This year, I felt a bit like a football player sitting on the bench with a serious injury. At the beginning of the year, my wife and I bought a new house, and now we’re in the middle of remodeling it. That means that much of my attention is on the house, and all of my watch funds are going there as well. However, I have, of course, seen some very exciting new releases, and there are definitely a few that I’ve put on my wish list. Here are my favorite watches of 2023.

I thought Nacho told us to name a maximum of three of our favorite releases. Luckily, Jorg, who went first in this series, already featured five of his favorites plus honorable mentions. I guess that means I won’t have to limit myself here either! First, I’ll mention some of my favorite releases overall, and then I’ll go over a few watches that made it onto my wish list.

My Watches and Wonders debut

Back in March of this year, I attended Watches and Wonders for the first time. I had never seen so many watches together in one place. It was exciting to get a sneak peek at what all those brands were up to. I also loved the fact that we could go hands-on with all those new releases. Maybe that’s why a lot of my favorite watches of 2023 were featured at Watches and Wonders.

Ulysse Nardin Freak One OPS best watches of 2023

My biggest surprise at the show was the Ulysse Nardin Freak. I had never really looked into this model, but when I was able to hold it in my hands and try it on, I was sold. And then, when the Freak One OPS was recently released, I got even more excited. The titanium case, carbonium bezel, and military-green color go together so well. At 44mm, it’s a big watch, and it’s probably too expensive for me anyway, but what a cool watch it is!

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Chronograph best watches of 2023

The Reverso Chronograph, modern Rolex models, the Tissot Sideral for summer, and the LV Tambour in Paris

Just like Lex, I also can’t get over how good that new Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Chronograph looks. It all starts with that beautiful time-only dial in full Tribute style. Its color is somewhere between blue, green, and gray, and the sunburst is somehow sharp and soft at the same time. Then, when you flip it over, the semi-skeletonized chronograph dial completely blows your mind. It’s quite a bit larger than my Reverso Duoface, but it didn’t even wear that badly. Its continuously increasing price is a bit of a speed bump, though.

I also remember our team meeting with Rolex at Watches and Wonders. There were about ten people around the table in a cramped, very warm little room. However, I also remember seeing two new Rolex models there that excited me, which doesn’t happen very often these days. Both the new two-tone Rolex GMT-Master II and the new Perpetual 1908 reminded me a bit of the Rolex of yesteryear. I probably won’t (be able to) buy either of them soon, but I’m excited to see what else The Crown has in store for us.

Right before summer, Tissot launched its re-edition of the Sideral. It was colorful and fresh and felt like the perfect summer watch. It’s a shame that Tissot couldn’t mix the yellow and red colors with the carbon case, but it’s still a fun watch to look at. Lex took the yellow one for a spin at the Tour de France, and that reminds me of another great watch release that I attended in Paris. The new Tambour heralds a new era for Louis Vuitton. This steel piece is, of course, a bit pricier than some people would like. However, it does show that the brand is getting very serious about watches.

best watches of 2023 TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph Glassbox

My wish list from Watches and Wonders

All right, enough daydreaming about too-expensive and unattainable watches — let’s talk about my wish list. Again, a few releases from Watches and Wonders stuck with me. The first is the TAG Heuer Carrera Glassbox with its funky and curvy internal bezel. The black and white reverse-panda version is my favorite, and I even think the date at 12 o’clock looks cool just the way it is. I could’ve done without the yellowish lume, but other than that, there are very few things I’d change about it. This is a very well-done modernized re-edition of TAG Heuer’s Carrera.

Now we come to Zenith, and let’s start with the bold new Pilot Big Date Flyback in steel. Its name tells you exactly what you need to know. That big date reminds me of the discontinued Blancpain Lemans, and the numerals are just as big and bold. I even love the horizontal pattern on the dial. At 42.5mm in diameter and 51.4mm from lug to lug, it’s a tad big for my wrist, but what an awesome look it has.

I could, of course, go for the smaller 40mm Pilot Automatic, but if I had to go with a smaller Zenith, it would be the Defy Revival Shadow. It was the surprise release from the brand, and the modern titanium case material and microblasted finish work so well in combination with the vintage styling. Well done, Zenith.

Serica 6190 Field best watches of 2023

Small-brand goodness and a GS surprise

One watch that completely hit it out of the park for me was the Serica 6190 Field Chronometer. With a thinner case and a self-winding movement, the brand’s former 4512 got exactly the updates I was hoping for. The lugs have also been redesigned to match the rest of the Serica lineup. I’m glad the California-dial option is still there as it is, by far, my favorite of the three dial options. It did get a bit more expensive (€990), but I feel it still offers a lot of bang for your buck.

Spaceone best watches of 2023

Another option that wouldn’t completely break the bank is the Spaceone by Guillaume Laidet and his team. This watch looks unlike anything I’ve ever considered wearing. But it keeps coming back into my mind, and I feel it’s an ultimate guilty pleasure. Yes, it’s like owning a budget De Bethune Dream Watch. However, that’s not something that would bother me when I’m wearing that fully brushed titanium space traveler on my wrist. I heard they’re still available — someone, please stop me from hitting that “Buy it now” button.

And then, just when you thought you’d seen it all this year, Grand Seiko released the SBGW305. I already was a fan of the cream-colored SBGW231 and 235, but this silver sunburst version is so pristine. I also like that it comes on the beads-of-rice bracelet, which I think matches the rest of the design very well. That’s something that doesn’t happen a lot with Grand Seiko watches.

All right, one sneaky honorable mention, the Holthinrichs Deconstructed

Final words

There you have it — all of my favorite watches of 2023. Let’s see if we can finish the house remodeling soon and then see if there’s any money left to buy watches. But even if I can’t buy the watches I like anytime soon, I can still enjoy those releases. Postponing the purchase can even strengthen the love for them. So cheers to those great releases of 2023, and I’m already looking forward to what 2024 might bring.

What do you think of the watches mentioned above, and what were your favorite releases of the past year? Let me know in the comments below.