The year 2022 was an exciting time for the watch world with disruptive market trends, a welcome concept in retail, the rise of alternative brands, and the unexpected return of coveted timepieces. Which brands made it big, which were most talked about, and which continue to build on their already established reputation of great quality and craftsmanship?
ANC’s long-running lifestyle magazine show Executive Class recently did a veritable highlight reel of the year 2022 in timepieces, and here’s what made the list. Will these entries influence the watch trends for 2023? I guess all we can do is, well, watch.
1. The phenomenal popularity of Moonswatch
The Omega x Swatch Moonswatch, a legendary chronograph collaboration, was the most talked-about timepiece in 2022. It is an attempt to recreate the iconic Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch—the first watch worn on the moon—but in a bioceramic case. The wristwatches are also playful tributes to the planets; just check out the eye-catching color combos.
Executive Class host David Celdran said the “mass-produced plastic quartz chronograph managed to outshine some of the rarest and most technically advanced mechanical watches released last year.” There was a mad dash for it across the globe which is why it was impossible to find stocks in stores. But the brand assures they’re “working around the clock behind the scenes to make the 11 unique watches.” So yes there’s still a chance you can get your hands on one.
2 Patek Philippe and Rolex’s new retail concept
In 2022, the two brands started to implement a new showroom policy in selling timepieces. When before buyers only get to see the waitlisted pieces in brochures, with the new ruling the watches—including rare and limited-edition grand complications—can now be seen on display in local boutiques just weeks after they’re launched in Switzerland. Fans won’t be able to walk away with the watch but they can see and feel what they’re ordering.
3 The rise of alternative brands
Grand Seiko and Breguet, while not as popular as Rolex, Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe, were “every bit as valued and brag worthy within serious watch circles, even if less so among speculators,” observed Celdran. And unlike with the more hyped brands, interested buyers can walk into one of their shops and buy a watch on the spot.
Tudor was also big last year, thanks to the elusiveness of the Swiss branded sports watches. Tudor filled the void with three handsome professional tool watches—Black Bay Pro, Ranger and Pelagos 39–which came in a more versatile case size and more affordable price. Originally introduced by Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf, Tudor has been regarded as the budget Rolex. But if you ask Celdran, the comparison may be a little unfair.
“With their increasingly original design language, innovative use of metals, and chronometer certified in-house calibers,” says the TV host, “Tudor’s current collection of professional tool and dive watches can shine on the road without having to mention its association with Rolex.”
4 The revival of quartz watches
The quartz watch movement is considered inferior by some watch elitists. But thanks to the popularity of Moonswatch, quartz watches are now considered potential collector pieces. Brands like Casio and Swatch are also reviving their interest in wristwatches that feature quartz movements. Grand Seiko continues to come up with well-made quartz watches. And even luxury brands like Cartier and Patek Phillipe manufacture quartz watches. “For the watch industry to thrive,” says Celdran, “it needs to be accessible again, and snobbery must end.”
5 Colored watch dials
Rolex came up with the Oyster Perpetual in five bright dial colors a couple of years ago. Not to be outdone, rival Omega launched its own version covering an even wider range of models. The Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M models were also offered in a cool range of colors. Green dials also seemed to be the in thing last year, offered Celdran, naming the Omega Seamaster 300M diver, the Speedmaster ‘57 heritage chronograph, and the Moonshine gold Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional as proof. Even conservative brands, from Audemars Piguet to Patek Phillipe, flirted with shades from the rainbow.
6 Watch for lefties
Celdran referred to the Rolex GMT Master II as the “The Grail Watch of 2022,” not only because this collectible comes in a unique green-and-black combination but because it’s made with lefties in mind. “It’s one of the very few actually made by Rolex in history,” he said.
What does Executive Class consider to be the watch of the year? Click on this link to find out and view the full yearender story: