Sunday Morning Showdown has become a Fratello tradition. Every Sunday morning, two Fratello writers go head to head, fiercely defending the timepieces of their choice. It’s become a favorite among Fratello writers, and you, the Fratelli, also seem to enjoy it a great deal. In this second overview of the year, we look back at some of the most remarkable battles of the second half of 2023. Thanks to your input, we were able to continue the series with some fresh perspectives. On top of that, it led to some pretty interesting battles. So let’s look at some of this year’s most heated Sunday Morning Showdown battles.

While most Fratello writers are taking a much-deserved holiday break, it’s nice to look back at where we’ve been. In an article that I wrote during the summer, I recapped some of the best showdowns of the first half of the year. On top of that, we asked for your input for future articles in the series. In answer to that, you gave us an overwhelming number of interesting matchups that we carefully saved. In this article, I will focus on the most remarkable battles of the second half of 2023. Some were per your request, while others resulted from a discussion in our weekly editorial meeting. Without any further ado, let’s jump in.

September 17th: Neo-Vintage Panerai Radiomir PAM00210 Vs. Modern PAM01348

Our first pick is a Sunday Morning Showdown between Robert-Jan and Thomas. While Robert-Jan made a case for the modern Panerai Radiomir PAM01348, Thomas countered it with his love for the neo-vintage Radiomir PAM00210, a watch that he owns. Robert-Jan took a smart approach by emphasizing that neo-vintage Panerai models were nice-looking watches but overpriced in terms of movements and finishing.

Therefore, he stated that the new PAM01348 is the better choice due to its special case material and the level of finishing of the dial, hands, and movement. He knew that it would be risky business as most of you love the Panerai of the past but don’t have the same enthusiasm for current-day Panerai.

It’s a sentiment that we saw in the votes and the comments. Thomas’s PAM00210 absolutely crushed RJ’s PAM01348, taking 79% of the votes versus 21% for the latter. The comments section showed nothing different. Many of you commented that your sentiment lies with neo-vintage Panerai, both for the design as well as the ETA/Unitas caliber OP X that powers Thomas’s Radiomir.

Panerai Radiomir PAM00210 diameter police

One thing most of you agreed on is that both watches are overpriced for what they are. While it’s hardly surprising that the neo-vintage Radiomir won, it does leave the question of what the brand will do next to get the fans on board again.

Blancpain × Swatch Scuba Fifty Fathoms Arctic Ocean and Omega × Swatch Speedmaster MoonSwatch Mission to Jupiter

September 24th: Omega × Swatch Speedmaster MoonSwatch Vs. Blancpain × Swatch Scuba Fifty Fathoms

One week later, Daan and yours truly went head to head with two of the most talked-about watches of the last two years. In this specific Sunday Morning Showdown, the Omega × Swatch Speedmaster MoonSwatch battled the Blancpain × Swatch Scuba Fifty Fathoms. But the reality is that it never was a real battle.

Swatch × Omega Speedmaster MoonSwatch Mission To Neptune

The MoonSwatch took the easy win with 73% of the votes against 23% for the Scuba Fifty Fathoms. And the comments section shows a similar sentiment. The opinions were strong in this one.

Some of you felt it was too soon after the MoonSwatch for Swatch to introduce another big collaboration with a luxury Swatch Group brand. Additionally, many of you agreed that the Swatch Fifty Fathoms’ biggest flaw is that it’s a €400 non-serviceable, throw-away product.

But maybe the biggest issue you all had is that Blancpain has a lot of work to do creating a solid collection centered around its iconic Fifty Fathoms rather than creating fun watches with Swatch. The sentiment did not go away during the Fifty Fathoms’ celebratory year. Let’s hope we see a non-limited Fifty Fathoms that will do the 1953 original justice.

October 29th: Omega Speedmaster Professional Vs. Rolex Cosmograph Daytona

By far, the most popular Sunday Morning Showdown of the second half of the year was the battle between the current Moonwatch and the new Daytona. It’s a matchup that multiple readers requested. We had the same battle before, but with a new Daytona, a repeat only seemed fair. Robert-Jan defended his much-beloved Speedy, while Daan had the unfortunate task of defending the Daytona.

The battle ended with an easy win for the Speedy, taking 70% of the votes against 30% for the Daytona. It seems like a predictable outcome in this Speedmaster-biased universe. And the comments section was the usual stage for many amusing discussions.

Besides the usual Rolex vs. Omega banter, people also pointed out what they thought makes the Daytona the lesser pick of the two. From the better Speedmaster story and the screw-down pushers of the Daytona to the finishing of the movement and the price difference, there are a lot of reasons why people voted for the Speedy.

People seemed to agree that the current Daytona is a great improvement over the previous generation. After the dust settled with a whopping 146 comments, the majority agreed that the Moonwatch is still untouchable. And we don’t expect that to change anytime soon.

Grand Seiko

November 5th: Rolex Explorer II Vs. Grand Seiko Evolution 9 GMT

We saw another heated battle with a surprising outcome only one week later. While Thomas defended the current Rolex Explorer II, I took the opportunity to point out why I would pick the new Grand Seiko Evolution 9 GMT, specifically the “Mist Flake” variant. In all honesty, I expected an easy win for the Explorer II.

Maybe not a landslide, but I still thought we’d see at least a solid 60% of the votes for the Rolex. That turned out quite different. Ultimately, Grand Seiko’s Evolution 9 GMT won with 56% of the votes versus 44% for the Rolex Explorer II. It surprised me quite a bit, but not everyone was that amazed by the outcome.

A quick browse through the comments section reveals a similar balance. There are fans of both watches for a string of different reasons. Many of you seem to favor the Grand Seiko’s Evolution 9 GMT for various reasons, ranging from the Spring Drive movement to the superior finishing to the stellar “Mist Flake” dial. One remarkable observation is the comparison of the nuisance factor of the power reserve on the Grand Seiko dial versus the date magnifier on the Explorer II dial.

That’s something that I had never thought about. And lastly, no Rolex showdown is complete without dragging Omega in there, even if the brand is not part of the battle. It was as amusing as ever. Never a dull moment, not even on a quiet Sunday morning.

A Watch Catalog With Fewer References

November 12th: Rolex Oyster Perpetual Vs. Omega Aqua Terra Shades

Speaking of Rolex versus Omega, the last battle I want to highlight was another clash of the Titans. In the showdown on November 12th, Daan defended the Rolex Oyster Perpetual 36, while Nacho made a case for the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Shades. While Daan made a compelling case for the Oyster Perpetual, it ended up losing, earning 48% of the votes against 52% of the votes for Nacho’s Aqua Terra Shades.

While we know that Fratello is an Omega-dominated space, we were quite surprised by the outcome. The Oyster Perpetual is the perfect entry-level Rolex and is also significantly more affordable than the Aqua Terra. But you decided differently.

Browsing through the comments, you would also think that the Oyster Perpetual would win. Some people thought a matchup against the Datejust would be better, while others favored the Oyster Perpetual because it has no date. The price is another obvious talking point, and there was also a large focus on the accuracy of both movements.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual turquoise

It was a fun discussion that covered a lot of ground in over 100 comments. In the end, the Aqua Terra Shades claimed the victory. It’s a virtual win, but would you also pick the watch when presented with the choice of these two in real life? It’s a fun closing thought for this list of five memorable Sunday Morning Showdown battles.

Sunday Morning Showdown in 2024…

There you have it — an overview of the five most popular, most commented-on, and most heated Sunday Morning Showdowns of the second half of 2023. We greatly enjoy creating the series, and on behalf of the entire Fratello writers team, I want to thank you for participating every weekend in the vote and the discussions in the comments section. We will move forward in 2024 with more new battles every single Sunday. While we still have plenty of suggestions from you and some new models that we want to cover, feel free to suggest more matchups in the comments section below. For now, we wish you all a happy new year and hope to see you in 2024 for more Sunday Morning Showdown fun!