2021 has come and gone. Here is the year in review, and the top 10 most popular and best received posts.
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And for many we welcome 2022, looking back at 2021 as good riddance. For some, like us, it has been a difficult year. Low revenue. No travel which limited our access to handling and photographing many new releases, though we still did get hands-on with many, if not most novelties, many thanks to the maisons for bringing the watches in to Singapore.
But we saw a huge decline in revenue, even though 2020 was also a disaster year in terms of income. This was even though we are not as commercially inclined as most sites. None of the owners of this site look at Deployant as a source of income to feed our families. But we do need funds to keep the lights on. To keep the wheels of this site turning. We served roughly 1TB of data every month, and you can perhaps imagine our network and storage bills.
We don’t have merch, or collaborations with watch brands like many commercially inclined sites do. Not for the lack of being asked, but because we want to remain morally obliged to be neutral. And free to speak our minds. The site is an extension of our horological interests, and allow the owners and writers to have access into the industry which we so love. Please note that we do not maintain that we are not biased. Everyone is biased. Instead we propose that our biases are not persuaded by commercial interests, but by our own world view and by what genuinely excites us in horology. We encourage our writers to explore our own individual biases. And express them in our writings. It is for this reason that we like to think we are different, and by extension better than the rest.
For the watch industry, curiously it has been a good year. Retail has boomed. The auction market has exploded with many records being broken. As an example to demonstrate, allow us to also talk about the Patek Philippe Nautilus saga, perhaps the most talked about in the collector community for 2021.
Patek revealed that they were going to discontinue the popular 5711 early in 2021, and released what they touted to be the last in the series with the Olive Green dial. This immediately found a flipper who turned it into a record setting EUR 416,000 (about USD 495,000) at an Antiquorum auction, a huge premium over its retail price of USD 34,890. But that was not the end of it. Phillips achieved an absolutely incredible USD 6,503,000 for the Ref. 5711/1A-018 the so called Tiffany Dial.
This was a 170 piece limited edition release of the ultra difficult to get Tiffany Nautilus, which had a retail price of USD 52,000. Curiously, assuming a fairly typical 100% markup from factory to retail price, this meant that Patek Philippe raked in only USD 4.42Million for the entire production of 170 watches! Of course, all said, the defense was that it was for charity, with all proceeds benefiting Nature Conservancy. Our rebuttal is that the winner did not have to bid for an ultra rare watch to donate to charity. Unlike the some of the world’s biggest philanthropists, he/she could well have just written a cheque without the hope that winning such a rare watch might perhaps bring some capital gains further down the road. But I ramble.
On with our top 10 best received and most read posts of 2021
Year in Review: Top 10 best received and most read posts of 2021
Sitting at the threshold is Citizen’s most interesting challenge to the watch industry. In addition to The Citizen Mechanical (Cal. 0200), this new Series 8 collection marks Citizen’s entry into the haute horlogerie levels, following the footsteps of Grand Seiko a decade earlier. This article exploring the new Series 8 was perhaps one of the earliest comprehensive reviews in the world for the series.
As we concluded in the review, this is an amazing watch. The entire watch is well conceived, superbly built to very high quality standards. Excellent attention to detail and the superb final finishing lavished the case, dial, bracelet is evident. We understand the Singapore retail launch will be in Q1 this year.
The December 2021 article on the top watches for 2021 sits on no 9. This is the first of several of our very popular “Throwback Series” which appears on Sunday evenings Singapore time. As a reader, you continue to encourage us with support for these lists. And we are only most happy to oblige.
Like all opinions expressed on Deployant, this article is guided by personal rules of selection – what are 6, and only 6 watches launched in 2021 that I would buy this year.
On to no 8, we have the only article in our One on One series to make it into the Top 10. And naturally it is a popular subject of comparing Rolex to one of its possible competitors – this one measuring the iconic and perhaps daunting Daytona against the Chronomaster Sport, a watch which bears perhaps more than a striking resemblance to the Rolex.
We concluded: “even Captain Obvious wouldn’t have to say that the Rolex stands out for its brand value. The retail price on the Daytona in steel is US$13,500 while the Zenith, US$10,000. The Daytona remains perhaps the most desirable sporty chronograph in the market. But to be able to get a Daytona through retail these days is proving impossible and sickening for many enthusiasts. Many of the retail pieces ‘inadvertently’ end up on the grey market at several times the original price. For the less patient buyers, alternatives like this new Zenith is both more affordable and attainable. By making the product competitive, and in this aspect with a fascinating 1/10th movement, Zenith fills the desirability gap between the watch enthusiast and his unattainable Daytona.”
Another Rolex. This time a full comprehensive review of the Submariner in white gold which was released as part of the update in mid 2020. Diving watches do not come as more iconic as the Rolex Submariner. Even though the Submariner was not the first off the gates when it comes to dive watches, it was an early player in the genre, and their work with professional and pioneering dive firms like Comex and the like have made their watches much sought after. Despite of, or because of this sterling providence in the Rolex branding, the Submariner is a solid, reliable watch.
The Ref. 126619LB is in full white gold, and we thought that it not be as in-demand as the stainless steel Submariners. It is much more expensive at USD 39,650, so this may also mean that it is perhaps easier to procure from an authorized dealer. But the Rolex bandwagon is perhaps proving wrong. Secondary prices, even for the all gold diving watch still attracts a healthy premium.
No 6 Breitling Premier B09 Chronograph 40: hands on and up close review of the new watch with live pics
At no 6, we have the Breitling review of the new Premier B09 Chronograph 40 in the base hand wound chronograph movement with a beautiful pistachio green dial. This release is part of a set of three very interesting chronographs for Watches and Wonders 2021: two with hand wound movements and one automatic. And just one of the many big time releases from Breitling.
This is a great new watch by Breitling, all told. The case is a “just right” size of 40mm. The manual winding movement will be a great bonus for traditionalists. The dial layout is based on the proven formula in earlier Premier series chronographs – clean, legible, and beautiful. The pale pistachio green dial is quite a stunning looker. And the modest price point of SGD 15,500 makes it all the more attractive.
Another list takes the middle position. Accessible but uncommon. Perhaps its the click-baity title, but we don’t think so….we are not experts in crafting attention grabbing headlines, and can certainly learn a lot to get higher positions in Google’s search engines. But we rather like to think that the subject is of interest to you.
The watches which were on the Modest but Fabulous list included the above Hanhart 417 ES, the Bulova Oceanographer 96B350, the Travailler et Jour Matin Blue Moon Enamel, the Longines Heritage Silver Arrow, Citizen Series 8 Mechanical (again!), and the Rado True Square Tej Chauhan.
This article appears yet again. First published in 2018, it appeared on the 2019 Top 10 list at no 7 and again in 2020 as second no 2. And is one of the most popular articles on the site of all time! (actually no 2 all time most popular article. No 1 is the review of the Rolex Explorer 1 in 2016).
This detailed “How To” article gets a lots of kudos for its exploration aspects and we think comprehensiveness, and we thank Bell & Ross for sacrificing their Bronze BR 03-92 for us to experiment on.
No 3 Luxury Steel Sports Watch: Now that the King is retired, here are 6 Patek Nautilus alternatives
An article we published when we learnt that Patek was going to discontinue the Nautilus in steel. This was in February 2021, when we suggested six options which can be alternatives, now that the King is retired. However little did we know then that Patek would go on to introduce the Ref. 5711/1A Olive Green and as a last minute inclusion for 2021, the Tiffany Dial (see sidebar above) in December.
In this list, we explored the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo 15202IP, the A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus, the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Self Winding 4500V, the Chopard Alpine Eagle XL and the H. Moser Streamliner Center Seconds as options.
Another one in the same vein, so to speak. The genre for this list is the one pioneered by the AP Royal Oak in 1972 followed by the Patek Philippe Nautilus in 1976. Though this one is targetted at a lower budget point. One with an easier accessibility than the earlier list.
Here, we suggested the Glashutte Original SeaQ, together with the Rolex Submariner., the Omega Seamaster Professional, the Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36000 Diver SBGH257, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Mariner Memovox and the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms “Nageurs de Combat” as the candidates for consideration.
This article was written on the request of one of our readers – Daryll (BRIGHTY), who made a comment in the Don’t break the bank with these 6 watch recommendations article. We agreed that was a good idea to add one on modestly-priced watches with complications.
The article proposed the Tissot Heritage 1948 Chronograph, the Sinn 105 St Sa W UTC, the Frederique Constant Classic Worldtimer, the Reservoir GT Tour Blue Edition, the Montblanc Heritage Perpetual Calendar and the Habring² Jumping Seconds Pilot as options to consider.
There you have it. The best received articles for 2021. Of this you told us that you loved lists, accounting for 6 out of the Top 10. And that Patek Philippe ranks top of the brands you liked. We will endeavor to meet this popular requests, but will also continue to write the comprehensive, long, and often more difficult to write articles on reviews of interesting watches. We are proud that we remain one of the few websites to offer detailed, comprehensive, non-commercially biased reviews of these watches. And are very proud of the research and insights we offer, in addition to our unique blend of photography.
Happy 2022, and may this year be better than the past.