This year has been the oddest, most confusing, most mind-meltingly exhausting in memory. To its credit, the watch industry—not known for its nimbleness—seemed to respond, and the timepieces released during the past 12 months shared an abiding practicality, a godsend in a year when time itself seemed to slow down.
At the top of the pile are two icons among icons that capture what I love most about mechanical watches: the Omega Speedmaster caliber 321 and the Rolex Submariner. Both epitomize craft over cost and celebrate a bygone era while nodding toward where watchmaking is headed. And the new models somehow improve upon two archetypal designs.
First, in January, Omega announced a product many of us had been dreaming of for literally decades: a stainless steel Speedmaster packing the legendary 321 movement. The handmade caliber, once considered among the finest ever to come from Switzerland, was taken out of commercial