Joshua’s Ultimate ‐ If Money Is No Object ‐ 10 Watch Collection: 2022 Edition
Now that the year has renewed and we are looking forward to all the 2023 releases, it is a great time to take a look back at what was a pretty tremendous year for watchmaking. There were so many amazing watches that my “shortlist” for a Best of 2022 was over twenty pieces long and growing when I realized I might need to take a different path.
So instead of picking my top six or eight favorite watches from the year I want to curate a list of what watches I believe would make an ultimate collection if you could only choose watches from the year 2022.
I tried to cover all the bases, a bit like the GPHG categories, but this also leaves out a lot of pieces that may not be necessary to make the perfect collection. The flash and flourish that people add to collections after they have everything else is left off, and I didn’t cover ladies pieces (and it was an awesome year for those too) and women can certainly wear some of the watches below.
It also resulted in some hard decisions for various slots like Grand Complication since so many grail level watches would fall under that banner in my eyes. But after some whittling down I have landed on 10 watches that I think would make the ultimate watch collection, all from 2022.
1. The Affordable Watch: M.A.D. 1 Red
Every collection has its most affordable piece, one that doesn’t break the bank and gets a lot of bang for the buck. In 2022 I don’t think any watch met those criteria more than the M.A.D. 1 Red from Maximilian Büsser and MB&F. It represents an accessible entry point (be it the back door) into the hyper-exclusive world of MB&F design at a price most watch collectors can justify.
On top of that, it is just plain awesomely unique, something we come to expect from Büsser and something that is not extremely easy to find under 3500 CHF. It is also the only watch on the list that I own (thank my lucky stars), so it holds a special place for me. In a 10-watch collection from only 2022, I think it deserves this first spot.
For more information, please visit www.madgallery.net/geneva/en/creators/mad-editions
Further reading: M.A.D.1 Friends Edition From (Not By) MB&F: Why I Bought It, Why You Can’t (Not Yet Anyway), And Why It’s A Marketing Masterclass – Plus Video of Max Büsser Explaining The Watch And Concept
Quick Facts M.A.D. Editions M.A.D. 1 Red
Case: 42 x 18.8 mm, stainless steel
Movement: modified and inverted unidirectional automatic Miyota 821A (Citizen), 60-hour power reserve, 3 Hz/21,600 vph frequency, titanium and tungsten winding rotor
Functions: lateral hours and minutes on case band using two revolving aluminum rings with engraved numerals filled with Super-LumiNova
Price: CHF 3,125
2. The Everyday Wear Watch: Oris ProPilot X Calibre 400
In a collection you always need a watch that is the go-to watch you can wear every day and never get tired of it, but also that can stand up to the abuse of constant wear. It shouldn’t be incredibly expensive either in case it gets a bit beat up.
In 2022 one of the best everyday watches I saw that captured me from the first moment was the Oris ProPilot X Calibre 400, especially the version with the salmon dial. I love the design, titanium case, plus a five-day power reserve with silicon escapement and COSC certification, all for less than $1000 more than the M.A.D. 1. With a ten-year warranty, it definitely can be your go-to watch every day without fear and look great doing it.
For more information, please visit www.oris.ch/fr/collection/big-crown-propilot-x
Further reading: Oris Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115: Going Full Monty
Quick Facts Oris ProPilot X Calibre 400
Case: 39 x 11.8 mm, titanium
Movement: automatic Calibre 400, 120-hour power reserve, 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency, COSC certification
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Price: CHF 3,900
3. The Everyday Wear Watch (CEO Edition): Vacheron Constantin Historiques 222
The third entry on the list follows up the second entry for when you are finally promoted to CEO, your everyday watch needs to adjust to an appropriate piece. Take everything I said about the regular everyday watch and remove the need for it to be affordable or extra durable; now it needs to be supremely wearable and versatile while looking like a true CEO’s watch.
The very first watch that comes to mind is none other than the Vacheron Constantin Historiques 222. It is possibly one of the most perfect examples of a luxury grail that is also designed to be an everyday piece. Coming from one of the original holy trinity brands, the Historiques 222 was a stunning release for 2022 and deserves a spot in the ultimate 2022 collection.
For more information, please visit www.vacheron-constantin.com/us/en/collections/historiques/4200h-222j-b935.html
Quick Facts Vacheron Constantin Historiques 222
Case: 37 x 7.95 mm, 3N yellow gold
Movement: automatic Caliber 2455/2, 40-hour power reserve, 28,800 vph/4Hz frequency
Functions: hours, minutes; date
Limitation: limited production, available only in Vacheron Constantin boutiques
Price: CHF 63,500 / €67,500
4. The Sporty Diving Watch: Tudor Pelagos FXD
Just like every collection needs an everyday watch, it also needs a watch you can wear while doing your exercise, wherever that might take you. That is why it should preferably be a diving or tool watch with good water resistance and a generally rugged style.
In 2022 the best piece in my mind was the Tudor Pelagos FXD with its niche bezel design, solid strap bars, titanium case, and more than adequate COSC-certified automatic caliber. Plus, its style is very clear and legible, perfect for any adventure, at comes in at a relatively affordable price. I’d argue it could be one of the easiest additions to the ultimate 2022 collection on the list.
For more information, please visit www.tudorwatch.com/en/watches/pelagos/m25707b-0001
Quick Facts Tudor Pelagos FXD
Case: 42 x 12.75 mm, titanium
Movement: automatic Caliber MT5602 with official C.O.S.C. chronometer certification, 70-hour power reserve, 28,800 vph/4 Hz frequency
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; counterclockwise countdown bezel
5. The Chronograph Watch: Grönefeld 1941 Grönograaf
A collection would be incomplete without a solid chronograph and the new 1941 Grönograaf from my favorite horological brothers is an amazing addition. Following Grönefeld design codes for the overall watch and the impressive movement, you can’t go wrong with the lovely features and the awesomely unique chronograph mechanism.
Built with a slow return reset based on a centrifugal regulator, the chronograph is a lusciously tactile experience that also provides a breath of fresh air in terms of chronograph style, making for a watch that looks fantastic in a variety of situations. It also demonstrates that the Grönefeld brothers aren’t afraid to keep developing new ideas (which takes a lot of effort for a small brand), making this a cornerstone of the ultimate 2022 collection.
For more information, please visit www.gronefeld.com/collection/1941-gr–nograaf/
Quick Facts Grönefeld 1941 Grönograaf
Case: 40 x 11.3 mm, stainless steel or tantalum
Movement: manually wound Caliber G-04, 53-hour power reserve, 3 Hz/21,600 vph frequency
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; chronograph with instant jumping minute counter
Limitation: 188 pieces in stainless steel, 25 pieces in tantalum
Price: €155,000 (steel); €165,000 (tantalum)
6. The Tourbillon Watch: Grand Seiko Kodo Constant-force Tourbillon
Given that a tourbillon is considered a staple of horological innovation in history and there are so many great tourbillons to choose from, you definitely need a top notch tourbillon for anything deemed the “Ultimate Collection.” In 2022 that could only be one watch, the Grand Seiko Kodo Constant-force Tourbillon.
It was already horologically earth-shattering when Grand Seiko came out with such a wild, avant-garde movement with a classic tourbillon and for it to find its way into an actual watch instead of staying as a concept piece is marvelous. The mechanics are stunning and the packaging is unique in the Grand Seiko world. As someone that wants the most horological bang for a collection, this is the perfect addition to the ultimate 2022 collection.
For more information, please visit www.grand-seiko.com/us-en/collections/slgt003g
Further reading: Grand Seiko Kodo Constant Force Tourbillon: Grand Seiko Unleashed
Quick Facts Grand Seiko Kodo Constant-Force Tourbillon
Case: 43.8 x 12.9 mm, hybrid platinum 950 and Brilliant Hard Titanium
Movement: manually wound Caliber 9ST1 with co-axial constant force one-minute tourbillon, 72-hour power reserve (50 hours of constant force), 28,800 vph/4 Hz frequency
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; power reserve
Limitation: 20 pieces
Price: €370,000 / CHF 382,000
7. The Astronomical Calendar Watch: De Bethune DB25s Perpetual Calendar
Everyone knows I love a good astronomical watch, and will always champion calendar watches, so it comes as no surprise that this is a required category in my designated ultimate collection. There were a whole host of incredible watches to meet this requirement but for me the best fit has to be the De Bethune DB25s Perpetual Calendar.
The DB25s Perpetual Calendar is (in my opinion) a better-proportioned version of an already almost perfect watch, how could I pass it by? It has my favorite spherical moon phase, a full perpetual calendar presented in a gorgeously simple way, and it has all that fantastic De Bethune style. It is possibly one of the best horological pieces of the year and a highlight of this ultimate collection, in short, it rocks!
For more information, please visit https://www.debethune.ch/en/collections#collections
Further reading: De Bethune DB25s QP: Near Perfect Is Now Perfect!
Quick Facts De Bethune DB25s QP
Case: 40 x 11.3 mm, titanium
Movement: automatic Caliber DB2324V2, 5-day power reserve, 28,800 vph/4 Hz frequency
Functions: hours, minutes; spherical moon phase, perpetual calendar with month, date, day of the week, and leap year indication
Limitation: limited by production – 15 pieces per year
8. The Avante-Garde Watch: Urwerk UR-120 “Spock”
You cannot have an ultimate collection without a wild avant-garde piece and you can’t top wild than from a brand like Urwerk. You could argue with me until you are blue in the face, and I don’t think I could agree that the UR-120 does not represent the best in avant-garde watchmaking in 2022.
The UR-120 builds onto a legacy of the iconic UR-110 which was worn by Tony Stark, and the UR-120 takes an already dazzling mechanical display and makes it more so. I did not expect this watch in 2022 and it made me so entirely happy to see this evolution of the concept. It belongs in any collection that calls itself “ultimate” and it gloriously takes a rightful place in the ultimate 2022 collection.
For more information, please visit www.urwerk.com/collections/ur-satellite/ur-120
Further reading: Urwerk UR-120 ‘Spock’: It’s Great To Be A Nerd
Quick Facts Urwerk UR-120 “Spock”
Case: 47 x 44 x 15.8 mm, stainless steel and titanium
Movement: automatic Caliber UR-20.01, 48-hour power reserve, 28,800 vph/4 Hz frequency
Functions: satellite hours, minutes
Price: CHF 100,000
9. The “Grand Complication” Watch: MB&F Legacy Machine Sequential Evo
If you are building a collection and want to have any hope of it being taken seriously as the ultimate collection, it needs to have something along the lines of a grand complication. Typically that means having a calendar, chronograph, and chiming mechanism all wrapped up into one, but I take the term a bit more loosely and imagine it as something that is so incredibly complicated that it leaves the stratosphere of all the other watches in its category. When it comes to chronographs, the “grand complication” of chronographs is obviously the MB&F Legacy Machine Sequential Evo.
It is one of the most impressive chronograph mechanisms ever developed and it produces functions never before seen. And it packs it all into a form factor that we have come to adore, the vaunted Legacy Machine. It is a mix of everything great about MB&F and horology as a whole. It represents the past, present, and future, and it is so, so nerdy and fun. It also won the Aiguille d’Or at the 2022 GPHG, so any thing other than this watch would not the ultimate 2022 collection make.
For more information, please visit www.mbandf.com/en/machines/legacy-machines/lmsequential-evo
Quick Facts MB&F LM Sequential EVO
Case: 44 x 18.2 mm, zirconium
Movement: hand-wound caliber developed by Stephen McDonnell with Twinverter switch, 3 Hz/21,600 vph frequency, 72-hour power reserve and double mainspring
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; dual chronographs
Price: CHF 160,000 / €160,000 / $180,000
10. The Classic Watch: Akrivia Chronomètre Contemporain II
If you are building the ultimate watch collection it means you know you need a perfectly classic watch you can wear with a tuxedo or jeans that takes everyone’s breath away. Is there any watch more perfect from 2022 than the Akrivia Chronomètre Contemporain II? It won the title of best Men’s watch at the 2022 GPHG after its predecessor won in 2018 proving that it may be one of the best classic watches of the decade.
For me, the Akrivia Contemporain II perfectly rounds out an already stellar cast of horology while also presenting an understated crown jewel of a collection. It’s hard to pick a top piece out of everything, but to me the Chronomètre Contemporain II is the cherry on top, glistening on the sundae yet not dominating the bowl. It plays its part perfectly and we all know is everyone’s favorite part so they save it for last (or at least you should, you heathen).
Akrivia and Rexhep Rexhepi are absolutely killing it and the Chronomètre Contemporain II is everything you want in a classic wristwatch. It provides style, restraint, and horological clout in a perfectly finished package. No 2022 collection would be complete without it and for the ultimate 2022 collection it is non-negotiable.
For more information, please visit www.akrivia.com/watch/chronometre-contemporain-rexhep-rexhepi-2/
Quick Facts Akrivia Rexhep Rexhepi Chronomètre Contemporain II
Case: 38 x 8.75 mm, platinum or pink gold
Movement: manually wound Caliber RRCC02 with 82-hour power reserve; 21,600 vph/3 Hz frequency, twin gear trains, free-sprung variable inertia balance
Functions: hours, minutes, hacking deadbeat subsidiary seconds with zero reset
Limitation: 50 pieces in each metal
Price: CHF 125,000
Bonus – The Clock: Konstantin Chaykin Lucomorye
Once you have built the ultimate collection and don’t need anything more for the wrist, the next step is to put something on your mantel to check your watch’s timing against. If you are going to buy an awesome clock, why not also buy something from an incredible watchmaker who has so many ideas he doesn’t know what to do with them. For me, the perfect end to the ultimate 2022 collection is the Konstantin Chaykin Lucomorye, an artistically whimsical tour de force that houses one of the most innovative clock mechanisms I have ever seen.
The Lucomorye displays the hours using a chain wrapping around a cylinder, crisscrossing itself to create Roman numerals. To watch it in a window is like magic, to see the full mechanism create the shapes is mind-blowing. It was also originally intended to be inside a wristwatch, but the power constraints required a much bigger form factor. The result is a marvelously jeweled sculpture that envelops the mechanism and is bound to become a curiosity of history. The Lucomorye is one of the creations that fell under the radar of many yet deserves a chorus of trumpets to announce its brilliance. It sits amongst a group of other amazing clocks this year but honestly, it makes a perfect bookend to the ultimate 2022 collection that spans half the globe and every angle that horology has to offer.
For more information, please visit https://chaykin.ru/en/historical-masterpieces/lukomorye/
Quick Facts Konstantin Chaykin Lucomorye
Case: 410 x 470 mm, Aluminum, silver, jade, opal
Movement: manually wound TLU.04-0 (Lucomorye) caliber, 192-hour power reserve, anchor escapement with 60-second tourbillon
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds, date, power reserve, tourbillon, chain graphic numerical hour indicator
Limitation: Unique Piece
Price: CHF 2,450,000