BY JOVAN KRSTEVSKI
On 31st December 2019 the sun would finally set for one last time in the year 2019 and we would all be ready to welcome another new year. It would once again be time to make new year resolutions, meet new people and most of all watch out for exciting new upcoming watch releases. But before we begin our 2020 journey let us all sit back and reflect on some good moments of 2019, which for us watch enthusiasts means looking at some great watches that left us impressed. So here are what as per us were the 20 best watches from 2019.
20. Longines Sector Dial
Longines has been the reigning king of vintage re-issues for quite some time now and this year was no different. The Longines heritage Sector dial is a modern re-issue of a reference with the same name from 1934. Similar to previous Heritage pieces from Longines the Sector manages to remain visually identical to its vintage inspiration with the face featuring two sectors presented in slightly different hues of silver, a subsidiary second’s hand at 6 and elegant thermally blued hands. Underneath is a modern ETA automatic movement, and all this is packaged inside a 38.5mm steel case, making for a stunning dress watch.
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19. F.P. Journe Astronomic Souveraine
In a market that is crowded with an almost infinite supply of commercially viable products from ubiquitous brands, it is refreshing to come across a product that is quite exclusive and is born out of one man’s passion and love towards the world of horology. The man we are referring to here is F.P. Journe and the watch in question is the F.P. Journe Astronomic Souveraine. With around 14 years in the making and powered by a movement that comprises 758 components to offer 18 complications this is one heck of a watch. But more than the technicalities, what you get here is a watch that is beautiful and that you can be sure of would not be seen on many wrists around you.
18. Greubel Forsey GMT Sport
Greubel Forsey is one of the few brands that in our opinion knows how to make a killer Haute Horlogerie product that not only oozes with technological innovation but is also visually engaging. Out of all the Greubel Forsey watches released this year, the one that piques our interest the most is GMT sport that we covered recently. Why you may ask? First, it has all the technical chops that include a tourbillon, a 72-hour power reserve and one of our favorite complications the GMT that has been beautifully depicted using a globe. Second, it has a unique case that is constructed from titanium and is water-resistant to 100 meters making it quite rugged and practical.
17. Omega Seamaster 300m Chronograph
Following the success of the refreshed Omega Seamaster 300m introduced during Baselworld 2018, Omega introduced an updated chronograph version of the watch in early 2019. Featuring a dynamic ceramic wave dial with a balanced bicompax layout, a well-finished case, and a redesigned bracelet and powered by a highly capable METAS certified Co-axial caliber, this modern watch is a step up from the older Seamaster chronograph in every way. In our opinion, this was a great move by the brand as this watch rounds up the Seamaster 300 line up by keeping its design DNA intact and providing added functionality.
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16. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo
While Audemars Piguet was the talk of the horological universe for the release of the new CODE 11.59 collection, the brand did release a few interesting variations of the iconic Royal Oak alongside. Our pick of the bunch is the Royal Oak Jumbo Extra-Thin Reference 15292BC. This watch features a stunning Salmon colored dial with a familiar Tapisserie pattern. But what makes this one special is its slim profile. Powered by an automatic movement the case of this watch is just 8mm thick to the top of that sapphire crystal.
15. Seiko Prospex LX Line Diver
Seiko dive watch capabilities need no introduction. With watches such as the SKX, Sumo and Turtle under the belt, the GPHG winner LX line diver was just a matter of time. The LX line diver is everything a dive watch should be. It features a bold and lightweight Zaratsu polished 44.8mm case water-resistant to 300 meters, a highly legible dial soaked in Seiko’s proprietary Lumi Brite luminous formula and is powered by the innovative Spring drive movement offering a 72-hour power reserve.
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14. Girard-Perregaux Laureato Perpetual Calendar
Girard-Perregaux is one of the more underrated brands out there. Even though it has a rich horological history dating back to 1791 it somehow does not get the recognition it deserves. We at Wristreview are big admirers of the brand and the SIHH 2019 Girard-Perregaux Laureato Perpetual calendar piqued our interest this year. Exceptionally finished case, guilloche dial with a unique layout and a beautifully finished movement that offers a practical and useful functionality, what else would one want from a luxury steel sports watch.
13. Jaeger-LeCoultre Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpetual
It is no surprise that a watch like the Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpetual has the name Jaeger-LeCoultre written on its face. After all the brand is called the watchmaker’s watchmaker for a reason. Featuring a minute repeater with Westminster chimes, a Tourbillon and a perpetual calendar among many other complications, this watch is a technical tour de force. That said it is also a beautiful watch that does what it is meant to do with Elan which is to tell the time.
12. Oris Divers Sixty-Five Chronograph
Launched back in 2018 the Oris Carl Brashear chronograph was a handsome bronze chronograph that caused quite a stir, but its limited nature left many fans wanting for more. Thankfully Oris took the feedback seriously and responded with the non-limited version of the Oris divers sixty-five in 2019. Like the Carl Brashear chronograph, this watch has a clean and legible face with a twin register layout. But there are a few key differences. First, the dial has been presented in black with vintage-inspired golden accents instead of blue and second, the case is now made of stainless steel with the usage of bronze limited to just the grip of the bezel. This as per us is a watch worthy of your consideration if you are looking for a well-priced chronograph that does not break the bank.
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11. Patek Philippe Nautilus Annual Calendar
The Nautilus can easily be considered as one of the most sought after watches from Patek Philippe. Such is the popularity that even if you have what it takes to get one in your collection you might have to wait endlessly till you get to own one. With all that said it must be easy for you to understand why we have this Baselworld 2019 Nautilus Annual Calendar 5726/1A on this list. While most of the watch is quintessential Nautilus, the center of attraction on this watch is its gradient blue dial that begins with a bright blue hue at the center and fades to an almost blackish-blue color on the outer periphery.
10. Panerai Submersible Verde Militare 42
Panerai released a handful of watches with the submersible branding this year, but Verde Militare 42 as per us was the best of the lot. Presented with a military green dial and a matching green rubber strap this new watch offers a nice tactical vibe. The stainless-steel case measures a wearable 42mm in diameter and along with the steel bezel offers great contrast against the green background. The watch is water-resistant to 300 meters and is powered by the in-house P.9000 that provides an autonomy of 72 hours.
9. Chopard Alpine Eagle
With a lot of established brands attempting to create one, the luxury steel sports watch category has been brimming with action this year. Chopard’s entry into this segment came in the form of the Alpine Eagle. This new watch is a modern re-interpretation of the St. Mortiz, a watch the brand came out in 1980. Featuring an exceptionally finished stainless steel construction, a beautifully executed textured dial and powered by an in-house movement this in our opinion is Chopard at its very best.
8. A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus
A luxury steel sports watch coming from a brand that is well-known for making some of the most classic looking watches can easily be considered the biggest surprise of the year. While received with a lot of criticism primarily due to the quirky bracelet design the Odysseus is a bold and daring watch that has a lot going for it. Featuring a well-sized 40.5mm stainless steel case that is water-resistant to 120 meters, a well-balanced and legible dial and of course a great movement, this is the watch A. Lange & Söhne fans have been long waiting for.
7. Blancpain Air Command
Think Blancpain and the first thing that comes to mind is the Fifty Fathoms. And while the brand did release a few new variations of the iconic watch this year, it was the Blancpain Air command that really moved us. A modern reincarnation of a 1950s timepiece, this modern pilot watch has it all. It stays true to the original in the looks department featuring bold Arabic numerals and a balanced bicompax layout comes in a well-sized 42.5mm that is beautifully finished and is powered by modern true high beat automatic movement.
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6. Glashütte Original Spezialist SeaQ Panorama Date
German brand Glashütte Original widely popular for making traditional-looking mechanical timepieces. This year though the brand decided to take a different route and surprisingly came up with a collection of dive watches called the SeaQ. Inspired by a 1969 reference the SeaQ Panorama date shown here is the more modern variant from the collection. It features a steel case with 300 meters of water resistance, a beautiful black/blue dial and is powered by a state-of-the-art movement that offers a healthy power reserve of around 100 hours.
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5. Rolex GMT-Master II 126710 BLNR
How can a Top 20 be complete without making a mention of the one most popular brand in the history of Horology? Following the superlative success of 2018’s GMT -Master 2, Rolex released the killer looking GMT -Master 2 Ref. 126710 widely known as the ‘Batman’ in 2019. This watch is aesthetically similar to the 2018 GMT master except for a few cosmetic differences. The ‘Batman’ shares the bracelet, case design, dial layout and even the caliber 3285 with its elder sibling but what makes it special and look distinctive is the black/blue bezel insert and the blue GMT hand.
4. Grand Seiko Spring Drive GMT SBGE248
Grand Seiko has shown considerable growth in the last few years and has released several great watches that showcase the best Japanese craftsmanship. Our favorite Grand Seiko from 2019 is the SBGE248. The reason we chose is this model is twofold. First, this watch comes with a practical complication we love, the GMT, making it a great travel watch. And second, is the Spring drive movement, that in our opinion is one of the most innovative movements out there providing a super smooth second’s hand.
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3. Urban Jürgensen One GMT
Urban Jürgensen makes some beautiful classically styled watches heavily influenced by Breguet timepieces from the past. But in 2019 the brand released a completely new modern looking collection called the Urban Jürgensen One. Featuring a new case design with an integrated bracelet, a contemporary dial design devoid of Arabic numerals this new watch impressed us and can be considered as an original effort from the brand. Our pick from the collection is the One GMT that has an intriguing implementation of the GMT function using a sub-dial at 6 instead of a centrally mounted GMT hand.
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2. Vacheron Constantin Traditionelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar
Launched during SIHH 2019 the Vacheron Constantin Traditionelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar is a testimony to why the brand is a part of the holy trinity. With innovation at its core, this timepiece offers a great blend of functionality and practicality. The impressive in-house caliber 3610 QP that is partially visible from the dial offers not only the useful perpetual calendar complication but also manages to offer a surrealistic 65 da power reserve using not one but two escapements that operate at 5 and 1.2 Hz respectively. When the watch is on the wrist the high-frequency balance is in action and when off the wrist the lower frequency balance prevents the watch from running out of power till 65 days.
1. Bulgari Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT
Topping the chart for 2019 is a watch from a brand that perhaps would not have even been part of a watch conversation a decade back. Bulgari’s stupendous success can be majorly attributed to just one watch in our opinion, the Octo Finissimo, a distinctive looking timepiece with a one of a kind bracelet design and a highly capable movement. In 2019 Bulgari raised the heat further with the Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT, which is not only the slimmest chronograph out there but also the thinnest watch with an automatic movement.
So, what do you guys think about our favorites from 2019? Do you feel we missed out on some watches? Which are the watches that you enjoyed the most in 2019? We would love to hear back from you. So please do take out time and present your thoughts in the comments section below.
To conclude we would like to wish everyone a very happy 2020 and we promise to keep working hard to bring the best horological content for our audience.