December 25, 2022
As we all take a moment to relax and enjoy the holidays with our friends and loved ones, it’s the perfect time to reflect on 2022 and the hobby that brings us all together. It’s been a fantastic year for both the industry and the enthusiast community, and as much of the world had its first genuine opportunity to return to sharing our enthusiasm with one another in person in 2022, we here at aBlogtoWatch were fortunate to be able to wear some fantastic timepieces while reconnecting with our community. Without further ado, here is a selection of the watches that helped to define the aBlogtoWatch team’s year in 2022 — please share your own most-worn pieces in the comments below. – Sean LorentzenAriel Adams
Casio G-Shock GMB2100 Full Metal “Casioak”
This is a very satisfying watch to wear, combining a trendy style in a higher-end package with Casio’s legendary reliability. On top of this, the GMB2100 offers solar power generation and Bluetooth phone link-based accuracy. The all-steel case and bracelet are comfortable and quite sturdy, and the mostly analog dial is sexy and sophisticated. Given how easy this watch is to pick up and wear without headache, it’s been on my wrist a whole lot in 2022.
TAG Heuer Silverstone
It’s been an amazing year for my own watch collection by any metric. 2022 was the year I added my first Rolex to the lineup (a unique Indian jeweler-signed 1941 Oyster, covered here), my first Cartier (the Roadster, covered in depth here), along with standout new additions like the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight and Seiko 5 Sports GMT. The one that I kept coming back to, however, is one of the watches that started it all for me: the TAG Heuer Silverstone. I was taking my first steps into the watch hobby when TAG Heuer’s 2010 reissue of the ’70s Heuer original first dropped, and fond memories of this unique brown-dial, square-case chronograph filling my Tumblr feed (it was a different time) have kept me searching for the perfect example ever since. 2022 was the year I finally had the opportunity to add the Silverstone to my personal stable, and I can’t think of a watch that better encapsulates my own personal style. This often-overlooked streamlined sibling of the Monaco has already accompanied me on some incredible experiences like walking the grid of this year’s Indy 500 as a guest of TAG Heuer, and it’s easy to see it making more wonderful memories in the years to come.
In every year of covering the watch industry, there are a handful of moments when a new watch release crosses my desk and I immediately feel the need to buy one for myself. In 2022, the best example of this was the Zenith Defy Revival A3642. Rather than tracking down one of these new releases, however, I spent the months following the announcement hunting for the perfect example of the 1969 original, and it’s been a mainstay on my wrist ever since. The rugged construction combined with a half-century of patina makes for a dramatic visual statement, and while the complex faceted case and ladder bracelet are exceedingly comfortable, they also help to define this as a stylistic predecessor to the fan-favorite integrated bracelet sports watch genre.
Rolex Datejust 36 “Palm Dial”
Technically speaking, I wear my Garmin Forerunner 35 every single day because I both run and sleep in it, and I have (more or less) done so for a number of years now. However, among the “actual” watches that I own, the one that got the most wrist time this year was my “palm dial” Rolex Datejust 36 ref. 126200. I’ve had the opportunity to handle just about every Rolex watch out there, yet this is the first one that I’ve ever felt compelled to actually bother my AD about, so when I got allocated one earlier this year, I had the caseback engraved and have subsequently worn the hell out of it. To me, there’s nothing less interesting than a Rolex without stories to tell, and if you’re going to be the guy with a leafy green Datejust, then you better have some fun stories.
Ulysse Nardin Blast Skeleton X 43mm In Carbonium Gold
The watch that spent more time on my wrist than any other in 2022 was this rather spectacular exercise in watchmaking by Ulysse Nardin. Wrapped in featherweight carbon, infused with 18k gold for good measure, the Blast Skeleton was light, thin, and comfortable throughout months of regular wear. It worked great on elegant occasions — albeit a trendsetter, no integrated steel bracelet watch will ever be as elegant as one on leather — as it did with jeans and a sweatshirt. The depth, complexity, and intricacy of its dial and movement always had something new to entertain or amaze with. A stellar watch. You can find the full, long-term review here.
Omega Speedmaster Pulsometer Mod
We often hear stories about people who remember their parents wearing a specific watch during a special event, or they stumble across a photo of a family member wearing the watch they inherited on one of the most important days of their lives. While it’s rare that these were done intentionally at the time, it’s part of the mysterious story behind some watches. My Speedmaster is one of those watches that has been on my wrist for some of my most important life events, and as a bit of an Omega fanboy, I’m not upset about it. The bond that can only be developed over time with a watch on the wrist is one of my favorite parts of the watch hobby. It’s almost a secret between owner and watch unless shared among friends. This year, I got married while wearing my Speedmaster (mounted on an Uncle Straps 1479 bracelet). While it was an intentional choice for me (as it may be for many watch enthusiasts), it’s an opportunity to firmly plant this watch in my life and eventually be able to pass it down to my children. This Speedy is certainly one of the most important watches in my collection, although it was only the second most worn.
Grand Seiko SBGN003
Looking back a few years, I would have never expected my most worn watch to be quartz. Many of us have been through the standard watch-collecting journey, in which we scoff at the concept of a quartz watch, and think if it’s not mechanical, it’s not worthy. Some of us come around, however, and I am a proud “quartz convert” thanks to this high-accuracy Grand Seiko quartz GMT. The combination of a perfect fit on the bracelet, a slender 39mm-wide case, versatile color scheme with a splash of orange(my favorite color), and the benefit of always being running and extremely accurate make this watch what you’ll find on my wrist most of the time. I am even tempted to say I could be happy with it being my only watch, but I love watches too much to make that commitment.
IWC Pilot Mark XVIII
2022 felt like a return to normalcy (or whatever counts for “normal” these days, anyway). Trade shows and press events resumed, as did more informal watch meetups, and for the first time that I can remember, the pandemic felt like an ever-diminishing blotch in the proverbial rearview mirror. For me, that meant returning to my daily driver of choice, the IWC Pilot Mark XVIII. First and foremost, it’s eminently legible both day and night (as all pilot watches should be) with its large Arabic numeral hour markers and generously lumed sword-shaped hands. It keeps excellent time; my Mark XVIII runs barely three seconds slow a day. Add in a respectable 5 ATM of water resistance, 42 hours of power reserve, and a soft iron inner case for excellent resistance to magnetism, and you’ve got yourself a reliable and handsome piece of kit that’ll take whatever you throw at it. And did I mention the bracelet? I have no idea why IWC doesn’t market their push-button quick-fit adjustment system more, but it makes for one of the most comfortable wearing experiences out there. The IWC Pilot Mark XVIII is 40mm of stainless steel daily wearing bliss, and chances are good it’ll stake another claim for my most-worn watch in future years to come.
Astor + Banks Fortitude Lite
It’s always hard for me to figure out which watch I wore most. I don’t keep track of wears like more fastidious (or obsessive) enthusiasts. I rarely wear the same watch two days in a row, often not even twice in the same week. Heck, I almost never wear the same watch on the same strap twice in a row. This year, as I pored through wrist shots and my Instagram feed, it would seem that one watch came out on top, though: The Astor + Banks Fortitude Lite. The Fortitude Lite is a refinement of the original Fortitude, which featured a slim mid-case and thick caseback that made it wear too tall. The Lite, though, wears perfectly. I love the color (not quite peach, not quite salmon), the dial texture, and the gunmetal hands and indices. It goes well on its bracelet or on the myriad straps I pair it with, and it seems suitable for every occasion. For me, this is a true go anywhere, do anything watch, and as I think about it, it’s no wonder it took the Most Worn prize this year.
S.U.F Helsinki 180
I’ve long had a penchant for over-engineered tool watches, especially those hailing from the land of beer and bratwurst. That’s not to say other watches don’t find their way onto my wrist, it’s just that I always seem to gravitate back to the likes of Sinn, Damasko, or their ilk. Earlier this year, however, I got a S.U.F Helsinki 180 in for review. This thin, modestly sized, and exceptionally well-executed field watch was something of a revelation. It was light, easy to wear, and always seemed to be the right choice, no matter the situation. I absolutely loved the dial, the story behind the brand, the quiet toughness of the piece, and really everything about the watch. Plus, it was just so comfortable. Sadly, I had to send the loaner watch back to Finland, but no sooner was it on the plane across the Atlantic than I was online placing an order for one for myself. This gorgeous grey field watch has been my go-to for the latter half of 2022, and I don’t see that changing as 2023 rolls in.
Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Chronograph
This year marked my ten-year anniversary, and thus a decade of ownership of my wedding gift, an Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Chronograph. I’ve always loved that watch, but its previous steward had significantly polished its case, removing the crisp edges on Omega’s lyre lugs. The bezel was also misaligned, and it was no longer keeping time representative of the word “chronometer” on the dial. The milestone inspired me to give the watch some overdue TLC. An expert refinisher laser-welded and then refinished the case, restoring its original crisp edges. A watchmaker friend also aligned the bezel, serviced it, and updated components of its Frédéric Piguet Cal. 1285-based movement. This converted it from Omega’s 3313B to the improved “C” movement. I was so happy with the result that the “PO” became my most worn watch of 2022.
Girard-Perregaux Laureato Chronograph
Though I’ve only had the Girard-Perregaux Laureato Chronograph in my collection for about three months, it has quickly become my daily wear. I’ve always admired the iconic integrated bracelet pieces designed in the 1970s. The Laureato is often seen as an “underdog” of the category, as it wasn’t designed by legendary designer Gerald Genta, nor does it command outrageous premiums on the secondary market. However, it can claim a true lineage to the 1970s. In fact, it was introduced a year before the Patek Philippe Nautilus and IWC Ingenieur. While I can’t knock the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak or the Nautilus (they’re excellent), I love the Laureato as a sportier, more approachable watch. Boasting a slightly thicker, more rounded profile and a more accessible price tag, the Laureato manages to feel less precious than its contemporaries while still serving as an excellent representation of this watch genre. Also, removing the piece from its context and all the jib-jab, it’s an objectively beautiful watch. Thanks to effective finishing and the interplay between the different textures on the dial, this is one dynamic piece. I particularly dig how the blue accents pop when the light hits them — it never gets old!