By Palak Jain
The popularity of watches has skyrocketed in the past decade and social media amongst other external factors has played a significant role in this. The accessibility of timepieces in the modern era has contributed to their rising profile and demand. The fact that serious watch collectors can now purchase uncommon and odd models may have something to do with this.
In recent years, we have witnessed not just the social media angle, but also the consolidation of watches as investments. Once viewed as a sanctuary for cash, luxury watches have since lost their appeal as investors sought out alternative asset classes, such as cryptocurrency, while the stock market surged. The fact that you have to put yourself on a waiting list to get your hands on the latest and greatest watch model is a reflection of the popularity of this category of assets. Though much attention has been paid to these developments, have we seen any other shifts in the watch industry, beyond the evident fall in price?
Yes we have! The watch industry has evolved from being just about watches to more about community building. While we saw the success of several watch events domestically and internationally, 2023 has a lot more in store than you expected. And at The Hour Markers we believe in giving back to the wonderful community. So here’s a sneak peak into 2023, a few predictions, a few facts!
Watch Events & Brand Milestones
Here’s a list of events every watch connoisseur must look forward to in 2023!
1. Vicenzaoro: 20th January to 23rd January, 2023
2. Doha Watch and Jewellery Show: 20th February to 25th February, 2023
3. Inhor Genta: 24th February to 27th February, 2023
4. Watches & Wonders Geneva 2023: March 27 to April 2nd, 2023
5. Hongkong Watch & Clock Fair: 5th September to 9th September, 2023
6. Jewellery Arabia: 21st November to 25th November,2023
7. Geneva Watch Days: TBC
8. Dubai Watch Week 2023: TBC
But apart from this, it’s a milestone year for several watch brands too. After all, they’re the one’s who keep the community intrigued and wanting for more. So here we go, Seiko completes 110 years in watchmaking and Blancpain celebrates the 70th anniversary and the legendary Fifty Fathoms. When it comes to watches, Victorinox is announcing some intriguing new developments. Exciting new product releases and unified marketing under the Victorinox brand are in the works for Victorinox watches, and they are set to debut in 2023.
The brand-new Journey 1884 series of Victorinox watches will debut in February 2023, marking the beginning of a new era for the watch company. Seven exciting new watch collections representing the brand’s ethos will be introduced by 2025.
And in other news, Raymond Weil surely has a surprise for all of us in 2023. Are you excited for a new year filled with new inventions, head-turning timepieces and more?
New Trends, New Predictions?
We’ve all fallen prey to making resolutions for the New Year, only to let it slide by while we take it one day at a time. But how about making a few predictions for the trends we see in watches and new innovations for the industry?
There will be a greater variety of colours seen in watches of all price points, in my opinion. Once again, the brilliant Rolex Oyster Perpetuals were a huge success, inspiring imitations from a variety of watchmakers. Omega Aqua Terra, green and purple TAG Heuer Monacos, green and brown IWC Pilot’s watches, and the list continues.
Since the colourful dials provide for great photo opportunities, we’ve seen social media play a significant role in this phenomenon. In addition, there has been a general trend toward a less stuffy, more relaxed dress code in the office, making bolder, brighter colours more appropriate for otherwise professional occasions. Smart casual has become the norm in many fields, and this has led to greater personal freedom of expression. Watch manufacturers are catching on to the fact that dark business suits are no longer the norm. Freedom of expression has expanded beyond the workplace, so let’s not take it for granted. In any case, there won’t be only black and white. I also think white dials will become more common.
This is something we are already observing, and while there does not appear to be much of a change below the 40mm case size, I anticipate this sub-category to continue to expand. Smaller watches are getting greater attention in the media, popular models are getting smaller to accommodate those with smaller wrists, and smaller watches for men are becoming more socially acceptable. More people are seeing the advantages of a smaller watch as the trend toward vintage timepieces continues, and if dress watches make a comeback, they will likely be on the smaller side as well. Moreover, if the 1980s become the next design influence, there may be another wave toward smaller timepiece.
The first place to look would be at case materials. Although stainless steel sports watches have received a lot of publicity, how do the current offerings compare to the general public’s expectations? Do the tendencies reflect the current economy and popular styles? When discussing case materials, it is also important to recognise how far material science has come, allowing for the usage of novel case materials like bronze, ceramic, and titanium. Alloys of stainless steel, gold (yellow, white, and rose), two-tone, and other (bronze, ceramic, and titanium) are the categories for this activity. Due to the growing demand for one-of-a-kind timepieces, manufacturers now have more freedom to experiment with various components.
Chronoswiss, a producer of high-tech mechanical watches, has declared its entry into the virtual reality (VR) market. Rolex applied to register a trademark, exposing the company’s intent to foray into the emerging markets of NFTs and the metaverse. TAG Heuer, a Swiss luxury wristwatch, just released a smartwatch that can show NFTs and connect to cryptocurrency wallets.
The watch sector is one of the most vocal in Web3 because so many watch companies have joined. Due to blockchain’s potential impact in the watch business, manufacturers and retailers are exploring new distribution channels. Many companies are interested in the idea of issuing NFTs tied to specific products, like watches, to verify their provenance and validity, and in accepting cryptocurrency payments to attract a more tech-savvy customer base. From Breitling to Bulgari, we only predict more brands to join in.
I think we’ve reached a turning moment. Despite the recent surge in popularity of wristwatches, which can be attributed to a number of factors, we may expect to see a change in watch styles in the next few years as a result of the economic downturn and corresponding shifts in the fashion industry. From a historical perspective, we can observe that watch case sizes have grown steadily larger since the 1970s, that more materials are being employed, despite stainless steel remaining the most commonly used, and that dial colour palettes have grown.
The decline in the availability of watches with white dials since 2010 and the fact that the majority of watches fall into the 41 – 43mm size group are both surprise phenomena, given the increased media attention being paid to smaller timepieces. Making long-term forecasts is challenging for any topic. Even so, I anticipate a renaissance of dress watches as thrift-conscious shoppers seek out alternatives to flashy products. Nonetheless, more vibrant dial colours will continue to be used.
Since customers in today’s more individualistic society value finding unique products that reflect their personal taste, brands feel safe experimenting in this area. This is only the beginning. I predict that two-tone watches will become increasingly popular, as both buyers interested in gold and those interested in stainless steel will come to recognise the added value offered by a two-tone model of a given price point.
And, expectations from The Hour Markers? Well, we have always been about giving back to the watch community, and we have something for you. Let’s welcome the new year while you decipher this riddle:
They have their personal tales, they have watches that they honour, A platform to bring them closer to the community, we’ve got you in our ‘Corner’.
Who am I?
Hint: Head to our website and get your answers!
On that note, Hello 2023!