Revival of the classic – these are the watch trends 2019
Starting last year, you may have noticed the clear trend in the luxury watch industry: away from oversized, martial-looking watches and back to traditional strengths such as perfect workmanship, precision and quality.
This year, exactly this direction is being pursued. The manufacturers place emphasis on clear lines and in particular, flat watches. This was quite evident at the Geneva watch salon, the SIHH, this year – factories such as A. Lange & Söhne, Montblanc, IWC and Audemars Piguet presented their novelties in January, ushering in the new watch year. One feature that has received relatively little attention in recent years is definitely back in the spotlight this year: the watch bracelets.
Trend # 1 – Simplicity
Less is more. Although this principle is not true in all areas of life, in luxury watches it hits the nail on the head. Clean lines, a simple dial and no unnecessary complications are drawing attention to the essentials: time. By adhering to this ideology, a watch sometimes looks very classy and elegant, useful and can be perfectly combined with almost any outfit.
Luxury manufacturer Audemars Piguet has come to this conclusion. Primarily known for the octagonal Royal Oak, the company redesigned it for the SIHH in January 2019 with the model number 11.59. It is clearly less distinctive, flying deliberately under the radar. Since this is not typical for Audemars, the new collection is currently heavily criticised in professional circles – but the company proves that it is not stubborn and can adapt to new trends.
Trend # 2 – Flat Watches
Of course, when one speaks of minimalism, it does not refer exclusively to the dial of a watch. Also, the case should be as unobtrusive as possible, at least that is quintessential for the buyer. Understandably, because particularly flat watches not only create an elegant look, but are also extremely comfortable to wear. In everyday life you hardly notice them under the cuffs as they disappear easily.
For manufacturers, this desire is both a challenge and a way to prove themselves. Because the ultimate height of the watch case stands and falls with the movement. Building a flat, mechanical movement requires a high degree of craftsmanship – but competitors may have created a flatter one.
Jaeger-LeCoultre created the hitherto flattest minute repeater which is automatically wound. The „Master Ultra Thin Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon“ measures only 7.9 mm in height, even though there is also a flying tourbillon in the case next to a striking mechanism. The technical solution to accommodate such complications in such a flat case, is considered the ultimate discipline in the watch industry.
Trend # 3 – Black Watches
After the great popularity in recent years of blue watch tones, it is now the colour black that meets the craving of buyers. Because of this trend, the readability is worsened but many customers accept this constraint. For a watch that not only keeps the case and bracelet in rich black, but also the dial and applied indices and hands, is very much en vogue. At the same time restrained and fashionable, black watches radiate fashion awareness.
A very popular model among completely black watches is the Avenger Blackbirdfrom Breitling. The watch is not inconspicuous despite its colour scheme, because it combines many functions in itself. A more understated choice is the Rado Hyperchrome, the 2018 watch features classic stick indices, grey hands and a date window at three o’clock, otherwise, the watch is completely black.
Trend # 4 – Chronographs
They make something visually neat – chronographs. While one can not speak of a new trend, but of a persistent or increasing demand. Thanks to sub-dials for the stop functions with additional hands, chronographs are not only functional. Likewise, the necessary pushers, usually placed above and below the crown, ensure a complex, technical appearance of the watch. The fascination behind this can therefore be deduced from the functionality, the pure optics or a combination of both.
IWC introduced a brand new series at this year’s luxury watch fair SIHH in Geneva. With the IWC Spitfire collection, the company launched its latest aviation chronographs and thus set a new high. Because optically, the watches cast a spell over every observer. Technically, they exclusively contain movements created by IWC themselves and convince with precision and quality.
Chronographs are a trend that has become so common that you can no longer call it a trend. They will probably accompany us for a long time.
Trend # 5 – Bracelets
If you look back on the stories of the the manufacturers, one usually talks about the movements, cases or dials. This is only logical, after all, they reflect the technical masterpiece of the manufactory. However, if you look at a watch from the perspective of a buyer, yet another feature that adds to the aesthetics: The bracelet with which a watch is fitted. Manufacturers have understood this and now attach more importance to attractive bands. For example, the NATO strap experienced a veritable boom in recent years. Initially described as a „cheap textile strap,“ the marketing departments of major manufacturers such as Hublot and Omega recognised the potential. Creative colours, individualised patterns and high wearing comfort turned out to be a trailblazer.
But even the mesh bracelet is now increasingly in the limelight: Comfortable to wear and made of metal, the practical adjustment mechanism speaks for itself. The latter is particularly appealing to people who feel like leather straps with pin buckles are often too small or large.
Tendency # 6 – Skeletonized dials
A transparent sapphire crystal caseback or elaborately designed dial increases the visibility into the interior of a watch and therefore to the fascinatingly complex mechanical movement. Admittedly, the dial is affected by the constant movement, but on the other hand, connoisseurs see immediately the corresponding movement of a model. This euphoria may be easier to comprehend when compared to the open bonnet of a car – a lover’s heart beats faster, because the heart of the object is now visible at all times.
Roger Dubuis demonstrated what was possible at the Geneva watch fair with his one of a kind piece „Excalibur One-Off“. Partnered with Lamborghini and Pirelli, the manufacturer developed a highly complex race driver’s watch, in which both dial and case back are transparent. Visually, it is inspired by the aggressive design of Lamborghini cars, with hexagonal shapes dominating the design.
Trend # 7 – Back to the roots
In many areas of our everyday life, “Retro” is currently a fashion. Whether in the domestic interior, clothing style or even vinyl records, we love to revel in the beauty of yesterday. This tendency does not stop on wristwatches, many manufacturers present new editions of iconic watches of the past decades.
Alternatively, many customers look for vintage models, because why replicate old when you can get honest old? The problem here, is to find models that are no longer offered by the manufacturer, in good condition and also authenticated as an original. That’s why certified online retailers such as Watchmaster helps.
And the future?
With the introduction of the Apple Watch, most people believed that conventional wristwatches would become obsolete – much like music streaming replaced analog recordings. But the opposite was the case, the desire for a reliable wristwatch is growing steadily and with it the market.
Every year, as in the fashion world, new trends emerge – but it is fair to say that wristwatches are far from extinction. The trend you join ultimately remains your decision. The beauty here lies in the infinitely large range of colours, shapes and functions. You may also discover completely different kinds of watches other than the ones discussed here. And who knows, you might be able to claim in a few years to have established a new trend in 2019!