By Karishma Karer
The year has just begun, but in the watch years, it seems like we’re halfway there already. Swiss watch exports began the year at the same pace as in the last quarter of 2022, increasing by 8.6% in January, to 1.9 billion francs. Not only has the watch industry survived but has shown substantial and robust growth in all its key markets.
Barely a few months in and we have already seen new and impactful novelties like the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Panda Chronograph, the Ultra-thin Piaget Polo Perpetual, a new caliber 473 for Oris, and so on. But what will brands bring to the table this year?
It’s also the year for a few big boys to celebrate their milestones. To name a few watch anniversaries :
The Daytona turns 60 (1963)
The Explorer turns 70 (1953)
The Submariner turns 70 (1953)
The Royal Oak Offshore celebrates 30 years (1993)
The Seamaster turns 75 (1948)
The Heuer Carrera turns 60 (1963)
The Fifty Fathoms celebrates 70 years (1953)
The Serpenti turns 75 (1948)
110 Years Of Watchmaking
With these and many more reasons to celebrate, what can we expect from 2023? Here’s what we think…
Watch Assumptions 2023
2023 is a big one for Rolex with the Submariner turning 70 and the Daytona celebrating its 60th. History has it that Rolex doesn’t always celebrate its milestones. The last one I remember is the platinum Daytona in 2013. However, since we are just hoping and wishing, for both these icons we could see a new color, a no-date sub-version, and maybe even new sizes and metals. Given the launch of the 50mm Deepsea in titanium this year, maybe a few more sporty titanium Submariners and Daytona’s? Whatever the crown launches, the one thing that will undoubtedly stay consistent is the tag “exhibition only”.
Last year at Watches & Wonders we saw an extremely successful reissue of the Vacheron Constantin Historiques 222 which was most certainly wait-listed as soon as its introduction. Could we see another version of this in 2023? Maybe in steel?
Since we are on re-editions, Piaget is long overdue with the Polo. Since its introduction in 1979, the polo is one watch that has elegantly refined itself to fit every era, maintaining its timeless elegance. We are expecting an exciting new vintage-inspired reissue here.
Fondly nicknamed “the beast” the Royal Oak Offshore has seen numerous iterations of complications and colors. To celebrate its 30th, we don’t put it past Audemars Piguet to introduce an audaciously complicated “limited edition” maybe in a new metal.
Now, although it is the year to celebrate Bvlgari’s Serpent, we are most certainly expecting another record-breaking Octo Finissimo. Maybe a moonphase this time around? Another LVMH celebration this year is the 60 years of the Heuer Carrera. Maybe a few vintage-inspired Autavia reissues?
One of the most hyped internal collaborations of 2022 was the Moonswatch. Even a year after the launch, many are still waiting on their preferred version. We did see introduction of the Mission to Moonshine version with the gold seconds hand, but is that just a preview of what’s in store? Now that they’ve covered the planets, we can expect a new collaboration for the ocean. A SeaSwatch? Given all that Swatch Group is celebrating this year, (40 years of Swatch, 75 years to the Seamaster, and the 70th anniversary of the Fifty Fathoms) the possibility of a Planet ocean or even the Fifty Fathoms Swatch is a lurking thought. Since we are just speculating, there is no limit to our imagination here.
The Watch Industry 2023
As per Deloitte’s recent report, the share of watches bought online is likely to increase by 30% in 2030, although a majority of the industry still feels that offline will dominate the markets for the next 5 years at least. This year India and the world will see the first-ever digital boutique launch of TimeVallée in collaboration with Tata CLiQ Luxury. Another interesting yet widely speculated find is that 57% of brands will be launching NFTs primarily for certification purposes to accessorize the metaverse. The question is, is this virtual asset the need of the hour? Read more here
With the ongoing economic and geophysical uncertainties, we are likely to see a continued trend of insufficient supply. While the demand for luxury brands grows consistently, we presume brands will consolidate further with subtle advances. We are expecting to see numerous brands moving more towards “boutique-only editions” over growing their existing collections this year.
Once labeled as a “taboo” in India, the pre-owned watch market will make quite an impact this year. In fact, 2023 will see the introduction of a few new pre-owned watch stores in the country, which most brands today perceive as a positive influence on the watch industry as a whole.
2023 will be the year for Independent watchmakers as well, from the more recognized brands to the little indie watchmakers. A few brands I would watch out for this year are Kurono Tokyo, Baltic, and Universal Geneve.
The watch market although, relatively smaller, is quite a significant industry holistically. We presume the focus this year will be consolidation over innovation. Well, these are just my predictions and a few wild guesses for the year, let’s see what 2023 has in store for us.