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.
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.
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.
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?
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.