As the year winds to a close, our editors here at WatchTime are taking a look back at some of the most notable watches to catch our eyes in 2022. Watchmakers across the industry approached the year with vigor, experimenting with vibrant colors, innovative materials, and reaching new technical feats. While we reflect on the year behind us, let’s take a look at what our editors chose as their most consequential releases.
Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante
Bilal Khan, Senior Editor
2022 was another standout year for the indies, but there was one watch released at Watches & Wonders that grabbed me and has refused to let go all these months later. Yes, the Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante is my pick for the most memorable watch release of the year and it’s not hard to explain why. The novel reinterpretation of the split-seconds chronograph function as a clever pusher-operated GMT in the sleek Tonda PF case makes for a horologically scintillating piece that’s also actually wearable on a daily basis. It’s not easy to strike the perfect balance of dressiness and sportiness that goes into the hard-to-nail-down “leisure watch” category but the Tonda PF does it effortlessly. By doing so, brand boss Guido Terreni has masterfully grown the collection with this GMT offshoot is the best by far. For reinvigorating the brand and serving as such an effective ambassador for independent watchmaking, the Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante easily stands as one of 2022’s best new watches.
Chopard L.U.C XPS 1860 Officer
Martin Green, Editor-at-Large
I have the tradition, in December, to sit down and swipe through all the pictures I took of the many watches I have seen over a year, reminiscing about what I thought of them. There is always a great difficulty in selecting the most memorable timepieces of the past year, as I see quite a few, of which a surprisingly large amount stick with me. This is because there are so many different tiers and categories in watchmaking, each with its own champions. I have been very enamored with Squale’s new T-183 with a forged carbon case, and I consider the Isotope Old Radium one of the best pilot’s watches, and the best bronze watch, I have ever seen.
Tudor’s Black Bay Pro made it on my Christmas list this year, as it does so many things so well, and the vintage-inspired package hit home with me. Hermès impressed with the Arceau Le Temps Voyageur, and not only me but also quite a few other people as it won twice at this year’s edition of the GPHG. By now, I have probably taken a toll on my high-regarded colleague, Caleb, who put this article together and asked me to focus on one watch and keep it under 250 words. I haven’t done either because I have yet to mention my all-time favorite of this year; the Chopard L.U.C XPS 1860 Officer. Its forest green dial, yellow gold officers case, and extensive honeycomb motif are simply stunning. I only managed to shoot one lousy, out of focus, picture of it at Watches & Wonders, but its image is burned in my memory.
Breguet Tradition Quantième Rétrograde 7597
Dara Hinshaw, Managing Editor
I found Breguet’s Tradition Quantième Rétrograde 7597 especially impressive as it combines inspiration from the historical “souscription” pocketwatches created by Abraham-Louis Breguet around 1797 with state-of-the-art attributes of today. From the shape of the bridges to the para-chute shock-absorber system, the size of the balance and the wheels, the components hearken back to the historical “souscription” watches. Inside the 40-mm white-gold case is the modern 505Q automatic movement, which has a 50-hour power reserve and is equipped with an inverted lever escapement and silicon horns as well as a silicon Breguet balance spring. This material’s properties include corrosion and wear resistance, insensitivity to magnetic fields and enhanced timekeeping precision. A look through the sapphire caseback reveals a gold oscillating weight whose shape refers to the one on the perpetuelle watch created by Breguet in 1780.
I am drawn to the strong contrast displayed by the monochrome blue applied to the dial and the anthracite-clad movement. Also eye-catching is the dial’s handsome hand-guilloché clous de Paris motif. The multi-level blued steel hand that sweeps smoothly over the mechanism has been specially developed for added appeal. And completing the ensemble is a midnight blue alligator leather strap with a gold pin buckle.
Nomos Glashütte Club Sport neomatik
Sabine Zwettler, Contributor
In many respects, the watch year 2022 was one to remember. There was a host of complex mechanical masterpieces and grand complications that wowed enthusiasts and collectors and once again put the fascinating world of haute horlogerie in the spot light. Patek Philippe’s Ref. 5470P, a 1/10th-of-a-second monopusher and rattrapante chronograph, Richard Mille’s RM UP-01 Ferrari, currently the world’s thinnest watch at 1.75mm tall, A. Lange & Söhne’s latest version of the Zeitwerk, an avantgarde timepiece which displays the hours and minutes mechanically-digitally in an unrivaled size, or Omega’s latest oeuvre, Caliber 1932, which chimes the elapsed times, to name just a few. They have proven impressively that there are no limits to the industry’s ingenuity and craftsmanship.
These are just a few examples; the list could well be continued, also on other fields. For example, we have seen some fantastic diver’s watches, starting with Montblanc’s 1858 Iced Sea Automatic Date in spring, Glashütte Originals SeaQ Chronograph and, only a month ago, the Rolex Deepsea Challenge, a serial wrist diver’s watch which offers a mind-blowing water-resistance up to 11,000 meters. This list is also far from being complete. Just recently, the most outstanding mechanical masterpieces were honored at the annual Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève.
I did not envy the jury members for deciding which entries to award with a price. Accordingly, it’s also not easy for me to settle on a favorite timepiece here. Surprisingly, though, the watch I remember most is a basic automatic three-hand watch, the latest version of the Club Sport neomatik from Nomos Glashütte. Originally, the Club was targeted at a younger audience who would be able to afford a decent mechanical watch with a more modest price tag. And to this day, it still lives up to this specification, or rather, it has evolved into a modern classic sports watch, without losing its fresh-looking and very distinctive aura. On the inside, it holds a premium manufacture movement entirely produced in Glashütte, which allows for a very flat construction of the case, despite its automatic winding. It goes without saying that the sapphire case back displays top-notch decorations in accordance with Saxonian fine watchmaking tradition.
Thanks to the new size, it lives up to its unisex nature, and I could imagine that this watch is being worn by several members of a family, no matter what gender or age. Obviously, the Club Sport neomatik is not a revolutionary masterpiece, but it is a striking watch that many enthusiasts can buy and will surely appreciate. In that respect, it is a picture-perfect example of how a decent, high-quality mechanical timepiece can look like today. A watch that makes reading the time a delightful experience.
Omega X Swatch Moonswatch
Caleb Anderson, Contributor
Picture this. Me, busy, in a small, city apartment, sipping a proportionally much smaller espresso in a too-large-cup, all while steadily working away in preparation for the Watches & Wonders fair only a few days away. Then, in a moment that seems like ages ago, the world of watches was on fire.
There was no feeling quite like it. Early pictures rolled in and then some press information and then hands-on from someone with early access. I’m not sure if anyone believed it at first, but it was all real, and then, not long after, complete mania. Roger Ruegger, Editor-in-Chief for WatchTime, noted at the time how it felt like a Swatch mania of the ’80s in the early years of the brand, with lines for blocks stretching in cities across the globe, with everyone— from hardcore watch enthusiasts to hypebeasts to everyday people— taking their turn in those early sidewalk vigils hoping for a chance to buy what seemed like a Speedmaster for little more than $200 and a bit of time.
In a way, it felt like all the rules of the traditionally conservative watch industry were tossed out the window, and a new, glorious era had dawned. It was the Wild West and a bright new morning, it was chaos and beauty, it was everything and nothing— it was the Omega X Swatch Moonswatch.
As the dust has settled on the launch, more and more people have been able to obtain the watches, and some post-hysteria questions have been raised about their general quality. Notably, Adrian Barker, who runs a popular watch-focused YouTube account and directs Bark & Jack, a digital watch accessories shop, posed an interesting point after owning one for a few months, that is, most people when they first saw the Moonswatch figured it was an extremely affordable Omega, when it fact it seems as though its just a really expensive Swatch.
Questions of quality aside, it remains that the Moonswatch’s debut and subsequent sale (and then resale) quickly became one of the most exciting moments of the year in the industry, and certainly one of the most memorable. For myself, I’ve waited on countless lines in at least five different cities over the course of nine months looking to secure a “Mission to Jupiter,” and have still come up short. At this point it’s become something of a quest for myself to find and buy one of these watches at retail. Here’s to next year.
What was your favorite or most memorable watch to come from 2022? Let us know in the comments!