By Kristian Haagen
With the Watches & Wonders watch fair ahead of us and several other brands celebrating horological milestones, we’re still in the guessing phase. Before you start reading this, please remember that these 2023 predictions are based on my personal guessing. I have no inside knowledge, nor do I know that any of the watches I mention will make it into production. The Omega Speedmaster 125 is the most unlikely to be reintroduced. But it is very fitting to be mentioned when considering the launch year.
Omega Seamaster from 1948
Undoubtedly, Omega has a few Seamaster surprises up their sleeve this year, celebrating the 75th anniversary of one of the best-known model lines. The Seamaster, however, was already celebrated with the Seamaster 1948 Co-Axial Master Chronometer 38 mm, so I’d be surprised to see that model being reintroduced to mark the anniversary. That said, the Seamaster 1948 Co-Axial Master Chronometer 38 mm was a limited edition, offered in 1948 pieces only, when it was introduced in 2018 to mark its 70th anniversary.
Hopefully, Swatch will not force itself onto Omega again and create a SeaSwatch. Instead, seeing a 75th anniversary of the 1948 Seamaster in gold with a porcelain or enamel dial would be cool.
Rolex Explorer from 1953
Even if the iconic Rolex Submariner saw the day of light the same year as the Explorer, I do not expect much as the 2003 version of the Submariner with a green bezel, nick-named Kermit, which marked the 50th anniversary. And in 2020 Rolex introduced the 41-millimeter ref. 126610LV, also with a green bezel. In other words, there is yet to be room for another anniversary Submariner (in my humble opinion) that features Rolex green details.
Instead, I expect a new generation Explorer to be reintroduced with the same 40-millimeter case as the Air-King ref. 126900. It is only natural that the Explorer’s next evolution follows the Air King’s steps. It was already updated regarding movement calibre 3230 in 2021, as found in the Air-King from 2022.
While we’re at it, I’d expect the next-generation Milgauss to be fitted with protective crown shoulders in the same case style. And why not make the Explorer and the Milgauss in RLX Titanium, while we’re at it.
Rolex Daytona from 1963
When the illustrious Rolex Daytona celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013, the “only” new launch was introducing the platinum version of the Rolex Daytona, with that icy blue dial and chestnut brown Cerachrom bezel.
I do not expect anything crazy from Rolex this year, either. However, if Rolex wants to impact that line, they could add a date aperture. It is a long shot since a date has never been offered on a Daytona. More likely, it could be introduced in a 41 mm case to match the Submariner line introduced in 2020.
Omega Speedmaster 125 from 1973
The Omega Speedmaster is probably missing from the list of hot news this year. But if I pick one Omega that deserves a cool relaunch, it’s the Speedmaster 125.
The Omega Speedmaster 125 was launched 50 years ago, in 1973, to mark the 125th anniversary of the brand that was established in 1848. It was more than “just” a Speedmaster, in any case. As the Swiss institution COSC (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres) was founded in 1973, the Speedmaster 125 became the first automatic chronograph watch to receive this prestigious recognition.
According to Omega (and the engraving on the casebacks), 2000 pieces of the Speedmaster 125 were produced. However, scholars doubt only 2000 were made.Nonetheless, the Speedmaster 125 was embraced by the Russian cosmonaut Vladimir Dzhanibekov who wore the watch in 1978 when he spent 145 days and 16 hours in space.
The large and unusual-looking watch was fitted with the automatic chronograph calibre 1041, an improved version of the Omega calibre 1040, offering a 24-hour indicator, AM/PM indicator and a date with a rapid setting.
Besides the complications of this watch, it is also important to mention that the case, bracelet, dial, and movement are exclusive to this model and have not been used on any other watches before or since, making the Speedmaster 125 an important watch in the already impressive Omega portfolio.
As Omega, since 2021, does not offer limited edition watches any longer, there is no reason to expect a limited run of the Speedmaster 125. But it would be cool to see a Speedmaster 175 (a fitting name, don’t you think) with the same funky 1970s shape and complications as the original from 1973. But offered with an in-house Co-Axial Master Chronometer movement. Where do I sign up?!
Swatch from 1983
Swatch significantly impacted the watch industry when the colourful plastic watch was launched during the quartz crisis in 1983. “Swatch” is a contraction of “second watch” and was an instant, global success challenging the cheap Asian-made quartz watches. But also, and more importantly, the success of Swatch saved the crippled Swiss watchmaking industry.
Swatch has recently seen success with the release of the “MoonSwatch” which is a second wave of success since the original launch of the Swatch watch in 1983. It is unclear what plans the company has to celebrate the 40th anniversary, but I would love to see Swatch develop something more “personal” than imitating one of the most important chronograph watches ever made – the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch.
Casio G-Shock from 1983
In the same year as the legendary Swatch, Casio launched their highly successful and ultra-durable digital watch, the G-Shock. The often colourful watches are popular with not only outdoor enthusiasts but also athletes as well as fashion-conscious individuals.
Since Casio has made so many iterations of the G-Shock, I do not expect something that shakes up the industry. Instead, I expect Casio will impress at some level, just like they did when they launched the Full Metal gold-plated G-Shock in 2018.
Chronoswiss from 1983
Chronoswiss was founded in Munich in 1983 by Gerd Rudiger Lang when quartz watches peaked in popularity. Lang, however, believed in the timeless appeal of mechanical timekeeping.
The brand rose to fame with the miniaturization of the regulator, offering a dial layout separating minutes, seconds and hours. This feature was seen on marine chronometers, radio broadcasting timekeepers and watchmaking reference clocks before Lang fitted it into a wristwatch.
Lang also made the very first chronograph with a moon phase in 1983, and since Chronoswiss can celebrate the 40th anniversary of that watch in 2023, I see it fitting to mark this occasion with a revised version of that model.