These 8 Trends Will Change
the Luxury Watch Landscape
The world of luxury timepieces is confusing for the uninitiated and daunting for the modestly paid (at least, historically — more on that below).
If you are in the market for a new watch, you will have a lot to keep straight. A comprehensive buyer’s guide can set your expectations, address basic concerns and increase the chances that you will end up choosing the right watch for your needs.
Before you jump headfirst into the search for your next great luxury timepiece, you will also want to turn an eye to the future. What luxury watch trends, emerging right now, might influence the market in the years to come? What as-yet-unknown conventions and style and pragmatism might alter this expected course?
With that in mind, let us take a look at eight luxury watch trends that we know about right now — and what they mean for your search.
1. Wider range of price points
Not too long ago, luxury watches truly lived up to their name. If you wanted to purchase a high-quality precision timepiece with a legitimate pedigree, you needed to be willing to pay for it.
That is no longer the case. Today, minimalist luxury watches retail for as little as $200 to $300 — well within reach of thrifty members of the middle class. Look for this trend to accelerate in the years ahead.
2. Buy-in from the buyer community
Luxury watch buyers are a loyal bunch. Next-generation watchmakers, like Italian-inspired Filippo Loreti, are capitalizing on this characteristic — and taking a page from social-savvy consumer brands — by building enthusiastic communities around their products. Filippo Loreti, for instance, hit the ground running in 2015 with a wildly successful Kickstarter that raised nearly $1 million from eager prospects. In the years to come, look for other watchmakers to follow its lead.
3. Greater variety of looks and styles
Luxury watches have always come in a variety of shapes and sizes, though trends tend to ebb and flow over time. Today, falling manufacturing costs and rising competitive pressures are indubitably increasing the universe of looks and styles available to luxury watch buyers. We are not quite at the point of personalized luxury watches at mass market price points, but the day may not be as far off as some believe.
4. More focus on materials
Material choice has never been more important to the average luxury watch buyer. Manufacturers are responding by introducing or rediscovering materials not typically associated with fine timepieces like ceramic and reintroducing classic materials like bronze. A wider variety of available materials naturally begets specialization — virtually indestructible titanium pieces present a powerful case for rugged use, for instance.
5. Smaller size
Size no longer matters — at least, not to an ever-growing cohort of discreet luxury watch buyers. Flashy, oversized faces aren’t completely out of style, but the trend toward understatement is definitely ascendant.
6. Flatter cases
A corollary to lower-mass watches: flatter cases that hug the wrist instead of bugging out uncomfortably. That is important whether you are accessorizing with a snug-fitting blazer or form-fitting workout clothing.
7. Textiles moving upmarket
One of the more surprising luxury watch trends is the wholesale embrace of textiles in watch bands. Fabric of any sort used to be verboten among elite watchmakers and their accessory vendors. While it is still more common to see leather bands, the textile trend bears watching. It is yet another data point in favor of the argument that “luxury” is quickly becoming more democratic, with broad implications for the industry’s future.
8. Visible mechanism and out-there chronography
This trend mirrors a broader societal move toward mechanical transparency. We see it in fashionable social spaces that utilize reclaimed materials and exposed utilities, for instance. The effect is simultaneously eye-catching and soothing: a natural conversation starter that, while perhaps eroding the mystique rightly prized by so many luxury watchmakers, engages onlookers who might not yet realize that they are ready for a timepiece of their own.
Luxury is in the eye of the beholder
Never forget that luxury is in the eye of the beholder. Ultimately, you are purchasing your luxury watch for one person: yourself, or the lucky person to whom you plan to bequeath a valuable and hopefully durable gift.
Perhaps one day your heirs will dig your watch out of a box and find the timepiece they have been waiting for. Or maybe you will gift it in a more intentional way, while you are still living. But that is all in the future. For now, your watch is yours alone — and all the trends outline here matter only insofar as you would like them to.
Article by Julia Miller