Our Favorite 2021 Watch Releases

The pandemic may have created a bumpy road for watch releases in 2020, but the lingering health risks and global restrictions didn’t hamper the industry this year. If all the in-house movements, mechanical marvels, and out-of-the-box new models are any indication, the watch world is so back.

It was a banner year for watches; and there’s a sheer number of great new models out there. We managed to choose eight 2021 watch releases that really tickled our fancy:

 

Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional Watch 310.30.42.50.01.001

 

Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional cal 3861

In what can only be considered impeccable timing, Omega released the newest version of the classic MoonWatch on the first Speedy Tuesday of the year. This development is major after all – the workhorse 1861 movement, which has powered the Speedy since 1968, has finally been superseded by the Co-Axial Master Chronometer 3861. The steel version still comes with a choice of a Hesalite or Sapphire crystal but the most overt change would be the bracelet, which now has circular links and a tapered profile.

Why we love it: This upgrade comes once in half-a-century – get it and you land a piece of history.

 


 

The Rolex Datejust Palm Dial Collection

 

Rolex Datejust 36 Palm Dials

Rolex is the master of making quintessential all-occasion watches, but once in a while they do release a design that’s a little unorthodox. Last year, we got the Oyster Perpetual’s bright “Stella” dials; this year, it’s the Datejust’s turn. Rolex gave us the refreshing Palm Motif Dial which adds interest without being too overpowering.

Why we love it: These dials remind us of the golden age of patterned dials – when tapestry, brick, and linen textures ruled.

 


 

Tudor Heritage Black Bay Chronograph Reverse Panda Dial Watch 79360N

 

Tudor Black Bay Chrono Panda 79360N

To commemorate 50 years of Tudor’s chronograph-making history, they released the new Black Bay Chrono inspired by classic Rolex Daytonas of yore. This follow up to the 2017 Black Bay Chrono is a completely reimagined design, with a panda (or reverse panda) dial layout and a red line of text. A full decade after Tudor’s re-emergence, they still prove that they’re masters at creating heritage watches.

Why we love it: It brings together the best of classic chronograph watches in a decidedly modern and edgy package.

 


 

Cartier’s Tank Must Watches

 

Cartier Tank Must

Cartier unveiled the new Tank Must collection, a direct homage to the successful Must de Cartier line from the 1980s. This time, the Tank Musts are given rounded brancards and more proportional dials that pin classicism down to the smallest detail. Aside from the purity of the classic silvered dial, the Tank Must is available in three ultra-minimalist and monochromatic colors – blue, red, and green.

Why we love it: These watches are a pitch-perfect interpretation of French watchmaking – sophisticated but also no-fuss and universal.

 


 

Rolex Explorer I Steel Yellow Gold Black Dial Mens Watch 124273

 

Rolex Explorer I Steel Yellow Gold

The new 36mm Rolex Explorer I brought back the traditional size of the classic adventurer’s watch, but with an unexpected touch: a two-tone, steel and yellow gold option. As a watch rooted in mountaineering, the Explorer I has always been made in steel since the 1950s – so this watch really kept us on our toes. Not to worry – there’s also an all-steel version for more conservative fans of the Explorer.

Why we love it: It makes the underrated Explorer appealing to a wider range of tastes.

 


 

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time Everest with rubber and nylon straps

 

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time Everest

Back in 2019, Vacheron Constantin supported the attempt of famed photographer, explorer and VC ambassador Cory Richards to ascend Mount Everest. On his wrist was a prototype Vacheron Constantin Overseas that had many talking: a 41mm titanium version with a beautiful textured grey dial and bright flashes of orange. It was a superb adventure watch, but alas, it wasn’t available to the masses – until this year, that is.

The VC Overseas Dual Time Everest has moved to production, with a choice of a Cordura strap or a rubber number, both in grey. Now, you don’t need to climb mountains to get it.

Why we love it: It shows the willingness of Vacheron Constantin to embrace a sporty and rugged look for its classic model.

 


 

IWC Pilot Perpetual Calendar Blue Dial Steel Mens Watch IW503605

 

IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar

International Watch Company has been making perpetual calendars since the 1980s, but those in the Big Pilot’s line have always been limited edition models. This year, they finally added a standard production perpetual calendar to the Big Pilot family – and in a stunning blue-on-blue colorway at that. The complicated timepiece is also incredibly user-friendly – all features, including the moon phase, can be adjusted via the crown.

Why we love it: The IWC Big Pilot Watch has always been the perfect fit for the perpetual calendar, with the real estate it offers.

 


 

Patek Philippe In-Line Perpetual Calendar

 

Patek Philippe In-Line Perpetual Calendar

This watch may look simple enough, but it took many years to develop. The Patek 5236P marks the first time that the manufacture has created a wristwatch that displays the day, date, and month on a single line at 12 o’clock. Prior to this, the in-line display had only been accomplished with a pocket watch. This feat took half a century, an entirely new movement (with three patents) and 600 parts. Despite being a tour-de-force, the design is unostentatious – typical of Patek’s discreet elegance.

Why we love it: It’s an ultra-complicated timepiece with an ultra-clean design. What’s not to love?

 


 

Which of this year’s new releases did you like best? We’d love to hear from you.

 

 

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