We asked a 5 year-old to pick the best watches of 2023…Luke Benedictus
Reviewing watches is a subjective business. As you look at any new release, you inevitably bring a lifetime of personal biases and preconceptions to the table. But what if you could look at a watch with completely fresh eyes…
My youngest son Marc is five-years-old. His principal hobbies include bike riding, Nerf-gun shooting and mayhem. Horologically, it’s fair to say that his tastes are still developing – he was given a Flik Flak by his grandmother, but can’t yet tell the time. Nevertheless, Marc is a spirited fellow who’s rarely short of a robust opinion.
Earlier today, I sat down with Marc to review the biggest watch releases of the year. It was an exhaustive process that lasted for at least 10 minutes, until he got too fidgety and wandered off to watch Bluey. Fortunately though, thanks to his decisive nature and lack of attention span, Marc quickly settled on the three best watches of 2023.
Third place: Girard-Perregaux Casquette 2.0 Saint Laurent 01
Bit of a niche choice this one. Still, collabs are all the rage right now and this watch brings together two big hitters from the worlds of fashion and watchmaking. Saint Laurent creative director Anthony Vaccarello remixed this cult ’70s design in a moody guise of black ceramic and black PVD-treated titanium for a result that gets an overwhelming thumbs-up from Marc. “It looks like watch a robot might wear,” he said approvingly. “And it shows the numbers in red”.
That’s a win-win in our book. Still, if the two parties involved do consider a follow-up, our kindergarten critic does request one small refinement. “It would be really cool if you could maybe play video games on it, too.”
Second place: Oris ProPilot X Calibre 400
The Oris ProPilot X Kermit Edition is forged from smoky grey titanium that makes the lime-green dial really pop. At 39mm wide and 47mm lug to lug, the sizing is spot-on, too. What’s also shrewd about the execution is that while Kermit may appear in the date window once a month, he doesn’t overpower the overall design.
This watch ticked three boxes for Marc. “I like green, I like silver and I like the frog hiding in the box,” was his positive verdict. Once again, however, he did offer thoughts on how the watch could reach new heights. “Instead of a frog, they should try a dinosaur or a big shark,” he suggests.
First place: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Spider-Man Tourbillon
It’s fair to say that Audemars Piguet’s collaborations with Marvel have been wildly contentious. Patek Philippe CEO Thierry Stern publicly decried the Black Panther as “stupidity” in an interview with the Australian Financial Review. “It’s not very good for a brand to do that, not at this level,” Stern said. “They will sell it, but I don’t think it will help for the future.”
Whatever. On the basis of today’s research, Stern is woefully out of touch with the watch world’s next generation. “I just love this watch so much!” Marc says of the CHF 195,000 release.
Specific praise was reserved for the execution with the superhero being laser-engraved to bring out fine textural differences before being touched-up, finished and hand-painted in what is a 50-hour process. “Spider-Man looks like he’s really coming out of the dial!” Marc points out. “It’s so cool.”
Further admiration was reserved for how these web-slinging theatrics did not come at the expense of attention to detail elsewhere. “I like the screws and how the numbers can glow in the dark,” Marc says. “Now can I have my ice-cream? You promised.”