A little bit earlier this month, Matt brought you his thoughts on what the top 5 watches of 2015 were. That seemed to click pretty well with you, and, as we all have our own opinions and preferences, today is my turn to pontificate. Given the wide variety of watches that crossed my desk this year, this was tougher than I thought it would be. To sort of self-filter the list a bit, I kept my candidate pool to only those watches that I actually spent time with. Without further ado, presented in no particular order, are my top 5 watches of 2015.
The first watch I want to put up on the stage is one that I reviewed over on aBlogtoWatch, the Oak & Oscar Burnham. This is a relatively new brand from right here in Chicago, and I’ve had the pleasure of hanging out with the man behind the brand, Chase Fancher. In just talking with him, and especially about the Burnham, it is obvious that Fancher is (a) a watch guy and (b) obsessive about the details. This comes through in all the little things there are to notice about the watch, and even the watch wallet that he designed to go along with it. If you somehow missed the news when the Burnham was released, check out the review and get yourself acquainted.
Next up, I want to point your attention towards the Ball Watch Nightrain DLC. I found this to be a great entry-level watch for the brand, and the pilo watch styling was a change of pace for the brand (at least for me) as well as being a design template many will be instantly familiar with. What made this particular watch stand out for me was the light show this thing puts on in the dark. With 72 tritium tubes in three different colors, this is a watch you will have no problem reading in the dark. And, when the lights are up? The use of double-stacked narrow tubes means it is not readily obvious that the tritium is waiting to be revealed – and what a reveal it is.
The next nod goes to another new brand (and watch), the Van Speyk Dutch Diver. This is a watch that I immediately liked when I first saw the pictures, and that was an impression that was only reinforced when I had it in for review. The use of grey in this, combined with the widely lumed hands and sandwich dial, is really what sold me on this diver. There is certainly no shortage of Miyota-driven indie divers these days, and your choice may be different than mine. The way the Van Speyk Dutch Diver manages to differentiate itself in the details is what sealed the deal for me.
Another watch that really stood out by just, well, being different, was the Dietrich Organic Time. This was one a treat to dig into, and sort of uncover all the different layers and details hiding in those layers. The organic feel was very much there, as it feels like the elements – while industrial – still have some sort of natural influence on them, particularly the leaf-like handset. While we often will focus in on the functionality a watch offers, aesthetics certainly play a large part in our perceptions, even if we do not call them out. Well, with the Dietrich Organic Time, the design is the standout here, and looks rather unlike anything else that crossed my desk.
Last, but by no means least, I want to tip my hat in the direction of the Tempest One Forged Carbon. Tempest is a brand I have enjoyed getting to know over the past few years, and I have also been seeing carbon fiber getting used more and more in watches. Particularly, the forged carbon has shown up in some very high-end brands, offering light weight, strength, and some rather amazing case patterns. With the Tempest One Forged Carbon, things are much more affordable, while still maintaining the brand’s quality and capability. These are hard to come by, given the the limitations the material places on the numbers, but if you can track one down, even to see in person, I encourage you to do so.
With that, those are my top 5 watches of 2015. As I mentioned at the outset, this was a good deal trickier than I thought it would be. While it is a good exercise to focus in and narrow things down, there are some other watches that I want to include in an “honorable mention” mini-roundup, and those are as follows:
- Benarus Vintage Moray
- R. Paige Crash of ’29
- Aether AE01 and Benzinger
- Smith & Bradley Springfield and Heritage
- Breitling Transocean 38
- Detroit Watch Co Pride of Detroit Aviator
- Shinola Rambler
And with that, I’ll wrap things up. We all have different opinions, of course, so whether you agree with me (or not), go ahead an weigh in. Let us know in the comments, or drop us a line and share your thoughts. We saw some great watches in 2015, and I’m sure we’ll see even more in 2016.