2023 was as good a year as any for watches, and aBlogtoWatch was there to cover it all for you. We published over 1,400 articles ranging from a clock in Missouri to insights on pre-owned watch programs to more Snoopy watches. We talked to brand directors and industry insiders on nearly 50 episodes of our Superlative podcast. . .and talked to ourselves on aBlogtoWatch Weekly, where we hit the 100-episode mark. We reviewed a $90 kids smartwatch, an $850,000 double-flying tourbillon, and everything in between. We made our views on AI-generated content clear — you won’t find it here, now or ever. It was a busy year for watches, which meant it was a busy year for us. Out of everything we wrote, published, and shared, ten articles rose to the top, showing that our readers love value, creativity, and of course, a little bit of Rolex.

Hands-On: Casio Edifice Initial D & MF Ghost ECB2000MFG Collaboration Watch

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Putting this list together, it became clear that Casio is a reader favorite, and as you go through it, you’ll see why: The brand offers a wide range of compelling designs at rock-bottom prices. It also has a knack for knocking collabs out of the park, as evidenced by the manga-inspired Initial D & MF Ghost Edifice. Already an automotive-inspired design, the carbon fiber watch pushes things further with Japanese characters for the sound a car makes as it screeches around a corner, and even more characters and motifs from the series on the bright red strap. As is true of all great collabs, though, this ana-digi watch is not so in-your-face that it will automatically alienate those who just like the edgy black and red design.

Actually Affordable: Casio MRW200H Sports Watch

You were warned about the Casio dominance, and here’s the brand’s second appearance on the Top 10 list, and the cheapest watch we covered this year: the $29.95 Casio MRW200H. Cased in black resin with a no-frills quartz movement, this one surprises with a functional (no-click, bidirectional) bezel and 100m water resistance. But what adds a layer of intrigue is that NASA uses these watches on high-altitude flights. This one is a beater in the true sense of the word, and if $29,95 sounds too pricey, you’ll be glad to know that it’s often discounted.

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Swatch MoonSwatch Moonshine Gold Strawberry Moon Of June Watch

The biggest story of 2023 is relevant just past the first half of the year with a few iterations, including this gold strawberry hand model. Admittedly, this was also the model where the public (and maybe Swatch) realized that the MoonSwatch tree might not be bearing worthwhile fruit any longer. The year’s earlier Moonshine Gold was the first iteration of the smash hit MoonSwatch and was well enough received, but a new version followed every month since, and it wasn’t clear if the market had the appetite for them all. The MoonSwatch seems to be popular enough though, especially for those looking to get into the Moonwatch game without laying out the full price of an Omega. But, as you’ll see below, the hype got eclipsed by Swatch’s follow-up. You can check out our hands-on with the original MoonSwatch here.

Actually Affordable: Dive Watches

Is it really any surprise that an article about super affordable dive watches was one of the most read of the year? Part of Ripley’s popular Actually Affordable column, this post pitted two budget divers against each other: the quartz Casio “Duro” MDV106 and the automatic Orient Ray II (FAA02004B9). Both of these are full-spec dive watches, with unidirectional 120-click bezels, lume, screw-down crowns, and 200m water resistance. While the Casio is priced at $69.96 on a rubber strap, getting the mechanical Orient on a bracelet will run $440. But does the $280 difference justify itself? If you haven’t already read this one, check it out to see which watch wins out.

Hands-On Debut: Bulova Releases Two New Lunar Pilot Watches In Slimmed-Down Cases

When Bulova released the Lunar Pilot in 2016, it had a satin finish, modern brand font, a 4:30 date, and a case diameter of 45mm. It was a hit for the brand and set off a string of successful Bulova reissues. But it was also too big for a lot of people. This year, after numerous versions of the 45mm version, Bulova finally listened and released a 43.5mm version. That may still sound big, but it’s the same size as the original watch worn by NASA Commander Dave Scott, and the case wears a bit smaller than its dimensions. The new models are fully polished (which maybe no one asked for), but come with a quick-release bracelet (which maybe everyone did). The Bulova Lunar Pilot now sits in the broader Archive series that holds most of the brand’s reissues.

Blancpain X Swatch Bioceramic Scuba Fifty Fathoms Watches Expand On The MoonSwatch Concept

Everyone had their theories about how Swatch would follow up the MoonSwatch (there was never a question of if, only what and when). When it came out that the next act was Swatch’s take on the iconic Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, reactions were predictably mixed (as they were with the Moonswatch), and while there was an initial burst of hype with tons of debate and long lines, it’s unlikely a new version of the Swifty Fathoms will be in next year’s Top 10. The bioceramic watch featured big, bold colorways, an unserviceable mechanical movement with a nudibranch on it, and the same silhouette as the modern FF. With the Swifty Fathoms having experienced a bigger, faster dropoff in hype and interest than the MoonSwatch, one wonders what, if anything, Swatch is planning for the third model. If you want to know more, you can check out our hands-on.

Casio Unveils G-Shock GMWB5000TCC Watch

This is the fourth and final Casio on the list — promise. This full metal G-Shock caught everyone’s attention, featuring an engraving all over that is meant to mimic the circuitry of the quartz movement inside it. Casio has been on a bit of a tear with self-referential designs, like the Virtual Armor II released last year that had its parts labeled, and it clearly understands that these watches are popular. While the classic resin G-Shock will never go out of style (nor will there be an end found to its permutations, it seems), the metal G-Shocks have been a hit for the brand, and these titanium ones are perhaps even more so, as they keep the weight down and offer engaging designs beyond that of the high-polish metal variants.

The Definitive Guide To The 2023 Steel Rolex Daytona Watch Vs. Previous 116500LN Version

You may have been getting concerned that Rolex wouldn’t make an appearance, but here we are. Rolex releases (or updates, as is more often the case) are things of nuance, and David took it upon himself to do a comprehensive side-by-side of his last-gen Daytona and the new model released this year at Watches and Wonders. As ever, these are midcycle improvements, not an entire redesign, but the Daytona is one of the most popular watches from the most popular brand, and so any change is a big deal.

New Release: Seiko 5 Sports Yuto Horigome Limited-Edition SSK027 Watch

If you weren’t looking for Rolex on this list, then odds are you were looking for Seiko. But this may not be the Seiko you expected. It’s not one of Grand Seiko’s new dials inspired by the falling leaves of the cherry blossoms right outside the brand’s headquarters, nor is it some 62MAS-related diver. Instead, it’s a collab with a Japanese Skateboarder most (watch) people haven’t heard of, delivering a black-coated Seiko 5 GMT with a fuchsia/blue bezel. Seiko’s GMT offers one of the most affordable ways to get an automatic GMT these days, and this is an indisputably fun take on the Seiko 5 GMT, with a nod to one of the most desirable vintage Rolex GMT bezels. What this watch does represent (on this list at least), is the increasing practice of brands creating collaborations that are aimed at selling very well in niche markets that they deem hip and trendy (think of AP’s recent collabs with 1017 ALYX 9SM).

Hands-On: Behrens BHR030 ’20G’ Curved Ultra-Thin Watch

Here’s one no one could have predicted: The most-read article from 2023 was a hands-on review of a curved watch from a Hong Kong microbrand. Behrens is a company that started out on Kickstarter and has since defined itself with high-design, mechanically complex watches offered at a relatively affordable price. The Behrens 20G is just 5.2mm thick and features a curved titanium case, with a curved titanium movement that was designed and made in-house. And as the name suggests, the watch head only weighs about 20g! Where other options for this look, from brands like Akrivia and Breguet, cost tens of thousands, the Behrens 20G was priced at $7,500. But above all else, the watch looks cool and different, and that always pulls people in because at this point, seeing a design that’s actually new is so exceedingly rare, it deserves attention.

Did you have any favorite articles that didn’t make the list? Let us know in the comments!

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