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Predictions are usually only as reliable as horoscopes. If you expect to find specific, correct information about which watch will be the hit of the year, you are almost sure to be disappointed. We are just as curious as you are about what the coming trade shows for watches have in store for us, but there are some tendencies about which watch trends can be expected in 2020.

A brief review of 2019

2019 was full of surprises for lovers of fine luxury watches. The rush for Rolex steel models continued unabated, causing waiting times to sharply increase. Classic watches such as the "Hulk", "Pepsi", "Batman" and the Daytona enjoyed enormous popularity and will therefore probably be among the most sought-after models this year as well. Furthermore, the GMT-Master II "Pepsi" was awarded the prize for "The Watch of the Year" twice as the "Trendsetter Men's Watch" and " Sportiest Watch of the Year" at Baselworld in the jury and reader's ranking.  

Silver Patek Philippe Nautilus 59801A001 watch with a black background

In addition to a short but strong boom with diamond-encrusted, "iced out" watches, the Patek Philippe Nautilus also saw a record high on the grey market. Steel models such as the Ref. 5711 were priced at up to € 70,000 through the beginning of November. For comparison, the list price for the Ref. 5711/1A-010 is € 27,550. The price sank to just under € 60,000 within a single month. While this may seem to be lamenting at a very specific level, a loss in value of around € 10,000 within a single month can still seem painful. We are curious to find out whether the year 2020 will bring.

Watch trends for 2020

The retro look – always popular

It is back and has also successfully re-established itself in recent years: retro fashion. Leather watch straps and dials with a vintage look have not only conquered the hearts of watch lovers. Breitling and Tudor reintroduced this look with models such as the Breitling Premier B01 Chronograph 42 Norton or the Tudor Black Bay Chrono S&G featuring a leather strap and removable wristband.

Breitling Premier B01 Chronograph 42 Norton Edition with a brown leather bracelet

Moreover, the so-called "Bullhead" watches like the Seiko Bullhead Chronograph and the Omega Seamaster Bullhead Chronograph are increasingly finding their way back on to wrists. If you pair these models with the popular "Bund straps", bracelets with a wide leather pad under the watch case, you have the perfect basis for somewhat playful, yet impressive watches with a retro look. It remains to be seen whether other watch manufacturers will follow this trend with their own retro models.

Sustainability and luxury watches

Especially considering the ongoing discussion on environmental protection, renowned luxury watches manufacturers might do well to avoid talk of "rare metals" and instead use recycled materials and those that are not harmful to people or the environment. For instance, many luxury watch brands such as Chopard and Piaget exclusively use ethical gold. The company Oris has demonstrated its commitment to environmental protection by supporting the Reef Restoration Foundation to restore the Great Barrier Reef. As part of its Aquis Series, the company offers limited edition watches for charity, such as the Clean Ocean Limited Edition and the Oris Blue Whale Limited Edition.

Sustainable consumer habits as well as the purchase and resale of used goods are becoming increasingly important. If you are thinking about buying a watch, you should definitely consider pre-owned luxury watches. This is not only more sustainable, but also involves a shorter waiting period, since there are often very long waiting lists for new timepieces from leading watch brands. It is clear that the issue of sustainability will continue to be an important topic in 2020, so there will certainly be some innovation in this area.

Enduring popularity: Chronographs

Have they ever gone out of style? Chronographs such as the Rolex Daytona, the Breitling Navitimer and the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch are regarded as absolute all-time favourites. Some of them are so popular that future owners have to expect waiting times of up to 8 years. We would doubt that Rolex will release a new version of the Daytona – even if a small spark of hope remains. Nevertheless, we can expect a number of new chronographs from various other manufacturers – whether in a retro version, designed for sustainability or in exclusive special editions. But one thing is certain: a chronograph on your wrist will always be in fashion.

Silver Breitling Navitimer Chronograph AB012012.BB01.447A

Which colours will be in style in 2020?

Opinions are divided on what the trending colours for 2020 will be. While many see muted colours on the rise, others expect fresh and strong colour variations. In 2019, the triumphant collection of "colourful" Rolex models continued, which is why a sound mix of both styles can be expected. In addition to watches with strong colour accents, monochrome models will continue to be in great demand. Last year's favourites also included entirely black watches. Subdued and earthy colours are also in line with trends for retro watches and will likely still be in demand in 2020.

Rolex Submariner 116619LB steel watch with blue dial

Classic colours such as black, dark blue, white or silver are unlikely to be taken off the market and will continue to be used for the majority of dials in the future. Timepieces with "gradient dials" featuring gentle colour gradients might also increase in popularity and keep strong, brilliant colours somewhat in check.

A trend for watches: Make it flashy, please!

The growing trend towards eye-catching timepieces should not be dismissed. Watches made of solid gold are gaining more and more popularity and there is a good reason why watch manufacturers like to release special editions like the Omega Moonwatch.

But gold is not the only material that is growing in popularity. "Iced out" watches completely covered in diamonds, such as the Cartier Panthère (Ref. 887968), and "frosted watches", with specially treated, sparkling surfaces, are also staying in the spotlight of Haute Horlogerie. Even if it is necessary to strongly differentiate here: "factory-made" watches, i.e., models directly from the manufacturer, are much more sought-after than subsequently modified, customized watches. It is safe to assume that even in 2020, there will be no shortage of extravagant models of watches and we can expect some real fireworks in this respect.

The trend to smartwatches

Even though it may be painful for lovers of mechanical watches: smartwatches are still in fashion. They may not replace mechanical watches for a long time, but the fact that some manufacturers like TAG Heuer now also have smartwatch models in their product range makes it all the more clear how much the smartwatch has already established itself – even in luxury segment.

Black TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 SBF8A8013.80BH0933 Smartwatch

Whatever the watch industry will have to offer in 2020, we are also looking forward to the new products and trends as eagerly as you and are ready to embrace the new. A bit of fresh wind, especially in the area of sustainability, is always good.