A Year on the Wrist: the best watch releases from 2023

T3's favourite watches of the year, from Longines and Rolex, to Tag Heuer, Brew and Tissot

Rolex Sky-Dweller
(Image credit: Rolex)

It's been a huge year for new watch releases. From the retro flair of the Tissot PRX Powermatic and Swatch's follow-up to the insanely popular MoonSwatch, to the wonderfully playful Rolex OP Celebration Dial, affectionately known as Bubbles, 2023 was a year packed with desirable wrist wear.

We also saw stand-out releases from the ever-innovative (and consistently affordable) Christopher Ward, a beautiful range of petite watches with the Longines Mini Dolce Vita, and a knock-out relaunch of the TAG Heuer Carrera Skipper. Frankly, there were just too many fantastic new watches to fit into a single article, but here are some of our favourite watch releases from 2023.

Christopher Ward The Twelve

Christopher Ward The Twelve

(Image credit: Future)

British watchmaker Christopher Ward announced The Twelve back in April. A stainless steel piece with a matching strap and automatic movement visible through the exhibition case back, The Twelve immediately caught our eye thanks to its 12-sided dodecagon bezel and textured dial. As ever with CW, the price impressed at £1,050 on a bracelet or just £850 on a rubber strap, while a titanium model came in at just over £1,500.

The range soon expanded from a 40mm case to a more compact 36mm model, and then a model with a minimalist dial and rose gold bezel arrive in October, demonstrating the breadth of abilities The Twelve's case design has to offer.

Read more about Christopher Ward The Twelve

Tissot PRX 35mm Powermatic 80

Gold and blue Tissot PRX 35mm Powermatic 80

(Image credit: Tissot)

Tissot expanded its retro-inspire PRX range in 2023, adding a new Powermatic 80 in March. Priced at just £610, I think it offers fantastic value for money, considering the timeless, high-end design, the beautifully textured dial and the automatic Swiss movement's impressive 80 hours of power reserve.

I love the compact dimensions of the 35mm model, new for 2023 and sitting alongside the 40mm original, and I'm a big fan of the three-link steel bracelet too. This is the kind of watch that can elevate an already smart outfit, or be worn with a simple t-shirt and look special without seeming out of place. 

Read more about the Tissot PRX 35mm Powermatic 80

TAG Heuer Carrera Skipper

Tag Heuer Carrera Skipper

(Image credit: Tag Heuer)

Another retro throwback, this time in the form of a relaunched Carrera Skipper by TAG Heuer. I immediately fell for this watch, thanks to its nautical colour scheme, fabric strap, and how the domed sapphire crystal extends to the very edges of the stainless steel case. At T3, we're also fans of the relatively compact 38mm case, the exposed push buttons, the 80 hours of power reserve and of course, the gorgeous blue dial.

Swatch x Blancpain Scuba Fifty Fathoms

Blancpain x Swatch Scuba Fifty Fathoms

(Image credit: Swatch)

Being the successor to the MoonSwatch was never going to be easy. And while we haven't see the same level of hype surrounding Swatch's new Blancpain collaboration, I still rate it as one of the top watches of 2023.

Called the Scuba Fifty Fathoms, it arrived in September with a range of bright and bold colour options, a 42.3mm case made from a type of plastic Swatch calls Bioceramic, and a rather un-Swatchlike 300 feet (91 metres) of water resistance.

Priced at £340, the Blancpain collaboration is about 50 percent more expensive than the MoonSwatch, but then it does come with an automatic movement boasting a huge 90 hours of power reserve. 

Read more about the Swatch x Blancpain Scuba Fifty Fathoms

Longines Flagship Heritage

Longines Flagship Heritage

(Image credit: Longines)

I really like the classy simplicity of this new watch from Longines. Called the Flagship Heritage, it was announced in July and is available in three different colour ways, all with alligator straps and a stainless steel case measuring a nicely compact 38.5mm in diameter.

The star of the show is of course the moon phase complication at the six o'clock position, driven by the Swiss company's own L899.5 automatic movement with 72 hours of power reserve. Plus, at just under £3,000, it feels like good value for money too.

Read more about the Longines Flagship Heritage

Longines Mini Dolce Vita

Longines Mini Dolce Vita

(Image credit: Longines)

Another 2023 novelty from Longines, and this time it's a compact ladies' watch collection called the Mini Dolce Vita. A little slice of the good life, the watch has a square case measuring just 21.5 x 29 x 6.75mm, yet comes with heaps of character thanks to the smart detailing and beautiful pastel colour options.

All six variants have cases made from stainless steel and 0.456 carats of diamonds framing the dial. They also share the same sapphire crystal and basic layout, with dial functions consisting of hours, minutes and small seconds on a sub dial at the six o’clock position. Priced from £3,450 on a leather strap, the watch has 30 metres of water resistance (3.0 bar) and uses a battery-powered quartz L178 movement.

Read more about the Longines Mini Dolce Vita

Brew Watches Metric

Brew Watches Metric

(Image credit: Brew Watches)

New York-based startup Brew Watches stopped us in our tracks in July, with the reveal of its new Metric collection featuring a hearty dose of 70s nostalgia. Although perhaps not for the shy and retiring type, the gold models are what impressed most, with their unashamedly brash aesthetic drawing us in.

More compact than they look, the case measures 41.5mm by 36mm and houses a  Seiko Instruments hybrid VK68 mega-quartz movement. This gives the second hand a smooth, sweeping motion while the watch itself is powered by the quartz. It lacks the appeal of an automatic mechanical movement, but for $475 (£404.84 plus VAT for UK buyers), I think it’s a steal.

Read more about the Brew Watches Metric

Rolex Oyster Perpetual 41 Celebration Dial ‘Bubbles’

Rolex Oyster Perpetual

(Image credit: Rolex)

Where to start? Rolex well-and-truly blew the doors off with its Watches and Wonders announcement back in March. I have to mention the new Daytona (with an exhibition case back for the first time) and the fantastically bizarre Day-Date 36 with emojis in the date window.

But what I liked most of all was the Oyster Perpetual 41 Celebration Dial, better known as the Bubbles. A fun riff on the various colour options for a regular Rolex OP dial, the Celebration has a bit of fun while still being useable (unlike the emoji watch). Stand-out Rolexes still aren't the easiest watches to buy without a longstanding relationship with your local authorised dealer, but we can still admire the company's unexpectedly playful design from afar.

Read more about Rolex's Watches and Wonders 2023 news

Seiko Presage 100th Anniversary

Seiko Presage 100th Anniversary

(Image credit: Seiko)

Seiko celebrates its 100th birthday in 2024, and to celebrate it has announced the Presage 100th Anniversary. Available early in the new year, the watch is limited to 1,000 examples worldwide and features a beautifully vintage design aesthetic, complete with compact 35mm case diameter, historic Seiko logo, period Arabic numerals and leather strap.

Priced at a fairly attainable £1,760, the Presage is powered by an automatic movement and has 50 metres of water resistance. A collector's watch that I expect to sell out in no time at all.

Christopher Ward C1 Bel Canto Cielo

Christopher Ward C1 Bel Canto Cielo

(Image credit: Christopher Ward)

Yes, I know the chiming (and charming) C1 Bel Canto arrived in 2022. But I couldn't round up the best watches of the year without giving the beautiful new Cielo colour some attention. Doesn't it look fabulous? I think it's best colour yet for Christopher Ward's flagship timepiece – even better than the original dark blue – and is my new grail watch. One day I'll simply have to buy one.

As for Christopher Ward itself, I can't wait to see what comes next from a British watchmaker that can seemingly do no wrong and is going from strength to strength.

Read more about the Christopher Ward C1 Bel Canto

Orient Mako 40

Orient Mako 40

(Image credit: Orient)

I've enjoyed seeing watchmakers shrink their case sizes in 2023. Seemingly gone are the days when 42mm or even a whopping 45mm had become the norm for men's watches. Instead, pieces like this 39.9mm dive watch from Japanese watchmaker Orient are taking a unisex approach.

Called the Mako 40, it's a dive watch with a crown and case that are smaller than on its predecessor. That said, the Mako 40 isn't a dive watch in the truest sense, as it doesn't meet the ISO standards for a legitimate diving watch, but it has key dive design details like an unidirectional rotating bezel, screw-down crown and illuminating hands and hour markers.

Water resistance for the stainless steel case is a plentiful 20 bar, which is the equivalent of 200 metres, and inside you’ll find Orient’s in-house calibre F6722 automatic movement with 40 hours of power reserve. It's well-priced too, at £329.99.

Read more about the Orient Mako 40

Mondaine Cushion Collection

Mondaine Cushion Collection

(Image credit: Mondaine)

Finally, a new take on the iconic Mondaine Swiss railway watch. This latest collection retain the basic same dial design as all other Mondaine timepieces, but incorporate a new cushion-shaped case with softly curved edges. A pair of prominent push buttons control the chronograph function of the larger model.

Two case sizes are available – 31mm and 41mm – and there are multiple colour ways for each size. I particularly like the blue 41mm model with matching fabric strap. Quartz-powered, the watches are available now and are priced from £270 for the 31mm model and £450 for the 41mm version.

Alistair Charlton

Alistair is a freelance automotive and technology journalist. He has bylines on esteemed sites such as the BBC, Forbes, TechRadar, and of best of all, T3, where he covers topics ranging from classic cars and men's lifestyle, to smart home technology, phones, electric cars, autonomy, Swiss watches, and much more besides. He is an experienced journalist, writing news, features, interviews and product reviews. If that didn't make him busy enough, he is also the co-host of the AutoChat podcast.