Is it just us, or are there more square-shaped watches than normal? We’re not complaining, these distinctively different angular designs are shaking up an industry saturated with timelessly round cases. But where has this trend come from? And could square watches be the next big trend for the luxury watch space?
Don’t get us wrong, square watches are nothing new. Brands like Bell & Ross are almost entirely exclusive to the shape with their well-loved BR 01, BR 03 and recently released BR 05 and BR-X5 collections. You also have the widely loved TAG Heuer Monaco which in many ways has become the timepiece mascot of the Formula 1 world after it appeared on the wrist of Steve McQueen in the 1971 film Le Mans.
TAG Heuer Monaco - Credit Tag Heuer
We also can’t leave without mentioning designs like the Cartier Santos. This watch was the world’s first pilot’s watch and the first square-shaped wristwatch. It was a pretty major watch for Cartier since it was their first timepiece designed for men. It also paved the way for the watch shape in the 1900’s, leading to other early designs like the Vacheron Constantin American 1921 and the Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso.
While there was certainly an increase in these geometric watches during the early 1900’s, the consensus has always been that the circular watch is the established, garden-variety. It certainly makes sense as to why. Rounded cases are effortless to wear, and depending on proportions, the Art-Deco stylings of a square watch may not feel suited to every taste and wrist size. But with that said, the square is definitely making a comeback.
Do we have the Apple watch to blame?
One likely culprit for the increase in square-shaped watches is the Apple smartwatch. Let’s be honest, the most frequently seen watch strapped to people’s wrist nowadays is the digital smartwatch, especially by those in the younger demographic. It’s almost “uncool” to wear anything other than a square smartwatch, so it seems pretty feasible that trends like this are fuelling others in the watch industry.
Briston - Credit WatchGecko
Over the last few years, we’ve seen many leading Swiss watch brands respond to the popularity of smartwatches by launching their own version. The TAG Heuer Connected and Montblanc Summit are two that instantly come to mind. These aren’t square however, but instead blend the design classism of traditional round watches with the technology of smartwatches. So then does that open up the argument that all these new square-shaped analog watches are blending the modernity of the square smartwatch case with timeless displays and mechanical movements?
I can see that I’m a bit of an anomaly in my generation. I have no intention of ever splashing £500 or more on the latest Apple watch. In fact, it feels almost blasphemous to me to wear anything other than an analog timepiece. However, I can appreciate that smartwatches are likely to be the gateway for my generation to get into traditional mechanical watches. And if they stay fixated on the square shape, then they’re going to have plenty to choose from.
More square watches than ever…
Marloe Astro - Credit WatchGecko
So back to our original point. There’s definitely an obvious increase in square watches this past year, and we have a strong feeling that the case shape may become a notable trend for 2024. We aren’t going to sit here and name them all, but some important releases of late that support this argument include the Marloe Astro, the Herbelin Cap Camarat, the Longines Mini Dolcevita, the Rado True Square and the Gucci Grip.
The Marloe Astro watch is a notable design, especially for the sake of today’s argument. Its dimensions sit almost exactly the same as the Apple Watch Series 3 at 38mm by 38mm. It also has the same rounded corners and a distinctively futuristic aesthetic, one inspired by the shape of old-school TV’s that showed us the moon landing in the 60’s. Fellow author Richard has detailed the Astro in more detail here if you’re interested.
Marloe Astro - Credit WatchGecko
Similarly shaped, but executed in the integrated sports watch style, the Michael Herbelin Cap Camarat has become another popular square watch recently. There’s something about the perfect symmetry of the geometric case that goes so well with the integrated components here. It’s all so perfectly uniform and certainly opens up an entirely new genre of watch that I can see catching on quick.
There’s also plenty of square-shaped women’s watches making their debut. The Longines Dolcevita Mini shrinks down the Swiss watchmaker’s rectangular Dolcevita into a more compact square-like shape and pairs it with diamonds and Art Deco-inspired dials. The Rado True Square is another unisex masterpiece engineered from lightweight and scratch resistant ceramic with minimalistic dials and mechanical movements.
Rado True Square - Credit Rado
So, what do you guys think?
Are square watches going to be a new trend for 2024, and if so, do they appeal to you?
Is there a particular watch brand you’d like to see try their own interpretation of a square watch?
Let us know down in the comments below.
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