03/21/2022
 7 minutes

The Top 5 Independent Watch Brands to Keep an Eye on in 2022

By Jorg Weppelink
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Are you no longer interested in buying a watch from one of the popular big brands like Rolex, Omega, Audemars Piguet, or Patek Philippe? Or are you just looking for something different that you haven’t seen yet? You are not alone. The world of watches offers plenty of joy for people who are willing to look past the appeal of the big brands. If you do a little research, you’ll find loads of great independent brands that offer some of the most amazing watches out there. The best part is that watches from these smaller brands don’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. You can splurge if you want to, but there are plenty of fantastic models from small indie brands out there to suit every budget. In this article, we’re looking at five independent brands to keep an eye on in 2022. 

Small Independent Brands: A Bit of Context 

Some of you might be wondering what the terms “small” and “independent” actually mean. Those are good questions. Big companies like Rolex, Seiko, Audemars Piguet, and Patek Philippe are technically also independent brands. The latter two are even independent and family-owned, but within the world of watches, small independent brands are better described as those that represent the spirit of pushing technological boundaries and creatively exploring the limits of watch design. These microbrands release watches in small numbers, so there is definitely a degree of exclusivity to them. So let’s learn more about five of these smaller brands that have been making a name for themselves in the watch world, and may even become known to a wider audience in 2022. 

H. Moser & Cie.

The Moser Streamliner Flyback Chronograph
The Moser Streamliner Flyback Chronograph

The name H. Moser & Cie., or simply Moser to most watch fans, might ring a bell. The brand has steadily been making a name for itself over the years, and we’ve previously featured them in some of our articles. The brand from Schaffhausen, Switzerland has been creatively pushing boundaries since 2005, but it’s the Moser Streamliner model from 2019 that really got people talking. The Streamliner combines the highest levels of fine watchmaking with remarkable design. 

Funnily enough, the design of the Moser Streamliner started with the exceptional bracelet that comes with all the models, but things don’t just stop with the bracelet – the Streamliner models are spectacular in every way. The design was inspired by Streamliner trains from the 1920s, but the overall feel is very 1970s. However, on the wrist, these timepieces don’t feel outdated in the least. The brand has released three different Streamliner models up to this point.  

The first is the aforementioned Streamliner Flyback Chronograph with its spectacular in-house chronograph movement. The second is the Streamliner Center Seconds, which is a great modern sports watch. This time-only model has icon potential with its great case design, spectacular green dial, and incredible in-house movement. The final model, released last year, is the impressive Streamliner Perpetual Calendar. This timepiece combines the familiar design traits of the previous models with an impressive in-house movement that features an ingenious perpetual calendar display. The Streamliner has really propelled the popularity of the brand to new levels. As a result, all of these watches sell at a significant premium on Chrono24. 

Czapek Genève

The Czapek Fratello Limited Edition
The Czapek Fratello Limited Edition

Next up is Czapek Genève, a young brand that was relaunched in 2015 after being absent from the world of watches since the 19th century. In the past, the Czapek name was connected to Patek Philippe. Since being reintroduced to the world of watches, Czapek has gained a dedicated following among those who love traditional timepieces. That all changed, however, when the brand introduced their first modern sports watch with the spectacular Czapek Antarctique in 2020. 

The Czapek Antarctique has been a success from the get-go. The first model was the Czapek Antarctique Terre Adélie, which combined great 1970s-inspired design with the brilliant caliber SXH5 and came with four incredible dial color options. The Antarctique Passage de Drake followed this first model. It features an updated dial design with a beautiful pattern and additional numerals. The spectacular case and bracelet designs combined with the amazing dial execution resulted in a stunning timepiece that is only available in limited numbers and is selling quickly. 

Just recently, the brand announced the release of the Czapek Antarctique Passage de Drake in two amazing new colors. These two dial variations are sure to be big sellers for the brand as well. The first comes with an icy blue dial, and the second has a beautiful salmon dial. I have no doubt that both models will be big hits – these watches are hot property. You can see it on the Chrono24 marketplace: Antarctique models sell for well above their official list prices. 

Laventure

The Laventure Sous Marine Bronze Black
The Laventure Sous Marine Bronze Black

Laventure is a small independent watch brand that was founded by Clement Gaud in Neuchâtel, Switzerland in 2017. Gaud is a watch designer by trade, and it shows in his creations. In 2017, he introduced the first Laventure watch, the Marine, which was inspired by tool watches from the 1960s. Despite finding inspiration in the past, the Marine looks like a modern watch through and through. Laventure creates their watches in very limited numbers, with the idea that once they are gone, they won’t be released again. 

To date, the brand has released four different models in a number of executions. The first Marine was available in three different dial colors: green, blue, and brown. Each color had a limited production run of 50 pieces. The second model, the Laventure Sous-Marine, was released in both stainless steel and bronze. Each came with the choice of a blue, green, or black dial, and was produced in a limited production run of 50 pieces. These were gone in a flash. 

With its third release, Laventure captured the hearts of many watch collectors, including myself. The Laventure Transatlantique GMT was released in 2020, introducing a brilliant take on the popular GMT watch. This model was available with a cream or green dial, each of which was limited to a run of 50 pieces. Gaud once again perfectly balanced retro-inspired looks with a contemporary overall feel. Laventure’s latest creation is the Marine II. Besides the slightly optimized design and the introduction of a bracelet, the big showstopper is the 18k solid gold dial – it’s a thing of pure beauty. As a result, the Laventure name is one of the hottest out there at the moment.  

Unimatic

The Unimatic Modello Due
The Unimatic Modello Due

Another watch brand that has been making waves is Milan-based Unimatic. The young watchmaker was founded in 2015 by Italian industrial designers Giovanni Moro and Simone Nunziato. Their idea was to create stripped-down watches free from any kind of decoration. The resulting minimalist timepieces excel in both functionality and style. Moro and Nunziato have pushed the boundaries of what constitutes great watch design. 

Their most popular creation is the first model they released, the Modello Uno, the brand’s take on a classic diving watch. There have been numerous variations and collaborations since that all boast a distinct Unimatic style. Their second creation is the Modello Due, the brand’s take on a military field watch. Once again, the different versions are modern, minimalist, and create a completely new feel for a military watch. The third model is the Modello Tre, which is essentially a quartz chronograph version of the Modello Uno diver.  

Lastly, there is the Modello Quattro, which takes the design of the Modello Uno, but replaces the rotating diving bezel with a fixed steel bezel. The result is a stunning military-style watch that looks very modern. As mentioned, most of these watches were released in limited numbers. Since the brand has become quite popular with a mix of hardcore watmodell 
ch fans and the fashionable crowd, their watches usually sell out quickly. In response, the brand decided to release a permanent collection of their four basic models so everyone can enjoy Unimatic’s unique stylish take on the classics for well under $1,700. 

MING

MING: pure minimalist design meets complications
MING: pure minimalist design meets complications

The last independent brand I would like to discuss is MING. If you are a watch enthusiast, you might have already heard of this Malaysian brand founded by Ming Thein. The watch manufacturer is best described as a horological platform that is fully funded by six watch enthusiasts. The brand first made a name for itself with the spectacular MING 19.01 released in 2017. The watch was a finalist at the prestigious Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève in 2018. It turned out to be just the beginning of a success story. 

MING watches are instantly recognizable. They are characterized by round case designs and remarkable lugs – but it doesn’t end there. The almost minimalist dial design and iconic hands are easy to spot a mile away. The combination of spectacular design and great technology has earned the brand a dedicated following. As a result, every MING release sells out almost instantly – you have to be very quick to get one. It’s not surprising when you consider the spectacular designs, interesting movements, and great overall conceptual ideas. 

Some spectacular examples are the MING 20.11 Mosaic with its mind-blowing mosaic dial; the MING 18.01 H41, the brand’s stealthy modern take on a diving watch; and the MING 19.02 world timer, which is based on the successful 19.01 but adds a world time complication. The watches range from affordable to very expensive, so there might be something for you in their lineup. You’ll just have to be quick…..very quick.  

So, that concludes our list of five small independent brands that are currently very popular. You should definitely keep an eye out for their new releases in 2022. Happy hunting! 


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About the Author

Jorg Weppelink

Hi, I'm Jorg, and I've been writing articles for Chrono24 since 2016. However, my relationship with Chrono24 goes back a bit longer, as my love for watches began …

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