The time has come. You’ve reached the end of 2022 on Fratello. First of all, on behalf of the entire Fratello team, I would like to thank you for reading our articles, watching our videos, and following us on our social media channels and for your engagement. Believe me; it really gives us so much fun and inspiration to see your comments appearing under our articles, posts, and videos. Now, let’s look at Fratello’s year in review 2022!

2022 was a year of opening up again after the global pandemic, traveling started again, and at some point, it was nearly too much to handle. All the watch brands were organizing events, press trips, etc. Sometimes more than two on the same day! We had to make difficult choices and say no to certain invitations/events. The year ends with uncertainty. A recession is hitting us, and the cost of living has increased tremendously. Energy bills are ridiculously high, and prices increased for food and other necessities, yet we still see queues in front of the luxury boutiques. Certain brands are under pressure due to their price segment, yet nearly all watch brands keep increasing prices. These are weird times, to say the least. But let’s look back on the year here at Fratello.

Part of the team in Milan earlier this year (from left to right: Sofia, Sinara, Timo, me, and Lex)

The Fratello Year In Review 2022

In 2022, we expanded our team with new writers — Daan de Groot and Thomas van Straaten — and some new freelance contributors (Michael Spencer, Vincent Deschamps, and Brent Robillard). We also saw several special contributions from renowned Cartier collector and brand specialist George Cramer. Still, the old guard like Michael Stockton, Tomas Rosputinsky, Balazs Ferenczi, Lex Stolk, Jorg Weppelink, Ben Hodges, Thomas Stover, Sky Sit, Thor Svaboe, Gerard Nijenbrinks, and Andreas Ahrens is also still there to deliver great articles and stories.

Managing editor Nacho Conde Garzon and copy editor Brandon Baines ensure everything is corrected and scheduled accordingly. And yes, on top of that, these two guys also still contribute articles themselves as well. For photography, there’s Bert Buijsrogge, but pictures were also taken by Nacho, Gerard, and Thomas. You’ve probably also seen our videos, shot by Mathijs van den Beukel. These videos are also used on our social media channels, which are managed by Sinara Isoyan. And when you visited one of our events, you’ve probably seen Sofia Severino running around to ensure everything runs smoothly.

Fratello HQ in The Hague: Caballero Fabriek

Fratello HQ in The Hague: Caballero Fabriek

The 100,000,000th visit happened in 2022

If you have ordered a watch, strap, or book from our Fratello shop, you have dealt with either Dave Sergeant or Laurits Eilgard. Dave is also in charge of the media partnerships we have with brands.

Together with Fratello’s CEO, Timo Holz, I am very proud of our team and what we’ve accomplished in 2022. We published more than 1,100 articles, and this year, we showed over 100% growth compared to 2021. What also happened in 2022, which we didn’t specifically mention before, is that we crossed the 100,000,000th visitor since I started Fratello in 2004. Since then, we published more than 7,000 articles on Fratello. On the commercial side, we’ve worked with terrific partners (watch brands, accessory brands, etc.), creating content on Fratello and adding some brilliant products to the Fratello shop. A big thank you to all our partners as well.

From left to right: Thomas, Nacho, Lex, Jorg, Daan, Timo, Andreas, Sofia, me

We plan to continue this path in 2023 with new stories, videos, and exciting collaborations. You’ve brought us inspiration for new upcoming columns and article series by commenting on our articles or by telling us during events or when visiting our offices. In 2023, we would like to see you again on Fratello! And with a bit of luck at one of the events that we’ll be hosting throughout the year.

Apollo XI 50th anniversary Moonshine gold limited edition (left) and the gold dial version of 2022

The watches I wore the most in 2022

But before the new year starts, let me show you what watches I wore the most in 2022. Compared to previous years, I didn’t buy a lot of new watches in 2022. I noticed that I did rotate a little bit more than usual, also because the men and women in our offices inspired me to wear something different once in a while.

Omega Speedmaster Apollo XI Moonshine 2019

Omega Speedmaster Moonshine

The watch that saw the most wrist time was still this gold nugget from Omega. The Speedmaster Professional in Moonshine gold that I purchased back in 2019. Even though I bought several Speedmasters after that, this Apollo 11 anniversary edition is still my grail watch and most worn Speedmaster since. It has long been sold out, and Omega introduced two new non-limited editions of the Speedmaster Moonshine models in 2022. However, the one I have is easily the one I love best.

Wristshot Rolex Day-Date 18238 with President bracelet

Rolex Day-Date

This watch was on my wishlist for so long that I can’t even recall how many years it’s been. I’ve been looking at so many of these over the years that it’s difficult to speak of an impulse purchase, yet it kind of was. I had decided I wanted a double quick-set model for a long time, but other than just browsing sales listings, nothing concrete happened. Until a friend of the show offered his Day-Date reference 18238, I saw his watch in the flesh during an event and, convinced it was in excellent condition; I pulled the trigger without giving it much thought. Happy ever since, and I’ve been wearing this 36mm yellow gold Day-Date on President bracelet at least one day per week.

Omega Speedmaster Calibre 321

Although I only got my Speedmaster Silver Snoopy Award 50th anniversary in 2022, I noticed I wear my 2021 Speedmaster Calibre 321 most of the time. I don’t dislike the Snoopy, but the Speedmaster Calibre 321 is even more special to me. It wears different from the regular 42mm Moonwatch and comes with that amazing historical caliber 321 remake. The thin flat-link bracelet is a joy to wear as well. It’s hard to get, expensive to buy (also at retail), and might not make sense to the modern Speedmaster buyer, but I think it’s worth every penny.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Quartz

Yes, it’s quartz. And no, it doesn’t even have a Jaeger-LeCoultre movement, but it’s a fun watch to wear, and I love the looks of this 39mm Master Quartz watch. I bought it for €800 at this watch trade show that Sofia Severino and I visited a few months ago. Although not a daily wearer for sure, I’ve been taking this one out of the box quite a few times. It’s a lovely piece with a movement that has earned its place in watchmaking history. I wrote about this Master Quartz here.

Rolex Sea-Dweller

One of my favorite Rolex watches is the Sea-Dweller 16600, and after I had one for a decade or so, I sold it. I repurchased one a few years ago, and it has been back on the wrist quite a few times this year. However, I sold my first Sea-Dweller because it was wobbly on the wrist. The case is not only thicker than the Submariner and Yacht-Master, for example, but also the case back itself is bulkier so it doesn’t always stay fixed on the wrist. Somehow I am less bothered by it now, but perhaps also because it used to be my daily watch back in the 2000s.

And the others

I bought several watches this year that I didn’t give proper wear (yet). One of them is the Maurice Lacroix Aikon Benzilla edition. I saw the watch in a meeting I had with them during the Geneva Watch Days, and Lex and I got so enthusiastic that we ordered two of them later on. I haven’t worn it much, but it would make that perfect fun holiday watch for me. Another watch I got but hardly got any wrist time is the Tissot PRX Chronograph.

It’s a cool watch that reminds me of the Oysterquartz, but it is not in my rotation program. It’s a bit bigger than I expected it to be, but I love its looks. Then, I bought a bunch (well, four, to be exact) of MoonSwatch watches, of which the Mission to Mars has the most wear thus far. And my last addition is the Oris Fratello Star watch, which I have worn quite a bit since I received it, but not enough to make the cut for my list above. Especially on the beige tropic and Oris stainless steel bracelet, it’s an extremely wearable watch.

As for next year, there will be some brand anniversaries, commemorative editions, and updates of existing models. We’ve already seen a few bits and pieces from various brands, and we look forward to bringing you the news on those watches and sharing our thoughts on them. As for my personal wishlist, I feel it’s time to buy another Speedmaster again, but I am also warming up to the Breguet Tradition and Classique models. On the more affordable side of things, I’ll definitely be keeping my eye on Longines and Tudor.

See you in 2023!

Even with the uncertainty we live in today, it is reassuring to see the demand for articles, stories, videos, and podcasts about watches is high. Let’s hope the watch brands will keep it somewhat sane with their pricing strategy. Otherwise, it will become a hobby or passion for only the lucky few. The trophy watches came down in price, a trend that nobody expected to happen in the first half of 2022 when the sky was still the limit.

The phenomenon of ever-increasing market prices on watches also made a lot of brands greedy, basing their retail prices on the going prices for their sought-after watch models. Now that some of the market prices of those watches have come down, we might see some watches that don’t move because of their (upped) retail prices. For the sake of the watch brands and watch collectors, things hopefully go back to normal as soon as possible.

This leaves me to say Thank You once more for your support in 2022 and wish you a Happy New Year!