It’s a fool’s errand to create an objective list of the “best watches of 2022”. It just can’t be done, given the sheer number of models that are released every year. So let me just start by saying that these were the watches that I was impressed with this year. If money were no object, then the ten watches here would find their way into my collection, and some of them would probably even stay there.
Suffice it to say that if you are a watch afficionado, then you’d know that 2022 was a great year for timepieces. This year, we got great watches for every budget, and, mercifully, this year’s releases also confirmed that watch sizes are moving back in the smaller direction. Apart from that, there really was only one trend this year, the return of GMT watches. Which isn’t surprising, considering 2022 was the year that people started freely travelling again, following two years of the pandemic.
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Other than that, what we got in 2022 were beautifully designed watches that did the job, and ensured that your wrists looked great while doing so. Since this is a subjective list, you won’t find some big names (like Rolex), here. This doesn’t mean that these manufactures didn’t release models this year. For example, a Rolex Oyster Perpetual in 36mm or the Explorer Ref.124270 will always have a place in my heart. But neither were from this year. So, without further ado, here are ten of my favourite watches for 2022.
Seiko 5 GMT:If there is one watch that dropped jaws all around the world, it was Seiko releasing a budget automatic GMT watch. The three colourways in the Ref. SKCC00x are all standard Seiko 5’s riffing on the design language of the beloved SKX. But with a GMT hand attached. For the first time ever, for ₹40,000 or less, you could get yourself an automatic GMT. That’s a good ₹60,000 less than any Swiss automatic GMT.
Tissot PRX:The vintage-perfect Tissot PRX, a runaway hit in the budget category, has been around for year. This year, Tissot made it even more perfect—at least as far as I am concerned—by releasing a set of models for 35mm. This is the perfect size for the perfect 1970s throwback watch. And it could be yours for about ₹37,000.
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Vacheron Constantin Les Historiques 222:Talking about a re-issue from the 1970s that hits the sweet spot, probably the best one was this gold beauty from Vacheron Constantin. I’ve written about it in this column before, so I will say just this: I never liked gold watches, but after seeing the Les Historiques 222, I love a gold watch! Pity I don’t have $62,000.
Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra: Wait, hasn’t Omega’s much-loved dress/sportwatch been around for a while? Well, it sure has, but 2022 saw the release of this favourite in two fabulous sizes: 34mm and 38mm. Add to that some extremely colourful dials, and you get a winner. In India, it’s going for about ₹5,19,000.
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Grand Seiko SBGW287: For those in the know, the sleeper classic of the manufacture has always been the classic SBGW231: A mechanical, 37mm, time-only, platonic ideal of a watch. This year GS released two new colourways, and the one I love is the SBGW287’s burgundy dial with a faint, gorgeous texture. All yours for ₹3,90,000.
Longines Spirit: Over the years, as my taste in watches has evolved, there’s two kinds that I’ve gravitated towards: Robust everyday watches and dress watches. The Longines Spirit is a bit of both, and utterly gorgeous to boot. With the release of a 37mm version, this aviator’s watch is now better than ever. For about ₹1,79,000, it is a relative bargain too.
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Q Timex GMT: I have sung the glories of the Q Timex GMT previously, and frankly, this handsome 38mm quartz GMT is one of the releases of the year. A perfect vintage inspired GMT that you can just set and forget, it is the traveller’s watch I’m most likely to get. Once Timex gets around to releasing it in India, that is. It retails for about $279.
Orient Bambino: The Bambino has been the go-to dress watch for those on a budget for nearly a decade now. The Japanese brand’s winning combination just got better in 2022 with the release of 38mm versions. A gorgeous dress watch for about ₹29,000? Now we’re talking!
NOMOS Club:The German independent watchmaker NOMOS has become the darling of watch enthusiasts in the past decade, and for good reason. Take the 2022 release NOMOS Club Sport. A tough 37mm sports watch that’s also elegant, featuring one of the best in-house automatic calibers in the world, is a difficult thing to pull off. Yet NOMOS does it with aplomb. If its $3,530 tag is too much check out the NOMOS Club Campus line.
Patek Philippe Calatrava: In 2022, Patek Philippe proved that the old master can still come up with new tricks with the Ref. 5226G-001. This sporty Calatrava tweaks one of the most iconic dress watch designs, with its textured dial and super-legible Arabic numerals, this is the kind of Patek that anyone can wear. Well, at least in theory.
Handwound is a column on watches and watchmaking.