Recently, certain members of the C.D. Peacock team traveled to Geneva for the annual Watches & Wonders exhibition. Easily the most important trade fair of the year, this is the place where the world’s most prestigious watch brands – many of which we carry – show off their newest introductions: watches that are setting trends this year and next year around the world.
It is a week-long journey where we get to see, touch and discuss the watches we select to bring into our stores later this year. It is the place to learn about new directions – from design and aesthetics to innovations, patents and more. Sometimes, there are even mind-blowing new timepieces that have our seasoned team shaking our heads in wonder.
While it sounds great, make no mistake, visiting Watches & Wonders and the exhibitors also showing around the city, is work. We start early – typically we are in the show by 830 in the morning and have back-to-back meetings all day long. Evenings are spent with brands for long yet enjoyable dinners with colleagues and friends that last late into the night. Then the next day, we do it all again – making time along the way to strategize, evaluate the watches, consider the likes and wants of our valued customers, and take it all in.
So, what was new at this year’s fair? A lot – from small things we noticed to significant shifts in trends. Here, we take a look at a few important trends that will hit the market beginning in summer and make quite a splash.
It’s all about size … and ergonomics
We have been witnessing a gradual reduction in the diameters of watches over the past year. Some brands are reducing the size of their watches by just a millimeter or two, while others are shifting to release entire collections that are smaller than previous generations by at least 4 millimeters. It may not seem like a lot, but when it is on the wrist – those smaller sizes can make a world of difference. Instead of 44mm to 48 mm watches, expect to see more 40 and 42 mm sizes and even 38mm that are incredibly versatile.
At the same time as watches are thinning down in diameter, they are also slimming down in thickness, as nanotechnology allows for the making of smaller movement parts and, by extension, thinner calibers inside the case.
Additionally, as many brands re-think sizes, they are also tweaking factors that contribute to comfort on the wrist. We are witnessing a slimming and curving of the lugs, and more integrated bracelets and straps that allow the watch to sit more ergonomically on the wrist. In generally, these aren’t big changes you will notice at a glance, but they are changes that will continue as we see a slight renaissance or uptick on a more classic look.
Another important trend that continues is the re-evaluation of current watch collections – in tandem with closer looks at brand archives. A host of top companies this year were inspired by their past and took cues of yesteryear but with a sophisticated and contemporary aesthetic. The result is a deft blend of past and present – sometimes with iconic watch lines. Another hint of vintage: the emergence of copper or salmon colored dials on stainless steel or white gold watches.
As has been the case for years now, color reigns supreme when it comes to watch designs. However, while the most popular dial and strap hues have typically tended to be gray and blue, this year we are witnessing a refreshing painter’s pallet. Greens in all hues make their own statement, as do reds, burgundies and wine colored dial and straps.
In addition to wanting to offer consumers clean dials and great looks, brands also want to offer functions and useful features on classic watches, as well as sports watches. Calendar watches – from annual calendars to perpetual calendars—are a prime example, as more brands released this useful function on sophisticated timepieces. Also important are watches with dual- and multi- time zone indications.
On the sporty side, we can never get enough of chronographs and watch brands this year are offering an array of watches that can time events with the push of a button. Savvy brands are even releasing Split-Second chronographs that can time multiple events with different endings simultaneously.
With more and more people living active lifestyles these days, we are witnessing a rebirth of tool and sporty watches: pilot watches, dive watches, field watches. As brands become more adept at creating watches that are stronger, more durable, rugged and even more shock- and water- resistant, this category continues to evolve. Today’s sport watch looks very different – both inside and out – from sports watches of 20 years ago.
There is also a continued emphasis on the coupling of cars and watches. Some brands this year celebrate big anniversaries of their relationship with an automotive race, a race car driver or racing design. TAG Heuer, for instance, celebrates the 60th anniversary of its Carrera watch, named for the famed Porsche 911 Carrera, by offering a host of new watches in conjunction with Porsche.
This year more so than in previous years, we are also witnessing an emphasis on women’s watches. Brands that didn’t use diamonds on watch dials or bezels in the past are adding them to offer a touch of elegance. Brands that have typically released feminine styles are upping the game this year by turning to slabs of gemstones like lapis lazuli, tiger eye and even meteorite as dials, or by implementing unusual diamond and gemstone settings. There is also a re-emergence of the feminine cocktail watch, and even – at the very high end – pendant watches.
These are just a few of the trends we spotted while walking the halls of the show. Expect to see most of them making their way to our stores starting very soon. Please, come in and take a look.