10 of the Best Everyday Watches from Watches & Wonders; Watch Spotting in Chicago
The Significant Watches Podcast tackles all the latest on MoonSwatch, Rolex, and Tudor
This week’s newsletter is Presented By Subdial, the trading platform for watch enthusiasts and collectors. We’ve been partnering with Subdial since the beginning of the year, and since we feature a watch from their weekly drop every week, it has been fun to follow the diverse weekly selection of vintage, independent, and pre-owned watches they manage to curate.
When I do posts summarizing new releases, I like to focus on wearable watches. Watches that you just throw on and don’t really have to think about — they’re durable, go with any occasion, and look d*mn good. Watches that you seem to always find on your nightstand because you just can’t stop wearing them.
Let’s take a look at some of the best new everyday watches from Watches & Wonders 2022. Sure, this list may use a more liberal definition of everyday watch, but half the fun is dreaming.
Tudor Black Bay 36 S&G
I’ve made no secret of my love for the Tudor Black Bay 36. It’s one of the best entry-level luxury watches you can buy for a couple thousand bucks. This year, Tudor introduced the Black Bay S&G (steel & gold) 31/36/39/41. There are a variety of dial and bezel options across the four case diameters, with Tudor even bringing some diamond options to its “entry-level” Black Bay line.
The most exciting part of this release for me was the news that Tudor is bringing an in-house caliber to the Black Bay S&G lineup. Right now, the standard steel Black Bay 36 uses an ETA movement, but it seems that won’t be the case for much longer.
One Black Bay S&G in particular caught my eye: the Black Bay 36 S&G with a simple black dial. It’s an obvious alternative to the two-tone Explorer that Rolex introduced last year, at about half the cost. That two-tone Explorer got all types of headlines, and I think this Black Bay 36 S&G deserves them too. It features an MT5400 COSC-certified automatic caliber, a jubilee-style bracelet, and a deep black dial with gold accents that give the watch a glowing, vintage-like charm.
The Black Bay 36 S&G (ref. M79643) MSRP is $5,025.
Vacheron Constantin 222
A solid gold watch and bracelet might not be an “everyday” proposition for most, but we’ll make an exception for one of the most exciting releases of Watches & Wonders 2022. This is the Vacheron Constantin 222, a faithful recreation of the original 222, a 1970s icon along with the Nautilus and Royal Oak. It’s thought that less than 1,000 original 222s were made: 500 in steel, 150 in gold, and less than 100 in two-tone.
The new Les Historiques 222 appears to largely replicate the original, with a new caliber inside. The yellow gold case measures a svelte 37mm x 7.95mm — huge credit goes to Vacheron for resisting the modern temptation to upsize this perfect vintage case design.
Vacheron introduced the original 222 amidst the integrated sports watch hype of the 70s, and it often feels like the wrongly-forgotten cousin of its more famous predecessors. A faithful reinterpretation like this will only increase interest in the original, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see some big auction results for original 222s this coming auction season (Phillips has already teased a yellow gold 222 at its May Geneva auction, so watch out!).
Sure, heritage releases are hot and the Les Historiques 222 falls firmly in that trend, but you’ve got to tip your cap to VC’s heritage department. They’ve done well to promote the brand’s history with their Les Historiques line, while also celebrating actual vintage pieces with their Les Collectionneurs efforts.
VC hasn’t revealed pricing information yet, but the Les Historiques 222 will be available only at VC boutiques.
Cartier Tank Must (Black)
In 2021, Cartier brought back its Tank Must line, intended as the budget option to the more expensive Tank Louis Cartier. It was an absolute banger. The simple stainless steel Tanks with minimalist, colorful dials are absolutely gorgeous, and more than enough watch for most people who just want a Tank.
For Watches & Wonders 2022, Cartier’s back at it again. This year’s addition to the Tank Must line is all black. It comes in both the “Large” and “Small” Tank size; the Large measures 33 x 25mm while the Small measures 29 x 22mm.
The original Tank Must line was introduced back in the 70s as a lower-priced quartz option to save a faltering Cartier. Obviously, it worked and Cartier watches were on the wrists of all kinds of fashion and Wall Street types by the 1980s. Fast forward to today, and Cartier’s watchmaking department has experienced something of a rebirth the last few years by revisiting Cartier’s classic shape watches. So I love that the Must line is again being used to make Cartier design and watchmaking more accessible to everyone. The all-black dial with a steel case is about as chic as it gets, and I’m pretty sure I like this iteration more than last year’s colorful blue, green, and red options. It feels more simple and classic; more Cartier.
Price for the new Tank Must line is TBD (last year’s Tank Must releases were $2,730).
Patek Philippe Travel Time Annual Calendar ref. 5326G
Patek’s unique implementation of a “Travel Time” functionality has always been a favorite of mine, so combining it with an annual calendar (a signature complication of Patek in its own right) in a new Calatrava case caught my eye. The new Patek Annual Calendar Travel Time features a new caliber, the Patek 31-260 PS QA LU FUS 24H, and a new 41mm white gold case. According to Patek, eight patents are incorporated into the new movement. Perhaps most importantly, the travel time can now be set with the crown itself, which means Patek didn’t have to add any additional pushers to the case (remember those large pushers on the old Travel Time?). It’s these types of subtle, incremental technical improvements that make Patek Patek.
Like the case, the dial also has an interesting texture, evoking a certain vintage aesthetic, especially with the syringe hands. I also like this new release for what it’s not — namely, another steel sports watch. Of course, a complicated Patek like this will cost you. In this case, the 5326G’s MSRP is $76,882.
Nomos Club Campus
Sure, colorful dials are hot nowadays. But Nomos has been doing it for a while, so it doesn’t feel like chasing a trend with them. This year, they’ve brought a pink and blue/purple dial to their youthful Club Campus lineup. A Club Campus was one of my first “luxury watches”, and I still maintain its one of the best first luxury watches out there, and these colorful new dials don’t change that. The dials are offered in the Club Campus 36mm and 38.5mm cases.
I’ll be going hands-on with this one too, so look for more on the new lineup of Nomos Club Campus dials soon.
The new Club Campus starts at $1,500; check out Nomos for more.
Oris Pro Pilot X Calibre 400
This is one of the most affordable on this list of “10 everyday watches from Watches & Wonders 2022.” The new Oris Pro Pilot X Caliber 400 falls right in that sweet spot of “I want to treat myself to a nice luxury watch, but want something that’s cheap enough I can still wear it without worrying.” A long way of saying: It’s tough to beat an integrated bracelet watch in titanium with an in-house movement for $4,300. I can totally see myself buying this watch (the gorgeous pink dial, for the record).
At 39mm, the specs of the Oris Pro Pilot X Caliber 400 seem downright wearable, even for my modest wrist. Sure, this watch is rooted in Oris’ long history of making pilot’s watches, but it feels thoroughly modern and exciting. When an independent like Oris is able to release this much watch at $4,300, it can make you wonder what the other brands are doing.
The Oris Pro Pilot X Caliber 400 MSRP is $4,300.
Check out all 10 of the best everyday watches from Watches & Wonders
This week’s newsletter is presented by Subdial, the ultimate trading platform for watch enthusiasts and collectors. Every week, we feature one of the watches from their weekly drop.
Sure, new watches are great, but sometimes you just want a classic. Admittedly, my taste in Daytonas is a bit outside the accepted norm. I prefer pump pushers and a stainless steel bezel as opposed to the screw-down pushers and aluminum (or modern ceramic) bezels that generally command premiums. So the Rolex Daytona ref. 116520, launched in 2000 and featuring Rolex’s first in-house chronograph movement, is something of a modern classic to me. It feels like this is the one we’ll be talking about in 20 years’ time — “remember when Rolex finally made its own in-house chronograph movement?” we’ll say. Just as important, I find the design of this “panda” Daytona about as good as it gets.
THROUGH THE WIRE
Last week, I visited Wright Auction to check out some of the watches from their Chicago Edit sale. Vintage dealer Eric Wind was also there to give a talk about collecting vintage watches. You can watch the recording of it here: Watch Collecting 101 with Eric Wind.
I snapped a few photos of the watches that were being offered by Wright Auction, as well as some other cool stuff that collectors brought.
Last week, FP Journe announced the release of the new Vagabondage I Gold, calling it “the final chapter of a trilogy that started 18 years ago.”
As FP Journe himself relayed in a 2017 story to Revolution, the original idea for the Vagabondage came from a client in the 1990s. But it wasn't produced until 2004, when Journe created three unique examples for an Antiquoruom charity auction.
"Antiquorum approached me and asked me to create a special watch for their anniversary sale," Journe explained. The problem was Antiquorum gave Journe just six months to dream up a new watch. "It makes you wonder what sort of miracle they were hoping for me to accomplish. I had to resort to one of the many pieces that I had had to put in my drawer for one reason or another. It was then that I felt this was the right time to bring my watch with the vagabond hours out from my drawer and give it to the world."
Journe was able to produce three pieces for the auction — in white gold, yellow gold, and rose gold. In the tradition of early Journe, all featured brass movements. All three examples sold for more than CHF 60,000 at Antiquorum’s auction back in 2004
According to Journe, this new Vagabondage will be an application-only piece (like previous Vagabondages) priced at CHF 86,000, with priority given to collectors with matching serial numbers of the Vagabondages II and III in Gold.
The watch besties are back on mic! We talk the MoonSwatch Madness that swept the nation — nay, the world — and our favorite "Missions." Then, we dig into the releases from Tudor and Rolex at Watches & Wonders 2022. Oh, and three of the besties met up in Chicago at Wright Auction for a talk by the inimitable Eric Wind, so we recap the fun times and a few secrets from Eric’s “Watch Collecting 101” presentation.