As the end of the year draws near, we like to look back over the year for various reasons. For some, to see progress against goals set, for others, it’s to look back on activities undertaken. For WWR, it means taking a look back at some of our favorite watches of the past year. I have been fortunate to have quite a variety of watches cross my desk, so I’m going to limit my top picks for the year to just those I saw for review here at WWR. Now, on to the picks!
While I will say there is no particular order to these watches (i.e., where they appear in the list does not mean they’re better or worse than the others), there is an order – that in which they appeared on our pages. Back in February, I had a long overdue review of the Division Furtive Type 50, which itself closely followed my review of the Type 40. While the Division Furtive Type 50 is not going to be the watch for everyone, it has a unique (and very bright look) that is – I am sure – unlike anything else you may already own.
Then, in May, I reviewed what is very much a more traditionally-styled watch, the Filson Dutch Harbor. This is a watch is very well-sorted, and definitely fits into the outdoors mission (and aesthetic) that Filson undertakes. As I mention in the review, it is not the most technical of the dive watches we’ve seen, nor is it the most inexpensive. IF you like the looks, though, it’s worth checking it out. Speaking of Filson, we did also check out one of their jackets, the Short Cruiser. It’s a good jacket, but I’d give the edge (for the year) to the other jacket I checked out, the RPMWEST Quarter Century Jacket.
If you like your divers a bit more unusual (in some way), then what we saw in August – the Tempest Carbon2 – is up your alley. On the spec sheet, this is a standard diver. But things like that forged carbon case really make the watch a standout, and I’ve really come to appreciate the Tempest design aesthetic, particularly with the domed crystals they like to use. Forged carbon is still very much an exotic material (particularly for the watch world), and that Tempest is able to hit the sub-$1k pricepoint they have with this is a win – both for them and for us.
Then in August, we dove back into the more traditionally-styled dive watches with the Hager Commando. While the Tempest stood out for the materials, and the Filson was ready for the outdoors, the Hager Commando presents much more ready for the office (which is where most of us wear our dive watches anyways). That’s not to say that it couldn’t go diving (it could) – it just has some upscale finishes and materials (that ceramic bezel) that dress things up a bit.
Taking a break from the world of dive watches, we still stayed with a sport watch in October, when we reviewed the Alpina Alpiner 4 Automatic. This was my first foray into the Alpina catalog, and I came away suitably impressed. Sure, it’s “just” a three-hander, but what a well-done one it is (and that blue dial is something else). If you are looking to get into Swiss watches (and want to go new instead of second-hand), I don’t think you can go wrong with checking out Alpina.
And last – but not least, just most recently – we had another Swiss watch that topped my personal best of the year. That would be the Ball Fireman Enterprise that we just reviewed this month. I’ve reviewed a handful of Ball watches over the years, and their tritium tubes are certainly a big draw. While the Engineer series put on crazy light shows, I’ve found myself drawn more and more to the more restrained models in their collection. With the Ball Fireman Enterprise, you have a watch that is great for the office (and with a suit), double-long tritium tubes, Swiss credentials, and the most affordable price point we have seen yet from the brand. In other words, a compelling mix of reasons to check out this very nice watch.
And there you have it – my favorite watches that I reviewed here at WWR over the past year. Our staff will be putting together their own lists as well, but feel free to let us know in the comments what some of your favorites of the past year were, or watches you felt we overlooked (and we’ll see about correcting that in 2017). As always, thank you for being loyal readers!