All photos from the manufacturers
Instead of the best watches list we’ll go with our favorites. Watches are so subjective, it’s hard to make any worthy statements on what may or may not be the best of a group of them. Sometimes there’s just an emotional connection to them that trumps features or value. In no particular order, these five watches stood out to us. We are biased towards Rolex and Tudor, so our list shows that.
Tudor Pelagos FXD: We love that Tudor continues to come out with models that don’t necessarily cater to most buyers’ wishes. But this collab with the French Navy is one of those pieces that looks a whole lot better in person than in press images. The fixed lugs are cool and if you are OK with passthrough straps this watch is going to be a lot of fun. The bidirectional countdown bezel is different but ultimately useful for everyday timing. The shade of blue is very versatile and it feels great on the wrist. We still love the original Pelagos and we will applaud Tudor for choosing to go their own way and simultaneously put out crowd-pleasers like the Black Bay 58.
Black Bay 58 Bronze: Speaking of the Black Bay 58, we cozied up to the Tudor Boutique in Manhattan to be able to score one soon after it was released. The bracelet with adjustable clasp is incredible and the brown tones just complement the bronze finish so well. With the 58 dimensions and 3-6-9 dial found on other bronze Black Bays makes this also our most worn watch of the year.
Zenith Chronomaster Original in 38: Zenith has quietly had a very solid year of releases. We are fans of chronographs in general (owning both the modern Tudor offerings and the new Speedmaster Pro) and Zenith brought back one of their best models in a 38mm case and in stainless steel. The grey, black, and blue tri-color dial shows off the brand’s signature esthetic and the watch just looks flat out amazing.
Black Bay Ceramic: As fans of the BB58, at first we were disappointed that this watch comes in the original thicker Black Bay case. Then we handled the watch in person. The overall look and feel works at the larger scale and it’s quite sleek and futuristic looking. It’s stealthy yet grabs just enough attention because Tudor nailed the little things like the color of the case.
Datejust 36 Palm Dial: When the initial press images were released we thought this watch was the ugliest Rolex ever. Predictably, we did a 180 once we saw it in person. It’s a totally fun take on a conservative classic and the dial motif is much more subtle in real life. Rolex knows how to create visual interest without trying too hard, and we’ve fallen hard for this release.
Looking back a lot of strong contenders were released in 2021. Honorable mention goes to the 3861 Speedmaster and the new version of the Black Bay Chronograph, but we had to give room to some of the fresher new designs. We can’t wait to see what 2022 brings.