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WatchGecko Trend Predictions for 2024

11 min read
Richard Brown

Categories

Industry News Reviews

Richard Brown

Categories

Industry News Reviews

Away from the bling and altered reality of watch shows, what trends could we see in 2024 that will define the industry for the year? Some have already started to emerge; some are fanciful ideas. The WatchGecko authors cast their eyes and collective expertise towards the future and offer design predictions which may influence the watches that find their way into your collection in 2024.  

Richard

Maurice Lacroix Pontos S Diver BlueMaurice Lacroix Pontos S Diver Blue - Credit WatchGecko

Trends in the watch industry are fickle things. They come and go really quickly. For example, bronze cases are lovely but a bit 2022. I’d personally like to see more longlasting trends that stick around long enough to become the norm and design concepts that are not quick fixes but have enough depth to cement them into watch culture for years. Such as:

More use of high-grade, beautifully-machined titanium. Watches in this material released last year were inspirational. We are now so adept at working with this tough material that we can make it look like stainless steel instead of the dull metal of the early 2000s, which scratched just by looking at it. This would be exciting, and in fairness, Rolex set a strong marker with the new Yachtmaster.

Boldr VentureBoldr Venture - Credit WatchGecko.

 
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Green energy. Why are so few of the W&W mainstream brands rejecting it? I was in a TAG Heuer boutique, only last week, looking at the latest Solargraph. The dial was so well made that you could not see the solar panel. I’d love for other brands to embrace this technology and release it at W&W as TAG did. A solar Breitling Professional, now, that would be exciting.

Pastel colours. Hopefully, these will find some design cohesion and look like less of an afterthought. I would expect brands to design watches that suit these softer tones, which are here to stay, and not just replace black dials with mauve and expect us to be in awe at the innovation.


Christopher Ward The Twelve 36 (Ti) Cosmic Purple - Credit WatchGecko.

Neil

I’ve never really been a trend follower, so to try and get ahead of the curve and guess what 2024 will bring us, could leave me with egg on my face. However, I will attempt to stick my head above the parapet and predict what’s to come this year.

A bigger push for smaller, one-size-fits-all watches. Neither Ladies or Men’s per se, just somewhere in the middle, as some like to wear a smaller watch and some with smaller wrists, don’t want to be engulfed by a monster.

Colour, colour, colour! We have seen a tentative push from some brands and toes dipped into the coloured water, but I predict that the larger brands too, will start to release less Monochrome and more Polychrome watches.

FORZO Mechanical Drive KingFORZO Mechanical Drive King - Credit WatchGecko.

 

Materials. I hope to see brands using less Stainless Steel and more of a blend of Recycled materials. Using Ocean Plastics and recycling whatever materials are used is paramount to the sustainability of our environment and more brands need to come on board. Not just recycled straps, but cases and packaging too.

Maybe a break from the norm and perhaps we’ll see less traditional round watches. Corners, that’s what I meant, edges and corners, more of those. I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel, but let’s be honest, there are an awful lot of round watches out there. I’m not a roundist, I’m just trying to include more shapes and who knows, maybe I could be right.

Bell & Ross BR05Bell & Ross BR05. Credit: @realwatchbrothers

Anthony

This year, I think we will see people turn away from the big established brands: disillusioned by seemingly disproportionate prices and worried about the highly-publicised risks of theft and mugging. It’s already happening right now: for the first time in recent memory, experts are talking about a glut of Rolex, Patek, and Audemars Piguet on the market. As a result, prices – along with desirability – are beginning to soften. Horror stories are regularly exchanged about people nearly getting their hands chopped off for a fake Rolex too, so the global appetite for ‘replicas’, to put it kindly, should also diminish accordingly. Instead, people are likely to target less ostentatious value, which they will realise they can get without compromising on quality.

Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen lots of very colourful watches. Part of the move towards a less ‘showy’ look will instead drive demand for more muted or traditional colours, in my view. So expect to see pastels from now on rather than fluorescent shades; it’s telling when even a historically ‘out there’ brand such as Studio Underdog starts making watches that you would almost describe as restrained.

Geckota Pioneer Aurora on Simple HandmadeGeckota Pioneer Aurora on Simple Handmade - Credit WatchGecko

 
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Simple Handmade Italian Leather Watch Strap - Reddish Brown

Where we might see more creativity is in case shapes and sizes. Brands seem to less scared of smaller and smaller sizes, and the ladies’ watch is having something of a resurgence as part of this trend. In the past, you would never have imagined an overtly masculine and supersized brand like U-Boat making a ladies’ watch – yet that is exactly what they have done.

Reece

I think we’re going to see an interesting year for watches in 2024. There seems to have been a lot of innovation in the last couple of years, with more splashes of colour and collaborations between watch brands and left-field IPs, such as the Oris ProPilot Kermit and the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon “Spider-Man”. I expect both of those to continue at quite a rate this year, especially the former of the two, given the increasing appetite for vibrancy on-wrist. More choice of colours seems a likely starting point, or more interesting shades of existing ones. Maybe even wackier designs on dials, if the recent Studio Underdog Pizza dial is anything to go by.

Oris ProPilot KermitOris ProPilot Kermit - Credit WatchGecko

Otherwise, I concur with Neil’s point about 2024 potentially being a year for square dial watches. It fits in with the left-field idea that we’ve seen pop up more often in the last couple of years, as brands attempt to differentiate themselves from the rest. Square-shaped watches have oftentimes been some of the more interesting and exciting pieces out there, from the Heuer Monaco of the 1960s to some of the odder Rado True Squares and Bell and Ross options. We’ve even seen Swatch toy with the idea with their What If? Collection, harking back to 40-year-old prototype drawings and ideas dating back to when the brand was first getting off the ground.

And what of Swatch? The behemoth watch group whose namesake brand is the king of trends. There’s talk of a Snoopy MoonSwatch doing the rounds, based on a recent social media teaser, which may reinvigorate the bioceramic MoonSwatch’s fortunes where recent Moonshine releases had fallen flat. Perhaps another Blancpain release may be on the horizon too, or a different brand altogether. Personally, I’d like to see what Swatch could do if paired with Breguet, but without use of bioceramic - an actual quality product with two names at the opposite ends of horology on the dial. Now that would be interesting.

Charlotte

Nodus Unity Pink Blossom
Nodus Unity Pink Blossom. Credit: Nodus.

I have a strong feeling 2024 is going to be another year full of colourful watch dials. I think the metal sports watch in particular is going to host brighter colours. I’m talking yellows, oranges, mint greens, pastel blues and most importantly, purples.

I think purple dials are going to become a regular sight in 2024, both lighter shades of lilac and lavender and deeper hues of burgundy and violet. I think Christopher Ward might have signaled this as a coming trend following their recent launches of The Twelve 36 Steel in Lavender and The Twelve 36 Titanium in Cosmic Purple. Both are beautiful purple-dialled watches and I’m expecting more to follow.

Christopher Ward Twelve (36)Christopher Ward Twelve (36) - Credit WatchGecko

This is also a nice segue into my next prediction: smaller case sizes. Over the past couple of years, more compact case diameters of 36mm or less have become trendier and I have no doubt this will continue into 2024. I’m selfishly hoping so at least, because anything around the 36mm mark is perfect for my wrist!

Finally, I think we can expect to see plenty more collaborations coming this year, particularly another from Swatch after the success of the Moonswatch with Omega and the Swatch x Blancpain Fifty Fathom novelties. There’s only a handful of luxury watch brands with designs as iconic as these - Breguet and Longines come to mind – and the latter would work all too well since Longines’ is part of the Swatch Group’s umbrella.

Timex X PeanutsTimex X Peanuts - Credit Timex

Rob

Looking ahead to 2024 is not as enjoyable a task as yearly predictions have been in the past. 2023 was a devastating year for the industry. Every month saw a different bubble burst. Brands that had been completely overawed by demand through the pandemic and thus compelled to invest heavily in upscaling their production capacities suddenly saw their previously unobtainable pieces that had traded well above retail on the secondary market, collapsing in value as confidence in luxury watches as an asset class fell through the floor (and continues to fall).

Rolex SubmarinerRolex Submariner. Credit: WatchGecko.

 
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Limited editions started to sit on shelves. Thoughtless, nonsensical, cash-grabbing collaborations were finally called out for what they were. For the first time in what felt like forever, preloved watches from big-name brands could be had below retail.

So, in other words, exactly as it should be…

And that wouldn’t be a problem if the industry hadn’t crested to such preposterous, unsustainable heights, and convinced itself through its very own concoction of horological hubris and denial that was always going to be that way.

Rolex GMT Master IIRolex GMT Master II - Credit WatchGecko

Except it wasn’t. And it certainly isn’t. And now we need to figure out what’s next.

In 2024 I imagine that secondary market prices will continue to fall. That’s good news for buyers and bad news for sellers. It’s even worse news for brands that dropped very strong core designs (such as the IWC Ingenieur) at an inflated price point clearly focused on capitalising on the swell of desire for steel sports watches with integrated bracelets. Those pieces will, regrettably, suffer, as the market contracts and excellent preowned alternatives can be had for a song.

A year ago, I was mulling over a teal dial Ingenieur versus a Rolex Explorer II, 40 mm Polar. They were pretty close in price (although both much higher than I wanted to pay for either). The Ingeniuer was maybe one or two thousand more than the retro Rolex, but at that level, the difference was almost negligible. I lusted for a while but gave up. Their values were inflated. Neither was a good buy.

Last week, subdial dropped yet another 40 mm Polar Explorer II. This was the second in as many weeks and this one was priced at a stunningly accessible £6,500. I could barely believe my eyes, but there lies the proof. A real-world collapse is occurring. And rejoicing buyers should ask themselves just one question: is this the bottom of the barrel or is there more to come?

Vintage Omega SeamasterVintage Omega Seamaster - Credit WatchGecko.

 
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Look for the markets to stabilise around the end of Q2. I expect brands to release fewer new references and far fewer hard limited pieces, which will enable them to massage the figures as necessary to save face should a “special-rather-than-limited-edition” bomb. We’re entering a period of consolidation and realignment. The true creatives will continue to do what they do as their audience will not change.

I expect also to see members of this elite echelon celebrated more than ever this year and keep an eye on Sylvain Berneron to win at the GPHG awards if he decides to put his debut piece, the Mirage, forward for the competition.

We need these leaders more than ever to inject a bit of enthusiasm into these dark times. I’m sure they’ll be more than up for the challenge...

Corbin

While blue dials are still mighty popular today, they went through a “phase” somewhere in the early 2000s or 2010s where they saw a huge burst of popularity. I think we are seeing a similar theme play out with green dials this decade. 

Geckota PioneerGeckota Pioneer - Credit WatchGecko

 

Green has quietly emerged from the shadow of its aquatic counterpart, weaving its way through the luxury watch market with a vibrancy that mirrors our collective yearning for nature and sustainability. The pandemic era accentuated the shift, drawing our attention towards colors that symbolize rejuvenation and vitality. Green, with its myriad shades, has also become a symbol of ecological awareness and a connection to the natural world.

Mark Toulson, head of watch buying at the Watches of Switzerland Group, commented in a 2021 NYT article that the company “sold 80 percent more green watches than in 2020, and 197 percent more than in 2019.”

Is the surge purely about aesthetics or something deeper? Perhaps a more subconscious desire to reconnect with our environment? 

Either way, in 2024 I expect to see green dials continuing to dominate collections across the board, from special editions to mainstay lines. This trend is not merely a fleeting fancy but a testament to green's enduring appeal and its ability to adapt to various tones and contexts. 

Personally, I’m all for it. Green dials offer a versatile and refreshing alternative to blue and other traditional colors, without sacrificing elegance or desirability.

Martin

Christopher Ward Twelve 36Christopher Ward Twelve 36 - Credit WatchGecko

The last year, like most years I find now, has flown by and before we know it, Watches & Wonders will soon be upon us and a plethora of new, and maybe not so new, watch designs will be unleashed for perusal and subsequent purchase. So, as every year, 2024 has already seen a number of new releases already, but what else do I feel will be setting trends for the next eleven months?

Well, for starters... more 36mm dials, for sure. They're everywhere and clearly popular (thanks Rolex) - it's an almost guaranteed cash-in? Initially these raised eyebrows and/or groans but now these retro styles are cool again, met with a thumbs up and adorning many wrists, the planet over. And they're ideal, as they can be designed to fit most wrists, of all sizes, genders and needs. I can't see this functional, and for the masses, size disappearing anytime soon.

Next: more rectangular/tonneau cases. These are nothing new; in fact they're mostly another vintage style but the likes of Cartier (with their ever popular and all round classic, 'Tank'), JLC (Reverso), Tissot, Longines, Farer, Benjamin James (new start-up), Accurist and Rotary are banging these out now, across a vast range of price-points, and the fans are lapping them up.

And (almost) finally: Swatch's continued drops of special edition Omega and Blancpain collaborations. Love these or hate them, it's sheer marketing genius and, again, if the demand is there, why stop now? There's already a hint from Swatch themselves of a Snoopy tie-in for its next MoonSwatch and no doubt this will carry on ad infinitum until demand dries up, or Rolex start making watches with bubbles on their dials - oh wait!

PS: My girlfriend wants to see a special Leap Year watch released somewhere. Any takers out there?

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Richard Brown

About the Author: Richard Brown

I truly believe one of the best partners in exploration and adventure is a fine watch. Over 30 years of collecting, my fascination with the technical capabilities of both vintage and modern timepieces has never abated and it is a privilege to be able to share this passion through writing.

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