The Best Watches Of 2022 — Our Top 10 Picks From Tudor, Vacheron Constantin, Omega, And More
It’s time for the final list of 2022! After a long year full of great releases, it’s time to put together a list of the ten best watches of 2022. After have compiled our individual lists, this is Fratello’s list of best releases of the year. What does that mean? These are the ten watches we were most impressed by. Call them the most relevant, impactful, talked about, or simply the best. According to the Fratello editors, these are the ten best watches from 2022.
It can be hard to come up with a list of the best ten watches in a year that saw so many different releases. The big question when we made our list was simple: what was the impact of these watches? We debated it for some time, and then, voilà, a list of our best of the year. Some of them we agreed on immediately, and some were heavily debated. But in the end, we agreed on every watch on this list. So without further ado, these are Fratello’s Top-10 best releases of 2022 placed in random order.
Vacheron Constantin Historiques 222
The first watch on this list was a no-brainer. The Vacheron Constantin Historiques 222 made it onto multiple year-end lists of our Fratello editors and is a deserved first pick for this list. From the moment the 222 was unveiled, people were mesmerized by Jorg Hysek’s characteristic 1970s design of the watch. The 222 hadn’t been part of the Vacheron Constantin collection since 1985, and the glorious return was celebrated with much praise.
The 37mm tonneau-shaped case with the notched bezel, the well-balanced dial, and the elegant bracelet make this an iconic statement. Inside the watch, Vacheron Constantin switched from the veteran caliber 1120 to the modern caliber 2455/2. the 18K yellow gold Vacheron Constantin Historiques 222 is a €62,500 statement of pure brilliance that we loved.
Omega × Swatch MoonSwatch
Without a single doubt, the MoonSwatch series was the most talked about release of the year. We have covered it plenty of times here on Fratello, and it was the cause of an avalanche of discussions. It started with the total surprise of Omega and Swatch teaming up to create the Bioceramic Swatch version of the Moonwatch. What was, according to many, a brilliant collaborative move was an unbelievable step (or even “stoop”) for Omega, according to others.
But the people who could get their hands on a MoonSwatch quickly recognized its brilliance. The impact of the MoonSwatch transcended the traditional watch world quickly. It seemed like everyone wanted one. Unfortunately, the initial praise for the brilliance of this collaboration was overshadowed by supply issues and a distribution strategy that raised many questions with fans. But the impact of this collaborative effort was groundbreaking.
Tudor Pelagos 39
The year 2022 was another great year for Tudor. The Black Bay Pro, the Ranger, and the Black Bay GMT S&G all gained much praise after they were revealed. But the one release that stood out for us was the Tudor Pelagos 39. It introduced the characteristic ‘true’ Tudor style we know from the original Pelagos in a smaller size. It makes the Pelagos 39 the perfect fit for various wrist sizes.
While its bigger 42mm brother was much favored in the comments of our Sunday Morning Showdown of the two Pelagos models, the Pelagos 39 actually received the most votes. It shows that this 39mm titanium Tudor diver was a great move that is the next big hit by Tudor. There seems to be no stopping the brand, making us curious to find out what is next. But for now, the Pelagos 39 is amongst this year’s best.
Grand Seiko Kodo
Grand Seiko graced us with a stream of new releases in 2022. At times, it was hard to keep up. It’s why I covered the majority of them in this morning’s overview article. But the one Grand Seiko that stood out during Watches & Wonders was the brand’s Kodo Constant Force Tourbillon. This stunning timepiece was quickly recognized as one of the most impressive and relevant technological innovations in the world of watches today.
Inside the platinum case that also features some external parts made of Grand Seiko’s Brilliant Hard Titanium, you will find the brand’s manual-wind caliber 9ST1. The movement features a constant-force tourbillon mechanism that is nothing short of breathtaking. Grand Seiko will produce only 20 of these unique timepieces, but the impact of the Kodo goes way beyond the twenty people that will have it on their wrists (or in their safe).
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin ref. 16202
This year was the 50th anniversary of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. Gérald Genta’s masterpiece was introduced in 1972, and five decades later, it is great to see that not all that much has changed. It was great to see that Audemars Piguet updated the Royal Oak “Jumbo” by respecting its legacy perfectly. As Robert-Jan explained, the main updates were a brand-new in-house movement and a new dial. The result feels very familiar but, at the same time, also fresh and updated.
We said goodbye to the iconic caliber 2121, which is generally regarded as one of the best and most beautiful movements ever produced. It was replaced by the new in-house developed caliber 7121 with its special “50 Years” rotor. Overall, the new Royal Oak “Jumbo” is still as brilliant as ever. And that is a comforting thought in a world where the only constant is change.
Omega Seamaster Professional Diver 300M in green
Regarding Omega, we discussed the many releases that could have been part of this list. Maybe the Speedmaster Chrono Chime or the Speedmaster Professional Moonshine Gold “Panda”? Or the Seamaster Bond 60th Anniversary or the brilliant Speedmaster ’57? The one release that impressed quite a few of us at Fratello was the green version of the brand’s Seamaster Professional Diver 300M. From the moment it landed on Nacho’s desk, the simple change of color impressed us a lot.
Not only did Omega choose the perfect shade of green for its popular diver, but the color has a transformative power that changes the watches from the thoroughbred sports watch to a dive watch with a beautiful sense of class. This green Seamaster is a hit by simply changing the colors. It brings new relevance to the Seamaster Professional, and it’s why it is part of this Top-10.
Seiko 5 GMT Series
We have covered the new Seiko 5 GMT series quite extensively on Fratello. Nacho praised the three GMT watches in his lengthy review, and many of you seemed to agree. In last week’s Sunday Morning Showdown, the orange-dialed SSK005 crushed the Tudor Black Bay Pro, showing you love this new Seiko GMT series. The watches take the familiar SKX aesthetic we all love and add a GMT compilation.
The three models each have their own dial color with a contrasting GMT hand and 24-hour bezel. Combined with the Seiko Jubilee-style bracelet, it makes for a trio of very attractive watches. If you then know that you can actually get one for €470, you know this is the best affordable release of 2022.
Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante
Another GMT that stood out this year was the Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante. But this was no ordinary GMT. The Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante introduces the split-GMT function, which was a world first. To make that possible, the Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier developed the self-winding caliber PF051. As Sky explained in her review, the dual time-setting is activated through a pusher at 8 o’clock.
Operating the pusher allows you to adjust the local timezone by moving the hour hand forward. Moving the hour hand unveils the rose gold home time hour hand. When you come home from your travels, pressing the rose gold pushbutton at 3 o’clock makes the travel-time hand fly back on top of the rose gold hour hand. It’s a wonderful sight to see, making this Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante both technically impressive and visually stunning.
Longines Spirit Zulu Time GMT
Longines had a great year with some brilliant releases. The one that stood out for us was the Longines Spirit Zulu Time GMT. Longines introduced three different versions of the Zulu Time GMT that combine vintage charm with a GMT complication, resulting in a watch that has many fans, including us. As Nacho explained, the 42mm stainless steel watch comes with sharp lugs, an oversize crown, and a new bi-directional 24-hour bezel with a ceramic insert.
Inside the case, you will find the Longines COSC-certified caliber L844.4 (A31.L411), a flyer GMT movement with a 72-hour power reserve. What’s not to like? In an installment of our Sunday Morning Showdown series, the Zulu Time GMT crushed the Tudor Black Bay GMT, showing how much you all loved this new release too. Especially the version with the green bezel on a bracelet is one of the best of the year.
The last watch on our list of the ten best watches of 2022 is the Cartier Pebble. Not the Santos Dumont with its lacquered dial, not the Tank Louis Cartier, not the Thank Chinoise, not the Masse Mystérieuse, and not the Pasha. Summing them all up shows you how what a great year Cartier had. But the Pebble, introduced in October this year, took the world by storm. Geroge Cramer perfectly explained why the re-introduction of this iconic piece 50 years after its first introduction had people talking.
In 1972 Cartier London created only six pieces of the original Pebble. Five decades later, Cartier HQ brought back this unique design in a slightly larger 36mm version. Cartier will produce 150 pieces of its new Pebble. But the impact of the Pebble is more than its production number. It’s proof of the cultural phenomenon that Cartier has become.
Final thoughts on our ten best watches of 2022
There you have it — the list of our ten favorite releases in 2022. What stands out immediately is that there is an abundance of GMT watches on the list. It makes sense if you see how many different new GMT watches we have seen this year. Additionally, it is remarkable to see that the only chronograph on the list is the MoonSwatch. As always, the list features some re-introductions of iconic pieces from the past. It shows that we all love our vintage charm and the incredible stories that come with them. And we can’t wait to find out what 2023 has in store for us.
But until then, let us know in the comments section what you think the ten best and most important releases of 2022 were. Thanks to you all for a great 2022, and see you all back in 2023 for a new year full of great watches! Cheers!