After the virtual Watches & Wonders fair earlier this year, I remember commending the innovative prowess of the various brands. Turns out, the releases from the event was far from what the year had to offer. Quite often, enthusiasts debate over the lack of ‘new’ design introduce
To end the year off on a high note, we’re exploring our favourite watch releases of the year.
My gateway into the hobby has been an SNZF17 (Sea Urchin) and the SKX line. Aside from Orient, there is little competition in the price bracket which offers similar value to entry-level divers. In my mind, I always had a lingering thought of a higher-priced, better built offering moving up that entry point. This year, Seiko brought out their answer to that.
At a glance, it’s obvious its entirely Seiko, not trying to be something else. When placed with its competition in the same price range, I have no trouble picking this piece simply because of the design.
Whilst not yet a proud owner of this piece, I constantly contemplate replacing my SKX013 with this in the coming year.
The Longines Heritage Classic Tuxedo Collection
As a brand, Longines’s vast product offering and heritage acts as a double-edged sword, many options but also few prominent ‘icons’ for anyone outside an enthusiast circle.
Longines hit the home-run this year with a , releasing two, well-executed re-issue in their heritage line. If, I happen not to be a watch nut, these would still greatly appeal to me.
Which are an important factor for brands in their consideration of modern releases. While size-able, The enthusiast community isn’t enough to surmount considerations for a modern release.
So, a re-issue covering all enthusiasts and public-alike, is not a simple feat. For me personally, I love the fresh-but-classic take on the chronograph.
The Hermès Arceau L’Heure De La Lune In New Dials
Admittedly, a name I had no intention of typing out instead of copy-pasting. This new release was probably my favourite release of last year.
Now, I have an unbiased opinion of Hermès, I didn’t even think much of their watch offering. I understood their classic ‘H’ quartz piece, nothing more. But this, outrageously expensive, very artful design swept me when released in 2019.
This year, Hermès took it up a notch. The already-encapsulating design is shined with new light. Hermès explored different dial and strap configuration to further promote the different dimensions of the watch. My personal favorites would be the Lapis Lazuli(Top-middle) and Blue Pearl(Top-left).
While Hermès releases infrequently(This being the only for 2020), It didn’t underwhelm my excitement of the release at all. In fact, I look forward to the innovation that the brand could bring, helmed by CEO Laurent Dordet.
The Q Timex HODINKEE Limited Edition
In our previous review article, we talked about the Timex brand and my opinion on what they’re doing. While I believe Timex is doing great, their Q Timex re-issue just didn’t fit with my aesthetic.
The collaboration with Hodinkee filled that gap with an updated colour scheme much more in-lined with what I am comfortable with. Aside from that, elements like a lackluster conventional steel bezel and lack of date window really appealed to me. Which goes to show, sometimes, without adding anything, more can be brought out of design. The simple, almost minimalistic take on the already-successful design brought on an incredible value-for-money watch.
The Doxa SUB 300
Doxa released an array of colour options for their SUB 300 line this year. My preference revolves around the below two, and especially the silver-sunburst dial variant. As a brand, Doxa remains as one of the more ‘attainable’ grail for myself, and I’m at the point where I am particularly interested in a specific variant of their line-up.
Looking at specifications only, I could tell that this is probably the most wearable Doxa for my 6.5-inch wrist. As a big fan of stainless steel bezels, Doxa‘s SUB models have always appealed to me aside from the size. Whilst my preference doesn’t lean so much to the bright orange, I certainly don’t mind the touches of it.
The introduction of the integrated rubber strap also swayed me, chunky beads of rice bracelet may be great, but I’ve always preferred rubber on divers.
In watch fanaticism, there exists the term “scratch the itch”, which represents a less-valued watch serving as an alternative for a highly-desired watch. My alternative for the Doxa SUB would be the Seiko SRPC35 a.k.a “Mini Turtle”. This year, Crafter Blue released a curved rubber strap for the line, which, for me, is another small win for the year.
The Oris Big Crown Pointer Date x Fratello Limited Edition
The Oris Big Crown had always been a watch I’ve a special fondness for, After all, It is the “heirloom piece” I’ve received. The design of the Big Crown had always been somewhat muted until it had new dials introduced in recent years. In fact, the model I owned had a two-tone case and bracelet, which results in the first opinion of many to be ‘old’.
This Fratello edition of the Pointer Date is definitely not meant to invoke that sense of antiqueness. While most will argue the dullness of bronze makes a watch look much older than it is, this edition contrasts that with a bold oxblood red dial. The result is a pretty unconventional look I doubt I ever came across.
Although a little overwhelming for me on the grey NATO, I think that the watch pairs well with the leather strap. While this watch doesn’t exactly fit my style, I’m sure it would if I were to be at some place a little colder in the world where thick outer wears are a permittable option.
The Seiko Prospex Street Series ‘Urban Safari’ SRPE29K1 & SRPE31K1
“What if it were not Quartz” is an age-old adage for owners who prefer the mechanical counterparts. I said the same thing when I got to own a SNE537P1, pictured below, and while there was absolutely no hate for Quartz, I couldn’t help pondering over that alternative possibility.
So this year, when Seiko released that version, in a more wearable(for me) case size, I knew I had to get my hands on it.
I had some time to spend with the SRPE31 model coloured grey and my experience had been mostly positive. Seiko’s street series had always been about a modern interpretation on the durable and robust diver, and these two definitely fit the bill.
The sizing on these are an added-bonus, measuring at 43mm in diameter, these wear more like 40mm. It’s compact sizing made it extremely wearable when one does not have to conform to the typical Tuna sizing. I am free of complaints but what I would love is an all steel version of perhaps the non-street series Prospex line. Although a long shot, If Seiko ever do release a shrunk-down SRPC637 “Mini Tuna”, you can bet I’ll be the first in line for it.
I disagree that innovation had come to a halt, and that brands are just re-using designs in the modern era. My take-away from this year release is that brands do still push-out designs that may appeal to multiple markets. While there is still some way to go, I’d reckon that my the time restrictions are lifted, watch meet-ups will be filled with plenty of these great releases.
What are some of your favourite watch releases of 2020? Share with us in the comments down below! Happy Holidays!