They say a trend has a lifespan of about 15 years and the watch industry’s love for large watches started in the early 2000s, meaning that it is gradually coming to the end of its cycle. Where we previously wouldn’t have batted an eyelid at watch sizes of 45-50mm, today’s watches are more in the region of 39-42mm for men and 36-38mm for women. The smaller size trend has also been aided by the world’s growing love for vintage watches, which are normally on the smaller side as they predate the trend for larger watches.
It isn’t only a smaller case size that has been growing in popularity, but also the height of the case. Ultra-thin timepieces have been all the rage for a number of years now, with the likes of Piaget, Vacheron Constantin and Bulgari battling it out for world record positions. Even if most brands aren’t interested in starting an ultra-thin World Guinness Book of Records challenge, they are paying attention to the height of their watches and many of them presented decidedly less chunky timepieces this year.
There are often color trends in the watch industry, as there are in the world of fashion. Blue never really goes out of fashion, but there were so many blue timepieces unveiled this year that some people are calling blue the new black. Some of our favorites are IWC’s Le Petit Prince, Klokers Klok-01, Ressence Type 12 “Squared”, Blancpain Bathyscaphe Ocean Commitment, Hublot Big Bang Jeans Ceramic and F. P. Journe’s Chronomètre Bleu.
Cool shades of green
So, if blue is the new black, then it seems that green is the new blue! There were a number of striking green timepieces this year, mainly in shades of emerald that have you wanting to dive into the dial. Check out H. Moser & Cie’s Endeavour Concept, Glashûtte Original’s Sixties, Montblanc’s 1858 Monopusher Chronograph Limited Edition 100 and Oris’s Divers Sixty-Five Green Dial.
Timepieces with skeletonized movements have always existed, with a number of brands specializing in the art of removing as much material from each individual component as possible. This sculpting of the components opens up the movement and removes the need for a dial as the movement is just breathtaking. This year saw a number of skeletonized movements, but they are breaking with tradition and going for a more high-tech design than before. Check out Zenith’s Defy Classic, Bulgari’s Octo Finissimo, Maurice Lacroix’s Masterpiece Squelette Torque, Hublot’s Classic Fusion Classico Ultra-Thin All Black and Roger Dubuis’s Excalibur Spider Italdesign Edition to name but a few.
Vintage vibes still hot
The trend for vintage watches is showing no sign of slowing, as more and more vintage watch shops pop up both in the street and online. But it isn’t only old watches that are appealing, numerous new watches with a vintage design are catching the eyes of today’s watch lovers. Some of our favorites include Oris’s Big Crown Pointer Date, Montblanc’s 1858 Manual Small Seconds, Panerai’s Radiomir 1940 3 Days Acciaio and Patek Phillippe’s Calatrava Pilot.
There seems to be a move away from complicated functions for the sake of having them, and more a move towards useful functions such as second time zones, alarms, chronographs, big dates and more. These are functions that come in handy for pretty much everyone. Some of the top useful complications this year include Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Memovox alarm watch, the Rolex GMT Master-II Pepsi Steel, the Omega Speedmaster Pulsometer chronograph and the Glashütte Senator Panorama Big Date.
Men’s watches for women…just a little bit smaller
Many women love the look of a man’s watch and will often buy them for themselves, or if they are lucky, steal them from their significant others. But for most women, the larger, chunkier size of a man’s watch doesn’t always provide a great fit on the wrist. The same problem also occurs with men with smaller wrist sizes. A number of brands have addressed this issue and are producing great looking men’s watches in a slightly smaller size, so everyone is happy. A case in point, Tudor’s new Fifty-Eight and Breitling’s new Navitimer 1 Automatic 38.
The Milanese strap has never been more popular and can be found on timepieces at both ends of the price spectrum. It was created in Milan in the 19th century and has recently come back into fashion once again. It is highly appreciated by watch lovers for its amazing comfort. It is woven on a special Italian machine that turns stainless steel into a mesh that wraps around the wrist to perfection. Check out the IWC Portofino Chronograph, the Junghans Form A, the Omega Seamaster Ploprof 1200M and even the Apple watch.
Smart watches are very much part of today’s watch scene and offer a number of really great functions to make your life easier, in addition to telling the time. We have to admit that the first ones weren’t great. For the most part, they were huge (not great when smaller watches are trending), the battery life was terrible and the functions weren’t really inspiring. But the technology is constantly improving and connected watches are getting better and better, making them a trend to watch (excuse the pun!)