. The watch is still very “German” and Lange in its design, while also offering something a little bit sportier. Unlike other sport watches though, when you turn the Odysseus over, you are greeted with a view of Lange’s beautifully finished movement. It almost makes you want to wear the watch with the caseback facing out!

Rolex Datejust

The Rolex Datejust just might be the most classic steel sport watch that you can buy. It also just so happens to often be the entrance point for many collectors into the brand. With the Datejust, you get a dizzying amount of options. Oyster or Jubilee bracelet, smooth or fluted bezel, multiple sizes, and dozens of different dial options. If you are looking for a sport watch that can be dressed up or down, the Datejust is a great option.

Vacheron Constantin Overseas

Many collectors assume that, in addition to the Royal Oak and the Nautilus, the Vacheron Constantin Overseas is a Gerald Genta creation. The Overseas, however, was not designed by Genta and was released two decades after the Nautilus, in 1996. The fact that the Overseas is so often associated with the Royal Oak, Nautilus and Genta just showcases how highly respected the collection has become. From its Maltese cross bezel to the unique bracelet, the Overseas shows us that its still possible to create a unique and modern steel sport watch that isn’t just another retread.

IWC Ingenieur

No, Gerald Genta didn’t originally design the Ingenieur in 1955, but his redesign in 1974 paved the way for the future of the collection. With hints of the Royal Oak bezel and Nautilus bracelet, the Ingenieur is the perfect companion piece to the two other Genta giants. And with the re-release of the Ingenieur in 2023, the brand fixed some of the issues collectors had with the original model. The bezel screws are now aligned more symmetrically and the case has been slimmed down and streamlined. Because of this and the new teal colored dial, the Ingenieur has become one of our favorite steel sport watches on the market.

Bulgari Octo Finissimo

Making its debut in 2014, the Bulgari Octo Finissimo collection has become a favorite with collectors. Featuring a square case that is 40mm in diameter the watch doesn’t wear small, but while it may be wide, it is also incredibly thin. Some of the thinnest mechanical watches to ever be made are Octo Finissimos, and the standard production models clock in at just over 5mm. The steel Octo Finissimo is just 6.4mm thick, making it the perfect watch to hide under your cuff.

Cartier Santos

The Santos began as a pilot watch, having been designed by Louis Cartier for friend and aeronaut Alberto Santos-Dumont. Since then, the watch has gone through many redesigns and iterations and has become a mainstay and icon in the Cartier catalog. The square case and dial and Roman numeral indexes give the watch a traditional look, but don’t worry, the bracelet and bezel are sporty enough to make this a versatile, everyday wear.

Laurent Ferrier Tourbillon Grand Sport Ref. LCF041

Laurent Ferrier (the brand) was founded fairly recently, in 2009, but that hasn’t stopped it from making some exceptional pieces, including the Tourbillon Grand Sport. When you first look at this stainless steel watch, you immediately notice the blue dial, cushion case, and all around sporty design. But turn the watch over and you will see beautiful finishing and a manually wound double spiral tourbillon. If you want a sporty steel watch that is the epitome of “stealth wealth”, check out the Laurent Ferrier Tourbillon Grand Sport.

Czapek Antarctique

Czapek & Cie was originally founded all the way back in 1845, but the modern iteration of the brand wasn’t relaunched until 2011.Since then, Czapek has become a hit among indie collectors and the Antartique is a testament to what the brand is capable of. One of the hallmarks of a great steel sport watch is a unique bracelet and the Antartique’s is one of the most unique out there. The brushed single links are attached by a polished connector, offering a nice contrast that shines on the wrist. The Antarctique’s dial is also incredibly unique, offering different levels and depth for incredible visual interest. If you want something in the vein of the Royal Oak, just a little more obscure, the Antarctique is a great option.

Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36000 “White Birch” Ref. SLGH005

When you think of Grand Seiko, you either think of the finishing and polishing on the case or the intricate dial patterns. The Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36000 “White Birch” features both. The star of this show, though, is clearly the “White Birch” dial. In order to achieve the unique effect, the dial is stamped not once, but 7 times! The result is one of the most beautiful dials you will find on a steel sport watch anywhere.

Piaget Polo

Dating from 1979, the Piaget Polo was one of the last steel sport watches released in the decade that produced some of the most iconic pieces still in production today. The modern variation of the Polo is incredibly unique with a round case, but dial that is a square cushion giving the watch an almost bulbous look. If you want a 70s era watch in a modern package, the Polo might be the choice.

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