What is a Grail Watch?

4:37 PM

According to Arthurian legend, the holy grail is the chalice that Jesus drank out of during the last supper, which Joseph of Arimathea later used to collect his blood after his crucifixion. This mythical artifact is highly sought after in medieval tales and more recently in movies like Monty Python and the Holy Grail. As it relates to wristwatches, a grail watch means different things to different people, but generally refers to a collector or watch enthusiast's most coveted timepiece.  

What is a Grail Watch? (photo: Jessica Ruscello)
While most grail watches do come with a large price tag, affordability is not the only thing coming between many watch enthusiasts and their ultimate timepiece. Scarcity is also something that would prevent one from attaining their grail watch. There are many rare vintage timepieces that are simply not available for sale all the time, and when they do hit the market, they are snatched up quickly. Your grail could be a simple stainless steel sports watch that is in the same price range as the current model, but has a dial or configuration that you prefer. You could also have a sentimental reason that makes you place a certain timepiece above all others.

The difference between a grail watch and the actual holy grail is that a grail watch is more than just a legend. Some have to put money away for years and search high and low, but a grail watch is always attainable as long as you can find it and afford it at the time. So, what happens after you acquire your grail watch? For many people, once they own their grail watch they walk into the sunset with it strapped onto their wrist and leave it for their children in their will. And for those who love the chase more so than the timepiece itself, they find another watch to obsess over until they can make it theirs and move onto the next conquest.

If I were forced to choose a grail watch right now (there are several that I hope to be able to own someday in the not-too-distant future) it would have to be the Everose gold Rolex Day-Date with the chocolate dial and diagonal motif shown in the photo above. I would say that the yellow gold GMT-Master II with the green dial comes in a close second, but the rose gold on the Day-Date just speaks to me and the chocolate dial compliments it in a way that still impresses me every time I see it. And if I am going with a precious metal configuration, I would give the edge to a classic dress watch like the Day-Date because that's what those materials are meant for. I love Rolex's sports models, but I usually prefer them in their stainless steel configurations.

Will I ever come to own my grail watch? I hope so, but I can't say it's the only watch that would make me happy forever. There are a few Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe models that I would absolutely love to own, and since I have no plans of robbing a bank or winning the lottery, I will likely have to choose between a few of my top timepieces in the end. However, I will say that even deciding upon a grail watch for this blog post has helped me figure out what I love about the watches that I love, so I think that choosing a grail watch is ultimately a worthwhile exercise.


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