Although 2021 wasn’t fairly the “again to regular” we had been hoping for this time final 12 months, it doesn’t appear to be the watch business let that get it down an excessive amount of. In truth, after I was scrolling via all of the releases this 12 months, I used to be stunned at simply how a lot new or improved product was rolled out, and never simply by the most important manufacturers. 2021 was a banner 12 months for impartial manufacturers like Czapek, Parmigiani, and Konstantin Chaykin, whose releases on the in-person Geneva Watch Days and Dubai Watch Week turned watch nerd fodder as potent as something from Rolex or Patek. And whereas Watches & Wonders was nonetheless purely digital, items just like the smaller IWC Pilot’s Watch in 43mm and the Hermès H08 garnered quite a lot of buzz and a focus.
Whereas it’s inconceivable to be complete, listed below are our favourite new watch releases of 2021, as chosen by the aBlogtoWatch workforce. And, in fact, we wish to hear what your favorites are from this 12 months, so depart it within the feedback — and right here’s to 2022.
The issues Omega did on goal, in addition to accidentally, make this product so efficient. From a storytelling standpoint, the watch is improbable on account of the film being delayed a number of instances (because of the state of the world), in addition to the truth that Omega, in essence, designed it particularly to swimsuit the tastes of James Bond 007 actor Daniel Craig. For his final function as James Bond, Mr. Craig himself instructed Omega what he wished from a product worn by the character within the film. Omega then proceeded to do what it does greatest, and “design a look ahead to a specific goal.” The timepiece went on to be worn by Daniel Craig within the film, and it’s also accessible for buy. Not solely that, however the watch is just not a restricted version.
Placing a limitation on the manufacturing of watches helps drive speedy gross sales, however it additionally causes different market issues equivalent to watches being bought by individuals who don’t really need them. Omega was roughly compelled to do the precise factor by not having the No Time To Die Seamaster 300M watch be restricted, and thus opened it up for buy by the precise demographic of patrons who be taught the story of the product on their very own time. Visually, the titanium-cased Seamaster 300M is gorgeous and really good-looking on the wrist. As you possibly can see, there may be a lot to understand in each the design and industrial context of this Omega watch, sufficient in order that I really feel it tells successful story about not solely Omega however as a advertising idea that might work nicely for different manufacturers if utilized intelligently.
I’ll second Ariel’s sentiment with regard to selecting favorites, so I’ll offer you an inventory as an alternative – strictly talking for myself right here. Probably the most stunning watch in 2021? The Grand Seiko SBGJ249 Shosho. Probably the most spectacular and superior watch in 2021? The Hublot Sang Bleu II Chronograph in ceramic. One of the best retro-inspired watch? The Zenith El Primero A386 for lastly getting a Putting tenth motion! And the perfect reasonably priced watch? It’s obtained to be the Timex Giorgio Galli S1 in 38mm. Proof that 2021 has yielded some improbable watches and completed so in a outstanding vary of kinds, eras, value segments, and technical complexity. The watch world is on hearth – let’s not take that without any consideration.
What a 12 months it’s been for chronographs! I’ve been lucky sufficient to pattern some really extraordinary chronograph watches over the previous 12 months, however there are two that stand head and shoulders above the remainder. The primary of those is the Hamilton Intra-Matic Chronograph H. By simplifying its current classic chronograph design, eradicating the automated rotor, and injecting the watch with an simple all-American muscle automobile appeal, Hamilton has developed the one greatest purist hand-wound chronograph possibility available on the market with out venturing into the Omega Speedmaster’s loftier value vary. The Intra-Matic Chronograph H democratizes classic sports activities chronograph fashion in one of the best ways attainable, with out compromising on both historic accuracy or high quality.
On the extra premium aspect of the market, the clear winner to me this 12 months was the restricted version TAG Heuer Monaco Titan. Regardless of being a classic chronograph fanatic, notably for the Heuer Calibre 11, the Monaco line had at all times struck me as a design that by no means gracefully transitioned out of the ‘60s and into the fashionable world – till now. The Monaco Titan seems like a genuinely trendy and heavy-hitting chronograph design, and it recontextualizes this acquainted look with just a few minor adjustments. The ending on each the matte titanium case and the closely grained sunburst dial is exquisitely completed, and using black “panda” subdials and blazing purple accents offers this monochrome look a way of aggression with out going too far. Apart from, if it’s adequate to be the timepiece of alternative for newly-crowned System 1 World Driver’s Champion Max Verstappen, it’s adequate to make my private shortlist.
I’ve to record two right here since I simply couldn’t select between them. First, in what was each a brand new launch and a farewell to a reasonably divisive tongue-in-cheek assortment is the H. Moser & Cie Swiss Alp Remaining Improve. The smartwatch-spoofing Swiss Alp’s humorousness is balanced by impeccable finishings and a motion that can make the snobbiest jaw hit the ground. In an impressed transfer, this “Remaining Improve” has the spinning loading icon play the function of seconds sub-dial which you’ll see in motion should you scroll right down to the gif within the hands-on article I hyperlink to. A becoming farewell to a really witty work of horology.
My second decide is the brand new Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar, which stands as the one pure perpetual calendar within the model’s lineup. It’s absolute perfection housed in a Lange 1 case however there are some standout points (which actually should be particular to face out right here) just like the ingenious dual-disc moon section which doubles as a day/night time indicator.
The watch that I like most this 12 months is the Grand Seiko SBGY007. To start out, it appears to be like superior. The white textured dial is absolutely changing into a Grand Seiko signature, after which there may be that blued seconds hand that strikes so elegantly because of its Spring Drive motion. This, I feel, is a mixture that followers actually love. It’s hand-wound, too. Another excuse I like it’s that it has Grand Seiko’s new gown collection case which is the right measurement – simply 38.5mm-wide and 10.2mm-thick. And at last, I admire how Grand Seiko has determined to make this an everyday manufacturing piece in order that followers of the model can get pleasure from it.
Simple — my favourite watch this 12 months is the Grand Seiko SBGM247. It’s a 41mm computerized GMT with a stainless-steel bezel, fascinating sunburst inexperienced dial, and shiny orange GMT hand. There have definitely been flashier releases, even from Grand Seiko, however none have tugged at my heartstrings in fairly the identical manner because the SBGM247. Certain, it has probably the most ubiquitous new dial coloration of 2021, and positive, you might argue that it’s not terribly authentic, with greater than a passing resemblance to the Rolex Explorer II, however that’s not why I adore it. I adore it as a result of it reveals that Grand Seiko is lastly listening and giving watch fanatics what they need. How many individuals have appeared on the sibling 9F quartz GMT SBGN00X fashions and mentioned, “I adore it, however I simply want it was an computerized.”
Properly, Grand Seiko delivered however did so with an unexpectedly cool color-shifting inexperienced dial that I’m greater than just a little enamored with. Now, will that translate to some new, modestly sized Spring Drive divers? Who is aware of, however coupled with Grand Seiko’s introduction of the caliber 9R01 Spring Drive motion that locations the facility reserve indicator on the again of the motion, I can’t assist however assume that the zaratsu masters are listening to the watch neighborhood. Don’t get me flawed, greater than something, I wish to see Grand Seiko maintain doing what it does greatest, quietly producing fantastically executed watches that attraction to their very own distinctive design sensibilities. That mentioned, it’s definitely good to get precisely what we’ve been clamoring for sometimes.
My prime decide from this 12 months needs to be the Tudor Pelagos FXD, however with just a few caveats. First, the nice: Tudor made one other Pelagos, addressing certainly one of my favourite watches from the model that merely hasn’t obtained a lot consideration, typically left behind in favor of the extra mass interesting Tudor Black Bay assortment that now boasts dozens of particular person references. Additionally, Tudor made a complete factor out of connecting the brand new Tudor to classic Tudor’s reference to the French Navy (Marine Nationale). And whereas I don’t imagine in Santa Claus and perceive that a lot of that is smoke and mirrors merely for advertising’s sake, the truth that Tudor discovered that sort of connection price trying into in any respect is, not less than for me, superior.
Nevertheless, it’s not all excellent news. I feel a lot of the fanatic market, myself included, hoped for a smaller case with the brand new Pelagos. A 42mm diameter, particularly on the wider-set, flatter Pelagos case, is simply too massive for a lot of watch nerds within the trendy period. Although, in Tudor’s protection, the brand new FXD is markedly thinner than its predecessors, which is one other step in the precise path. As one other lower than constructive notice, I’m simply unsure the mounted lugs had been the transfer. It’s cool, proper, as a result of the MN divers wanted to rock a velcro strap after they had been doing underwater commando stuff, proper? Okay, and the Tudor velcro is admittedly nice, however most gained’t affiliate a luxurious expertise with velcro, and the bracelet on the Pelagos is without doubt one of the watch household’s greatest attributes, and certainly probably the greatest dive watch bracelets available on the market for my part. Nonetheless, I’m total hyped on the FXD. It’s not essentially all the things I wished it to be, however it’s positively an fascinating signal of what may nonetheless be to return from Tudor subsequent 12 months.