2020 is nearly over (pause for cheering), and it’s time for the aBlogtoWatch team to once again memorialize those timepieces that received the most wrist time this year. Only 2020 wasn’t like most years, and that certainly had an interesting impact on the timepieces we donned. What seems to define ALL watch lovers is that remaining isolated from social interaction during the pandemic did not have a serious chilling effect on our interest in wearing watches. Of course, people wore status-symbol and bling high-luxury watches less often than before, but everyone seems to have kept a watch on their wrist in 2020. The enduring popularity of wristwatches during COVID-19 beat a lot of analyst forecasts, who felt that luxury watch purchases would nearly disappear if social celebrations and leisure travel became mostly unavailable.
No doubt, the luxury industry has shrunk in a proportionate manner to the rest of the economy, but a lot of wristwatch buying activity remained very strong. Fueled by watch media publications that never gave up steady publishing schedules and the “feel good” effect of getting a new watch, luxury watch sales during the pandemic are largely a result of timepiece collectors and lovers being very steadfast consumers — even during the least stable of economic times. This, it seems, is the power of watches. And on behalf of the industry, thank you to everyone who has done business in the watch space since 2020 began. –ARIEL ADAMS
Read on for the watches the aBlogtoWatch team wore most in 2020.
ARIEL ADAMS: SMART, DIGI, & TOOL WATCHES
In 2020, I got to know smartwatches and tool watches in a whole new way: by being very active with them. 2020 was a very physically active year when I didn’t have to impress anyone in public. That meant I spent an awful lot of time wearing watches I liked and that worked well for what I was doing. Like a sporty soldier, I wore a lot of Casio G-Shock all the way to Marathon GSAR. If the timepiece was legible in the dark, could be beaten up a bit, could be snugly strapped to my wrist, and could be read at a glance, then chances are I wore it quite a bit.
DAVID BREDAN: THE ULYSSE NARDIN FREAK X
Frankly, far too many days of this mad year saw me not wear a watch at all. Working from home, in lockdown, most of the time I simply didn’t put one on…. until I got the Ulysse Nardin Freak X in for review over two months ago. I know it will have to go back to the manufacture at some point, but I have been cherishing every moment I can to enjoy such a fantastic-looking, confident, and historically important watch (that nevertheless has room for improvement, like any watch). It’s light and comfortable, too, so any time I do get to go out, it’s the one to come with me so that I can relish having a Freak on my wrist.
BILAL KHAN: THE JOYFUL DIALS
2020 was a year in which I gravitated to the watches that make me smile. Specifically, three pieces in my collection were always either on my desk or on my wrist, rather than locked away in the safe with so many others. I didn’t consciously realize it at the time, but it was the dials that did it. I’ll start with the latest addition to my collection, the Louis Erard X Alain Silberstein Excellence Regulator. Simply put, I smile every time I look at that dial and how it achieves the rare balance of whimsical tastefulness. There’s also something very fitting about how a regulator layout reflects the fragmented nature of time, a concept all too pertinent in a year like 2020.
The Grand Seiko SBGA413 “Spring” watch from the Seasons collection makes you work for it a little bit more, but it’s so worth it. This doesn’t need to be prefaced with an exegesis on toxic masculinity, but it’s an understatement to say that many men are, let’s say “wary,” about the color pink. That said, I do think that pink is too often presented as loud and almost obnoxiously bright, something I know I’m turned off by, regardless of the color. The SBGA413, on the other hand, uses pink so subtly that it’s actually elusive, and all that makes me want to do is chase the right light at the right angle. The other watch that gives me this same feeling is the Rolex Milgauss with Z-Blue dial and green sapphire crystal (Glace Verte). I will never tire of the interplay between the blue dial and green sapphire crystal, intermittently cut by that bright orange lightning-bolt seconds hand. This is the only modern Rolex that gives me genuinely wide-eyed joy each and every time.
I hope all of you found some positivity (or at least a welcome distraction) from aBlogtoWatch and our peers this year, and I know I’m excited to see what 2021 brings. See ya later 2020 — don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
ZACH PIÑA: OMEGA SEAMASTER PLOPROF
If we’re going purely by wrist time, it would still be my Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic “True Second,” a watch that I wore every day during California’s initial shelter-in-place between March and May. I wrote a story about that experience, which you can read right here. Since then, I’ve certainly reached for a number of other watches over the course of the summer and subsequent fall, though perhaps none more frequently than my Omega Seamaster Ploprof, which inadvertently became the subject of yet another watch-wearing experiment in 2020.
This time, though, I found myself trying to establish whether or not the “Large Marge” Ploprof could actually be an excellent daily wear if just given enough of a chance. Sure, it’s hardly subtle, and it’s missing a date (let’s be honest, for a daily-wear watch, you kinda need a date), but it’s markedly wearable in lightweight titanium, and when paired with the right shoes (like a 24mm ISOfrane rubber strap) it’s actually surprisingly comfortable. And as the seasons rambled on, I was pleasantly surprised to find that despite its natural proclivities as an adventure watch for boating, backpacking, and birding, I found myself reaching for it on all the more benign days between, as well, simply out of habit — after all, why deny the opportunity to spend more time with something that’s this much damn fun?
SEAN LORENTZEN: TUDOR HERITAGE CHRONO BLUE
As for all of us, 2020 has left me with a lot of time on my hands, particularly time to consider my own personal watch collection. Because of this, it’s been a big year for new additions to my display box, with highlights like a TAG Heuer Aquaracer Calibre 16, the Longines Heritage Skin Diver, and my first-ever Calibre 11 powered watch, the classic offbeat UFO that is the 1970 Hamilton Fontainebleau. But if we’re talking about the watch I kept coming back to most, the one that never fails to put a smile on my face when I reach for it in the morning, there can be only one clear winner – the Tudor Heritage Chrono Blue.
I’ve been hunting the right example of one of these since the line was first introduced back in 2013, and when one crossed my path back in April, the time was finally right. The colors are vibrant and sporty without feeling ostentatious, the 42mm proportions are perfect, it pairs well with almost every strap and bracelet option available, and it’s different enough from the original ’70s Tudor Monte Carlo to present its own bespoke charm. The Heritage Chrono Blue has accompanied me on everything from long solo drives up the California coast to co-hosting my first-ever TV series, and it has absolutely earned a place on my wrist and in my heart for many years to come.
KENNY YEO: PANERAI RADIOMIR BLACK SEAL PAM183
The watch I wore most this year was the Radiomir Black Seal PAM183. I’ve had my sights on one for a long time but I never had a good reason to pull the trigger. The opportunity finally came earlier this year when I moved and decided I needed a little something to commemorate the occasion. The watch itself isn’t anything remarkable but I like it because it represents a time when Panerai was simpler. Underneath the sapphire crystal sits a relatively clean dial with the only adornment being the sub-seconds at 9 o’clock. The movement is also uncomplicated. It’s not an in-house movement (like the brand’s newer pieces have). It’s the Unitas-based OP XI, which, despite its humble origins, is COSC-certified. I also like how it is considerably thinner than most other Panerai watches.
ED RHEE: CASIO FULL METAL BLACK AGED IP
I can say with certainty that in the Before Times, my most-worn watch of this year would have ended up being a much different choice. But given the dumpster fire that was 2020, I leaned real hard into the dystopian vibes and took a regular Casio Full Metal Black from my collection (Ref. GMW-B5000GD-1) and hand-distressed it myself to transform it into what is now, functionally and aesthetically, a Casio Full Metal Black Aged IP watch (Ref. GMW-B5000V). The custom project ended up being a fitting representation of my pandemic state of mind, and if/when we end up living in a post-apocalyptic world, well, at least now I’ve got the perfect watch for it.
MATT REUDINK: SINN T2B
Perhaps the turbulence and upheaval of 2020 had me reaching for something familiar and comforting — or perhaps I just love the watch. Either way, the honor of most worn watch of the year goes, once again, to my trusty Sinn T2B. Earlier in the year, I wrote a couple thousand words espousing the virtues of this watch in a long-term review and I’m still as enamored with it as I ever have been. It’s the least Sinn-like Sinn in the catalog, featuring soft, rounded lines running from the case and bezel to the markers and hands. Yet, despite its less severe aesthetic, the T2B houses plenty of Sinn’s proprietary tech, including a tegimented captive safety bezel, Ar dehumidifying capsule, and a massive 2000 meters of water-resistance — all in a modest 41mm titanium case. Sadly, this gem is now discontinued, but the new Sinn 105 line seems to have taken a few of the design cues from the T lineup with rounded hands and markers. The only other watch that came close to usurping the Sinn T2B this year was a NOMOS Ahoi I had in for review, but sadly, that had to be returned to Glashütte. Maybe if I splurge on a NOMOS Ahoi, my Sinn T2B will finally be dethroned as the most worn watch in my collection. But probably not.
TRAVIS CANNATA: Q TIMEX
It’s fair to say this year has been a weird one. I’ve definitely spent most of 2020 sitting at my desk, at my house, working vigorously to keep up in a world without my public office. That said, my fashion has mostly been compromised of some semblance of sweatpants, and a T-shirt (I might throw on a polo for that Zoom call), so, watches haven’t exactly been my staple accessory.
When I did wear a watch on this year, I found my favorite little gem to be the Timex Q Reissue. It’s inexpensive and has the retro vibes I always love. It’s a perfect size for my wrist at 38mm, and even with the domed crystal, it can still easily slide under a shirt sleeve or jacket for those times I do venture into the world. The bracelet is comfortable and harkens back to the watches my dad used to wear, but it doesn’t indulge in kitsch. It’s simply a nostalgic watch. I’ve actually enjoyed it so much, I’ve ended up with three of them.