There are enough watches released each year that you wouldn't be blamed for missing some of the coolest ones — but we're going to make sure that doesn't happen. To help you cut through the horological jungle, we're featuring the 2022 watches that collectors and watch nerds are talking about most. There was a lot to discuss, as it turned out to be a hell of a year for watches.
There are new releases every week, trade shows like Watches & Wonders and some brands like Rolex, Omega and Seiko got their own roundups (you'll find a couple Seikos here, too, though). While some brand fanfare might revolve around simply an attractive new dial color or other minor change, others will set the watch world abuzz — it's the latter that's we're most interested in.
We had our fantasies and predictions at the outset of the year, but what's even better than being right is being pleasantly surprised by daring, creative or just plain beautifully conceived new watches. You'll find those and more below.
The following watches are presented roughly in chronological order, and we'll be adding more at the top on a regular basis.
Apple Watch Ultra
With dive computer functionality, many see Apple's new smartwatch as taking aim at the traditional dive watch market where the previous Apple Watches couldn't really compete. Similar to those familiar dive watches, it introduced a larger Apple Watch — the largest yet, at 49mm in length — and a design that clearly borrows from traditional features like crown guards. It's also quite the departure for the Apple Watch, introducing a form that seems to put a rugged build ahead of the existing elegant curves. The Apple Watch has long focused on sports, but this takes it to another level and offers a smartwatch for adventurers, extreme sports and regular fitness activities.
Notable Features: 100m water resistance, depth gauge, compass, emergency siren, 60 hours of battery life, GPS, customizable "Action Button," larger screen, brighter display, apps and functionality for outdoor sports, etc.
Movement: Apple WatchOS
Tudor Pelagos 39
A new generation of the Pelagos has brought Tudor's "other" dive watch into the wearability realm of the massively popular Black Bay Fifty-Eight. Though reduced water resistance and no helium escape valve, when compared to previous Pelagos, many fans are more than happy to sacrifice those features for diameter of 39mm. The other thing they celebrate the brand's in-house movement. The overall result is a more premium option in titanium, compared to the Black Bay Fifty-Eight, but still a very reasonable price difference and a bit more unique look.
Notable Features: In-house movement, COSC chronometer certification, smaller case, titanium case and bracelet, 200m water-resistant
Movement: Tudor MT5402 automatic COSC
IWC Aquatimer Automatic
Just like the Pilot's Watch Mark XX below, more IWC collections have gotten a similar, quite welcome treatment, including the Aquatimer. The brand's dive watch line was long overdue for an in-house movement, and now that it's got one its overall proposition is a whole lot more attractive. The design, dimensions and features are basically unchanged, but the excellent movement offers more interest, as well as five days of power reserve. Another IWC watch to get a similar treatment: the Portofino Chronograph also got an in-house movement and 39mm case. Huzzah.
Notable Features: In-house movement, unique bezel system, 300m water-resistant
Movement: IWC 32111 automatic
IWC Pilot's Watch Mark XX
Based on the historic Mark XI, the 2016 Mark XVIII was what a lot of watch enthusiasts were waiting for — but not quite. It captured the essence of the Mark XI and was a highly wearable 39mm, but some fans complained about minor design details and one major issue: it uses an off-the-shelf movement sourced from ETA. The new Mark XX now remedies those things offering an in-house movement, design refinements and even a marginally slimmer case. It all sounds just about perfect, but the upgrades do come with a price bump of about $750.
Notable Features: In-house automatic movement with 5-day power reserve, 10.8mm case thickness, 100m of water resistance
Movement: IWC 32111 automatic
Casio G-Shock Full Metal GMB2100 Full-Metal "CasiOak"
In response to massive popularity, Casio is taking its 2100 series seriously. Dubbed the "CasiOak" due to a passing resemblance to a Royal Oak, the brand has been offering more premium features like solar charging (Tough Solar). The latest version now gives the kind of serious G-Shock fans that lapped up versions of the iconic 5000 series watches rendered in metal exactly what they wanted. That's right, a premium, "Full-Metal" version of the CasiOak in plain steel or with a black or rose gold coatings.
Notable Features: Fully metal construction, Tough Solar, Bluetooth, alarms and the multitude of features you expect in a premium, mostly analog G-Shock
Movement: Casio Tough Solar
Bulova Wilton GMT
Hot on the heels of the groundbreakingly affordable Seiko 5 Sports GMT watch comes an answer from Citizen — the company that owns Bulova and Miyota. Inside the Bulova Wilton GMT watch is a new version of Miyota's very solid and relatively premium automatic movement updated with GMT functionality for tracking a second time zone — it even one-ups Seiko by offering a "true" GMT (read more here). We like the map-motif dial, but would like to see a case smaller than 42mm for this kind of watch. It's hard to complain, though, when automatic GMTs have historically costed well into the thousands — and when watches like this seem to indicate that that's now changing.
Notable Features: New automatic GMT movement, "true" GMT functionality, map dial motif
Movement: Miyota 9075
Having disappeared for a couple years from the Tudor catalog, the brand's dedicated outdoor watch, the Ranger, has returned in an improved form. The story is similar to that of the IWC Mark XX above. Whereas the previous Ranger was 41mm wide and powered by a sourced ETA movement, the new version has an in-house movement and what many would describe as the perfect size of 39mm. In other words, it's just what fans wanted, fills an important niche in Tudor's catalog and is easily one of the most notable releases of the year.
Notable Features: In-house movement, COSC chronometer certification, smaller case
Movement: Tudor MT5402 automatic COSC
Citizen Silver Leaf Lacquer NB1060
Just when Citizen gets your attention with this strong competitor to the Seiko Presage line, they tell you that it's only for the Japanese market. With balanced proportions, the right size, a mid-tier Japanese automatic movement and really cool, textured lacquer dials (in blue and white versions), we can only hope that these watches or similar ones make it to the international market soon — but Citizen regularly ignores what would most excite watch fans, so we're not holding our breath. A "JDM" (Japanese domestic market) watch might in some way add to the appeal for some collectors, though, and you can also pick them up on the likes of Ebay.
Notable Features: Laquer dial with silver-foil texture, blue and white variants, Duratect surface-hardening coating for the case, double-domed sapphire crystal
Movement: Miyota 9011 automatic
Furlan Marri Sector 2116-A
Furlan Marri excited watch lovers with its refined but affordable quartz chronographs as its debut product, and now the brand is offering what collectors really want: an automatic movement. It's not just any three-hand automatic movement, though, as it's made by the relatively prestigious maker La Joux-Perret and it all comes in a package that's as refined and vintage-inspired as the brand's previous watch. It only comes in a black dial version at launch, but we hope to see a white dial for the sake of legibility.
Notable Features: Top (Elaboré) grade movemement (despite being hidden behind a closed caseback), sector (crosshair) dial design, horn lugs, anti-reflective coating for sapphire crystal, grained dial texture
Movement: La Joux-Perret G101 automatic
Yema Superman 500
The Yema Superman is a vintage classic, and its modern reissue is a favorite among affordable dive watches. The new Superman 500 looks a lot like the watch we know and love, but with an increased water resistance to 500m and other upgrades, it makes for a dive watch with an appeal that can hold its own among significantly more expensive options. Just like with other Yema watches, it even features the brand's own movement and two size options.
Notable Features: Water-resistant to 500m, "box-style" sapphire crystal, Yema's distinctive bezel-locking mechanism, no-date movement
Diameter: 39mm, 41mm
Movement: Yema YEMA2000 automatic
Oris Hölstein Edition 2022
In recent years, Oris has begun a tradition of releasing a special limited edition watch for its birthday. This year, the brand went further than a new version of an existing product, and resurrected a very cool design from the 1990s. It features the brand's unusual take on the second time zone function with, allowing the wearer to easily set the time forward and back using case side buttons. The watch is also just cool for its technical look, throwback appeal (while maintaining a modern feel) and its unexpected 36.5mm sizing.
Notable Features: Two time zones adjustable in both directions via buttons
Movement: Oris 690 (ETA 2836-2 base) automatic
Price: $4,300, limited to 250 examples
Zenith Caliber 135 Observatoire
In an unusual collaboration, Zenith teamed up with a legendary independent watchmaker and an auction house to produce one of the most notable watches of the year. The Caliber 135-O movement won more observatory awards for accuracy than any movement in history back in the 1950s but were completely undecorated. To make them appropriate for the modern collector, Zenith worked with Kari Voutilainen to restore and finish the movements, and cased them in a handsome new design inspired by its 1950s watches.
Notable Features: Historically important movement restored by master watchmaker Kari Voutilainen, new dress watch design
Movement: Zenith Caliber 135-O manual winding
Price: $138,000, limited to 10 examples
Editor's Note: The watch industry trade show Watches & Wonders started on March 30 and saw many more exciting watch releases which we featured separately. Our roundup of the Best of Watches & Wonders is here and full coverage of the show and releases is here.
Breguet Marine Hora Mundi 5557
Breguet’s world time watch, Hora Mundi, comes in a stunning new interpretation. With a creative design packed with details, the brand’s take on the world time function feels fresh — if boldly sized and very high-end. Here's how it works: once the time is set in your current city (displayed at 6 o'clock on the dial) the 7 o'clock pusher allows you to cycle through cities and update the time and date (at 12 o'clock) accordingly. There’s even a little day/night display elegantly tucked in there among layers of hand-executed guilloche and other crafts that form the dial's captivating world map motif.
Notable Features: Dual time zones, calendar, day/night indicator, guilloche dial, silicon escapement
Movement: Breguet 77F1 automatic
Price: $72,700 (strap), $95,200 (bracelet)
Longines Spirit Zulu Time
Though named to reference the first dual-time-zone watch Longines made back in 1925, the new Spirit Zulu Time is a quite modern pilot watch with a GMT complication. With a rotating 24-hour bezel, it takes the Spirit collection in a decidedly sporty direction and is packed with premium features. The exclusive ETA movement features chronometer certification, a silicon hairspring and the ability to set the hour hand independently of the GMT hand (unlike most GMTs). At 42mm we’d like to see a smaller version too, but it looks great in any of its three color variations.
Notable Features: GMT, bidirectional rotating bezel, ceramic bezel insert, COSC chronometer certification, silicon balance spring
Movement: ETA A31.L411 COSC automatic
Price: $2,950 (strap), $3,050 (bracelet)
Breitling Navitimer 2022 Collection
Shown above is a 2022 Breitling Navitimer measuring 43mm and with a "mint green" dial. But it's only one example of a collection the brand launched with a range of sizes and colors to mark the iconic line's 70th anniversary. The new models feature design refinements throughout and come in cases measuring 46mm, 43mm and 41mm, all using the brand's in-house B01 automatic movement. While such pretty colors are eye-catching, we hope to see even more options in the future — such as a monochromatic version in 41mm, as is already available in the other two sizes.
Notable Features: Three different sizes, in-house movement, chronograph, slide rule bezel
Diameter: 46mm, 43mm, 41mm
Movement: Breitling B01
Louis Vuitton Tambour Spin Time Air Quantum
Louis Vuitton's Spin Time concept isn't new (it was introduced in 2009), but this new version is a good reminder of the fashion brand's horological chops. The basics of the existing watch are similar to previous models (though dressed in black titanium): to indicate the hours, one of the cubes that spell out the brand's name will flip over to display a different color. The minute hand acts like a normal minute hand. What's different about this version is that the brand has incorporated a battery-powered LED light inside that back-illuminates the dial with a push of the crown. Don't worry, the rest of the watch's movement is traditionally mechanical.
Notable Features: Alternative time display via rotating cubes, LED illumination, black DLC-coated titanium case
Movement: Louis Vuitton LV 68 Calibre automatic
Sinn's 556 is one of the German brand's classics. A range of new dial colors, however, take the tool watch's basic persona in a whole new direction. It seems to recall Rolex's colorful bevy of Oyster Perpetuals released in 2020, and the model shown here will surely be snapped up by those looking for an alternative to the famous Tiffany x Patek Nautilus. They'll have to act fast, though, as each of the four bright new dial color variants are limited to 400 examples each.
Notable Features: "Shimmering metallic" dial finish, 200m water resistance
Movement: Sellita SW200 automatic
Girard-Perregaux Casquette 2.0
Funky LED watches have been a fun side dish to the broader vintage reissue trend, but Girard-Perregaux's Casquette 2.0 is something a little different. It resurrects a model from 1976 that's been a grail for collectors of such watches, and it's a significantly more high-end offering than examples from the likes of Hamilton, Yema, Bulova and others (will brands like Omega be next?). It features a ceramic case and bracelet as well as an in-house quartz movement. Like other such watches of the time, its tubular LED display faces the user (parallel to the side of the wrist) in the style of "drivers' watches."
Notable Features: Ceramic case and bracelet, titanium caesback, chronograph, calendar info, "secret date" (customizable date such as an anniversary to display at a set time), limited to 820 examples
Movement: Girard-Perregaux GP3980 quartz
Moritz Grossman Universalzeit
Most worldtime watches offer the ability to easily reference the time in 24 (sometimes more) timezones all at once. A new "world timer" from German watchmaker Moritz Grossman only offers six (plus the main time), but for what it lacks in functionality it more than makes up for in novelty and cleverness. You'll find six timezones displayed digitally in apertures at the general location of the represented city on the dial's world map motif. Mechanically, it functions similarly to other worldtime watches, but the dial design had to be integrated with the disc beneath in a very clever way. The movement will also be finished to a high standard and includes some interesting features.
Notable Features: Six digitally displayed time zones; world map motif; time can be set in both directions; 10 o'clock button advances the hour hand (in both directions).
Movement: Moritz Grossman 100.7 hand-wound
Laurent Ferrier Sport Auto
The Sport Auto isn't independent watchmaker Laurent Ferrier's first watch that fits into the whole integrated-bracelet-sport-watch trend (see above), but this one fits even better than ever. That's because his previous such watches had six-figure prices and the complicated feature known as a tourbillon. The new Sport Auto is simplified, but of course still offers an in-house movement with some of the best high-end finishing in the business. With a time-only, automatic (micro-rotor) movement, titanium case, a price right in the mid five figures and not limited in production, it's an everyday kind of watch for the same type of customers who are wearing Royal Oaks or Nautiluses.
Notable Features: Time only, micro-rotor, titanium case and integrated bracelet
Movement: Laurent Ferrier LF270.01 automatic
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding 50th Anniversary
We knew it was going to be a big year for the Royal Oak. The iconic design is turning 50, but it was hard to guess how the brand could make the most of the moment — there are already Royal Oaks of just about every flavor you could want. What we got wasn't a radical departure, but what you could call a new generation of Royal Oak. The brand released a wide range of models in the collection all at once, but the core Royal Oak Selfwinding and chronographs in a couple sizes got a range of aesthetic, ergonomic and technical tweaks that amount to a serious refresh. We're particularly excited about the simple 37mm Selfwinding with its new movement and slim case.
Notable Features: New in-house automatic movement, "grand tapisserie" dial, thinner case and integrated bracelet, accentuated bevels
Movement: Audemars Piguet 5900 automatic
Porsche Design Chronograph 1 1972 Limited Edition
What else could Porsche Design have done for the anniversary of its founding and iconic debut product? It might not be surprising if you knew that the brand was turning 50 this year, but we're happy to see the Chronograph 1 come back as a vintage reissue. Introduced in 1972, this was not only the product that launched the brand, designed by the man who also created the Porsche 911 (and other cars), F. A. Porsche, but it was also the world's first watch with an all-black coating. We'd love to see some variation of it become a permanent part of the brand's modern lineup with a slightly more accessible price, but that's probably wishful thinking.
Notable Features: Faithful reissue of 1972 model, COSC-certified chronograph movement, limited to 500 examples
Movement: Porsche Design WERK 01.140 automatic
Seiko King Seiko Modern Re-Interpretation
Seiko has once again delighted, confused and polarized fans. King Seiko was yet another sub-brand from the watchmaker's history, but one that mostly remained obscure to all but nerdy collectors. It was created, the lore goes, to actually compete with the brand's own higher-end Grand Seiko watches. Based on the vintage "KSK" watch from the 1960s, the new King Seiko watches feel positioned somewhere between Presage and Grand Seiko with retro looks, thin 37mm cases, box-style sapphire crystal and the brand's workhorse automatic movement. They come on steel bracelets in five dial variations.
Notable Features: Modern reinterpretation of a 1960s vintage watch, distinctive angular lugs, box-style sapphire crystal, 70 hours of power reserve
Movement: Seiko 6R31 automatic
TAG Heuer Autavia Chronometer Flyback
While TAG Heuer's modern Autavia collection reflects the brand's historic chronographs in some ways, it's been doing quite its own thing for several years. Now with the introduction of a couple of chronograph models (and a GMT) for 2022, TAG gets a step closer to the collection's roots for its 60th anniversary. This isn't a reissue as was seen in 2017, but a modern chronograph with just enough vintage Autavia to intrigue fans. With its flyback feature, it also seems to channel the Heuer Bundeswehr, but you can just ignore all that context if you want and simply appreciate it as a damn cool modern watch.
Notable Features: Flyback chronograph, COSC chronometer certification, black PVD steel case, ceramic bezel, in-house automatic movement
Movement: TAG Heuer Heuer02 automatic
Hublot Big Bang Integral Time Only
You might have seen the Hublot Big Bang Integral watch before, but not like this. New models for 2022 are an extension of an existing line, but they’re also much more than that. Reducing the size to a slim 40mm (from 42mm) and offering a simpler, time-only version gives these watches a whole new, relatively toned-down character. It’s one that’ll appeal to the many fans of so-called “sports-chic” watches like the Royal Oak and Nautilus — and in many ways opens up the brand to a new audience that might have found its boldly sized chronographs and other watches too loud. In three variations of titanium, yellow gold and blacked-out ceramic, it’s surely one of the strongest examples in its category (in titanium, particularly).
Notable Features: Time only, skeletonized dial, in-house movement, 50-hour power reserve, integrated bracelet
Movement: Hublot HUB1710 automatic
H. Moser & Cie. x The Armoury Endeavour Small Seconds Total Eclipse
Some of the coolest watch dials are those that you can't even see. A new collaboration between independent Swiss watchmaker H. Moser & Cie. and the Hong Kong menswear brand The Armoury is one such example thanks to a technical material called Vantablack. Vision depends on light, and because Vantablack absorbs 99.965% of light that hits it, it offers virtually no optical feedback and can create a feeling as if staring into a void. It's not the first time for H. Moser & Cie. to use this material, but the new watch in its Endeavour collection offers something different and appreciated: indices. Though not quite as minimal as previous versions that featured hands appearing to float in emptiness, it makes up for it with ease of reading the time.
Notable Features: Vantablack dial, collaboration with The Armoury, in-house manually wound movement, limited to 56 pieces total
Movement: H. Moser & Cie. HMC 327 manual
Ulysse Nardin Blast Moonstruck
The Ulysse Nardin Moonstruck is one of those watches that's crazy-complex, a bit esoteric and utterly captivating. Going far beyond the basic time-telling functions of a wristwatch, it features astronomical complications mechanically displaying the moon's rotation, a tide chart and "the apparent movement of the sun around the globe as we observe it from Earth." Oh yeah, then there's world time and dual time displays. On top of all that, these features being reinterpreted to fit in the brand's Blast collection presents them in a way that's just sleek and cool-looking, rather than overwhelming you with too much avant-garde over-design.
Notable Features: World time, dual time, 3D moon, moon phase, "lunar month" display, sun's visible trajectory display, tide chart, ceramic and DLC-coated titanium case
Movement: Ulysse Nardin UN-106 automatic
Grand Seiko Seiko Spring Drive SLGA009 White Birch
The first Grand Seiko White Birch (AKA "Shirakaba") watch came out in 2021 featuring a dial motif meant to evoke birch bark, another great example of the brand's mastery of captivatingly textured, nature-inspired dials. It had a lot of what made Grand Seiko watches like the Snowflake a modern classic, but was powered by a Hi-Beat (5Hz) automatic movement. Now with a Spring Drive movement, like the Snowflake, it seems to offer the best of everything Grand Seiko is known for, from its innovative tech to its famous finishing and beautiful dials. Not just any Spring Drive movement, however, this is the brand's latest featuring five days of juice with the power reserve indicator on display through a caseback window along with a stunning movement view.
Notable Features: Spring Drive movement, automatic winding, 5-day power reserve, power reserve display, zaratsu polishing, unique textured dial
Movement: Grand Seiko 9RA2 Spring Drive
Zenith Defy Revival A3642
The Defy Revival A3642 is the latest among Zenith's series of reissued watches, and easily the funkiest. It recreates almost exactly the model that launched the Defy collection in 1969, still home to much of the brand's most avant-garde design. The Revival A3642 is chock full of the kind of design that's typically associated with the 1970s, with its angular, geometric case and bezel and those tall, ridged hour indices. Fitted with sapphire crystal, a modern automatic movement and water-resistant to 300m, though, this is no delicate vintage watch.
Notable Features: Recreation of a vintage model, gradient dial, in-house movement, ladder-style bracelet
Movement: Zenith Elite 670 automatic
Zenith Defy Skyline
At first glance, the Skyline fits into the existing Defy collection with its modern, avant-garde and angular looks, and it simultaneously evokes the popular "sports-chic" genre with its integrated bracelet design and faceted bezel. If you see the watch in person, however, the first thing you'll notice is its seconds hand at 9 o'clock doing a rapid lap every ten seconds — as opposed to 60 seconds as you'd expect. This is because it features a version of the brand's "high-beat" (5Hz) El Primero movement, but here it's a three-hand time-only watch instead of a chronograph. At launch, it comes in three versions with white, blue and black dial variants.
Notable Features: New design, three-hand El Primero movement, integrated bracelet
Movement: Zenith El Primero 3620 automatic