The best watches of 2023, as picked by our readers

The best watches of 2023, as picked by our readers

Borna Bošnjak

Like any year before, 2023 was full of incredible watch releases. But, how do you pick just one? With democracy, of course, and a little influencing from our social media account, of course. So that’s exactly what we did! Last week, we asked our audience for what they thought was the best release of the year, and shared the responses in an Instagram post, summing up the favourites. To pick the ultimate winner, we tallied all the comments, and a clear winner soon emerged. Without further ado, here are the 2023 Time+Tide community awards for the best watches of the year.

 

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The (un)usual suspects

Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Chronograph DSC03398 e1680894654915

Your winner, folks. The Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Chronograph. Did I see this coming? Admittedly, not at all. For starters, a Reverso was always a really particular choice, often underappreciated due to its longevity and glacial pace at which its design evolved. The Tribute collection, and the Chrono in particular, were a breath of fresh air.

zach blass pick daytona le mans jlc reverso

Its design has peaked, and so have the dimensions, measuring in at just 11.14mm in height despite sporting a double-sided chronograph. A common complaint with this watch has been its eye-watering price increase, though that didn’t seem to matter to our audience, nor editor – Zach’s love of this watch is well-recorded. At over 32% of the total vote, it sweeped the competition.

Tudor Black Bay 54
Tudor Black Bay 54

And it’s not like it was going up against bad watches. The Black Bay 54 was the unexpected follow-up to the 58 released at Watches & Wonders last year, though its 37mm size won many over instantly – around 21% of our readers, to be more precise.

bb 54 pick

The cleaner design and reduced size clearly clearly left a mark on some. As I’m sure most enthusiasts will know, the idea of an “exit watch” is hotly debated, and the Black Bay 54 made the thought cross @sector18leatherworks’ mind.

Longines Zulu time 25May2023 32551 scaled

From one tooltastic watch to the next, and it’s another that genuinely surprised me. Having thought about my time with the Longines Spirit Zulu Time some more though, and I began to realise just how great of a watch this really is. My conclusion there was that this is a clear sign of Longines going upmarket – and I still believe that – though the times of Longines being the step in-between a Tissot and a Tudor seemingly number, as the brand now clearly competes with the latter.

longines zulu time 39 pick

At 13% of the vote, it’s a clear sign that Longines have a winner on their hands, and @sushi4tea summed it up really well in their comment, though I would question one thing. Have we gotten to a point where we consider a starting price of A$5,000 to be affordable?

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act One

The lengthily named Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act 1 is the last of the “big four” from this little experiment, gathering 7% of the votes. While I have no doubts that the brand’s collaboration with Swatch put the Fifty Fathoms on the radar of even more enthusiasts, the 70th Anniversary releases (maybe with the exception of the huge Tech Gombessa) showed Blancpain’s willingness to downsize the Fifty Fathoms – something die-hard fans have been begging for for years. At 42.3mm, it’s still not at the 40mm sweet spot many have been asking Blancpain to no longer reserve just for limited editions, but who knows – progress is progress, right?

czapek place vendome complicite

The first four watches accounted for over 70% of the total votes, with the rest spread fairly evenly between Czapek Place  Vendôme Complicité, TAG Heuer Monaco Night Driver, and the Chopard Alpine Eagle Sunburnt.

Select audience suggestions

tag heuer carrera chronograph glassbox black dial closeup

Among the suggestions that were given in the original post, the Glassbox was admittedly a bit of an omission. Don’t get me wrong – the Night Driver is a cool take on an iconic chronograph – but the Carrera Glassbox brought something truly novel, in a non-limited edition.

tag heuer carrera glassbox pick

You folks were quick to catch onto that, with the Glassbox getting quite a few shouts.

TUDOR PELAGOSFXD BLACK 14

If it’s any proof of just how good the above releases were, there were only a handful of mentions of Rolex. They were mostly concerned with the new Daytona Le Mans, as Zach suggested previously, but interestingly were on par in votes with the Tudor Pelagos FXD.

rolex daytona le mans pick

As much as I like to say I’m not really a modern Rolex fan (which is true, I swear), the Daytona Le Mans is one darn cool watch. But so is stable mental health, which I feel would be compromised trying to get one anywhere near retail.

simone brette chronometre artisans

High-end independents got some love, too, with Berneron and Simon Brette getting a few shouts each. I’m personally quite partial here, since I did in fact pick the Chronomètre Artisans as my favourite watch of the year.

simon brette pick

And hey, would you look at that! An AP-trained watchmaker agrees with me – that’s good enough for me. Cheers, Mr Kitto.

Accutron DNA Casino 1

To round out this round-up, we have an actual unpopular opinion, which doesn’t really happen on the internet. Like, ever – though by no means does it make @talalquadri’s opinion invalid.

bulova accutron dna

The Accutron DNA is one of the rare examples of retrofuturistic design done right, paying homage to the original watch, but in a thoroughly modern shape.

un freak pick

I’ll leave you with @taywatchsf’s comment – I’m sure they meant Ulysse Nardin Freak. Right?