Christmas festivities came in a heartbeat this year, as we already hopped into December. I vividly remember the last one, going back twelve months, like it happened not too long ago. The reason could be that we are all infected, but for me, the excitement for completing my favorite Gnomon watches has finally arrived. There are always appropriate reasons to be excited in December, whether they would befit a great Christmas present for your loved ones or yourself, or the occasion to celebrate the festive mood with an excellent mechanical timepiece.
Because this will be the last (but not least) lookbook for 2022 and I will be selecting my personal favorites, it will be exciting for me to share, as well as for you. They would be my most favored one this year, personally owned, or wishlist hoped they might be into my stable one day. But to be fair for you, reader, these picks will still be available to be collected by yourself, too. So without further ado, let’s dive into my lineup for Christmas gift ideas for 2022. Dear Santa… 🎅🏼
Let’s begin the excitement with my favorite from this year’s launch. It had to be the collaborative Steinhart Ocean 39 Marine Black. The sober black dial and bezel formula was love at first sight when we had the idea with Steinhart during the planning phase. To make it a little more conventional than the previous Marine Blue 39, we’d decided to keep it less vintage by forgoing the aged luminous colors while keeping the iconic square markers and “snowflake” handset.
Nevertheless, we incorporated the practical date display where the numerals were red, a nice subtle nod to the past. Given the monochromatic appeal and date-readability, I felt this would befit a daily beater better than the Marine Blue 39. I have one to call my own (including the Blue), and I’d find it to look best on its metal bracelet, despite knowing that it’s another strap monster that will rock with any other options thrown at it.
Steinhart Yachtimer Plexi – Ltd Ed 100pcs
As I mentioned that this article would let me indulge in my personal favorites, I went with another Steiny: the new “Panda” Chrono Yachtimer Plexi. If you are one of our readers who frequent our sites and wade through our articles, you are familiar with my fondness with a good Panda-styled chronograph. Last year, when Steinhart told us they would produce a new Ocean Vintage Chronograph case that is welcome with much wearable sizing, we knew we had to paint our theme song onto the canvas. Since I am personally fond of the Panda look, the first-ever 42mm wide Ocean Chrono gets this treatment.
We went with a complete vintage theme on this one, opting for our signature touches, like the hesalite crystal, similar to those used in Omega Speedmasters, and grasping a retro “prototype” dial that was once tested for yachting purposes, We knew we were heading in the right direction. We brought over the Ocean Vintage Chronographs’ “Paul Newman” markings and dial format into this Yachtimer Plexi to further emphasize the old-fashioned affair. Lastly, I enjoyed a reliable automatic movement for my watches, and the Valjoux 7753 did not disappoint. I love the fully integrated chronograph caliber that displays a bi-compax orientation, which, to me, creates the perfect balance chronograph look.
The next one would be on my wishlist that I would hope to acquire one day, and that’s the Rado Captain Cook Auto in black. Since the phenom Swiss brand from Lengnau, Biel/Bienne, came aboard, the heritage dive watches were top on my list. Out of all the selections, I preferred the classic black look the most. Why? I dig the enduring look of an equally enduring dive watch design. It is one where I truly appreciate the whole ’60s look while still enabling me to wear it daily with any of my OOTD.
Furthermore, measuring 42mm, this particular one gets a sportier wrist presence which I find myself pleased with. I know I might get bombarded by people wanting one that goes above the current trend of vintage watch sizing (between 35-39mm), but to me, I tend to “go-big-or-go-home” with my watches. And by that, I do not mean by wearing a size clock on the wrist, but a sporty size between 42mm-47mm (yes, I own and still wear watches at 47mm) will always float my boat. Life is too short to not what rocks your boat.
Alright, enough with nautical-themed watches. Let’s go back to basics. And by that, I mean well-constructed yet straightforward watches like the Citizen Automatic Blue Ref. NB1050-59L. When Citizen’s neighboring watchmaker Seiko announced the discontinuity of its Seiko “Spirit” SARB line, there left an empty void instantly in the well-priced JDM mechanical, an all-rounder category. One either has to buy the more expensive Presage models or head back to the entry Seiko 5 Sports, which does not help satisfy the value proposition that the Spirit models are packed with. It was not until we found this natural alternative that distilled a similar pedigree.
The Citizen Automatic is one hell of a watch that packs all the goodies of the Seiko SARBs—from the open caseback, revealing the well-finished and reliable in-house Caliber 9011, to the super wearable 38mm, 47mm lug to lug dimensions. After trying on the Citizen, I noticed that its quality felt exceptionally well constructed. From its case to its dial and bracelet, every bit of it felt more desirable than the SARB series. I picked the blue one, as this sunburst hue could spice up its utilitarian appeal just enough.
Hitori Ryukyu Diver Coral Blue
Now, for my last Christmas lineup, I went with yet another Japanese theme dive watch, and no, it’s not from either of those two Giants from Japan. The new micro brand Hitori Watch Co. and their genesis skin diver is the Ryukyu Diver Coral Blue. I have a lot of reasons why this beauty was my top-five pick, where some could be seen from my extensive review Hitori Ryukyu Diver Series, but I’ll briefly go through the main reasons. First up is the oriental feat. heritage look of the iconic skin-diver 62MAS from the early days. Instead of copying the SBDC10X re-issue, the execution of the Ryukyu Diver is quickly deemed on-par. From its case construction to its choice of better materials, the Hitori punches way above its price point at $388USD! Yes, one-third of the SBDC10X price.
Another thing I love about this model is the brand’s choice of kanji characters. Some might feel gimmicky, but I see it in another way: it simply adds more quirkiness and fun to the watch. Also, using a ceramic bezel and sapphire crystal adds more robustness for my wear, along with the Caliber NH36A and the Seiko 4R36 workhorse. As a strap maniac myself, the additional straps that the brand provided also add charm, as I can swap each rubber, NATO, or bracelet onto the diver based on my mood. What a fantastic timepiece to sum up my top Christmas pick!
So, what are you waiting for? Add your favorite watch ideas for Christmas to your shopping lists and receive a 10% discount on the gnomon store!
Gnomon Watches first opened her doors for business online in early 2002, founded by bona fide horology suitors who share a profound passion for watchmaking and fine craftsmanship.