Martin Green’s Five Favorite Watches Of 2022
by Martin Green
While we are already quite a bit into 2023, I still like to contemplate the year we left behind. Call me nostalgic, which I don’t consider a bad trait for a watch journalist, but sometimes it takes a while to understand and appreciate a new watch fully. Late at night, with a nice glass of cognac, it is nice to go over what passed in 2022 and to take it all in again from a new perspective. Not during a photoshoot or at a hectic fair, but with the knowledge that you have seen the watch a couple of times, worn it, handled it, wrote about it, and let it all sink in.
My list could be longer, but these are the five watches that stuck with me through the year.
Louis Moinet Time To Race
Louis Moinet has a thing with chronographs, as the first one was made by the man who gave his name to the brand in 1816. While impressive, I am even more captivated by the creativity of the brand. Louis Moinet watches are imaginative, full of details, and always refreshing. This is also the case with their Time To Race collection, which is, not so surprisingly, a chronograph. It is part of the Memoris line-up, meaning that most of the components that operate the chronograph are hiding in plain sight.
The Time to Race collection is unique in that Louis Moinet gave it a distinct racing car theme, going back to the time when it was countries raced each other rather than teams or car brands. They distinguished themselves with their colors, red for Italy, blue for France, green for the United Kingdom, and so on. By playing with these colors and adding a unique number on each dial, Louis Moinet created a watch that stuck with me, as I also have a deep-rooted passion for (vintage) cars.
Zenith Defy Skyline
Is it terrible to call the Zenith Defy Skyline an El Primero without a chronograph? I don’t think so, because what a great looking watch it is. Less is more, and the Defy Skyline made quite an impact in the heavily contested category of stainless steel sport watches with an integrated bracelet. While it has an excellent pedigree, the Defy Skyline is not a watch dwelling on the past, it explores the future of Zenith. The design is unique but not so way out there that it becomes eccentric. And it’s worth mentioning that the ‘integrated’ bracelet (it can also be swapped for a strap) is very well made, looks good and sits wonderfully on the wrist.
I am not usually very keen on having a date function on a watch, even a sporty one. While I feel that even the Defy Skyline would have also looked better without the date, it makes sense for Zenith to incorporate it. They did such a good job that it doesn’t bother me and the date goes some way in visually balancing the sub-dial for the seconds. It might be strange, but I also love the crown on this Zenith. It not only looks good, but it is also a true joy to operate. Yes, sometimes you can find happiness in small things.
Further reading: Zenith Defy Skyline: How To Kill Two Birds With One Watch
Montblanc Summit 3
Smartwatches are not really my thing, so when I found one that I liked in 2022 I was quite surprised. Unlike many others, the Montblanc Summit 3 is not an attention-seeking toddler constantly bombarding with messages, alerts, vibrations, and other attention-seeking ploys. It is simply a great-looking watch with additional functions that serve the wearer and not the other way around.
It is cool to play with the various dials inspired by Montblanc’s mechanical offerings and find one that suits your look or mood for the day. The titanium case is very well made and much more refined than one would expect from a smartwatch. It also keeps the weight down, a reason the Summit 3 has become my favorite sports buddy.
Hublot Classic Fusion Takashi Murakami Sapphire Rainbow
Nobody does collaborations like Hublot because they go all in. And going all in was what they did with the Classic Fusion Takashi Murakami Sapphire Rainbow, taking the artist’s signature flower image and bringing it to horological life with colored gemstones. As the colorful petals spin around they create a magical experience. To keep the focus on the dial the case of the watch is made from transparent sapphire crystal, elevating this Hublot to an even higher tier, both visually as well as technically.
This is a development that I have come to love in watchmaking; creative, fun, and very sophisticated. With the Classic Fusion Takashi Murakami Sapphire Rainbow, you get art in motion that you can carry anywhere you go, which is a rare proposition.
Christiaan van der Klaauw Planetarium Dunes of Mars
I have always loved the Planetarium by Christiaan van der Klaauw, and yes, as I’m also from the Netherlands, I know I’m biased. It is the least dynamic complication that I can think of, as it takes the planets on the dial quite some time to make a full rotation, with Mercury being the fastest, making a full rotation in 87.97 days, while it takes Saturn 29.46 years to do the same. However, realizing that you have the smallest mechanical planetarium in the world on your wrist is mind-blowing to me.
The red aventurine dial, a color we rarely see in this material, adds to the spectacle. It is instantly clear why the theme of this watch is Mars, the red planet, as the dial indeed looks like the dust on the surface of this planet. Balanced by the calendar functions the planetarium is a visual treat, as well as a unique complication that is bound to start conversations.