Once again, it’s time for the aBlogtoWatch team to take stock and share the watches we wore most this year. While we didn’t get to socialize quite as much as we’d have hoped in 2021, social media and sites like aBlogtoWatch kept watch enthusiasts buzzing, collecting, and sharing. A common theme seems to be that 2021 was a bit of a “carryover year” after 2020 but that doesn’t mean the watches were any less fun, even if we’d wished for a few more opportunities to wear them in more social settings. Without further ado, here are the watches the aBlogtoWatch team wore most in 2021 and, of course, we’d love to hear what you wore the most, so please share in the comments.


In many ways, 2021 was a carry-over from 2020 in terms of having a “pandemic focus” on what I wore that valued utility over visibility. As 2021 continued and more social opportunities presented themselves, I found myself making a welcome return to artistic/emotional watches versus merely practical ones. Dive and military-style watches were typical of what I wore when no one was around, but as I returned to socializing, I found new interest in wearing “statement watches” (though I found myself double-wristing it with a mechanical watch on one wrist and an Apple Watch on the other much more often than in previous years). Those statement pieces took the form of wearing bright-colored watches and those with fun pop-culture elements to them. I vacillate between so many timepieces that it would not be possible to single out any particular watch, but if it was fun and colorful (and in my possession), I was probably wearing it a lot this last year.


It’s not new, and it’s not particularly on-trend, but this late 90s Chopard L.U.C Quattro 16/1863 was, by far, the watch I wore most this year. It took a fair deal of hunting to find this one, but wow, it was worth it. The Quattro 16/1863 was the brand’s second release under the then-new L.U.C manufacture back in 1998 (or so), and it’s about as close to perfect as a watch can get. In a 38mm white gold case with blue Metalem dial and the Geneva Seal caliber 1.98 manual-wind Quattro movement, the 1863 is what horological dreams are made of. 

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Coincidentally, it’s the 25th anniversary of Chopard opening the L.U.C manufacture, and the fact that the Quattro is still in production is a testament to the Scheufele family’s investment in this horological endeavor. While the 43mm case the Quattro is now housed in is a bit too large for my taste, I understand where contemporary tastes lie. Fortunately, for me, a little patience and a careful eye on the market allowed me to scoop up what I believe is L.U.C at its best.


This is easy: it was the Ulysse Nardin Freak X, a watch that stayed with me for many months after we published this review. Why was it my most worn watch in 2021? It’s simple: If you have a Ulysse Nardin Freak in the house (whichever version), you wear it. The Freak both conceptually and stylistically represents a cornerstone in modern watch design history, as it is the first truly outrageous watch to have launched the crazy-creative world of haute horlogerie we know and appreciate today. Hundreds of fantastic mechanical concepts have come since the Freak, but the Freak remains a modern watchmaking original. I loved having it as my go-to daily wearer for several months.


I’ve long held the belief that the Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris was a quietly excellent, but slightly quirky watch that maybe just needed a few more minutes in the oven prior to its release in 2018, where it wasn’t exactly greeted with open arms (lukewarm reactions to the design, followed by an untimely recall all but killed this one for the enthusiast community). Well, at the end of last year, JLC quietly released the Polaris Mariner — an absolutely gorgeous blue-dialed reference that feels every bit as much a mea culpa as it is a great big “F-U” to everyone who said that JLC was no longer capable of making a proper dive watch. With a fully updated movement (including a power reserve that doesn’t quit), 300 meters of water resistance, and a blue degradé dial so vast you’ll want the Coast Guard on standby, the Mariner is, in many ways, proof that JLC listened to the community, took the constructive criticism to heart, and in its own decidedly very French way, went and made the best damn tool watch they’ve put out this side of the Navy Seals, and that’s saying something.


After the total isolation of 2020, the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in spring 2021 gave us reasons to head outside, meet new people, and wear interesting watches in public again. Although this was a fascinating year for my own collection, adding my first original Heuer Calibre 11 and a classic tuning fork-powered Eterna-Sonic Kon-Tiki diver, alongside learning to stop worrying and love G-Shock, time and again I found myself coming back to the very first watch I purchased this year – a ‘90s-era Omega Seamaster Professional 300. Beyond conjuring up memories of Pierce Brosnan and scratching off a bucket-list item for this lifelong Bond fan (for those wondering, yes, I was in fact named after original 007 actor Sir Sean Connery), over my time with the watch I’ve come to recognize this as what might well be the most important sports watch design to come out of that decade. There’s a blend of classic Omega DNA seamlessly mixed in with a playful, almost architectural approach to the contemporary design trends of the early ‘90s. It’s slim and refined enough to suit nearly every occasion, but remains solidly capable as a dive watch and catches the eye of both watch nerds and non-enthusiasts alike. Besides, in a year like this, who couldn’t use a little boost of super-spy confidence in their daily life?

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I don’t know about you, but 2021 was very much like 2020 for me. Traveling was out of the question and I mostly stayed home. For practical reasons, I wore an Apple Watch most of the time. But when I got the chance to head out, I’d put on something small and classic, and that usually means my vintage Grand Seiko 6245-9000. I’m one of the few that doesn’t agree with Grand Seiko’s decision to drop the Seiko logo at 12 o’clock. The sense of symmetry is missing with the newer watches not having the Seiko logo up top and the Grand Seiko emblem below. Besides, most vintage Grand Seikos were made this way, so why change it? At any rate, I love the 6245’s unique case shape and its prominent boxed crystal. I’m still searching for the perfect strap to go with it, so if you have suggestions, sound them out below.


Call me a watch hipster if you’d like, but I’ll freely admit that almost all my watch funds are spent on watches from smaller, boutique brands. I’m a huge fan of German brands like Stowa, Damasko, Sinn, and NOMOS, and I love small-batch brands that take a unique approach to watchmaking, like anOrdain with its gorgeous enamel work. So, what the heck is the Seiko SPB143 (SBDC143) doing atop my list? Hey, just because I write for aBlogtoWatch doesn’t mean I’m immune to watch hype. Few watches of the 2020s have been gushed over more than this goldilocks-sized Japanese diver, and after months of hemming and hawing, I finally picked one up at the start of 2021. But here’s the thing — the SPB143 actually lives up to the hype. The vintage styling modeled after the iconic 62MAS, the subtle gray sunburst, the spot-on dimensions… it just adds up to a piece that I grab over and over again. It’s the type of watch that makes you wonder why you have so many watches in your collection in the first place. Sure, the bracelet is less than awesome, the 6R35 movement is hit-or-miss (luckily, mine’s running strong), and a ceramic bezel would be nice, but none of that matters when a watch looks and feels this good.


In 2021, I made a concerted effort to wear a different watch every single day, a more daunting challenge than it seems given the love-hate cycle endemic within my own and many other watch enthusiast minds. That said, I’ve always appreciated Marathon Watch Company out of Canada, especially the GSAR (Government Search and Rescue) collection of diver’s watches. I initially got into Marathon while serving in the U.S. Coast Guard in San Francisco and appreciated the easy legibility, tritium gas tubes, and incredibly stout construction presented by the standard 41mm GSAR. The Marathon simply works perfectly for its intended use case of maritime search and rescue. And even when that wasn’t my job anymore, my love for the GSAR lived on. I’ve probably owned six or seven of them over the years, selling them as cash needs arose. But in 2021, I decided to buy a GSAR to keep. I also elected to have the watch converted to a left-sided crown layout to address what I feel is one of the watch’s only shortcomings: a crown that can be tough on the back of your hand. On the excellent OEM bracelet especially, the now-lefty GSAR has been a constant companion and a watch I’ve managed to keep wound and set for weeks at a time without touching the crown. And given the wide selection of great dive watches I’ve collected over the years that are also vying for my attention, that’s really saying something.


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