The three watches D.C. wore most in 2023 – Omega, Casio, Serica The three watches D.C. wore most in 2023 – Omega, Casio, Serica

The three watches D.C. wore most in 2023 – Omega, Casio, Serica

D.C. Hannay

It’s time again to look back on The Year That Was, and take a moment to reflect upon the bastions of my personal watch rotation. Some pieces are purely sentimental: a thread connecting the past, a meaningful gift from a loved one, or a personal trophy marking a significant life event. Others are dispassionately pragmatic: The beater. The bug-out. The one you strap on when you don’t have time to agonize over the contents of your watchbox(es). My most-worn watches of this past year comprise both the storied and the pragmatic, and sometimes, the two are one and the same. 2023 was a year of profound change, personally as well as professionally, and my most-worn roster likewise symbolizes many of the seismic shifts from a year ago. So enough with the chit-chat, let’s get on with the top three watches I wore in 2023 already.

Omega Speedmaster Reduced 3510.50.00

OMEGA SPEEDMASTER REDUCED FLATMy third most-worn watch for 2023 is a recurring character in my collection, the Omega Speedmaster Reduced (last year’s #2). It’s certainly not rare, but it’s dear to me for a couple of reasons. One, it has a sentimental connection to a departed family member. Secondly, it’s the watch that fits my particular wrist better than just about any other I own. It actually feels like a part of me when I have it on, and now more than ever, if I ain’t feelin’ it, said watch isn’t long for this world.

OMEGA SPEEDMASTER REDUCED LIFESTYLEThe 39mm Omega Speedmaster automatic “Reduced” isn’t a Moonwatch, but it always got way more wear than the Speedmaster Professional that recently departed my collection. Some think of it as merely the junior sibling to the manually-wound Pro, but in daily use, it’s just a flat-out great watch in its own right. I love a good chrono, and the dimensions of the Reduced are right in my horological wheelhouse, due in part to the shorter, sharper twisted lugs, as well as the less bulky bracelet. In fact, it’s one of the few watches I own that has never left the bracelet.

OMEGA SPEEDMASTER REDUCED WRISTThe Reduced is considered “neo-vintage” now, being from 1996, but since it’s an absolute keeper, I’ve learned to stop worrying about wear and love the evolution of its battle scars. Scratches and scuffs on the clasp and bracelet abound, as well as on the domed Hesalite crystal, and I couldn’t care less. Once I released the Speedy Pro back into the wild, I was even more resolved to only collect pieces that actually get worn, and I’ve stuck to it. If I happen upon a pristine watch that isn’t a lifelong companion, I can guarantee it’s not going to stay. The Speedy Reduced is definitely a lifer. And because it’s such a perfect fit for me (in so many ways), it just seems to get more wrist time than most things in my collection. Mostly. Read on…

Casio LF-20W

CASIO LF 20W STANDAs far as my bargain baller pieces go, I have a pretty decent assortment of Casios, G-Shocks, a bulletproof Citizen Promaster diver, and some thrashed Seiko mods for those times when flaunting a fine Swiss timepiece would be risky business. But there’s a new contender that’s grabbing all the wrist time that my black CasiOak used to get. Enter the new LF20W (a super-clean reimagining of the 1985 AE-20W Twin-Graph), which sports a retro-futuristic look that’s captured the attention of Casio fans in a big way. In fact, given its perpetually sold-out status, it could become the new F-91W.

CASIO LF20W WRISTI’m a sucker for the clean minimalism of ‘80s German design, and the LF20W speaks to me in much the same way. It’s not unlike the classic housewares sketched by Dieter Rams. In fact, my off-white model reminds me of nothing more than my vintage Braun coffee maker. The crisp, clean angles are attractively proportioned, and less dated than the original ‘80s-tastic Twin-Graph. It’s more mature, more elegant, and more refined (as far as a $30 resin watch can be). Even the first batch of colourways are more adult, with a muted grey, soft off-white, pale celadon green, and deep burgundy joining the classic black. Additionally, the watches come with matching straps made from renewable organic plant-based bio-resins, a small yet meaningful step in the right direction, considering how much resin goes into Casio’s vast model lineup. And at a list of US$29.95, the LF20W isn’t far off from the F-91W’s US$22.95 price point, meaning that with typical online discounts, your cost could be in the same ballpark as the current best-seller’s. Will the LF20W approach the unit-moving juggernaut that is the F-91W? All signs point to yes.

Serica 5303-3 COSC Diving Chronometre

SERICA 5303 3 MESHEven though it’s only been in existence since 2019, France’s Serica doesn’t feel like a typical microbrand, i.e., a side hustle run out of someone’s spare room. Rather, there’s a palpable sense of a fully realised atelier, with its own history and design language. It’s what initially attracted me to the 5303 diver when I first saw the images, and when I finally got one in hand, I was hopelessly smitten. I finally had the opportunity to add one to the collection late this year, the impossibly lovely 5303-3 in Bleu Cristallin (Crystal Blue), and I have literally had it on my wrist at least once a day every single day since, its attraction is that powerful. Rather unbelievably, the Serica has virtually eliminated my jones for vintage divers. Now don’t get me wrong, I would love to own a vintage Seamaster 300, but in practical terms, that’s hardly a daily driver.

SERICA 5303 3 TROPICIt’s become clear to me that Serica has my personal aesthetic directly in their sights. Truly, the 5303 (and the entire Serica lineup) looks as if it came straight from a 1962 time capsule. The midnight blue dial has bright white hands and markers with the graphic appeal of a classic Blue Note album cover, with the added benefit of being utterly legible, especially once the green Super-LumiNova fires up. The dual-scale steel and ceramic bezel is both unique and useful, and it has a soft click that made me audibly gasp the first time I turned it. It’s rendered in the most delicate shade, too, with an almost translucent appearance that resembles a pale blue chalcedony stone. The sweep of its lyre lugs is another period-correct touch in a timepiece that mashes my stylistic buttons like a teenager jacked up on Code Red during a 3-day Call Of Duty bender. And although the 5303 is a total strap rogue, the unabashedly sensual mesh bracelet is to die for, even if it’s a bit flashy for everyday wear. Other hits in this horological highlight reel include a superbly functional 8 mm screw-down crown (which assists with the 5303’s 300 metres water-resistance rating), the newly COSC-certified Soprod Caliber M100, and a soft iron inner structure that offers an antimagnetic rating of more than 50,000 A/M.

SERICA 5303 3 LEATHER BOXBut when it comes down to it, no one does style like the French. Everything is just a bit more nuanced and less shouty than most modern tool watches, and the fact that you can track a second time zone with the bezel means the Serica really can go anywhere. And if you’re able to stand a bit of a wait, you’ll be rewarded with one of the best, most vintage-licious things to ever grace your wrist, if I do say so myself. Frankly, I think the rest of my collection may be a bit jealous.