Since the New Year's coming, and there’s just a little less than two weeks left into 2019, we’ll go out on a limb and conclude the watch year already. What an epic journey it’s been! And 2019 gave us so many new watches, some of which we like, some of which we love, and some of which we are still undecided. For better or for worse, Rolex stayed out of the limelight after years of dominating the scene.
So let’s start the list with eight completely new-to-market watches. By this, we mean that they have never before existed, so they’re not line extensions or existing models with a new movement or execution.
But first, we have to add that it’s not every year that the industry releases such a big bumper crop of all-new watches. With a few exceptions, they target a very specific market segment, namely the sporty casual buyer. Is that good or bad in the long run? Jury’s still out.
#26 Audemars Piguet Code 11.59
We wouldn’t be doing ourselves any favours if we started with another watch. This Royal Oak-inspired classic watch was one of the most talked-about timepieces of the year. But the manufacture went all in with a full collection offering all levels of complication, signalling their belief in the watch.
#25 A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus
Right up there on the controversial chart is A. Lange & Söhne. The manufacture really took a big step with this all-steel elegant sports number. Whether you love or hate the watch—that bracelet though—the Odysseus is here to stay.
#24 Chopard Alpine Eagle
It complements the rest of Chopard’s product lines—not yet an L.U.C but more prestigious than Mille Miglia. We were quite taken by the dial and the fact that it uses ethical materials. One of the many steel sports watches with integrated bracelets launched this year.
#23 Bell & Ross BR05
Another one enters the ring. BR05 brings the steel sports integrated bracelet category into the mid-level luxury segment, and everybody wins. It’s completely new to Bell & Ross but thanks to great design, the entire package works like a charm.
#22 Blancpain Air Command
As originators of the world’s first true dive watch, Blancpain takes a big leap into the skies with this vintage oriented number. It’s not the sexiest pilot’s watch around, but the no-nonsense style is very easy on the eyes.
#21 Glashutte Original SeaQ
The first of many in the Spezialist collection, SeaQ is Glashütte Original’s latest tool watch. It’s not awfully exciting but watch nerds love the arrow-tipped minute hand and lollipop style seconds hand.
#20 MB&F LM Thunderdome
Watchmaking is never boring thanks to independents like MB&F. LM Thunderdome completely reimagines a timepiece, uniting the best of two different but equally brilliant minds. A maelstrom on the wrist, and a welcome breath of fresh air.
#19 Greubel Forsey GMT Sport
Here’s a watch you must try on to truly appreciate. Greubel Forsey is no stranger to odd-shaped cases, and this titanium one with integrated lugs puts a new spin on a tried-and-true formula. Inside, in classic GF style, is a mind-blowing array of three-dimensional features.
Next we look at the ones that aren’t completely new but yet are absolute standouts for all kinds of reasons.
#18 Hublot Classic Fusion Ferrari GT
The latest Hublot-Ferrari collab and a design by Flavio Manzoni. It’s not for everyone, not even all Ferrari owners, but it is a statement unlike any other.
#17 Swatch Flymagic
The Nivachron hairspring was news enough but when Swatch was announced as the first brand within the group to use it, not everybody accepted the fact. Not much has since been said about this technology, but we’re sure more will come soon.
#16 Tudor Black Bay P01
Another novelty that set tongues wagging is this chunky hunk but we must say that photos don’t do it justice at all. Despite the heft and strange lugs, it’s very wearable and the four o’clock crown makes it all the more unique.
#15 Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Squelette 5395
Watches like this remind us why classical never goes out of style. The ultrathin gold movement is skeletonisedand has hand-guilloché on the bridges, as well as a traditional tourbillon with a superslim bridge. Mind blown.
#14 Bulgari Octo Finissimo Ceramic
Also ultrathin, the Octo Finissimo here is done in ceramic, which we all know is strong and scratchproof, but brittle AF. Looks really good though.
#13 Longines Heritage Classic
Acing the vintage remake game, this sector dial model really nailed it in terms of size, design, finish, and price. It offers a unique aesthetic that you’ll want to wear every day.
#12. TAG Heuer Monaco Piece d’Art
2019 was a big year for the Monaco and there were lots of special editions. But this restored vintage model was extra special, on account of the hand-engraved movement. It was sold at a Phillips auction in New York benefiting a charity.
#11 Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Moonshine Gold
This ultra-exclusive watch introduced a new gold alloy and is made very close to the 1969 model made in yellow gold meant as a gift to the Apollo 11 astronauts. We seldom see the Speedmaster in gold, and here it comes with onyx and burgundy ceramic to boot, plus a gorgeous Calibre 3861.
#10 Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref. 5212A-001
Its entire dial looks handwritten and that’s what makes this watch so unique—and a little controversial. Then you realise it’s made in steel and you go “Whaaaaat?!” The weekly calendar complication only sweetens the deal.
#9 Cartier Santos Skeleton ADLC Noctambule
We love how Cartier makes big moves from time to time, and this all-black number is more than a blacked out model with a skeleton movement. The bridges are made in Roman numerals—very Cartier—and they glow!
#8 Panerai Submersible Mike Horn Edition PAM984
Among the new breed of Submersibles, PAM984 brings something completely new not just to Panerai but to the watch industry: Eco-Titanium. And word on the street is that, moving forward, it will find more ways to work with sustainable materials.
#7 Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar
Impressively, this watch offers a 65-day power reserve—that’s more than two months. It does this using a sort of hibernation mode made possible with two oscillators, one fast and one slow., which you can select on demand. Chapeau!
#6 Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpetual
Flexing some truly incredible watchmaking chops, this multi-tourbillon perpetual calendar with a carillon minute repeater chimes in Westminster Quarters. Then you have a constant force mechanism and tip-top hand finishing as befits a manufacture like Jaeger-LeCoultre.
#5 Hermès Arceau L’Heure de la Lune
Turning the concept of moon phase display on its head, this gorgeously poetic watch raises the horology bar with design ingenuity and innovative artistry. From mechanics to materials, it’s the piece that got the entire watch world looking at Hermès.
#4 Jaquet Droz Magic Lotus Automaton
We’ve always known Jaquet Droz was a whiz at automata but even that did not prepare us for this beautiful work of moving art. Hand-painted fixtures carved in gold or shaped from mother-of-pearl… We could play with it all day and not be bored.
#3 Casio G-Shock G-D5000-9
Is this the ultimate G-Shock? Maybe, maybe not, but what’s for certain is that this is the most expensive G-Shock in the world, priced at a cool $100,000. More “horological” watches have been sold for less, but this one plays in a different ballpark altogether.
#2 Richard Mille Bonbons
There’s always room for extravagance at Richard Mille, and this sugary sweet collection of taffy loaded timepieces proves it. Then you realise that everything is crafted in traditional hand-painted enamel and you go woah… There’s no middle ground with these watches, you either love them or hate them, but everybody is talking about them.
#1 FP Journe Tourbillon Souverain Vertical
Alright watch nerds, admit it, this was the watch of 2019 that gave you sleepless nights and countless daydreams. Indeed, FP Journe does it again. Why make a regular horizontal tourbillon when he can go for vertical? And it’s a real beauty, with remontoir d’égalité, deadbeat seconds, guillochéd bridges, enamel dial… the works.
Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300A-010
What recession? This donation by Patek Philippe to the Only Watch auction swept 31 million Swiss francs, which is the highest amount anyone has paid for any watch. It’s a gorgeous piece—salmon dial, steel case, double faced ultra-complicated movement—and we’re sure that one way or another, its owner will enjoy it for generations.