The Time+Tide team pick their favourite release of 2023 The Time+Tide team pick their favourite release of 2023

The Time+Tide team pick their favourite release of 2023


Editor’s note: Before 2024 fully kicks off, a year in which we hope there are a ton of new and exciting novelties, the Time+Tide editorial team has come together to each declare what their favourite watch release of 2023 was. Some of us understood the assignment better than others and picked just one watch, while others found themselves cheating a bit…

Jamie – Chopard Alpine Eagle Australia Limited Edition “Sunburnt Red”

Chopard Alpine Eagle Australia Limited Edition dial

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the Chopard Alpine Eagle “Sunburnt Red”, produced in collaboration with Shaun Daniel Allen (a.k.a. Shal) is the best Australian limited edition a Swiss luxury watchmaker has ever produced (other than the Night Surfer II, of course,) and easily one of the best artist collaboration watches in recent memory. It’s that simple. I’ve always been a fan of the Alpine Eagle and it’s a versatile design but there’s never been a single knock-out take on it that’s really tugged on my heartstrings… Until now, that is.

Part of that is because it’s so bold and unique. Red dials are somewhat uncommon in watchmaking so such a bold red like this is super eye-catching, especially when combined with the Alpine Eagle’s alluring eagle iris dial texture… Warm, sultry and evocative of the Outback, it’s super Aussie and makes this Alpine Eagle stand out. Shal’s art on the caseback is also beautiful but he’s got killer taste going with that red. Argh, it’s so hot!

Chopard Alpine Eagle Australia Limited Edition movement closeup

But what I think is particularly compelling about the Alpine Eagle “Sunburnt Red” is that it’s Shal that Chopard chose to collaborate with for their first Australian LE. It’s cool to see a somewhat conservative Swiss luxury watchmaker back a young Indigenous artist – a hardcore punk musician and tattoo artist to boot – and give him an enormous amount of creative control.

We talk about metiers d’art, haute horlogerie and savoir-faire all the time as watch journos but Chopard has demonstrated real savoir-faire; real classiness with this collab. They’ve shown respect for Indigenous art and respect for the Australian watch market/community. It’s a big moment for watches in Australia, perhaps bigger than you might realise.

Borna – Simon Brette Chronomètre Artisans or TAG Heuer Skipper

simon brette chronometre artisans wrist

Who says that time-only watches have to be simple? Simon Brette certainly doesn’t agree with this sentiment, creating the Chronomètre Artisans to prove his point. With a résumé name-dropping some of the biggest players in the independent space, Brette decided to branch out on his own two years ago, leaving behind a legacy of… well, MB&F Legacy Machines, among others. His first solo venture resulted in this, the utterly brilliant Chronomètre Artisans and its wide array of decoration and attention to detail. Concave, black-polished screws are set in gold chatons and take an hour per screw to achieve the desired level of finish, the dial is hand-hammered with a unique dragon scale pattern, but my favourite touch is the bevelled hour hand with an internal angle in its tip, and bluing only on the inside. I’m not the first nor only person to be completely smitten by it, as both the souscription and open-series pieces have sold out, with a GPHG Revelation Prize the cherry on top of Brette’s crowning achievement.

As if the “regular” Chronomètre Artisans wasn’t special enough, and as part of the limited run of 12 subscription pieces, Brette showcased this impeccably gem-set variant of the CA. I’m not usually a fan of bling, but I’d be ashamed to admit what I’d be willing to do to get this on my wrist.

TAG Heuer Carrera Skipper 2023 DSC02568

Even if the Chronomètre Artisans hadn’t sold out, my boy math skills aren’t advanced enough to figure out a way I could afford it yet, so in the spirit of not following the rules correctly, here is my runner-up pick. I’m on record for saying that TAG Heuer had an absolute corker of a year in 2023, and the Carrera Skipper is one of the main reasons for this in my book. Building on the Glassbox formula, it’s a great example of how an old model can be brought back without sacrificing its appeal, and most importantly, as a non-limited edition.

D.C. – IWC Ingenieur Titanium

IWC Ingenieur 40 Titanium 1 e1688526234105

Plenty of contenders caught my attention this year, with Zenith’s Defy Revival Shadow, Tudor’s Black Bay 54, Zodiac’s Super Sea Wolf Pro-Diver GMT, and the newly COSC-certified Serica 5303-3 all making the hair on the back of my neck stand up. But my personal champ for ‘23 has to be IWC’s reinvented Ingenieur, specifically the titanium variant. This is a watch I could easily wear all day, every day, in almost any situation.

A new Ingenieur was grist for the rumour mill for what seemed like forever, but the veil was finally lifted at Watches & Wonders – and I’d say IWC delivered the goods in a resounding way. As brutally charming as Gérald Genta’s 1976 original “Jumbo” is, it’s not without its quirks, specifically in the wearability department, and IWC has addressed those issues quite successfully. Gone are the awkward male protrusion and substantial case girth, replaced by a bracelet with near-perfect drape, as Andrew stated upon its release.

IWC Ingenieur 40 Titanium 4 e1688526423623

But the killer app for me is the availability of the new Ingenieur in a full titanium case and bracelet. At first, you can’t connect the visual weight of the watch with its actual weight: such is the disorienting feel of titanium. It nails the brief of a forward-thinking technical timepiece, one that’s strong, lightweight, sculpted, and highly resistant to magnetism. But really, it just looks devastating, in the best possible way, still futuristic some 47 years after Genta’s original design was launched.

Buffy – Doxa SUB 300T Clive Cussler

doxa sub 300t clive cussler 2

I’ll be honest and admit that I’ve never read a Clive Cussler novel, nor had I heard of him before seeing the Doxa SUB 300T Clive Cussler edition. But, I was astonished when I saw it and I haven’t stopped thinking about it. I’m a sucker for nautical themes (I’ve visited the Queenscliff Maritime Museum four or five times in the last two years and the Hobart one twice) but Doxa went above and beyond. Any brand could smack a compass rose on the dial, and most brands would happily age it up with yellowed lume. But it takes a special kind of commitment to go this far.

doxa sub 300t clive cussler wrist

Every single blemish in the case, bracelet and dial contributes to a story, and it’s one you don’t need to spend 80 years waiting to enjoy because they sell it like that. In the world of prop making, everyone knows that weathering is what truly brings an item to life, and I’m thrilled to see that the conservative world of watchmaking is open to something almost akin to cosplay.

Zach – Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Chronograph or Rolex Daytona 24 Hours of Le Mans Special Edition

Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Chronograph DSC03415 e1680894555946

I know, I know I am cheating here. As the editorial lead, I should be setting a better example, and I will not resort to childish remarks like ‘Borna did it first’. But I am very torn here. The Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Chronograph received the most likes and engagement of any Watches & Wonders reels we posted on Instagram during the week of the fair, and it was the one watch, at the time of leaving Palexpo, that left me trying to do some watch-math: what if I sold this and/or that to fund the purchase of the Reverso Tribute Chronograph?

Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Chronograph DSC03398 e1680894654915

Conceptually, I love the idea that a chronograph, a complication I admittedly do not use often, is on demand rather than always present. From the front, it appears to be a clean two-handed dress watch with a distinct blue-grey hue to its sunburst dial. The only tell there is something more at play here is the two slim rectangular pushers flanking the crown. Flip the mid-carriage of the case over, the current time is mirrored on a second dial that offers a rather openworked view of the movement with a 60-second elapsed chronograph seconds dial and smaller retrograde 30-minute elapsed chronograph minutes indication. Both sides are equally gorgeous and speak to different needs and aesthetic tastes. Jekyll and Hyde in the best way. But, my only pause with the watch is its larger dimensions – although, those who have been with me while I tried it on claim it suits my wrist fine.

Rolex Daytona 24 Hours of Le Mans 2023 m126529ln 0001 2302jva 001

Like the JLC Reverso Tribute Chronograph, I love everything about this next watch with one point or theme of pause. In the case of this Rolex Daytona 24 Hours of Le Mans Special Edition, the cause for pause is that it is incredibly ‘unobtanium’. Well out of my budget, and without anywhere near the cache or purchase history to score an allocation, I have tried to put this watch out of my mind. But each time it creeps into my feed all the feels just rush back to me. I really dig the vintage-inspired cues of the reverse-panda dial paired with the robustness of a modern Rolex build, and the exhibition of its in-house calibre also really draws me in. It is Rolex in rare form, and a form that is definitely a bit of me.