Today, we’re going to be taking a look at the top five watches that I feel were the best releases of 2022 so far.
While Rolex continues to disappoint us with the same watches every single year, just in a different case metal, in a slightly different color, or in a slightly different format, one brand was here to pick us all up and lift our spirits, and that is its sister company, Tudor, with the release of the Tudor Black Bay Pro.
Tudor Black Bay Pro
Now, this was a watch that was released this year in a format that I feel is awesome because it hearkens back to the kind of 1655 Steve McQueen Explorer II, which I feel is one of, if not the best vintage watch you can get from Rolex. It’s such an amazing pure design, and I feel Tudor really paid homage to it in an amazing way.
Overall, you get a smaller case size with a slightly thinner case. It’s a watch that we actually have here at Luxury Bazaar, and I had the pleasure of wearing it. Now, one question was the thickness of the watch. Now, I have to admit, it is a little bit thicker than say, for example, a GMT-Master II, but the case isn’t really overbearing in any sense. I feel that it wears really well because it sinks into the wrist quite well. At 39 millimeters, I truly feel it’s a perfect case size and you can get it both on a fabric strap from Tudor or what I feel is the better option on its bracelet, given the fact that it actually comes with on-the-fly adjustment in the actual clasp.
At $4,000, I think it’s an absolute steal considering you’re getting a watch that has kind of a vintage theme and a vintage design, but that has the modern case and build proportions of a modern watch, which I personally feel are the best watches sold on the market. Overall, the Tudor Black Bay Pro I feel has to be up there as one of the very best releases in 2022 so far.
The second watch is an absolute banger. This one is by Vacheron Constantin, my personal favorite brand, and this was actually in their Overseas line. Now, the Overseas is a watch that has really picked up a lot of traction, especially on the secondary market, given the fact that the Patek Nautilus and Audemars Piguet Royal Oak have really become kind of unobtainium price-wise.
Vacheron Constantin Skeleton Tourbillon
The Overseas presented itself as a great value play that was amazingly finished to the high standards you would expect from Vacheron Constantin. Now, in 2022, Vacheron actually released a version, a skeleton version with a Tourbillon, that I think was by far one of the best releases of the year. And to be honest, maybe the best release from Watches and Wonders 2022. Now, this was a limited production piece, both in titanium and rose gold, that us mere mortals probably won’t be able to actually get at retail, but I’m sure at some point one will appear on the secondary market for boatloads of money.
I absolutely love this watch because overall, the design is amazing and I love Vacheron’s use of a Maltese cross in their Tourbillon cage, which is really distinctly Vacheron and really pays homage to their branding. Overall, the finishing is absolutely astounding on this piece. I’ve never seen or held it in person, but I’m sure it is a sight to behold. And if I’m being honest, maybe the best release from Watches and Wonders this year.
Omega CK 859
The third watch that I feel was also an amazing release was actually from Omega. Now, while they did do, let’s be honest, a lot of copying with respect to the Omega Aqua Terra, what I dubbed the Omega oyster perpetual, I feel they did one release that kind of flew under the radar that was really great.And that is the CK 859. This is a watch that retails for about $6,500 in a 39-millimeter case size, which I think is beautiful, actually the perfect case size, and has a Sterling silver dial. It’s a watch that’s highly inspired by the CK 59, which was a vintage reference back from the ’30s. Overall, what you get in this piece is a 39-millimeter steel case with a manual wind 72-hour power reserve movement with a Sterling silver dial. I love those kinds of blue sword hands and, of course, that awesome dial. I think it’s just a phenomenal watch, especially for the price point. Again, it’s a watch that kind of is inspired by a vintage reference, but that has modern build qualities and proportions.
I think it’s an absolute knockout and definitely one of the best releases and one you guys should be more aware of.
The fourth watch I feel was an amazing release was the re-release actually of the FP Journe Vagabondage.
F.P. Journe Vagabondage
Now, this was a watch that in this case, they actually updated the movement slightly, but otherwise, the aesthetics are pretty much the same. Now, this is actually a watch historically that was meant for Cartier. At the last minute, Cartier actually ditched the project and FP Journe essentially was just left kind of not knowing what to do with the movement. When he started his brand in 1999 with originally the Tourbillon Souverain, ultimately he was looking for other watches to expand his model line.
In 2006, he released this watch, the Vagabondage, which I feel at least the first series of it is really the purest and, in my opinion, my favorite design of this watch. It comes in a rose gold case and has the balance actually beating on the kind of dial side, which is, in my opinion, kind of a ghetto Tourbillon, if you will. It’s also important to note that this design is really distinct to FP Journe. There’s really nothing else like it on the market. In terms of case shape complication, again, there’s nothing else that really replicates it. I think this is a knockout release from FP Journe. Obviously inspired by something that he originally released back in 2005, but that was updated kind of to the current standards of watchmaking today.
I feel it’s a really faithful homage to that original piece. Even if you’re an existing FP Journe client, it’s going to be really difficult to get this watch, because FP Journe is actually offering these watches first to the clients who originally bought the first series of the Vagabondage. Now, if you are able to get your hands on it, then you will have to pay a retail price of approximately 86,000 Swiss Francs. Not an insignificant amount, but definitely worth it, considering you’re getting a unique design from one of the most important and frankly, best independent watchmakers in the world today.
In 2022, we actually hit a historic time for the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. This year is actually the 50th anniversary.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Flying Tourbillon
Audemars Piguet themselves actually came out with a bang and released a number of amazing new Royal Oak watches. Overall, I think there are so many that really stand out, but there is one I feel that really is important considering the history of the Royal Oak, and that is the AP Royal Oak Flying Tourbillon. This is actually the first ever jumbo reference with a Flying Tourbillon. When you look at the lineage of the Royal Oak reference, there’s never been a jumbo with a Flying Tourbillon, so this is the first of its kind. For that reason alone, I feel it will be very collectible and must be mentioned in a top five if you were to do one for watches released in 2022. Overall, there’s not much to it other than frankly, its 39-millimeter size and its Tourbillon movement.
Learn more: The History of Audemars Piguet
Just kidding. That’s actually very complex to do. The difference between a Flying Tourbillon versus one that doesn’t have a Flying Tourbillon is really the central bridge. Since this watch doesn’t have a central bridge holding or suspending up the Tourbillon, this means that it is therefore flying. This is, again, the first of its kind, Flying Tourbillon, in a jumbo case size, the 39 mil case size, which I feel personally is really the best from the Royal Oak. Of course, you get all the hallmarks you would expect such as, of course, that tapestry dial that the Royal Oak is so famous for.
Those are at least so far my top five watch releases of 2022. I would love to know down in the comments which you feel are some of the best releases of this year.
Hopefully, we can look forward to many more great releases to come before the year’s end.