The Best Watches Of 2022 So Far — Top 10 From Tudor, Omega, Grand Seiko, And More
While many of us are still on holiday and enjoying the summer, it’s a good time to reflect on the first half of the year. Has 2022 been a good year for watches up to this point? When we started thinking of great releases, a list of potential candidates quickly took shape. A list that we collectively agreed on, however, turned out to be a bit tougher order to fill. But in the end, we succeeded, so here is our list of the ten best watches released in 2022 so far!
Looking at the long list of best releases of this year, I was surprised how many I really like. Usually, I have a hard time filling ten slots, but this time, I was shocked that I loved way more than ten. It might indicate that it has been a good year for watches so far. And in the discussion the team had about compiling this list, the term “the best” meant something different to each team member. We have deliberately left that discussion open as we all want different things from the best watches. With the Geneva Watch Days still coming up and the string of year-end releases, we might be in for some more great watches. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet.
Omega × Swatch Speedmaster MoonSwatch
We have covered the striking MoonSwatch collaboration between Omega and Swatch in detail here on Fratello. We sometimes forget among all the marketing and logistics coverage that the one thing that we all love at Fratello is how great the MoonSwatch wears. Once you get one, the temptation quickly arises to get another one in a different color or try a series of different straps. All the MoonSwatches are true strap monsters and look good on practically any style of strap. It only makes the pleasure of wearing the MoonSwatch a lot bigger.
There is no denying that the Omega × Swatch Speedmaster MoonSwatch is one of the best releases of the year. The joining of two legendary brands in creating this fun version of the iconic Moonwatch resulted in a great series of watches. I wore my “Mission To The Moon” for four weeks straight on my trip to the US earlier this year. And it will be on my wrist again for my next trip to North Carolina. At €250, this watch is truly one of the most fun and best of 2022.
Grand Seiko Kodo Constant-Force Tourbillon
We move from one striking release to another. But the Grand Seiko Kodo Constant-Force Tourbillon is completely on the other end of the watchmaking spectrum. Grand Seiko introduced this striking piece of high horology during Watches And Wonders earlier this year. The horological tour de force that Grand Seiko R&D engineer and watchmaker Takuma Kawauchiya pulled off is both groundbreaking in the technical development of watches and stunning in its execution. Michael Stockton wrote the introduction article, in which he explained the idea behind the Kodo. The starting point for the Kodo, the Japanese word for “heartbeat”, was a constant-force tourbillon movement.
The new Grand Seiko 9ST1 movement is exactly that, integrating the constant-force carriage with the tourbillon carriage. As a result of combining the two mechanisms on the same axis, there is no loss in torque. The result is stunning and highly visible thanks to the skeletonization of the movement. The hand-winding caliber consists of 340 components. It has a power reserve of 50 hours and an accuracy of +5/-3 seconds per day. Grand Seiko will produce just 20 pieces of this technological marvel for a whopping €370,000. What you get in return is revolutionary in terms of watchmaking and, without any doubt, amongst the best of 2022.
Tudor Black Bay Pro
The Tudor Black Bay Pro is, without a doubt, the most discussed timepiece of 2022 here at Fratello. You either love or hate the watch that was modeled after the legendary Rolex Explorer II ref. 1655 “Freccione.” That’s what it seemed like. Lex still gets reminded almost daily about his provoking article in which he called Tudor “A Poor Man’s Rolex.” And Nacho explained perfectly that if you are young and not hindered by the legacy of the “Freccione,” the Black Bay Pro is a perfect next option. Finally, Robert-Jan reviewed the watch without any of the emotional bias that the other two writers used for their stories. What it boils down to is that people have a palpable interest in the Black Bay Pro.
And it doesn’t matter if you like it or hate it. Even some of you that are really not interested in the watch at all admitted to reading every single word about this divisive release. What do you need to know? The Tudor Black Bay is a 39mm GMT watch with a fixed steel bezel and a case that is 14.6mm thick and 200 meters water resistant. If the looks weren’t worth a discussion, the thickness definitely was. It is mainly caused by the chronometer-certified “manufacture” caliber MT5652, which has 70 hours of power reserve. The combination of the dial and hands gives the watch its injection of Tudor character. The price of €3,770 for the watch on a bracelet further emphasizes the value-forward Tudor signature. It makes the Tudor Black Bay Pro a great offer in an already great Tudor line-up.
Vacheron Constantin Historiques 222
The Vacheron Constantin Historiques 222 was the favorite release of this year’s Watches And Wonders for many. This return of the legendary watch from the 1970s sparked a renewed appreciation for Jorg Hysek’s creation. You have probably read all about it, but let’s remind ourselves of the brilliance of the modern gold reissue of the iconic 222 “Jumbo.” The watch hadn’t been part of the Vacheron Constantin collection since 1985. The 37mm tonneau-shaped case with the notched bezel, the well-balanced dial, and the elegant bracelet make this an iconic statement. I love the 1970s design signature combined with that fascinating bracelet design. For me, it is amongst the absolute best there is.
Inside the watch, Vacheron Constantin decided to switch from caliber 1120 to the modern caliber 2455/2. For some, this was somewhat of a disappointment, as the replacement is slightly thicker and not as highly regarded as the original movement. The reasons that Vacheron used the modern caliber 2455/2? It is more reliable and accurate with its higher 28,800vph frequency than the caliber 1120 at just 19,800vph. It also enhances the functionality with a quick-set date. At the same time, the watch is only slightly thicker at 7.95mm compared to the 7mm of the original. Is it better than the Overseas? I leave that up to you. But the Vacheron Constantin Historique 222 is an impressive statement at €62,500. For us at Fratello, it is one of the best statements of 2022.
Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante
I will be honest, when Parmigiani introduced the Tonda PF line at Geneva Watch Days, I was on the fence about the design of the Tonda PF Micro-Rotor. The design looks fresh, unique, and instantly recognizable. But I also had some questions about proportions and the somewhat empty-feeling dial. These are questions Fratello’s own Andreas Ahrens didn’t have, as he bought a Tonda PF Micro-Rotor and wrote a passionate article about it. Fast forward a year, and when we got the much-praised Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante in the office, it was proof once more that seeing a watch in the metal and on your wrist makes all the difference. The design, the proportions, and the bracelet all made sense.
On top of that, the Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante introduces the split-GMT function, which is a world-first, as Sky Sit explained. Parmigiani developed the self-winding caliber PF051 that features a patented complication to operate the split-GMT function. The complication is activated by the pusher at 8 o’clock. A push of the button lets you adjust the local timezone by moving the hour hand forward with each click. This is when the rose gold hour hand reveals itself to indicate home time. Are you back home with no need for the GMT function? Just push the rose gold pushbutton protruding from the crown, and the stainless steel travel hand catches up with the rose gold hour hand as they move in unison for a clean time display. It is an impressive technical accomplishment that combines with the design to make this one of the best of 2022 at CHF 26,000.
Jaeger Le-Coultre Polaris Perpetual
Jaeger LeCoultre’s latest additions to the Polaris line have quickly become Fratello favorites. I love the green Polaris Date that I featured in a list of the best recently released dive watches. But when Lex and Robert-Jan returned from Watches And Wonders this year, the Polaris Perpetual was the watch they were really impressed by. Lex’s life actually got pretty complicated because of it, as he explained in his review of the watch. So what makes this so special? The Polaris Perpetual features a 42 × 11.97mm case that is water-resistant to a depth of 100 meters. It comes with a full stainless steel bracelet that makes it a joy to wear. Sporty specs for a sports watch, as you would expect.
Inside the case, Jaeger-LeCoultre equips the watch with its updated Calibre 868AA. It was developed especially for the new Polaris Perpetual Calendar. Some of you commented that it is too small for a 42mm stainless steel sports watch. The face of the watch, however, doesn’t seem to suffer from it at all. What we get is a very nice deep shade of blue as the classy backdrop for the other elements to shine. As Lex explained it, the color gives the dial with its four sub-dials an astronomical boost. The proportions are spot on, the readability great, the orange elements playful, and the typical Polaris elements like the white trapezoidal hour markers and the skeletonized hands shine bright. The Jaeger LeCoultre Polaris Perpetual is a pricy timepiece at €31,000. But it’s also a timepiece that Lex considers selling a kidney for. And that says a lot coming from him.
A series of watches that a lot of people seemed to love at Watches And Wonders was the new Cartier Santos-Dumont models with their lacquered bezels and cases. Out of the three, the rose gold model impressed us the most. The steel model with the black bezel and the platinum model with the red bezel are definitely more striking in their presence, but the rose gold model has a great distinguished and sophisticated feel to it that looks magnificent. The watch, which is based on the regular Santos-Dumont that was introduced in 2020, comes with the Cartier’s Large 43.5 × 31.4mm case in rose gold. The watch is 7.3mm thick and is water resistant to 30 meters.
Besides, the watch is powered by Cartier’s hand-winding 430 MC caliber. It’s the same movement that the brand uses for the standard Santos-Dumont. The movement is really an ultra-thin Piaget caliber 430P, which has 38 hours of power reserve. But essentially, this watch is much more about its incredible looks than its technical prowess. The lacquered bezel and front of the case create a special presence that is inspired by a 1920s model with a lacquered bezel. The combination with the stunning dial with its special pattern of squares and applied Roman numerals and rose gold hands creates something monochromatic. Cartier will produce 250 of these stunning pieces that come on a very nice dark green leather strap for €12,000. When it comes to incredible style and sophistication this year, this rose gold Santos-Dumont is hard to beat.
Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonshine Gold “Panda”
In terms of pushing the boundaries of dive-watch technology, the Omega Ultra Deep is obviously a great pick for this list. It pushes dive watches to a new level with a list of specs and a design that is more than impressive. But when it comes to sheer joy and big smiles, this Moonshine Gold “Panda” version of the Moonwatch takes the cake. During the time that we had this version of the much-beloved Speedy in the office, pretty much every Fratello team member agreed that this is one special version of the Moonwatch. Lex wrote an elaborate love story about the watch explaining why this is his unexpected favorite summer watch. Let’s remind ourselves why.
This version of the Moonwatch comes with a Moonshine Gold case and features a solid gold step dial with a sunburst finish and black sub-dials. Omega gave the Moonshine Gold hands and hour markers a black PVD treatment to fit the theme perfectly. The black bezel with the gold tachymeter scale continues with the same combination of colors. Lastly, Omega fitted this new Speedy with a black rubber strap, a first for the Moonwatch. The little Moon craters in positive relief on the inside are a nice little detail. Turn the watch around, and you get a nice view of the Co-Axial Master Chronometer caliber 3861. The manual-winding movement operates at 21,600vph, has 26 jewels, and delivers 50 hours of power reserve. At €30,400, this is an expensive but brilliant gold version of the beloved Moonwatch.
Longines Spirit Zulu Time GMT
You know there is something special about a watch when it crushes a Tudor Black Bay in a head-to-head battle. That is exactly what happened a couple of weeks ago when we put the Longines Spirit Zulu Time GMT up against the Tudor Black Bay GMT in one of our Sunday Morning Showdowns. The Longines won it, taking an impressive 63% of the votes. And we were not really surprised, to be honest. Longines has created a great GMT watch with the Zulu Time and a stylish statement on top of that. In an even wider context, the watch is the perfect example of the great things that Longines is currently doing.
The Zulu Time GMT has a 42mm case that measures 13.9mm thick. It has sharp, long lugs that span 49mm from tip to tip. The watch is equipped with a slim ceramic 24-hour bezel inlay and a beautiful retro-inspired dial. The slim hands ensure that the readability is perfect, and the vintage feel is spot-on. Inside the case, Longines equips the Zulu Time GMT with the COSC-certified caliber L844.4 (A31.L411) with a 72-hour power reserve and 25,200vph frequency. As Nacho explained, you have the choice of three different models, but the one that impressed us the most is the version with the black dial, green bezel, and gilt accents. Buy this on the bracelet for €3,100, and you will be wearing one of this year’s best surprises.
Patek Philippe 5270P-014
In the “post-Nautilus era”, a lot of watch enthusiasts were curious to find out what new releases Patek Philippe would grace us with. And we could have known that it would be nothing less than impressive. The brand has released a string of absolutely stunning releases. Some were completely new models and some were new versions of already existing models. Some of the highlights were the Annual Calendar Travel Time Ref. 5326G and the 5172G Chronograph. But the one Patek Philippe that clinches the last spot on our list is the green-dialed Patek Philippe 5270P-014 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph. And it’s not just any green dial. In a year when Patek introduced a variety of watches with green dials, the 5270P with its lacquered green dial was the one that stands out.
The 5270P has been available since 2011, but this new version introduces more than just a stunning green dial. Previous versions came equipped with leaf-shaped hands, and for the new 5270P, the brand decided to update the style with sharp, faceted hands to indicate the time. Additionally, the white central seconds hand for the chronograph and for the subsidiary indications are also new. Furthermore, the watch comes with a 41 × 12.4mm platinum case with a sparkling diamond between the lugs at 6 o’clock. Inside the case, you will find the hand-winding 456-part caliber CH 29‑535 PS Q, which is a classic blend of a perpetual calendar and a chronograph. Everything about this €189,500 5270P-014 is impressive, and that makes it the perfect closer for this list.
There you have it — our list of the best ten watches released in 2022 so far. But with a lot of impressive releases, there are so many great watches that could have been on this list. That’s why I pass the question to you…
What is your favorite watch that has debuted this year? Let us know in the comments section what your pick would be.