What a decade this year has been. It felt like the world collectively hit rock bottom and is now on the mend. At the risk of jinxing it all, it would seem like the worst is behind us. As we hit December and Michael Bublé’s Christmas album starts playing incessantly over the mall speakers, I believe that it is a good time to think back and reflect on all the amazing timepieces that have been introduced throughout the year. Here are three watches that are my personal favourite, sneakily doubling as a Christmas wishlist in case Santa Claus reads this and wants to make my year.
Frank Chuo Makes His Christmas Wishlist for 2022
Vacheron Constantin Historiques Ref. 222
It’s difficult enough to make a full yellow gold sports watch not appear gaudy, let alone appear elegant. But that’s exactly what Vacheron Constantin has done with the Historiques Ref. 222. The watch oozes class. The fact that it’s also a faithful remake of an important historical model is a plus point. Being vintage-inspired allows the Ref. 222 to stand out from the sea of luxury sports watch being churned out today by every manufacturer and their moms. My favourite parts about the watch include the soda cap bezel, the champagne dial, the bracelet link design and of course the silvery Maltese cross on the bottom right of the tonneau case. Yellow gold also happens to be one of my favourite materials in contemporary watchmaking because of its timelessness and boldness. It’s such a shame that most manufacturers seem to be allergic to the metal, and such a pleasure to see Vacheron Constantin present a gorgeous full yellow gold sports watch that is the Historiques Ref. 222.
Patek Philippe Chronograph Ref. 5172G-010
The Patek Philippe Chronograph Ref. 5172G-010 makes it to my wishlist by virtue of its flair. This new chronograph reference possesses a lot more character than the predecessor (the Ref. 5170) it replaced. My favourite thing about the watch is its evocative case, particularly the double-stepped lugs and the pump pushers. The stunning salmon dial, beautiful movement and charming syringe hands absolutely do it for me as well. Sure, there’s nothing innovative about the watch at all, but combine all the aforementioned design elements and you have an irresistibly nuanced timepiece. The only change that would make the Ref. 5172G-010 more desirable is if it had an ‘A’ instead of ‘G’ in its reference number.
Ferdinand Berthoud Chronomètre FB3 SPC
The Ferdinand Berthoud Chronomètre FB3 SPC represents the ultimate mix of contemporary and old-school design. Beyond just design, it also highlights watchmaking mastery. The FB3 SPC is one of, if not the only contemporary wristwatch to be fitted with a cylindrical hairspring without a tourbillon regulator. This is by no means a small feat. The FB3 SPC is not merely a functional timekeeper, it goes above and beyond and is a COSC certified chronometer. Matching the epic watchmaking is the equally epic finissage applied to the watch. It wouldn’t be far-fetched to say that the FB3 SPC is one of the most well-finished wristwatches of 2022. You are looking at a serious candidate for a GPHG prize in 2023. As a watch nerd, it should come to no surprise that the FB3 SPC is on my Christmas wishlist.
My Christmas wishlist this year is more balanced than it’s ever been in previous years. There’s a sports watch, a complicated watch, and a time-only watch (if you ignore the power reserve on the FB3 SPC). And while I normally have a Lange watch in these lists, I’m not quite feeling them this year. That’s not to say that the watches that they’ve released this year aren’t quality – it’s more that these three timepieces that I’ve picked for my wish list are particularly outstanding in my eyes. Now to wait patiently for them to be placed under my Christmas tree.