Watches & Wonders 2023
 

WatchGecko Predictions for Watches & Wonders 2024

10 min read
Richard Brown

Categories

Industry News Reviews

Richard Brown

Categories

Industry News Reviews

Geneva and Shanghai scarcely seem to have passed, and we are already looking forward to Watches and Wonders 2024. In this feature, the WatchGecko authors offer predictions about what the forthcoming shows may bring. Will there be stunning new revelations in design and technology, eye-catching, multi-million dollar, limited editions, and could some brands once again fall short of expectations?

Richard

I found many of 2023’s W&W releases particularly uninspiring, so here’s hoping for something better and more imaginative in 2024. I cannot pretend to get excited (*cough*, Rolex) about a crystal case back. And I feel the same about yet another Cerakoted IWC Top Gun. For Watches and Wonders 2024, I would like to see…

Tag Heuer Night Diver
Tag Heuer Night Diver. Credit: WatchGecko.

 
Regular price
£68.00
Regular price
Sale price
£68.00
Classic Highley Genuine Leather Watch Strap - Chocolate Brown
New
Regular price
£68.00
Regular price
Sale price
£68.00
Classic Highley Genuine Leather Watch Strap - Light Brown
New
Regular price
£68.00
Regular price
Sale price
£68.00
Classic Highley Genuine Leather Watch Strap - Reddish Brown
New

The continued rise of TAG Heuer, a company once again front and centre. A couple of years ago, they had my “watch of the show” with the Solargraph, and this year, I am sure we will see more striking and functional Professional models along with the expansions of classic lines like the Aquatimer and Formula 1. In late 2023, I bought my first TAG for 30 years. It may have been a mint 1987 vintage, but the timing felt perfect.

My fears become unfounded. I worry we will see a handful of major brands losing their direction. Such was the lack of innovation witnessed over previous W&W shows that we, as journalists, sometimes fain excitement over a “new” model which offers nothing more than a subtly different dial colour. My fear extends to Tudor, IWC, Rolex and Bremont. Please – show us something innovative that fires our imaginations. You are all more than capable.

Bell and Ross BR03Bell and Ross BR03 - Credit WatchGecko

Finally, I think we will see more ultra-expensive limited editions. This is a relatively new trend that even mid-field brands like Bell & Ross embrace with their £300,000 Sapphire edition. The strategy is that if you elevate prices to such an extent and create absolute exclusivity, your more reasonably priced offerings will seem more attractive. So, for sure, I predict that W&W 2024 will see most of the brands exhibiting and displaying elite versions of their normal portfolio at eye-watering prices.

Neil

With April 9th fast approaching all eyes are on Watches and Wonders in Geneva. But what will we see and from whom? At the time of writing, it’s probably not all guesswork, as if we look at how the watch world is shifting, we may be able to work out a few ideas of what’s coming.

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

I’ve said it before and will keep saying it, Colour! I do think we will see more brands going a little crazy with their dials. Bright, bold and crazy patterns, possibly a smattering of texture too. Some brands need to loosen up and join the party, I can’t wait to see them all come out and play.

This is more a hope than anything else, but I feel many brands are, well, taking advantage of us as punters. We are being outpriced, watches I could have afforded a few years ago, I now can’t. I’m not buying it. Costs have gone up, we all know that, but when a watch that was £3k - £4k is now almost double, I feel I’m being taken for a ride. This perhaps could be why the second-hand market is so buoyant.

Marloe AstroMarloe Astro - Credit WatchGecko

Less round dials. Perhaps we could see more edges and corners from some of the players. Squares, rectangles, or multi-faceted. I just feel a non-round dial could be a thing this year for some brands. Only time will tell, not too many sleeps left to find out.

Anthony

Switzerland is not a country known for breaking the mold and going crazy, so what we will see at Watches and Wonders is likely to be an evolution of established trends rather than a revolution. Nonetheless, there will be some interesting things to watch out for, especially collaborations. The Blancpain-Swatch tie-in was perhaps the most unexpected combination of 2023, but it was undoubtedly successful – so I think we can expect more brands trying out collaborations designed to reach a wider market.

This might even include technology partnerships that introduce a digital or smartphone element: look at what Hublot did with the Big Bang, for example. No watchmaker has ever managed to marry digital and mechanical know-how in an entirely seamless way, so perhaps some will try again in 2024.

Oris Father Time
Oris Limited Edition Father Time. Credit: WatchGecko.

 
Regular price
£68.00
Regular price
Sale price
£68.00
Simple Handmade Italian Leather Watch Strap - Light Brown
Best Seller
Regular price
£68.00
Regular price
Sale price
£68.00
Simple Handmade Italian Leather Watch Strap - Chocolate Brown
Best Seller
Regular price
£68.00
Regular price
Sale price
£68.00
Simple Handmade Italian Leather Watch Strap - Light Brown Pepsi Stitch

Sustainability is at the heart of most corporations now, so expect that to be a running theme of Watches and Wonders this year, with more brands associating a purpose or cause to their products – as Oris does consistently, for example. After what felt like a real flurry of launches last year, I wouldn’t be surprised to see slightly fewer new watches this year, but with more meaning behind each one.

Despite the huge costs associated with exhibiting at Geneva, nearly all the brands there say that they get value for money out of it – so expect the show to get even bigger this year. One of the criticisms levelled at it in the past though is that it focused too much on the industry and not enough on the public; so I would expect to see more public access this year.

Reece

Watches & Wonders is a chance for manufacturers big and small to show off the year’s creations, I’m sure 2024 will be no different in this regard. Last year saw some especially eye-opening announcements, including seeing a more fun side to Rolex with the Celebration Oyster Perpetual and Puzzle dial Day-Dates, as well as the playful Oris ProPilot Kermit. I think it makes sense to expect more of the same as far as fun goes. The watch industry has become a lot more whimsical in recent years, and considering the sheer success we’ve seen with those odd dials and bright colours, it would make sense for more brands to go for an out–there style on at least one model, even if the Swiss watch industry has traditionally been quite straight-faced.

Omega Railmaster
Omega Railmaster. Credit: WatchGecko.

Generally speaking, considering how big last year’s event was, it may make sense for a more subdued affair overall. I’d expect to see some big releases, but perhaps less of them. There is talk of the Rolex GMT Master II Pepsi being discontinued, and as with the Milgauss in 2023, perhaps Watches & Wonders is the time for that to be done. It may be discontinued in favour of a new GMT Master II model - the word on the street is of a precious metal variant of the Coke bezel variant.

Elsewhere, 2024 is also an Olympic year, and that means one thing - a special Omega release. The official timekeepers of the Olympics have produced some real showstoppers in the past, and it makes sense for this to continue for 2024 and the Paris edition.  There has already been a special white and gold Seamaster 300 to promote the run-up to the Games, and maybe it’ll be as simple as a white dial Speedmaster in a Moonshine case, considering the gold flame logo. Only time will tell, of course, but Watches & Wonders is always an exciting affair, and I’m sure 2024 will be no different.

Charlotte

Part of me is secretly hoping Oris is going to reveal another collaboration with The Muppets at Watches & Wonders in April. Last year’s ProPilot X Kermit Edition is one of my favourite releases of the last twelve months and I think it would be incredibly fun to see more Muppet-themed designs joining it.

Oris ProPilot Kermit
Oris ProPilot Kermit. Credit: WatchGecko.

 

That said, following Watch Gecko’s recent interview with Isra Shah, the UK Sales and Marketing Director for Oris, she suggested the Swiss watchmaker will be keeping the Kermit watch a centrepiece a little longer. I can understand why, since the excitement surrounding it is still apparent. She didn’t say another Muppets collab was off the table, but sadly it doesn’t look like it’ll be arriving this year. Instead, I reckon Oris will be launching another of their conservation-based releases to raise funds for an important cause related to ocean preservation.

Another, more obvious prediction for Watches & Wonders 2024 comes from Rolex. Since this year celebrates the 70th anniversary of their GMT Master watch, it fares that we’re going to see some new iterations of this model. What kind of style or colourway they’ll take on is still up for debate, but if I had to guess, I’d presume we might see the return of the Coke bezel.

Rob

Dare I say it? Will I end up with egg on my face AGAIN? Is this an example of the “sunk cost philosophy” in full effect? Or do I really believe it’ll finally happen? It has to, right? It’s got to be time…

Rolex GMTRolex GMT - Credit WatchGecko

Rolex is notoriously hard to predict. While half the industry zigs and the other half zags, Rolex kind of just zzzs… Every year we get excited about what could be around the corner and every year we’re left scratching our heads over what to do with what we’ve got. It’s not that any of Rolex’s core releases have been bad over the past five years. They’ve simply been, as the youth like to say, “meh”.

The bright-coloured OPs were cool. That was a nice and necessary shot in the arm but they didn’t hang around long enough for all of us who wanted one to get one. The teal dial SkyDweller was pretty sexy if you had a spare house to sell so you could afford it. The LE Daytona was a peach, but limited and brutally priced.

Rolex Daytona
Rolex Daytona. Credit: WatchGecko.

In summary, the odd good model was somewhat spoiled because it was either unaffordable or unattainable. What we need is a little bit more excitement in the lower echelons. What we need, is the Rolex GMT Master II “Coke” to make a comeback.

And, while we’re at it, can we please get the GMT Master II in the new Sub case? It’s sleeker and more graceful and would be a big improvement on the current offering in my opinion.

So I’m going for it again. I don’t know how many years in a row I’ve been saying it, but this has got to be my year. I need that Rolex to return and I’m praying it’ll come through.

Russ

With the flipping of the calendar to 2024, the Watch Industry looks forward to Watches and Wonders to see what new and innovative designs are coming out of some of the finest watch makes in the World. At least new and innovative are what we are hoping for. Last year’s show was a bit of a disappointment personally given we got some new colors and expensive one offs. At least there will be one thing new at Watches and Wonders 2024; the Public.

For the first time the public will be allowed into the show for 3 days. Now, if we could just make Rolexes affordable again...

Breitling Super Ocean Chronometer
Breitling SuperOcean Chronometer. Credit: WatchGecko.

I have two predictions for the show. The first is we will see a greater merging of traditional watch making with technology. With the release of the Tag Heuer Connected and the Breitling Exospace we are starting to major brands get on board the smart watch train. Looking back to 2022 the Swiss (entire industry) shipped approximately $25.9 Billion worth of watches Worldwide vs Apple which shipped $21 Billion in Smart Watches. Given one company came close to out-shipping the entire Swiss watch making industry, it makes you realize how popular smart watches are. This gives traditional watch companies the chance to tap into an entirely new market.

Breitling Super Ocean Heritage Collection
Breitling SuperOcean Heritage Capsule Collection. Credit: Breitling.

My second prediction (wishful thinking really) is an increase in 24-hour face dial GMTs. There has been buzz around a “Coke” Rolex GMT Master II. How about a Rolex GMT with 24-hour dial? The Breitling Cosmonaute and the Glycine Airman are two very successful 24-hour GMTs. While the 24-hour faced dial market might be small it certainly does exist.

I am excited to see what Watches and Wonders 2024 reveals.

Martin

It’s pretty difficult, I feel, to predict new watches for such lavish watch fairs – the items that are so sworn to secrecy and kept under wraps and often cause a sensation when the curtains pulled back. And judging by some of those launched the last few years, anything goes. But here are my own predictions and/or maybe what I’d love to see showcased and dropped at Geneva this year.

Tudor Submariner. A near homage that’s respectfully in keeping with the original. It would sell out immediately. Well, I doubt very much this will ever materialise soon but we can keep hoping.

Tudor Black Bay. Tudor have more or less launched every possible variable of the ever popular BB family, but there’s always room for a new size, colour, finish.

Tudor Black Bay
Tudor Black Bay 58 on ZULUDIVER 1973 British Military Watch Strap: CADET Bond - Classic - Polished. Credit: WatchGecko.

Tudor 1926 replacement, with its own in-house movement. This entry-level, and affordable sporty dress watch is beautiful but its been phased out soon so now is the time for another maybe, again as an entry-level variant?

Tudor North Face. It’s been absent for a while, so now’s the time for a worthy replacement/come back. Keeping the dial black with red, vice yellow, appliques (vice printing) and an improved power reserve indicator.

Tudor Black Bay
Tudor Black Bay 58 on Simple Handmade Distressed Leather Watch Strap - Light Brown. Credit: WatchGecko.

Rolex Explorer, staying in 36mn or 40mm but in white?! Too radical? Maybe, but why not?

Rolex Submariner. Returning to narrower shoulders as per the previous model and maybe in a smaller case?

Oris Kernit Mk2, but with a brown dial and Fozzy Bear in the date window? A joke too far? Well the Miss Piggy ‘Pink’ has been ruled out, so, Fozzy could trump her?

And a new, ‘affordable’ tourbillon – Christopher Ward maybe? That would be an amazing sequel to their Bel Canto.

 

Latest News

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.

More Articles from Richard Brown