I recently wrote answer for a question on Quora on timeless designs, which I will share here:
Timeless design to me is good design that has withstood the test of time. It must have served many people, left positive memories for its users, and became an inspiration for future products in its field. When you see these products now, it gives you a nostalgic feeling.
Polaroid (Instant Camera)
Polaroid 1000 OneStep, 1977 – Became the best-selling camera of the Christmas shopping season the year it was introduced. It is the camera design that pops up in people’s mind when they think of Polaroid.
Sony (Electronics, Entertainment)
Walkman TPS-L2, 1979 – If not for digital media replacing tape cassettes (50th anniversary this year), this Sony Walkman would still be used today. When introduced to the world, the TPS-L2 revolutionized the portable stereo industry. It is the inspiration for the cd players & mp3 players that came after it. If you own a TPS-L2 Walkman, I’m pretty sure it’ll still works.
Handycam CCD-M8, 1985 – The product that started Sony’s Handycam series. It marks the moment when video recording was made possible with just one hand.
C-38 studio condenser microphone, 1965 – This product and its sibling, C-38B, defined the standard for professional recording. Even today, it is still a popular studio choice.
Sony’s list of timeless designs can go on. If Sony inspires you, Sony Museum in Tokyo, Japan is a good place to visit – here is a guide to that museum:http://news.softpedia.com
Braun / Dieter Rams (Electronics, Kitchen, Home and Office Products)
Dieter Rams is pretty much a master of timeless designs. Not all these products were designed by Dieter Rams – but he certainly had a lot of influence as head of the design department at Braun.
T3 Pocket Transistor Radio, 1958 – This product is now often compared with the first Apple iPod.
SM31 Electric Shaver, 1962 – Braun had an ambition for creating functional portable electric shavers. This one delivered.
Aromaster Automatic Coffee Maker, 1972
ET22 Control Pocket Calculator, 1975 – The pocket calculator design that shaped the future for other pocket calculators.
Surprising a lot of designs for electronic products are timeless. This is despite the fact that the technology inside it may no longer be state-of-the-art.
Charles and Ray Eams (Furniture)
Eames Low Chair Wood, 1940 – First real successful use of plywood as material for a chair. This chair is filled innovations, from construction to design to marketing.
Eames Lounge Chair, 1956 – It is THE lounge chair. Everybody knows.
Sori Yanagi (Furniture, Kitchen Products)
Butterfly Stool, 1956 – Butterfly Stool blends Eastern shapes with pressed plywood molding technique invented by Charles and Ray Eames.
Water Kettle, 1994 – Each part of this steel kettle is carefully handmade by craftsmen. The parts come from more than 15 different factories in Niigata, Japan (know for its steel). More than half a million are sold each year in Japan.