When it came to picking my entries for this Best Watches Of 2023 series, I decided to dig deep — far deeper than I did for a recent podcast with Balazs, in which my initial picks were all from the last several months. That’s a challenge in a watch market where our attention span is often short. So yes, I’ve done my best to consider the past 12 months. Get ready for some surprises!

This was an interesting year in the world of watches. There were a lot of color variations on a familiar theme. Those can be nice from time to time, but like so many of us, I like new models. Therefore, my picks for the best watches of 2023 are essentially all new, and, even more, they come from a wide selection of brands. Stalwarts like Rolex, Tudor, Omega, and the like didn’t make the list, so let’s hope 2024 is a more appealing year for my tastes. Are you ready?

H. Moser & Cie. Streamliner Small Seconds Dubai Watch Week 2023 best watches of 2023

H. Moser & Cie. Streamliner Small Seconds

My love for the Moser Streamliner runs deep, so that’s why it makes my list of the best watches this year. When the original Centre Seconds model debuted in 2020, I gave thoughts of sprinting like Carl Lewis to the French border from Geneva with founder Ed Meylan’s private model. It was that good, and while I’ve managed to restrain myself from a life of vice or buying one, the independent brand has come out with an update. And guess what! It’s arguably even better.

The new Small Seconds loses a millimeter in two areas that count — the diameter and thickness. At 39mm wide and 10.9mm thick, this watch is a smooth criminal. Now it even has a micro-rotor movement in the form of the new HMC 500 and a blue enamel dial. At CHF 29,000, the Steamliner Small Seconds Blue Enamel will likely remain a forbidden fruit for me, but it’s undoubtedly a sweet one.

best watches of 2023 Chopard L.U.C Strike One

Chopard L.U.C Strike One — chiming in!

If you’ve been sleeping on Chopard during 2023, here’s your wake-up call. The brand is producing some seriously good watches and for the most part, they’re findable. The Chopard L.U.C Strike One isn’t going to be easy to buy, but it qualifies as one of the best watches this year for me because, for what it is, I think it’s a deal. Yes, this watch is CHF 64,000 and limited to just 25 pieces, but it brings a chiming function on the hour, a guilloché white gold dial, and a 40mm × 9.86mm white gold case.

The movement is a lovely in-house micro-rotor caliber that is on display. On the front, a small window at 1 o’clock shows the striking hammer in full movement every hour. I recently had the opportunity to go hands-on with some of Chopard’s high-end pieces in this family, and they’re sublime. For me, in the “high-end dress watch” category, Chopard is soundly schooling some of its well-established competition.

best watches of 2023 Ming LW.01

Ming LW.01 — a lightweight entry for the best watches of 2023

Yes, the Ming LW.01 has captivated me since it was first released in October. It’s expensive at CHF 19,500, yet I cannot help but fall for its absolute devotion to the mission of being the lightest mechanical watch on the planet. At under 10 grams without the strap, this watch is downright silly and the kind of effort normally reserved for a concept. Yet, here we are, and buyers could even choose between hand-wound and automatic versions.

The grayish magnesium case, Gorilla Glass crystal, and “movement as part of the structure” design are wild. Somehow, though, at 38mm × 6.5mm and with a 25m water resistance rating, this watch can still be worn. Did I mention that the dial shows a non-stop twinkling star as the movement continues to run? It’s badass watch witchery, and I still want one. Make mine manual because the extra gram or two from the automatic rotor would make my arm tired!

Carl Suchy & Söhne Bevedere — a surprise pick!

Next up is a surprise pick that came out back in April at Watches and Wonders. I first met the fine folks from Carl Suchy & Söhne back in 2019 at a hotel near Baselworld. I was truly impressed with the case design of the Vienna-based brand and the friendliness of its owner. Frankly, due to the events of the last several years, I hadn’t seen any recent CS&S releases.

All of that changed last week in London, though, when The Limited Edition held a lovely exhibition and showed off some of the brands that the store carries. I had come upon the Belvedere online, but it was a wonderful watch in person. At 40.8mm in diameter and 12.2mm thick, it fits beautifully, and the finishing is immaculate. Plus, the central guilloché portion of the dial rotates to expose the correct date. At €6,400, the Carl Suchy & Söhne Belvedere is worth a look as a markedly distinct watch with gorgeous detailing.

DS Super PH100M

The Certina DS Super PH1000M

For my last pick, I’ve finally opted for something affordable. I mentioned it on our podcast, and I still believe it — Certina is now the value leader when it comes to affordable dive watches. The new DS Super PH1000M is the latest offering, and it’s so damn good. For €1,100, this watch crushes just about everything in its wake. Yes, it is 43.5mm in diameter and 14.15mm thick, but it has short lugs and a 1,000m depth rating.

DS Super PH100M

Plus, the 80-hour Powermatic is working away within the tortoise-adorned case. In black or yellowy-orange, this watch is a stonker, and Certina deserves real credit for adding it to its already stellar lineup. Yep, a certain company in Japan had better take notice.

Final thoughts on the best watches of 2023

My picks were more varied than in any other year. Perhaps it’s my changing tastes, or it could be the fact that smaller brands are now truly flexing their creative muscles. Regardless, I hope you found some of these choices surprising and delightful. As always, I’m more than happy to hear your thoughts and feedback as we ready ourselves for what will hopefully be an exciting 2024.