At the end of the year, it’s time to note our favorite 2022 debut watches. Through the end of the week, we’ll re-acquaint you with our top timekeepers of the year.
Below is our second installment of our four-day review of our favorites, in no particular order.
Patek Philippe: Chronograph with Perpetual Calendar
And among this watchmaker’s many 2022 chronograph debuts, look no further than the new Ref. 5373P-001, a split-seconds mono-pusher chronograph with perpetual calendar, for some true novelty. The watch differs from its predecessor (Ref. 5372) with newly inverted displays, pushers and crown.
Made for specifically “for the right-hand wrists of left-handers,” according to the watchmaker, the new 38.3mm platinum-cased watch is a premiere design for the company.
Patek Philippe notes however that a 1927 one-of-a-kind watch inspired the design of the new model. Like the earlier watch, the new watch features its integrated chronograph monopusher at the 9 o’clock position with the split-seconds pusher set, unusually, at 8 o’clock.
The sporty red, black and grey dial on the Ref. 5373P-001 is cleverly finished with a black gradation at its edge, framing snailed ebony-black subsidiary dials.The watch’s beautifully finished caliber CHR 27-525 PS Q, still the thinnest split-seconds chronograph movement with perpetual calendar ever produced by the manufacture, can be admired through the sapphire-crystal display back, which is interchangeable with the solid-platinum back delivered with the watch. Price upon request.
MB&F: M.A.D.1 Red
Collectors frustrated by very limited nature of the 2021 MB&F M.A.D.1 had a chance to score a new version of the watch, which is a very cool, affordably priced automatic watch with lateral time display and tricked-out upside-down Miyota movement.
Like that first watch, the newer red model also displays time via two highly luminous rotating cylinders around its case. Just as eye-catching is the unidirectional titanium and tungsten triple-blade rotor spinning quickly atop the watch. MB&F makes all this happen by fitting and re-engineering the watch’s Miyota movement upside-down in the M.A.D. 1 Red case.
MB&F is making these special editions under a new brand name, M.A.D. Editions, and has long-term plans for additional models. Collectors who have previously contacted MB&F about the earlier M.A.D. Edition watch, or who already own an MB&F watch (or are MB&F Friends) are first in line to purchase the new watch.
Given the price (CHF 2,900) and the pedigree of the new M.A.D.1 Red, the watch sold out quickly.
Zenith: Caliber 135 Observatoire Limited Édition
Zenith teamed with Phillips and independent watchmaker Kari Voutilainen to restore and hand-decorate a batch of vintage Zenith Caliber 135-O movements. From the partnership, Zenith launched the Caliber 135 Observatoire Limited Edition, a stunning 38mm platinum chronometer watch rife with vintage design cues that complement the 1950s-era manual-wind movement inside.
The modern Zenith star logo on the dial may be the only contemporary design detail on this retro beauty. Its tapered lugs, sapphire glass box crystal, triangular hour markers, faceted gold hands and seconds subdial recall the mid-20th century era when Zenith routinely took prizes in Swiss chronometry competitions – frequently with its Caliber 135.
With more than 230 chronometry prizes, the Caliber 135-O holds the most awards of any observatory chronometer caliber in the history of watchmaking.
In addition to hand finishing the movement (above), Voutilainen (through his atelier) also applied an eye-catching guilloché engraving in a fish-scale motif to the dial along the bezel. Inside the seconds subdial, you’ll find the movement’s serial number inscribed, a gesture meant to note that each movement, regulated originally by revered chronométriers Charles Fleck or René Gygax, has been updated by Voutilainen and his team.
Unusually, Zenith and Voutilainen has signed “Neuchâtel” at the bottom of the dial. This denotes the historical Observatory where the Calibre 135-O competed and won so many of it Swiss chronometry competitions. Zenith and Phillips offered the now sold-out watch as a series of ten, each priced at CHF 132,900. Will we see more from this partnership in 2023? Let’s hope so.
Bulgari: Octo Finissimo Sejima Edition
Especially notable among Bulgari’s late 2022 debuts are two special editions created in collaboration with Japanese designers.
One watch of the pair, the Octo Finissimo Sejima Edition, is made with Japanese architect Kazuyo Sejima, and is one of our favorites for 2022.
Sejima, who holds the 2010 Pritzker Prize among many other architecture awards, focuses the eye with a mirrored dial under a dot-pattern sapphire crystal on her version of the eight-sided Bulgari Octo Finissimo. The effect is mesmerizing, especially with the entire dial framed in a 36.6mm polished stainless steel case.
According to Bulgari, the idea bring together a “contrast between material and transparency, the visible and the invisible,” which Sejima devised in part to reflect the aesthetic codes apparent in her architectural work.
The architect’’s signature is inscribed on the sapphire crystal caseback, which opens up the nicely decorated automatic Manufacture movement, BVL Calibre 138 – complete with (surprise!) a platinum micro-rotor.
Bulgari will make the Octo Finissimo Sejima Edition as a 360-piece limited edition and will delivered it in a special mirrored steel box. Price: $14,100.
Montblanc: 1858 Geosphere 0 Oxygen LE1786
Montblanc’s bronze-cased world timer is dominated by two rotating three-dimensional globes, marks the return of the watchmaker’s stunning blue glacier pattern dial placed within an oxygen-free case.
First seen during Watches and Wonders 2022 gracing the Montblanc 1958 Geosphere Chronograph 0 Oxygen, the dial is the result of using an old artisanal technique called gratté boisé, also found on the firm’s new 1858 Iced Sea Automatic collection.
Like with all Montblanc 1858 Geosphere models, both the Northern and Southern hemispheres are represented with two three-dimensional globes that turn anti-clockwise and include a day & night indication so that the wearer can see what time it is across the Earth with a simple glance.
Alpina: Seastrong Diver 300 Automatic Calanda,
Alpina’s first timepiece made with a 100% recycled stainless steel case, the watch is named to pay tribute to the Calanda, the first ship to fly the Swiss flag. The timekeeper uses recycled steel sourced from the shipping industry and made by Thyssen Krupp. Alpina pairs the watch’s 42mm case with a recycled plastic wristband.
The Geneva-based watchmaker adds the new dive watch to its expanding lines of eco-friendly models. You might recall that Alpina also launched the Seastrong Diver Gyre Automatic collection in 2020. That watch features a case made largely (70%) from plastic fishing net debris. In addition, that model’s strap is made using recycled plastic bottles while its box is made from recycled plastic.
Available as a limited edition of 300 units, the Seastrong Diver 300 Automatic Calanda’s case is polished with a satin finish, while its unidirectional rotating notched bezel is brush-finished. Alpina embeds the hour and minute hands with vintage beige luminescence and tips the seconds hand with a red triangle Alpina logo.
As noted above, Alpina has paired the watch’s recycled case with a recycled plastic (PET) strap in grey and black. Each watch comes in a case entirely made from recycled plastic, alongside a single-page warranty and a certificate of authenticity printed on FSC Recycled-certified paper.