One of the most important components of the luxury industry are watches, but despite being a pivotal point and a huge market for the luxury business the meaning behind manufacturing, collecting or appreciating watches in general is far away from the industry itself.
Watch enthusiasts will know what I mean when I say watches are an essential in our life; it is not only about having a great accessory, it’s about fulfilling the desire of owning something that constantly reminds us of one or many goals accomplished in our journey. It doesn’t matter if it’s from a big brand, an independent manufacturer of a small upcoming brand, what matters is the meaning we put into it and the long or short story that that specific timepiece means for each one of us.
2022 was a year with big announcements in the industry, talking about watches, we had amazing unveilings, new pieces, great pieces and others not so great; a lot happened this year talking about haute horlogerie. On the other hand for me and the AF Luxury & Lifestyle team this year witnessed the launch of our website which represents the first step of our dream and journey. I decided along with my team to discuss and engrave what we consider (in our humbling experience) which are the top 5 watches of each year, starting of course with 2022 as it comes to an end.
Hope you enjoy our thoughts on every timepiece and the list in general. Feel free as always to let us know your opinions and your personal favorite watch or watches unveiled in 2022.
Top 5 watches of the year:
- De Bethune DB Kind of Two, Jumping GMT.
We are starting strong as you can see, it is no secret we at AFLLM are ephemeral fanatics of the independent manufacturer De Bethune. The artesian quality of their work has been amusing us since the day we met the brand back in 2016, ever since, the admiration for their craftsmanship and their innovations with the materials they use has only grown more and more into us.
There are a lot of De Bethune pieces I would like to talk about, and a couple I have already reviewed, but this one in particular arouses a different kind of feeling in me, the kind of feeling that makes me jump in front of my laptop and get to writing immediately.
Coincidentally, this timepiece was presented in my hometown, Mexico City at the 2022 edition of the SIAR (Salón Internacional de Alta Relojería) which kind of makes it more special to me. This watch is the brand’s 30th in-house calibre and celebrates their 20th anniversary; this timepiece presents as its name stands for “two faces” one being the more contemporary one, with exposed mechanics including the balance wheel and the iconic floating lungs the brand is recognizable for; and the other the more subtle and refined face, the GMT face.
I am putting this watch at the top of the list because of the complexity it involves. Despite not being a super complication, the homage to the historical two faced watches translated to modernity is perfectly paired with the radical differences of the two sides of this watch. You literally have the best of both worlds on your wrist.
- Tudor Black Bay Pro.
For the second spot we have a totally different intentioned timepiece, this is a more adventurer and technical watch fully focused on those seeking for something less sophisticated, but still, exclusive and top quality only a “swiss made” can offer.
The Tudor Black Bay is a super reliable timepiece, it is beautiful, the elegant and simplistic look it has is outstanding and please, don’t make me go to the quality talk, because Tudor despite the price tag is one of the best swiss brands when it comes to quality. The Black Bay Pro is what I like to call “the perfect daily” , as a watch completely planned to be an adventure watch, it is super resistant and has extra features that makes it more useful than a base BB.
The BB Pro is equipped with the manufacture calibre MT5652 with a 70 hour power reserve, an stainless steel 39mm polished case which makes it perfect for full mobility for everyday activities, and a built-in GMT function. From the box, the watch comes on a steel bracelet, but with two extra straps one being a leather one, which can be used when you need to dress it up; the other being a jacquard-woven which gives the watch a more “casual” look but is also functional if you ever have to go on a little adventure, we never know.
The Tudor Black Bay Pro is the perfect 360 daily watch, comfortable, reliable and viable in every situation you may come across in your day to day life; this is definitely the watch I am aiming for to get as my 2023 daily.
- Richard Mille RM UP-01 Ferrari.
The timepiece that broke the world record of the thinnest watch in the world had to be a member of this top, unveiled in July 2022 this watch took the horlogerie world by surprise as it dethroned the Bulgari Octo Finissimo which was basically unbeaten in that category. When I first saw this watch I didn’t really like it, but I did my research and well, the RM UP-01 has the third spot on this list.
As a collaboration of two of the most desirable brands in the luxury environment, there was no doubt this watch was going to hit the grail status for a lot of enthusiasts; the manual winding ultra flat is the pinnacle of the partnership between this two iconic brands with a thickness of only 1.75 millimeters this watch created the ultimate standard of watch mechanisms and aesthetics.
Limited to 150 pieces, this ultra flat has a power reserve up to 45 hours, it is water resistant and yes, as any other new RM, this calibre resists g forces like no other, those characteristics must be enough for any watch to be considered as a great one, but keep in mind, this is the thinnest watch ever made, at least up to date. There is no doubt that when two world class engineering teams put 6,000 hours into development the results can be amazing, especially talking about Ferrari and Richard Mille.
- MB&F LM Sequential EVO
“Maximilian Büsser never said that MB&F would never make a chronograph. What he did say is that MB&F would never make a chronograph like all the other chronographs out there.” Oh lord and they did, on the fourth spot of the top, we have this mechanical piece of art, a chronograph like no other so special that it incorporates multiple timing modes, the LM Sequential EVO is an other watch that caught me off-guard when it dropped, but as soon as I saw it I was mesmerized. I met MB&F in a very similar way as I met De Bethune, in another SIAR edition and I even had the chance to have a talk with the CEO and he made me fall in love with the passion and the sole purpose of the brand, to create watches like nobody else.
The LM Sequential EVO secures its spot in this list for a few reasons, one of the being that its movement incorporates two column-wheel chronographs and a groundbreaking “Twinverter” binary switch, allowing multiple timing modes including split-second and lap timer modes; a combination never seen before in any chronograph. Isn’t it amazing?
And of course this wouldn’t be an MB&F without the radical design that characterizes the brand, with basically every single mechanical detail on sight and presented in two different colorways this timepiece feels like something a spy could be wearing, just look at it and tell me you are not expecting some random gadgets emerging from it. The design is highly inspired in racing and a little bit of spaceships. The ingenuity required for developing a watch like this is outstanding.
- De Bethune Starry Varius Aerolite
I know we already have a De Bethune timepiece on the list but I was not able to let this one pass, this timepiece is so special, so unique that I had to include it. On our fifth and last spot on the list, the De Bethune Starry Varius Aerolite, the creation of this DB25 edition is like the creation of the galaxy itself, created from a meteorite, and engraved with a one of a kind process that reflects our galaxy full of stars…beautiful.
This timepiece always gets me emotional, because of the historical and unique process behind it, the dial of the Starry Varius is adorned by an ancestral stone forged in space the meteorite we are talking about is the “Muonionalusta Meteorite» which gives the dial a unique color palette and geometrical shapes specially engraved for each piece. This along with the brand’s mastery of thermal oxidation of metals to create the “stars” of the galaxy gives us one of the most unique and beautiful timepieces ever created.
The production of the DB25 Starry Varius is limited to 5 pieces a year, and each one of them is fully personalized for each customer so they can engrave a special star positioning for any special date. We could not miss this timepiece as you can tell it is one of the most special watches presented during 2022.
That will wrap up our very first edition of “Top 5 Watches of the Year” . I really hope you enjoy this new section we are planning on doing every single year for watches, cars, hotels and every single thing we love and we are passionate about.
Let me know in the comment section, which was your favorite timepiece of 2022, or maybe which are your top 5 watches of the year; I will be glad to read your opinions as always.
Thank you for the constant support and I wish you an amazing 2023, stay tuned for the new projects we are preparing for you.
Happy New Year!
Written by Founder & Head Editor, Anton Fernandez.