If you were ever to spend a few moments as a digital fly on the walls of HODINKEE’s many Slack channels, you’d likely not be surprised by how many conversations revolve around watches we wish existed or even simply the small changes we might make to a watch with the hopes of making it subjectively perfect. It’s a foundational element of watch nerdery, the idea that your tastes, along with a few strokes of a photoshop brush, could render unto the watch industry the next “it watch.” Or, at the very least, a watch that you would love to own.
As such, we thought it would be fun to have the Editorial team dream big – that is, as big as James’ JV Photoshop skills will allow – and offer up a dream watch for the new year. Some of the entries below are relatively small tweaks, others combine existing elements of several models into appealing (though likely commercially problematic) final designs. From Cartier to Nomos, Tudor, Tag Heuer, and even Lange – these are our dream watches for 2022.
A. Lange & Sohne 1815 Homage to Walter Lange Lumen – Cole Pennington
The staid, teutonic designs you’ve come to know from Lange certainly define the brand. Put a Lange 1 example from the early ’90s side-by-side with one from last year and you’ll see a clear-but-subtle design evolution between the two. The reserved approach to product planning is why I love the brand. No gimmicks, no frills – Lange is patient and committed to fine watchmaking in a way that’s steadfast and reliable.
It’s a brand for purists. They’re not going to surprise us with a hype-watch that feels out of place. Everything they do is predictable – but then there’s the lumen series. It’s a bit of counter-culture within the brand’s own range. Lange has taken three models: the Lange 1, the Datograph, and the Zeitwerk, and installed a smoked, translucent dial along with loads of lume where it previously wasn’t. While the stealthy, spooky design language isn’t very “Lange,” the execution certainly is.
The lumen watches are absolutely fascinating, both intellectually and visually. The see-through dial gives us a rare glimpse of the dial-side of the movement along with all the extra bits of lume (hence the “lumen” name). Because of this, the lumen treatment works best on watches featuring complications as opposed to simple time-only watches (like Lange’s 1815 model). But what if we met somewhere in the middle?
Perhaps the 1815 “Homage to Walter Lange” would be a good candidate for the Lumen treatment. We can load up that subdial with lume, and we can totally lume-out the deadbeat seconds hand so we can watch it gloriously march around the dial at night – one long step and pause. Another long step and pause. Then another. That would be a sight to behold. During the day, there would be a substantial complication worthy of observing on the dial side of the movement, as well.
The 1815 “Homage to Walter Lange” is already a watchmaking exercise in what can be done for the sake of proving that it can be done. Why not push it to the extreme?
Bulgari Octo Finissimo 36mm & Yellow Gold – David Aujero
As if Bulgari wasn’t already busy enough smashing watchmaking records year after year, the real game-changer for me would be an ultra-thin Octo at 36mm. As someone who has handled a lot of Octo-Finissimos for video and photo shoots, I can’t help but fantasize how a tweak in the case’s form factor would play so well in the overall wrist-to-watch ratio.
I understand that shaving off a few mm means a drastic re-design from an engineering perspective. The engineers would say to me, “You’d need a technical redesign of the Caliber 238. You do realize there are 242 components, right?” To which I would channel my reply in the voice and gall of Roman Roy, “I don’t know, just make everything smaller! And gold! Black and gold.”
Cartier Tank à Guichets in Steel – Jack Forster
The Cartier Tank has been around for over a hundred years, and it exists in a bewildering number of variations, but the one thing they all have in common is that they are all indisputably, recognizably Tanks. The first Tank was the so-called Tank Normale, but during the 1920s other models were introduced, each of which has become a classic in its own right.
One of my favorites came at the tail end of this miraculous decade, just in time for its sober visage to be right in tune with the Crash of ’29 (the Wall Street Crash, not the watch). That watch is the Tank à Guichets. “Guichets” means, approximately, a window or opening, and the Tank à Guichets shows the hours in a small opening in the front of the watch, with a display of the minutes running in an arc below it.
The rest of the watch is metal, front and back, and the classic versions are of course, in white metals – white gold or platinum. I have always thought, though, that a Tank à Guichets in steel is a classic waiting to happen, especially given the Deco-era vibe of the design, and it is one of my most devout wishes that Cartier would do one – with a tantalum cabochon, just for grins.
Insert the “Take my money!” meme here.
Tudor Pelagos II – James Stacey
Ok, so, I’m something of a broken record on this topic and I’m also not the only such record to exist – or indeed, to make renders – but this is a watch I really hope we get to see someday.
I call my dream example the Tudor Pelagos II and I’ll preface this by saying I’m sorry for my pedestrian photoshop skills. Slightly downsized to 39mm, the Pelagos 2 blends elements of the existing Pelagos, the Pelagos FXD, the Black Bay GMT, the Black Bay Fifty-Eight, and even a dash of the Heritage Chrono Blue. Still made from titanium but now without the standard model’s HeV, the Pelagos 2 is slim like the FXD and has 200m meters of water resistance and a bracelet like that of the standard Pelagos (and a rubber strap, naturally).
The lumed bezel remains for dive use but is now fully marked like that of a Mil-Sub (swoon). Moving on, we see the rehaut has been repurposed for a 24-hour GMT scale that corresponds to a matched orange GMT hand. No date is present in the render, but I wouldn’t kick it out of bed. Functionality would be based on a version of the BB GMT’s MT5612, with proper local jumping GMT support. In my mind, the key here is to protect the Pelagos’ true use as a dive watch, but add a useful and vacation-friendly GMT feature.
This would also help to differentiate the GMT Master from the current Pelagos. The blue-orange coloring leans on the handsome good looks of the Heritage Chrono Blue and I think black-orange could work just as well (or a very Pelagos black-white). If I were better at Photoshop I would have lessened some of the text on the dial, but, as it is, it’s not a big problem. There are a handful of great Pelagos GMT renders online, but this is my take. A totally possible but entirely unlikely dream watch, the Pelagos II. Two time zones, two functions, a true second-gen Pelagos.
Grand Seiko Mechanical Dress Chronograph – Jon Bues
Grand Seiko is easily one of my favorite watch brands. I don’t think that’s much of a secret around the HODINKEE virtual office. Last year, I reached for my trusty, and highly accurate, automatic Grand Seiko GMT more than any other watch I own. And I’m fairly certain I’ll purchase another GS at some point. But if I could dream up my own Grand Seiko, it would be a mechanical dress chronograph something like what you see here, featuring one of the company’s distinctive textured dials.
Grand Seiko makes its share of chronographs, but a search of their website reveals all Spring Drive models, most with a decided bent toward the large and the sporty. While Spring Drive is in itself one of the reasons I love this Japanese watch company, my ideal Grand Seiko chronograph would feature a mechanical movement – Hi-Beat, if I can really dream – and it would land south of 40mm in diameter.
Cartier Américaine Full Gold Cuff – Nora Taylor
This watch/bracelet-in-the-most-jewelry-sense exists, almost perfectly, with a Panthere but I think it would add even more drama with a Tank Américaine. There’s something almost subversive about putting such a strong classic on such a bonkers bracelet – the Tank doesn’t usually announce itself so much as confidently wait to be noticed – that feels like self-aware luxury.
Rolex Explorer in Solid Yellow Gold – Danny Milton
I wear a 36mm Rolex Explorer ref. 14270 almost every day. Don’t believe me? Just watch our recent Watch I Wore Most video. I love the Explorer – especially all references 14270 and later. It was basically the first modern Rolex watch, representing a massive design upgrade over the prior 1016 (many a watch lover’s favorite Explorer).
I say this to show that there is historical precedent for making large-scale changes to this model. Rolex even upsized the classic timepiece to 39mm for a five-year stint. The thing is, though, that for nearly 70 years this was a fully stainless steel watch, regardless of size. That is, until 2021 when Rolex shocked (and pissed off) a lot of you with the Rolesor, i.e. two-tone, Explorer and a return to the coveted 36mm sizing. I am on the record for loving that release, though most of you voiced your disagreement with me in the comments section – harshly.
But as much as I love two-tone, there is no substitute for solid gold. Over the last year or so, I have fallen hard for gold watches – and my jealousy of Jack’s Day-Date is also well noted. So when it came time for me to wish upon a horological star, I looked down at my wrist and thought, “This Explorer would look SICK in solid gold.”
Cue James Stacey putting that dream into Photoshop reality and – I don’t care what anyone else says – I’m not wrong. Just look at it. The pictures speak for themselves. If Rolex doesn’t ever make this watch a reality, I think it would be a big mistake. A solid gold, 36mm Explorer … who’s with me?
Nomos Minimatik Black – Trevor Gilliland
This slender superstar takes a trip to the dark(er) side for my dream creation of 2022. Sure, the three Minimatik models in current production already boast a timeless, elegant design (nearly everything NOMOS creates does), but I’m here to kick things up a notch.
Start with a black-on-black pairing of the dial and strap, throw in some subtle, dark blue accents for a bit of “look closer and you’ll see” charm, keep the well-proportioned 35.5mm diameter and 8.9mm height of the case, and what you have, in my opinion, is the ideal watch for the discerning collector who wants a classic dress piece profile without the often exorbitant classic dress piece price.
Tag Heuer Autavia GMT – Logan Baker
I’m on record as a huge supporter of TAG Heuer’s Calibre Heuer 02 movement. In many ways, I think it’s the ideal chronograph movement for the modern era – a perfect contemporary representation of Heuer’s impressive heritage of chronograph production.
One of my favorite vintage Heuer chronographs (alongside my beloved Heuer Kentucky) is the Autavia GMT with a red-and-blue “Pepsi”-style bezel. It uses color in such a compelling manner and is busy in all the right ways – I just love it. And ever since we saw TAG Heuer add a “true” GMT module, with local jumping hour, to its flagship skeletonized Carrera in 2018, I’ve been waiting for them to bring it back.
For the rendering above, we pulled the contemporary C-shaped case that TAG Heuer used on its Formula One collaboration with Fragment Design and Hiroshi Fujiwara and pulled the dial and bezel from a vintage example we sold a few years ago in the HODINKEE Shop. As far as I can tell, this watch is one-hundred percent feasible. And I need it on my wrist right now.
How about you?
So, now that you’ve seen our dreams, would you like to share yours? Drop a comment below with a summary of your dream watch and we might just give it the Photoshop treatment in a future story, just like this one. It could be a subtle tweak to a current model, a new dial color, or more, but we’d love to know what you think is missing from the watch world.
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While HODINKEE is an authorized retailer of real live watches from Grand Seiko, NOMOS, Bulgari, and TAG Heuer – these fantasy watches are purely from our imagination. You can, however, find those real live watches, and others, by visiting the HODINKEE Shop.
TAG Heuer and Bulgari are part of the LVMH group. Although LVMH Luxury Ventures is a minority investor in HODINKEE, we maintain complete editorial – and fantasy watch design –independence.
The post Editors’ Picks: We Asked Our Editors To Tell Us About Their Ideal Watch appeared first on TS Watch.