Cover AVI Ref 765 1953 Re-Edition and AVI 1953 Edition watches by Breitling (Photo: Breitling)

Most watches are given nicknames by collectors for various playful reasons. From Breitling to Panerai and, of course, Rolex, here are some of our favourites as well as the stories behind them

Breitling Co-Pilot 765 AVI "Lucy Digital"

Breitling's iconic 765 AVI collection isn't just for pilots, even though it was initially designed as an aviators' watch. The 765 AVI comes with a display that acts as a 15-minute countdown function. Why? Well, before taking flights pilots are required to make 15 minutes-worth of checks. In more recent times, quick-witted collectors dubbed the original model with the nickname “Lucy Digital”, referring to a 3.2-million-year-old fossilised human ancestor that was discovered in Ethiopia’s Afar region in 1974. 

But be careful: before sharing this newly-acquired watch trivia you should know that "Lucy Digital" only refers to the very first 765 AVI model, which is pictured above. Unveiled in 1953, two decades before good-old "Lucy" was even unearthed, the idea was that this had become such a seminal reference for subsequent 765 AVI watches that it might as well have marked the origin of a species. Trust us, there have been a lot.

See also: Triathlete Chris McCormack Introduces Us To Breitling's New Endurance Pro

Tudor Oyster Prince Submariner Ref 7016 "Snowflake"

In 1954, Tudor unveiled its Oyster Prince Submariner Ref 7922, which was the watchmaker's first divers' watch that was eventually discontinued in 1999. In 1969, the Submariner entered the second chapter of its evolution, which lasted until 1975 and saw the release of a handful of references dubbed "Snowflake" by enthusiasts.

So how can we tell which Submariners were "born" between '69 and '75? Their reference numbers are as follows: 7016/0, 7021/0, 9104/0, and 9411/0. And they feature luminous square hour markers and unique chunky hands that optimise the dial's readability underwater.

These references are becoming highly sought-after and are increasingly hard to find, so if one's on your New Year's wish list––act fast.

Rolex Submariner Ref 116610LV "Hulk"

There’s always one watch release each year that gets collectors all hot and bothered, and that release usually comes from Rolex. Not one to disappoint, for 2020 the watchmaker launched the new generation of its Oyster Perpetual Submariner and Oyster Perpetual Submariner Date, which are two of the coolest divers’ watch collections the world has ever seen (even the King, Elvis Presley, was spotted wearing one). 

Historically speaking, the Submariner is particularly special for Rolex because it’s the brand’s first modern divers' watch. It’s been worn by Hollywood actors, sports legends and pretty much every other set of noteworthy people you can think of. Unsurprisingly, the news of this year's novelties sent buyers into a spin. So much so that the price of Rolex's other Submariner models, including the now-discontinued green Submariner, skyrocketed overnight in the pre-owned luxury market.

The nickname assigned to the all-green Submariner is "Hulk", which is an obvious reference to the fictional superhero and gamma radiation scientist Bruce Banner. Good luck getting yours––they're going for 80 per cent over retail on the second-hand online platform Chrono24.

See also: Meet Chi Hang Wong, The Collector Who Gives Away His Rolex Watches

Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 Limited Edition PAM 382 "Bronzo"

Panerai first championed the use of bronze back in 2011 with its handsome Luminor Submersible 1950 Limited Edition PAM 382, which is now simply known by collectors as, "Bronzo".

The PAM 382 has a dial that comes in a deep moss-green, which is designed to complement the watch's bronze case that develops an aged look over time. Water-resistant to 300 metres, the case is also made of bronze because of the material’s association with naval engineering and its resistance to saltwater corrosion.

Omega Seamaster Chronograph Ref 145.0023 "Darth Vader"

A cool-and-quirky-looking wristwatch that’s not one for the faint-hearted, the Seamaster Chronograph Ref 145.0023 was unveiled by Omega in the 1970s. Its squashed tonneau-shaped case is big and thick––15 mm thick, to be exact––and two stainless steel models were released: one with a light Tungsten finish; and one with an all-black finish.

Both chronographs were coined nicknames by legendary collector, Chuck Maddox. "Anakin Skywalker" was the name given to the Tungsten version, and "Darth Vader" was the name given to the glossy black version.

The reason is that this watch boasts a squashed tonneau-shaped case that resembles a helmet and comes with a two-piece construction—like the armour worn by the infamous Sith Lord. The glossy black coating is so thick it adds an extra half-millimetre to the piece’s diameter and a full millimetre to its thickness.

See also: James Bond's 'No Time To Die' Watch Is Even Cooler Than We Thought