Fratello Favorites: The Best Watches Released In 2022 — Lex’s Picks From Omega × Swatch, Grand Seiko, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, And Patek Philippe
This year has been a pretty exciting one for watches. I had the most pleasurable experiences during Watches and Wonders 2022 with Patek Philippe, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, and Grand Seiko. And later this year, I bumped into my favorite MoonSwatch at Zürich Airport. And when I put this list of the best watches of 2022 together, I realized it’s a very eclectic list. That’s not because of the different brands, but rather, it’s because of the different materials used. There’s a platinum, a steel, a titanium, a ceramic, and a Bioceramic watch on my list. And every single one of the watches I picked was on my wrist this year. That was a criterion that every single watch had to meet to make it to my top five.
I’m not going to structure this list alphabetically or in order of preference. Instead, I’m going to go in order of price from low to high. Just like you search for watches on Chrono24, right? The least expensive watch on my list is obviously the Omega × Swatch Speedmaster MoonSwatch Mission on Earth that I bought right before boarding at Zürich Airport. On paper, I didn’t care much about the green-and-blue MoonSwatch, but in real life, it’s so good. The soft green and dark blue work really well together, the white sub-dials bring life, and the brown hands are tasteful and proof that there’s a lot of thought behind the watch.
Lex’s Best Watches of 2022: Omega × Swatch Speedmaster MoonSwatch Mission on Earth
Now that the MoonSwatch storm has pretty much blown over and the hype has died down, I still see the Omega and Swatch collaboration as a stroke of genius. And not just that. If you ask me, the collaboration makes sense from every angle, but if the final product had disappointed, the brilliant concept would have failed entirely. But every single watch in the collection is a gem in its own right. My €260 MoonSwatch has been on my wrist quite often, and it has brought a smile to my face every time. What more do you want from a watch?
Grand Seiko Evolution 9 GMT “Mist Flake”
Sober, gray, functional, comfortable, advanced, detailed, and with superb finishing… The new Grand Seiko Evolution 9 GMT SBGE285 “Mist Flake” (€8,500) with its 41 × 13.9mm dimensions executed in titanium has it all. The lightweight bracelet feels more robust than ever and is beautifully finished, just like the fantastically shaped case. Titanium really comes to life in the hands of the Grand Seiko experts. This watch gives off some serious “Freccione” vibes without copying the original legendary watch. It does so subconsciously, not blatantly like another watch I saw debuting this year. The absence of a ceramic bezel — most of which, in my opinion, are too in your face — works understated wonders. And because I currently don’t have a GMT or a Spring Drive watch, the “Mist Flake” gets a place in my list of best watches of 2022 — and on my Christmas wish list, dear Santa.
Lex’s Best Watches of 2022: IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN Edition “Lake Tahoe”
It’s big, it’s white, and it’s slightly obnoxious, but it’s also so freakin’ cool! Watch love can be irrational. When I first saw the IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN Edition “Lake Tahoe” (ref. IW389105) among a plethora of other novelties, all the other watches disappeared in the background. I only had eyes for this black-and-white ceramic beast of a pilot’s watch. Deep down, I know it’s a bit too big — 44.5mm instead of 43mm, the size I deem perfect for this clear white and thus visually prominent chronograph. It’s also a bit too expensive, as it doesn’t stay below the magical €10K border with a price of €11,800. Still, love is without rhyme or reason, and therefore, this frosty chronograph from IWC easily made it into my top five.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Perpetual Calendar
A dive watch with a perpetual calendar makes total sense, right? No, it doesn’t, but that didn’t stop me from instantly loving the Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Perpetual Calendar (€36,700). Normally, watches that don’t make any functional sense are frowned upon by yours truly. A dive watch with a retrograde display of the Southern Hemisphere moon phase, which complements the classical Northern Hemisphere moon phase display at 6 o’clock? Come on! But I don’t mind it in the case of this complicated Polaris. It must also be the perfect proportions of the steel 42 × 11.97mm case that do it for me. The case is sporty and water-resistant to 100 meters, but it’s also beautifully finished, as you’d expect from a reputed manufacturer of Haute Horlogerie like Jaeger-LeCoultre. And that high level continues on the inside with the new automatic caliber 868AA, developed especially for this new Polaris Perpetual Calendar.
Lex’s Best Watches of 2022: Patek Philippe 5270P-014 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph
You will never forget that the 41 × 12.4mm case of the Patek Philippe 5270P-014 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph (€189,500) is made of platinum because of the sparkling diamond between the lugs at 6 o’clock. Not that you need a diamond to remind you of that, though, because the green-dialed Ref. 5270P-014 is quite a heavy watch. It’s the combination of the weight, the design and color of the dial, and the beautifully crafted and finished 456-part caliber CH 29‑535 PS Q that beats inside the classically shaped case that earned this watch a spot in my top five. If the first watch on my list, the MoonSwatch Mission on Earth, made me smile, this latest and greatest version of the charismatic Ref. 5270P made me feel all warm and fuzzy when I wore it during Watches and Wonders 2022. What a great way to close out this year in watches.
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