My Top Ten
Formex Essence Chronometer - Definitely a sleeper among Swiss sports watches, this is the dressiest option from Formex's offerings. It retains their suspension system for the movement, is very well finished, and has a top-notch bracelet (the carbon-fiber clasp for the bands is quite good as well).
Geckota K-01 A Type Pilot - A slight update on a classic mid-century pilot design, with blue sunburst dial and screw-down crown. At its heart, it's a common design, so the devil is in the details. Here, these include attractive contrasting case finishes and an ETA 2824 as its heart, along with an easy-to-grasp screw-down crown.
Slim d'Hermes, blue dial - A classic minimalist design with subtle modern influences, like the original typeface for the hour markers and the repeated H motif on the movement bridges and micro-rotor. The attention to detail is obvious, and the Hermes leather watch band is unequaled.
My unique piece - White guilloche dial with Breguet markers on an ETA 6498 movement with cross-hatched decoration originally intended for a Tag Heuer Carrera Calibre 1. I'll be adding an embossed metal logo and heat-blued leaf hands soon.
Nomos Orion Wempe limited edition blue dial - A modern classic in dark blue with chatreuse text, one of 100 examples although similar models exist including the standard with gold markers. The only drawback is that the alpha calibre is hidden from view.
Ophion OP-786 - A dual-layer dial with guilloche pattern, high quality handset and a movement with five-day power reserve and vintage Breguet pocket-watch styling make this a winner. Post-sales customer service is excellent.
Rolex Explorer (39mm with appropriately proportional handset) - Excellent all-around daily wearer. I particularly like the distinctive 369 markers and micro-adjustable bracelet. Rolex's very consistent design language means a lot of different models look almost the same, but this stands out from the crowd a bit.
Schaffen S65 - A great Singapore-based microbrand specializing in personalized watches, Schaffen has two automatic models, the A65 and S65. The S65 is a sports watch with an excellent integrated bracelet and butterfly clasp (leather and rubber straps are also options). The bezel is distinctive, both original and Genta-esque, and dial has a really nice wave texture. This holds its own against far more expensive and famous sports watches. The A65 is Schaffen's dress-watch counterpart, which also punches above its price, although rotor noise can be a bit distracting.
Seiko Presage SARX053 JDM - The white handset and white Roman hour markers glow against the blue enamel dial. Other features like the case shape are fairly standard to the Seiko Presage line, with a 6R15 movement. Another favorite from this line is the model with the black urushi lacquer dial and frosted gold hands.
Seiko Presage Cocktail Time limited edition blue snowflake dial - A limited edition from the cocktail-inspired line, the subtle and unique dial texturing catches the light in fun ways. Dual finishing on the hands is very attractive and provides a subtle reminder of Seiko's work in the Grand Seiko line.
Grand Seiko SBGP013G - A high accuracy quartz with a sunburst blue dial and Grand Seiko's typical finishing quality.
Grand Seiko SBGW259 - One of three regular production models introduced this year to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the first Grand Seiko, these re-interpret the grammar of design in modern variations and materials. This version features a blue sunburst dial in a titanium-alloy case.
Jaquet-Droz l'Origine - I think this might have been the first Jaquet-Droz release after its reincarnation under the Swatch group. It captures the essence of the brand's design language, even though it appears to no longer be produced. With annual production around 2,500 pieces, Jaquet-Droz watches are something of a rarity (but easier to locate than those by H Moser & Cie).
Norqain N1000 Adventure Sport Blue - A diver that manages to combine classic and vintage design cues for a look all of its own, with options for customization. This version runs on a 2824-family movement, but Norqain has partnered with Kenissi, Tudor's movement manufacture, for a movement that meets COSC chonometer standards.
Pellikaan Timing Hendrik Lorentz - A beautiful modernist dress watch with sector dial. Built around a Soprod A10-2 movement with a unique patented pallet fork and in-house adjustment to chronometric standards.
Seiko Presage Sharp Edged Series SPB167J1 - This version features a blue dial with a traditional repeated hemp-leaf pattern; the other versions are also uniquely artistic.
Other Watches I Appreciate
A Lange & Sohne Saxonia Thin - Either with blue or white dial, this is an amazing piece of artisanship (as are all other Lange watches). At £12-£15,000, artistry doesn't come cheap.
Breguet - Anything by this brand, whether from the very traditional guilloche-focused Classique line or the super modern designs.
Nomos Tangente Neomatik - A classic Nomos Bauhaus-inspired design with their in-house automatic movement.
Omega De Ville Tresor, blue cross-hatched dial - The patterned texture on the dial is unique and the movement has a number of nice features.