The Watches that Lingered in 2022

It happens to all of us. We’re going about our day, maybe we’re even doing something completely unrelated to watches, and out of nowhere it pops into your mind: a watch that has lingered, that for one reason or another you can’t quite quit. As 2022 draws to a close, the Worn & Wound team is reflecting on the watches that are stuck in our heads – the horological equivalents of the White Lotus theme. They might not have been released in 2022, and they might not even be watches we would personally own, but they remain in focus, lingering, ready to take over our days, our Instagram searches, and WatchRecon alerts at a moment’s notice.

Blake Buettner 

New watches are being released at a staggering pace these days, perhaps even at an unsustainable trajectory, even. Looking back over the past year (and beyond, really) I find myself discovering watches that got lost in all the noise, and sometimes these are the watches that have left an imprint, even if faintly, that remains on my subconscious mind. We’ve all been there, we come across (or scroll across?) a picture of a watch we’d all but forgotten about, and like a jolt all the positive feelings come rushing back. A few watches fit that bill for me this year, including a few I never really would have imagined. 


The first is this 190th Anniversary Longines with an engraved dial. I saw this watch in person early in the year at a preview event and it made a massive impression on me at the time, but didn’t really fall into my usual genre. Plus, it was under embargo for several months so it kind of just disappeared. Until I got an email about its launch, that is. The engraved numerals had all the magic I remembered seeing in person, and seeing them now inevitably puts a smile on my face. I’m still not sure I could pull one off, but this is a watch that deserves a second or third look. 

Next is a watch I’ve seen only once early in the year, and that is the new Rolex Air-King reference 126900. This watch has stuck with me less for the dial, and more for the redesigned case, which is among my favorite currently in production at Rolex. The redesigned case has done this watch a lot of favors, and while the dial is still a love it or hate it affair, the watch as a whole is far more palatable, and I’m very curious to see where this case design may end up next (fingers cross for a new Milgauss reference next year sporting a similar design). 

Finally, a somewhat obscure watch that’s been gaining a lot of visibility lately, and that is a watch from independent watchmaker Sylvain Pinoud. The watch, called the Origine, is beautifully crafted and boasts a wholly unique dial arrangement that places emphasis on a large exposed balance. The design and arrangement of the dial components was intoxicating, and it’s a watch that’s been on my mind since seeing it at the AHCI exhibit in Geneva early in the year. Thankfully, others seem to be paying attention as well, as the watch recently won the ‘Horological Revelation’ prize at this year’s GPHG awards. 

Zach Weiss 

I made myself a promise this year: no new Grand Seikos. After having gone from zero to more than one (I’ll leave it at that) in 2021, I decided that I had to force myself not to pick up another in 2022. They didn’t make it easy, with a nearly record-setting amount of releases, many of which, from the SBGW289 to the SLGH019 (ok, that was out of my price range regardless) scratched some sort of deep-Grand Seiko-desire.

But, it’s not actually any of the new Grand Seiko releases that linger in my thoughts. It’s a JDM model from 2019 that seemingly has gone under the radar, the SBGX331. A 9F-powered dress watch, what sets this model apart is that it features Grand Seiko’s utterly gorgeous rounded-elegance case, the one that you’ll find on higher-end, manual wound Spring Drive models, like the recent SBGY023, and my personal favorite Grand Seiko, the SBGY003. 

Unique within their catalog, it features flowing curved Zaratsu polished surfaces, as well as a more traditional vintage style. Matching the case, the dials on these models are domed, and the hands curve to match, all finished to Grand Seiko’s incomparable standards. At 38mm with a clean, brushed silver dial, the SBGX331 is conservative and reserved, but so damn stylish. 

So, why this watch? Well, apart from the looks, It has all the fit and finish of Grand Seiko’s that typically cost over $8k, but thanks to the HAQ 9F movement within, can be had for around $2,500. Yeah, that’s an incredible value, and all for a watch that could likely be the most accurate in a collection. The more I think about it, the harder it is to resist. Luckily, 2023 is just around the corner, and then all bets are off… right?..

Zach Kazan 

When you see new watches as often as we do over the course of doing this job, it’s only natural that some of them are going to work their way into your brain, nearly to the point of distraction. You find yourself thinking about them in your absent mind, perhaps visiting the article you wrote about them months ago, reminding yourself of the particular specs, availability, price, and other pertinent information. When a new watch comes out that makes you think, “Hey, I’d like to buy you!” the next thought that comes into your head is something along the lines of “But wait, what about that one?” The lingerer is that watch that acts as a backstop to a new purchase. 

That doesn’t mean that we always end up buying the lingerer. On the contrary, I think most of us don’t, but these watches serve an important role in our collecting habits as they filter out the stuff that might otherwise be bought impulsively. If it gets past the lingerer, it must be a fairly serious affair. 

I turned to my rarely updated WatchRecon alerts to identify the lingerers in my life. A lingering watch, by its very nature, isn’t always at the top of mind. It traipses through the outskirts of your subconscious until an opportune moment when you’re reminded of it, so I needed an assist to identify the watches that meet the tough to pin down qualities we identify with this somewhat vague category. The answer was right at the top of my alerts: the Bulgari Octo Finissimo.  

I love the Octo. Whenever I try one on, I’m impressed with the bracelet and the design of the case, which takes a familiar idea (the integrated bracelet sports watch) and turns it into something almost alien. It’s remarkably thin, of course, but it still has a sculpted quality to it that I find appealing. I haven’t bought an Octo yet, but when I’m thinking about buying any other watch, invariably part of the calculus is “How much further away from an Octo Finissimo will I be after this?” If it were a grail that I couldn’t live without, I wouldn’t let anything stop me in my pursuit. But it’s not. I’ve bought other watches after asking that question and doing the requisite math. It’s just a great watch that I can’t quite stop thinking about. A true lingerer. 

Thomas Calara

Whenever I attempt to recall the year in watches, my brain immediately seizes up and all of a sudden I can’t even remember what watch got released that day, or what I had for breakfast for that matter. When you factor in the sheer amount of watches that get released annually, and the sea of watches that come and go at the office, can you blame me? So when I was asked what watches do I still think about, or still linger from this year, naturally I fired up the Chrono24 App and scrolled through my “favorites” from the year. Come to find out, there was an ongoing theme happening. 

I’ve long been on record talking about how I want to add a GMT, or a watch that can track a second time zone to the collection. Among the saved watches in my “favorites” list on the Chrono24 App, there were three watches that stand out the most, and of course, they all can track a second time zone.

First up, the Breitling Aerospace E75362. This was an era of Breitling that I’m enamored with, and more recently, we’re starting to see the brand return to some of those designs. This model in particular is constructed out of titanium and hits the case width sweet spot at 40mm. I love the dual digital display located at the top and bottom of the dial. Mainly because that’s where the second-time-zone-tracking-magic happens, along with the added functionality of an alarm, stopwatch, minute repeater and calendar. Throw in the titanium bezel count-up bezel and you have the highly coveted Dive-GMT hybrid that I wish we saw more of in 2022  *crosses fingers for 2023*

Image via Analog/Shift

Next up is arguably the coolest format that IWC has to offer (IMO), and that’s the UTC Pilot Spitfire TZC. IWC started making these models in the late 90’s, early 00’s and to my knowledge, is still a model they currently offer, but not in stainless steel nor with the simple dial layout. The reference in question is the IW325102. It has a black dial (of course), a white minute track and Arabic numerals. Here’s the kicker, at twelve o’clock, there’s a curved window that displays the second time zone wheel. I think it’s an interesting way to track another time zone without using a fourth hand. Some people aren’t a fan of the vintage steel bracelet from IWC, but I think it’s cool and makes the watch that much more distinct.

For the grand finale (drum roll please) … the Explorer II 16570. Yes, I know, very anticlimactic. But this has been a watch that I’ve been eyeing for THE longest. I love the simplicity of the watch. I love the steel bezel. I love the independent moving hour hand, with the red GMT hand tracking the time at home. And if I could have my choice, give me a dial with tritium lume. Notice how I didn’t say Polar Explorer II. That’s because I’m going with the black dial Explorer II (surprise, surprise). This dial colorway is more of my speed since it would fly more under the radar then its white dial counterpart. Well there you have it. Those are the watches that still linger. Hopefully this time next year, one (or more) of these watches won’t be on this list, but in the Calara watch box.

Image via Analog/Shift

Kat Shoulders 

There’s very few watches I have on my eBay and Watchrecon alert list. Usually because it just keeps me out of trouble. However there’s one watch that has been on all my list for the last few years and that’s the IWC Ingenieur 3239. In theory I love everything about this watch. It’s “Genta” influence, the integrated steel bracelet, its easy to read dial. But…something keeps me from pulling the trigger every time. And it’s been my loss because every few months, they creep more and more in price, especially after being discontinued a few years back. Because they are no longer available I’ve never been able to try one on, perhaps that’s what keeps me from really pulling the trigger on these? The watch is also offered in three colorways, I just can’t decide which I like best. Black with steel indices, silver with steel indices, and silver with gold indices. A classic case of Goldilocks syndrome for me in choosing. 

The popularity of stainless steel integrated bracelet sports watches just keeps getting higher and higher and part of me doesn’t like buying into what’s popular or in fashion just out of spite. I’ll be honest, not the best trait to have in the watch world. I’m not sure what it is but this watch will probably remain on my list for a few more years to come, and with the newly rumored Ingenieur possibly in the works, these will most likely keep reaching up in price. Who’s to say if or when I’ll hit the purchase button on this IWC, but it certainly has put a spell on me that I can’t give up just yet.  

Ed Jelley 

Throughout my years of watch obsession, one brand I’ve waffled on time and time again is IWC. I just didn’t get it. They’ve always just seemed a little bit too expensive for me given the aesthetic and what’s inside, but just this past October things changed for me. While hanging out with Worn and Wound’s premiere film aficionado, Zach Kazan, at Windup, I had the absolute pleasure of trying on his IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 Top Gun in the gorgeous Ceratanium case. While I really enjoyed checking out the watch, this five-figure chronograph wasn’t at the top of my list (and still isn’t). It did remind me about a release that’s been lingering in my subconscious from a few years back, and that’s the IWC Spitfire. 

Sure, there are plenty (and I mean plenty) of pilot’s watches out there that achieve a similar look at a much more justifiable (sometimes in YOLO impulse buy) price. But it’s one of those situations where you know nothing would live up to the one you really want. The Spitfire is 39mm wide by 10.8mm thick, and houses IWC’s 32110 in-house movement inside that sports 72 hours of power reserve and some handsome finishing. There’s something about the creamy lumed sword hands pointing to white indices that really pop off the black dial. There’s the most subtle hint of color with the red “SPITFIRE” text above six that sets off the whole design. Zach’s chronograph did an excellent job of showing off the precision craftsmanship and attention to detail that IWC puts into a watch which made me double back around and take another look at the Spitfire. I have a Sinn 856 in my collection (which I barely ever wear anymore), which in the past I’ve thought of as good enough. Let’s be honest, in the world of watches, we’re here for the small details and something as simple as a hit of fauxtina and a red accent are enough to make a watch like the IWC Spitfire linger a little bit longer than I would have previously thought possible. The WatchRecon alert has been set, let’s see how long I can last. 

Related Posts
This is the house account for Worn & Wound. We use it on general articles about us, the site and our products.