Question of Time: Everything We Need to Know About the Most Important Watch Trends for 2024

by Liza Epifanova

The new year has arrived, and the anticipation for new watch releases at brand presentations, fairs, and the major watch show Watches & Wonders is palpable. Now is the perfect time to speculate about the trends that will shape the watch industry in 2024. Many of these trends are not new but continuations of those from previous years. However, the watch industry is not a monolith; it evolves slowly, reflecting new styles, clientele, and culture. Here are five predictions for how watchmaking will evolve this season.
Reduced Size

Recently, many watch brands have shifted to smaller cases. While some attribute this to the demands of the Chinese market or the influence of vintage style, the primary reason is the desire for more comfortable, compact, and lightweight watches for everyday use. Notable examples include Jacob&Co’s Casino Tourbillon in a 44 mm rose gold case and Audemars Piguet’s Code 11.59 Ultra-Complication Universelle, with a 42 mm diameter case housing 23 complications. Panerai’s Radiomir Quaranta Goldtech in 40 mm also exemplifies this trend. We can expect this shift towards 38-42 mm cases to continue in 2024.
Great Minds Think Alike

Collaborations will continue to rise in 2024. This can mean anything from joint efforts between two watch brands, like the sold-out Time-Eater by Louis Erard and Konstantin Chaykin (with two editions in 2023), to provocative partnerships like the Swatch x Blancpain Scuba Fifty Fathoms, priced at just $400. Collaborations also extend to car brands, famous watch retailers, or entertainment corporations, like the Spider-Man watch by Audemars Piguet and the Kermit edition by Oris. The rationale behind this trend is twofold: collaborations create sought-after limited editions and provide added value for clients who seek something unique and easily recognizable. A prime example is the Bugatti Chiron Tourbillon Molsheim Edition by Jacob&Co, priced at one million Euros – half the cost of a Bugatti Chiron car. Artist collaborations also stand out, bringing fresh perspectives to watch design, such as the Hublot piece created with Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, featuring a transparent sapphire case shaped like a flower with a central tourbillon as the pistil.
Black and Mirror

Black remains the most popular color for watch dials, with the trend now extending to cases and bracelets, thanks to materials like carbon and high-tech ceramic. George Bamford of Bamford Watch Department likens black watches to suits: they exude elegance and slimness. Similarly, the popularity of full-metal watches is rising, offering a sharp, clear appearance. A recent example is the Zenith Defy Extreme Mirror, with a highly reflective surface. Expect to see more monochrome, all-black, and metallic designs in the near future.
Jewelry Renaissance

In an era dominated by smartphones, traditional watchmaking has become a form of art. This is particularly evident in jewelry watches, even for men. The Bulgari Octo Roma Secret Watch collection, especially the Octo Roma Cameo Imperiale model, is a testament to this trend, featuring a flying tourbillon and a dial decorated with a cameo of Emperor Augustus. For women, there's an increase in 'sautoir' necklace watches, chokers, and jewelry cuffs from brands like Cartier, Piaget, Chanel, and Van Cleef & Arpels. These pieces echo the extravagance of the baroque era and the cheerfulness of art deco, signifying a sparkling renaissance in high-end jewelry and watchmaking.
Go Green

Sustainability has become a crucial value among new generations of watch enthusiasts. Last year saw various eco-friendly watch releases, from Chopard's Alpine Eagle 41 XPS made of recyclable steel to Hublot’s Big Bang Unico Nespresso Origin, crafted from Nespresso capsules and coffee grounds. Swiss companies ID Geneve and CompPair introduced the Circular C collection, featuring dials and bezels made from 100% recycled carbon fibers from the aerospace industry. As sustainable watchmaking evolves from a niche to a mainstream trend, we anticipate new recyclable materials, ethical gold, and lab-grown diamonds. Modern wristwatches are not just about telling time; they symbolize how we choose to spend our lives.
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