2022 has been an interesting year so far, horologically-speaking. This is on the back of a more muted 2021, where the COVID pandemic had put a halt on watch exhibitions and launches.
On the back of Watches and Wonders 2022, we saw quite a remarkable effort from the different players in the industry – notably to make up for the lost time over the last two years. There are definitely more quality novelties this year, and the introduction of a few rather incredible pieces that had impressed us tremendously.
Since we are almost closing in on the first half of 2022, we thought that it might just be an appropriate time for us to take a quick review on some of our favourite novelties this year. What have we selected? Let us find out!
Cartier Masse Mystérieuse
The Cartier Masse Mystérieuse, in our opinion, is perhaps the highlight of the entire Watches & Wonders 2022.
There is always something special about Cartier’s “Mystery” collection, but this particular rendition is definitely the best one that we have seen yet. While it may appear to be a simple two-hand watch on paper, the technicalities that went behind this piece is simply extraordinary. Here, we have a timepiece whose movement is encapsulated in its winding rotor, on top of its already intriguing set of “invisible” gear trains. In addition, the rotor is skeletonised, which allows one to have a glimpse into the watch’s movement.
Collectors and enthusiasts have always viewed Cartier as a brand that focuses heavily on its designs – and we readily admit to that as well. The Masse Mystérieuse, however, shows us this other side of Cartier that is rarely seen. The watch is priced at €250,000 (approximately SGD 365,150), and it is a limited edition timepiece with only 30 pieces available in platinum.
Vacheron Constantin Historiques 222
When it comes to remakes, its reception can always go both ways. It is especially difficult for brands to recreate icons, but Vacheron Constantin appears to have cracked the code with the new Historiques 222.
The 222, notably, was Vacheron Constantin’s answer to the luxury sports watch category, and it is the predecessor to the popular and compelling Overseas collection. This re-issue, at 37mm, is an almost faithful production of the original, with a few minor cosmetic tweaks and an updated movement (in the form of the Calibre 2455/2).
While there is nothing groundbreaking with the Historiques 222, there is certainly a lot of charm with this piece. We like the design of the 222, and how it immediately throws us back to the opulence days of the 1970s (with its yellow gold dial, case, and bracelet). This is the perfect watch for the Vacheron Constantin fanatics, especially for those who adore the classic aesthetics, without having the trouble of maintaining a 45-year old timepiece. All of these come with a price though, at a cool S$99,000.
Atelier Wen Perception
For a timepiece to be listed numerous times in our listicles this year, it must have done something right. The new Atelier Wen Perception is one such timepiece that seemed to have broken the code.
The Perception may just be the brand’s second collection, but it has seemingly made its mark in the horological world. Here, we have a timepiece with an incredible hand-crafted guilloché dial which was produced by a Master Craftsman in China. We were told that the Master Craftsman takes around eight man-hours to produce a single guilloché dial, and the effort is clearly seen through the results of the dial.
Priced at US$2,588 (approximately S$3,599), we do think that it offers one of the best values for a timepiece with an artisanal touch. This is definitely one of the best buys of 2022.
Hermès Arceau Le Temps Voyageur
While Hermès is not typically known as a watch manufacturer, the French luxury design house has produced some brilliant timepieces over the last few years.
The new Arceau Le Temps Voyageur is a stunning watch that we reckon deserves a mention. The watch follows up on the poetic Arceau l’Heure de la Lune, with the use of the rotating indicator. This new timepiece now features a dual time zone complication, on the back of a rotating time display that also acts as a pointer to indicate the local city.
Aside from the complication, Hermes did not forget its designer roots. This is seen in its iconic 38mm Arceau case, as well as a world map depicted in the form of artist Jérôme Colliard’s “Planisphère d’un monde équestre” (equestrian planet). The watch retails at S$22,500 (approximately S$31,288), and it is a conversational piece that will surely even attract the attention of most seasoned collectors.
Moritz Grossmann Universalzeit
When Moritz Grossmann launched the Universalzeit earlier this year, it did create quite a bit of buzz within the watch collecting circle.
It was not just the fact that Moritz Grossmann – which is a rather conservative watch manufacturer – had produced an unusual timepiece. The Universalzeit, in fact, offers a rather extraordinary take on the world time complication – with a world map on the dial, and using six apertures to tell time across six different time zones at a single glance. This may not be the most practical or functional interpretation of the world time complication, but it is surely the coolest.
The 44.5mm behemoth is priced at S$76,500, and it offers collectors something that is rather unique. In addition, collectors can also enjoy the top notch finishing of a Moritz Grossmann timepiece, which is only seen at the top echelons of horology (and independent watchmaking).
MB&F Legacy Machine Sequential EVO
We round up the article with the MB&F Legacy Machine Sequential EVO.
When it comes to Max and MB&F, we can always count on them to surprise and impress us. They surely did, with the new LM Sequential EVO – the first MB&F timepiece to feature the chronograph. And as we know about Max, this is also not going to be an ordinary chronograph; it features two separate chronographs that can be operated independently, or simultaneously through the “Twinverter” mechanism. In fact, the “Twinverter” also allows one to stop the running of one chronograph, and start the running for the other. This was conceived with the help of Stephen McDonnell, who is also known to produce MB&F’s first perpetual calendar.
We have always appreciated Max’s work, and the new LM Sequential EVO is another sign of Max and his partners’ brilliance. Max could have slapped the watch with an ordinary chronograph, and we believe the watch will still sell out like hot cakes. But he didn’t, and for good reasons as well. The 44mm zirconium watch is priced at S$249,000, and surely this is one of the most outrageous pieces of work from MB&F thus far.
The first half of 2022 had seen the introduction of numerous great timepieces, albeit at different price points and style. We can say that the watch industry is certainly back with full-force, post-pandemic. Also, this might perhaps be a result of strong consumer demand, as we noticed that spending on luxury watches – supposedly – have reached record-breaking levels over the last couple of years, despite the onset of COVID-19.
Even though we have featured only six watches, we reckon there are a few pieces that surely deserve some honourable mentions as well. This includes the new Zenith Calibre 135 Observatoire that was produced in collaboration with Phillips and Kari Voutilainen; the stunning Akrivia RRCC II; Patek Philippe’s new Reference 5470P, which features a 1/10th of a second monopusher chronograph; and the brilliant Chopard L.U.C Strike One. If the first half of 2022 had already presented so many great pieces, we are surely excited to see what the next half of the year might bring.
So, what are some of your favourite novelties of 2022 thus far? What are some of the other watches that you reckon deserve a spot on this list? Let us know in the comments section below!