10 watches we hope to see in 2022
The coming year offers interesting possibilities for the watchmaking world. Every year, watch brands celebrate any anniversary with a round number, but 2022 marks a big one: the iconic Audemars Piguet Royal Oak celebrates its 50th anniversary. This and other factors suggest that the already white-hot category of sport-lifestyle watches represented by the Royal Oak will heat up again in 2022.
The Royal Oak created a new genre of watches in 1972 by offering a luxury steel watch with a more sporty style than a sporty vocation. Watches with similar characteristics (integrated bracelets, prominent bezel, polygonal shapes, etc.) like the Patek Philippe Nautilus followed, along with an army of aspirants. This type of watch will be even more fashionable in 2022 than it already is.
The coming year will see Royal Oak designer Gerald Genta’s Royal Oak auctioned off, Patek Philippe is set to replace its outgoing 5711 with a new Nautilus, and the Vacheron Constantin Overseas has its own anniversary. But what does this mean for the industry in general? Aside from a lot of fanfare from these brands, we’d expect the concept to spill over into more affordable brands, as we’ve already seen start.
The year won’t be all about the Royal Oak, however, as we expect other trends to continue: it’s time for green dials to follow blue and become mainstream; and the reduction in median watch sizes can be around 39-40 mm. Can we expect a more balance between vintage reissues and fresh, forward-looking designs? Surely watch consumers are starting to itch for this.
The coming year will hopefully be full of interesting watches, and even surprises (we like that). To whet your watchmaking appetite, here are some of the watches we’d love to see and some of our expectations in 2022.
A successor to the Nautilus 5711 by Patek Philippe
The Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711 is being discontinued, but it would be foolish for Patek to simply stop making one of the most successful watches of all time at the height of its popularity. The Nautilus collection, however, lives on, and there will have to be a new version with a new part number to eventually replace the 5711. We don’t expect this to be a radical departure.
The wait for the replacement of the outgoing 5711 will be part of the general air of the times of 2022. It is, however, perfectly plausible that the brand will remain silent for a year or more on whatever it has in store for the collection, and leave just the hype will grow.
A 39mm Vacheron Constantin Overseas
There are many reasons to expect something new from Vacheron Constantin Overseas. First, the ancestor of the Overseas, the “222” from 1977, has its own 45th anniversary in 2022. Second, the Overseas is Vacheron’s answer to the Royal Oaks and Nautilus, but it does not have the same prices. Overkill, hype and availability matters, and therefore it has the chance to fill a niche market.
What can we expect from Overseas? The improvements to the range in 2016 still look fresh, but they leave a gap between the 37mm and 41mm sizes. A 39mm automatic version (okay, maybe some with variations or complications too) would be in keeping with the tastes and trends of the moment. To make it more than a new size of an existing model, vintage cues referencing the 222 would help it feel more special and purposeful.
A reissue of the 1972 Porsche Design chronograph
Yes, the Porsche Design brand is also celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2022, and its catalog is wide open to include a reissue of its inaugural product: the world’s first all-black watch.
While Porsche Design hasn’t leaned into the rest of the industry’s vintage reissue and has remained resolutely modern in its designs, the anniversary presents an opportunity. A reissue would be cool, but we would be just as happy with a modern interpretation, perhaps with a relatively “vintage” size. The brand recently seems more open to smaller case sizes as evidenced by its 39mm Sport Chrono.
An updated Rolex Milgauss
There are only a few Rolex watches left that have yet to receive the latest movement upgrade. With a fascinating history and quite a funky look for the brand, the Milgauss remains one of Rolex’s most distinctive watches. It is time for him to receive love and attention.
While people fantasize about amazing new Rolexes, like a GMT Master II “Coke” (black and red bezel) or even a titanium Yachtmaster, modest and very subtle tweaks and improvements to existing watches are usually what you get. Can you wait. Rolex’s 3230 movement for the Milgauss would be the minimum we expected, but something like a new colorway (there are currently two of them) would make even more of a splash.
Finally, a Tudor Black Bay Fifty Eight GMT ??
We’ll keep hammering until we figure it out: For god’s sake, Tudor, a Black Bay Fifty Eight GMT is a given! Will the blow come? We believe he will eventually do so. The simple formula of the Black Bay GMT in the 39mm size of the Fifty Eight would be celebrated, but Tudor surprises us regularly. We might not get exactly what we want this year, but we can’t help but dream.
An Omega Seamaster diver with green dial 300m
Someone pointed out recently: Omega has yet to bring much green to its sports watch collections. Everyone is doing it, the trend looks set to continue and the brand hasn’t been afraid of color in the past, so why not?
While the Seamaster Planet Ocean might seem like a good candidate, with a precedent of colorful iterations, it would be especially cool to see it on the more versatile Seamaster Diver 300m. It’s pretty well established that just about any watch that also looked great when given a blue treatment can also look great in green, and the Seamaster Diver 300m does the trick.
A reissue of the Girard-Perregaux 1970s LED driver’s watch
For Only Watch 2021, Girard Perregaux has teamed up with the Bamford Watch Department on something quite unexpected. It was like a reissue of the funky LED driver’s watches the brand made in the 1970s, but with a very modern carbon fiber and titanium case.
The unique creations in the Only Watch auction often portend future releases, so it seems possible that Girard-Perregaux has something like a collection in progress in a more accessible execution like stainless steel or titanium. This would fit with the general trend for vintage reissues in the industry, but it would certainly be interesting to see the otherwise prestigious brand firmly entrenched in mechanical watchmaking.
Citizen automatic diving watches for the US market
Some time ago Citizen released some of their very cool and affordable Promaster “Fugu” diving watches with automatic movements. Unfortunately, they were only available in certain regions, and not in others like the United States. We thought they would eventually arrive, but we are still waiting.
It is currently difficult to find automatic watches on Citizen’s US site (aside from a few weird, high-end watches) despite the fact that the brand owns Miyota, one of the largest producers of automatic movements in the world. Citizen is fortunate enough to fill a niche market and compete with Seiko dive watches, and this may be the year we finally see that happen.
A throwback to the 1970s IWC engineer
This is the last thing about integrated bracelet watches, I promise. The IWC Ingenieur collection was last revised in 2017 to reference its conservative 1955 roots, but the resulting dress watches don’t add much to the brand’s catalog. Why not bring back the Ingenieur from 1976?
Redesigned by Gerald Genta (him again) with all the sporty styling that made the Royal Oak so successful (and introduced in the same year as Patek’s Nautilus), the Ingenieur gives IWC the chance to offer something on-trend. with a legitimate origin at a competitive price.
An online personalization tool from G-Shock
Shortly after pleading with G-Shock for an online watch customization tool, news emerged. on G-Central that the company’s financial report mentioned plans for such a program “starting with Japan”. The program is called “My G-Shock”, and we can only hope to see it more widely available in 2022 with all the models, colors and options we dream of.