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Past Extraordinary Hours: The 9 Greatest Watch Releases of 2023

Past Extraordinary Hours: The 9 Greatest Watch Releases of 2023

In the ever-evolving world of horology, navigating the sea of new timepieces can be as intricate as understanding the gears within. That’s where we come in — your one-stop, wristy wonderland for the crème de la crème of watch releases of 2023. Whether you’re a seasoned collector purchasing your 15th watch or a novice in the art of watch appreciation, our curated list has something for every discerning palate.

Deep into the heart of 2023, the watch industry has unveiled a rich multitude of timekeeping marvels, each one vying for its moment in the spotlight. In the realm of watch releases of 2023, it’s not just about telling time; it’s about making a statement. This year, we’ve witnessed an enchanting dance between vintage charm and futuristic boldness, all encapsulated within the boundaries of dials and straps.

Anniversaries take centre stage in 2023, casting a nostalgic spell on watch aficionados. The echoes of time find their place through reissues, a trend that permeated the prestigious Watches & Wonders Geneva and continues to enchant enthusiasts throughout the year. However, in this temporal journey, vintage allure is just the beginning. The best releases of 2023 emerge as testaments to an industry unafraid to experiment, showcasing a vibrant palette of surprises and bold strokes that redefine modern watchmaking.

Let’s peer into the crystal ball of trends that will shape the future of watch releases. First on the horizon is the meteoric rise of smartwatches, seamlessly merging tradition with technology. The global smartwatch market size was valued at USD 20.62 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach USD 96.31 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 19.7% from 2020 to 2027. Projected to soar even further, this data is a testament to the continuous evolution of these timepieces. From blood oxygen sensors to retina displays that stay on, smartwatches are rewriting the rules of wristwear, promising a future where innovation and tradition coexist in harmony.

Sustainability and ethical practices have also cast their shadows over the watchmaking landscape. In a world increasingly attuned to environmental consciousness, watch brands are adopting eco-friendly materials and consciously breathing new life into the concept of responsible luxury. Bamboo, cork, and vegan leather join the ranks, weaving sustainability into the very fabric of time.

Retro revival, a trend that transcends eras, has once again found its way to into conversations. Vintage-inspired designs are paying homage to the golden age of horology. The Q Timex Reissue, a modern ode to the iconic 1970s model, exemplifies the seamless fusion of nostalgia and contemporary aesthetics.

Personalisation too, has once again hit the spotlight, offering a bespoke touch to timekeeping. Interchangeable straps and crystals transform watches into canvases for self-expression. Like always, the Apple Series 9 Smartwatch, with its myriad of band options, is a glistening example in this department.

Our exploration into 2023’s watch releases has also revealed square watches as geometric protagonists. A trend that harks back to iconic designs like the Cartier Santos, these angular timepieces defy convention. While the rounded case remains a classic, the resurgence of the square heralds a new era in watch aesthetics, proving that in the world of horology, the unexpected is always the trend.

The best watch releases of 2023

1. Rolex Cosmograph Daytona “Le Mans”

(Image: Rolex)

The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona “Le Mans,” priced at USD 51,400, emerges as a horological masterpiece, transcending the boundaries of timekeeping history with its audacious nod to the revered “Paul Newman” dial. First made famous in the 1960s and ’70s for its exotic panda design, this timepiece exudes vintage allure accentuated by a revolutionary movement visible through a sapphire caseback. Its design commemorates the 100th anniversary of 24 Hours of Le Mans, an annual endurance-focused sports car race held near the town of Le Mans, France.

At the heart of this timekeeping marvel is a bezel intricately moulded with a tachymetric scale, reaching speeds of up to 400 miles or kilometres per hour. Crafted from monobloc Cerachrom, a high-tech ceramic, the bezel epitomises durability, and is both scratch resistant and resilient against UV rays. The bright black and intense white dial, featuring snailed counters, gold applique hour markers, and hands with a Chromalight display, pays homage to Rolex’s timeless design legacy.

This Rolex masterpiece is not just a watch; it’s a symbolic fusion of heritage and innovation. Its relevance in 2023 lies not only in the resurrection of a beloved dial but also in its celebration of motorsport history. The watch stands as a testament to Rolex’s commitment to pushing boundaries and redefining the essence of precision timekeeping. With its distinctive design, cutting-edge technology, and historical homage, the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona “Le Mans” rightfully claims its place as one of the best watch releases as well as one of the best Rolexes of 2023.

2. Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 36 “Puzzle Dial”

(Image: Rolex)

The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 36 “Puzzle Dial” disrupts the traditional script of horological predictability, making it a standout in the world of luxury watches. Priced to mirror its exclusivity at a staggering USD 59,600, this timepiece is a daring departure from Rolex’s incremental change, challenging conventions with a vibrant puzzle pattern motif on the dial. The unexpected twist continues with the omission of the day complication, replaced by inspiring keywords like “peace” and “love,” and traditional date numbers substituted with a playful array of emojis.

Crafted from 18 ct yellow, white, or Everose gold, the watch boasts an original crystal that showcases an arc-shaped aperture at 12 o’clock, unveiling the buzzy keywords. The dial, an artistic triumph in champlevé enamelling, frames a jigsaw puzzle-inspired motif in vivid hues, each piece representing key moments in life. Baguette-cut sapphires in six different colours mark the hours, adding a touch of luxury.

The Day-Date 36 houses the calibre 3255 movement, a pinnacle of watchmaking technology. Beyond its unconventional design, this Rolex retains the Superlative Chronometer certification, guaranteeing exceptional performance. The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 36 “Puzzle Dial” stands as a testament to the brand’s unexpected foray into bold aesthetics, making it a relevant and compelling choice for those who seek innovation in the world of timeless luxury.

3. Vacheron Constantin Overseas Moon Phase Retrograde Date

watch releases of 2023
(Image: Vacheron Constantin)

The Vacheron Constantin Overseas Moon Phase Retrograde Date, priced at USD 43,800, introduces a thrilling fusion of high-end complications — usually reserved for dress watches — to the realm of luxury sports watches, delivering one of the most unexpected releases of the year. Vacheron Constantin, with its illustrious history dating back to 1755, stands among the giants of Swiss watchmaking alongside names like Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet. Renowned for high-horology movements, this release showcases the integration of classic complications — the precision moon phase and the signature retrograde date — into the modern luxury sports aesthetic.

Crafted in sporty yet elegant steel, this timepiece embodies a harmonious blend of technical sophistication and aesthetic prowess. The precision moon phase, depicting two gold moons against a star-studded sky, adds an astronomical touch, requiring adjustment only once every 122 years. Beyond its horological prowess, the watch also offers versatility with a folding clasp and three interchangeable straps — steel, leather, and rubber — allowing personalisation to suit individual preferences. The Vacheron Constantin Overseas Moon Phase Retrograde Date represents a symphony of tradition and innovation, breathing fresh air to the world of luxury sports timepieces.

4. Omega Seamaster Ploprof “Summer Blue”

watch releases of 2023
(Image: Omega)

Priced at USD 14,300, the Omega Seamaster Ploprof “Summer Blue” emerges as a significant revival, breathing new life into Omega’s quirkiest watch and reconnecting it with its historical roots. In celebration of the Seamaster’s 75th anniversary, Omega took the bold step forward to revive the Ploprof, infusing it with a sense of nostalgia and re-establishing its prominence.

The Seamaster collection, spanning 75 years, has seen various iterations from divers to dress watches. Among them, the Ploprof stands out with its distinctive features — a chunky, asymmetrical dive watch with a large bezel lock, a left-handed crown, and an impressive depth rating of 1,200m. Despite languishing on Omega’s shelves, the Ploprof is now being touted as one of the best watch releases of 2023.

The “Summer Blue” rendition of the Ploprof is not just a cosmetic update; it introduces a fresh colourway that breathes vibrancy into its design. Beyond the aesthetic shift, the watch also boasts a brand-new case crafted from Omega’s proprietary O-Mega Steel. This material choice harks back to the smaller monobloc case found in the 1970s original, adding a layer of historical resonance to the contemporary redesign.

The watch’s design echoes Omega’s 1970s original, featuring a sun-brushed dial in Omega’s own Summer Blue, complete with a gradient finish that reflects its remarkable water resistance. The transparent sapphire crystal bezel, varnished blue on the back, unveils the light blue diving scale underneath to add a touch of sophistication to its functionality.

Retaining iconic elements such as the screwed-in crown and the characteristic security pusher at 2 o’clock, the Ploprof’s updated version features a blue ceramic ring on the pusher, enhancing its visual appeal. To maintain visibility, the varnished hands and indexes are imbued with a unique light blue Super-LumiNova.

The back of the watch is adorned with a laser-engraved commemorative Seamaster logo depicting Poseidon with a trident and two seahorses, framed by waves — the original from 1956 and Omega’s current design. The timepiece houses the Omega Co-Axial Master Chronometer calibre 8912, while an original-style blue rubber strap completes the captivating look.

5. Ming LW.01

watch releases of 2023
(Image: Ming)

Priced at USD 22,254, the Ming LW.01 emerges as a Malaysian marvel, potentially securing the title of the lightest mechanical watch ever crafted. Despite its relative youth (the brand was established in 2017), Ming has rapidly become synonymous with innovation, pushing boundaries within the industry.

Weighing an astonishing 8.8 and 10.8 grams for the manual and automatic versions respectively, the LW.01 challenges conventional perceptions of luxury watches and how much they weigh. This feat is not merely a result of lightweight materials; it stems also from the brand’s ingenious design strategies, a remarkable accomplishment for a relatively young player in the industry.

In crafting the LW.01, Ming overhauls the traditional case construction, minimising metal usage while maximising rigidity. Departing from the conventional structure, the watch adopts a unique “dial” ring and movement holder, a mere 0.5mm thick in certain areas but fortified for strength. This assembly is supported from the rear by a cage with 3D struts, safeguarding the dial and movement while sealing the entire unit to the bezel. Even the bezel, despite its narrow profile, is internally hollowed to further reduce weight.

Every component, from screws in PEEK composite to the hollowing of the bezel, has been meticulously optimised to maintain the delicate equilibrium between durability and weight. The final result is a complete head weight of merely 8.8 grams with manual winding, 10.8 grams with automatic winding, with an additional 0.6 grams for the matching AZ31 buckle, or 1.2 grams for the ‘record’ spec Alcantara strap. This culminates in a ready-to-wear watch weighing 10.6 grams or 12.6 grams.

Distinctive features of the LW.01 pay homage to earlier Ming creations, including the pulse seconds disc, a shuriken hour hand, and a gradient and skeleton peripheral ring on the crystal. The indices, a skeletonised version of the 37 series, add to the visual lightness, while flared lugs and an ergonomic crown maintain consistency with Ming’s design language. The Ming LW.01, a featherweight marvel, marries innovative design with lightweight luxury, setting new standards in mechanical watch craftsmanship.

6. Biver Carillon Tourbillon

watch releases of 2023
(Image: Hoodinkee)

Watch industry luminary Jean-Claude Biver has left an indelible mark with his bold and iconic designs. Renowned for his work with Hublot, Zenith, and TAG Heuer, he has now ventured into his own eponymous brand alongside his son, Pierre. The inaugural release in March 2023, the Biver Carillon Tourbillon, epitomises haute horologerie with a minute repeater, tourbillon, and stone dials.

Measuring 42mm in diameter and powered by the JCB-001 movement, this masterpiece comes with a price tag ranging from USD 570,000 to USD 1,315,000. The watch features a minute repeater and a tourbillon, showcasing Biver’s commitment to sophistication and precision.

A standout in the collection, the Minute Repeater Carillon Tourbillon is a personal prototype of Jean-Claude Biver. At auction, it set a new record for the brand at ₣1,270,000 (approximately USD 1.47 million). The watch incorporates a special diamond cut, exclusively developed for the brand, to set stones on concave surfaces like the outer lugs and case band.

Driven by a micro-rotor and equipped with a three-hammer striking device, the movement not only ensures precision but also aligns with Biver’s aesthetic vision. The selection of stones, including sodalite and silver obsidian, is based on their spiritual attributes, adding a unique and meaningful touch to the timepiece.

The gold dauphine hands with polished chamfers and satin-finished tops contribute to the watch’s luxurious appeal, which is further enhanced by an interchangeable metal bracelet. Inspired by a five-row design, the bracelet symbolically transitions from darkness to light. Additionally, the tourbillon’s upper bridge design draws inspiration from the Biver rosacea, showcasing meticulous attention to detail.

In crafting the Biver Carillon Tourbillon, Jean-Claude Biver has not only created a horological masterpiece, but has also laid the foundation for his namesake brand to leave an enduring legacy in the world of luxury watches.

7. Patek Philippe Calatrava 6007G

watch releases of 2023
(Image: Patek Philippe)

Patek Philippe surprised enthusiasts in 2023 with a sporty iteration of the Calatrava 6007G, a vibrant twist on the classic Calatrava design. Encased in polished white gold, it features a black dial with a captivating embossed carbon fibre motif at its centre, which is similarly reflected in a matching carbon-patterned calfskin strap. The watch boasts colourful accents in yellow, red, or sky blue, adding a playful touch to its sophisticated aesthetic. Despite its athleisure-inspired appearance and dynamic design, it leans more towards a sporty dress watch than a true sports watch, given its water resistance of up to 30 metres.

This innovative timepiece was first introduced in 2020 as the foundation for the 5212A Weekly Calendar, and showcases Patek Philippe’s commitment to technical advancements. The incorporation of a new second wheel made with LIGA technology smoothens the ticking of the seconds hand, addressing issues seen in other timepieces.

Rooted in Patek’s history, the 6007G draws inspiration from the 6007A and the 5000G of the early ’90s. Positioned as a piece for daily wear, it caters to those seeking a modern Patek Philippe experience, balancing traditional elegance and contemporary design. The brand seems to be carving a new niche, serving up something that is not quite a sports watch, nor a classic Patek, but a timepiece for enthusiasts who appreciate both.

Like its predecessor, the 6007G maintains a casual vibe with Super-Luminova on the Arabic numerals and hands. The meticulous dial finishes, including stamped guilloche and circular graining, showcase the brand’s attention to detail. With contrasting stitching on the black calfskin strap, the 6007G is a testament to Patek Philippe’s ability to blend heritage with contemporary allure.

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With a rumoured connection to a potential Patek-Ferrari partnership, the red-accented 6007G adds a nuanced link to the origin story of the 5000G. The watch comes with a 40mm diameter case, housing the Patek Philippe Caliber 26‑330 S C self-winding mechanical movement, and is priced at USD37,850.

8. Breguet Type XX/Type 20

(Image: Hoodinkee)

Priced at USD 18,000, the Breguet Type XX/Type 20 marks the triumphant return of Breguet’s sportiest timepiece, offering a delightful double take to enthusiasts.

In contrast to its reputation as a dress watch brand, Breguet has in its repertoire a notable tool watch: the Type XX, a pilot’s chronograph with roots dating back to the 1950s, originally crafted for the French naval air army. While modern versions of the Type XX have intermittently graced the horological scene since 1995, the line experienced a hiatus before making a stellar comeback this year. Breguet treated us to not just one, but two new Type XX chronographs – the Type XX for “civilian” use and the Type 20 for “military” applications. Both watches share the same case but diverge in lume, hands, dial layouts, and bezels. They also house distinct calibers of a new movement, tailored to meet the specific requirements of their intended audiences — in particular, the military version emphasises clarity for quick readability at a glance.

The Type 20 flyback chronograph in steel boasts a self-winding movement with a subdial for both date and seconds. Other features include a 30-minute counter and a bidirectional rotating bezel, as well as a balance spring crafted from silicon. Luminescent hands and hour-markers enhance visibility, and a sapphire caseback adds a touch of sophistication. With a water resistance of 10 bar (100m) and a diameter of 42mm, it exudes both robustness and style.

For added versatility, the watch comes with two interchangeable straps: one in calfskin and another in NATO fabric. An efficient rapid interchange system empowers wearers to effortlessly switch between the two, offering a blend of functionality and aesthetic adaptability. The Breguet Type XX/Type 20 stands as a testament to Breguet’s mastery in both elegant dress watches and robust tool watches, providing enthusiasts with a compelling choice in the sporty chronograph category.

9. Blancpain x Swatch Bioceramic Scuba Fifty Fathoms

(Image: Blancpain x Swatch)

The Blancpain x Swatch Bioceramic Scuba Fifty Fathoms was one of the most viral watch releases of 2023. Seamlessly blending affordability with the legacy of Blancpain’s Fifty Fathoms, this timepiece is undoubtedly the pioneer of diver’s watches. Priced at a mere USD 400, this plastic iteration of a USD 16,000 luxury diver is not just a watch; it’s a testament to Swatch’s prowess in strategic collaborations. Following the global sensation of the MoonSwatch, Swatch teamed up with the illustrious Blancpain for a second Bioceramic venture, solidifying its position as a force in watchmaking.

The watch is available in five alluring colourways named for the oceans of our world: The Arctic Ocean, The Pacific Ocean, The Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean, and the Antarctic Ocean.

The Antarctic Ocean model features an ice-white Bioceramic case and crown, inscribed with the Swatch emblem. The metal dial, printed in layers for a gradient effect, boasts Grade A Super-LumiNova for exceptional legibility in the dark. Treated with an anti-scratch coating, the one-direction rotating Bioceramic bezel and biosourced glass provide enhance durability. The SISTEM51 mechanical movement, made with only 51 parts, features 90-hour autonomy and anti-magnetic precision. It is visible through a transparent sapphire glass, showcasing an Antarctic Ocean illustration and Tritoniella Belli nudibranch print — the images of which differ across the different colourways, offering a nod to biodiversity. The Blancpain x Swatch Bioceramic Scuba Fifty Fathoms is not just a watch release; it’s a celebration of innovation, sustainability, and the synergy between tradition and modernity.

Which of the watch releases of 2023 are on your year-end shopping list?

(Main and Feature Image Credit: Rolex) 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Which is the best watch released in 2023?

It is tough to pinpoint a single timepiece as the best release of 2023, as there are hundreds, if not thousands of new watches that were rolled out this year to select from. From the retro allure of the Tissot PRX Powermatic and Swatch’s MoonSwatch sensation sequel to the whimsically charming Rolex OP Celebration Dial, fondly dubbed “Bubbles” and the stand-out relaunch of the TAG Heuer Carrera Skipper, there are many highlights to celebrate in the horological world.

Which is the best Rolex watch released in 2023?

Some of the best Rolex watches released in 2023 would include the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona for 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Rolex Yacht-Master 42 Titanium, the Rolex Perpetual 1908, the Rolex Day-Date “Puzzle”, and the Rolex Calibre 3285 automatic GMT.

Which is the best luxury watch for men released in 2023?

Some of the best men’s luxury watches of 2023 include Patek Philippe’s 6300GR, Rolex OP Celebration Dial “Bubbles,” Vacheron Constantin’s Traditionnelle Tourbillon Retrograde, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso Precious Colours, Hermès’s H08 Chronograph, Chanel’s J12 Cybernetic, and Cartier’s Privé Tank Normale.

Source: Prestige Online

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