The biggest trend in watches today is an emphasis on good value. Top watch journals and blogs to The New York Times and CNN report that watchmakers across the pricing spectrum are stressing value—an important caveat in a time of global uncertainty in the watch industry.
“Because of the eco and geo political conditions witnessed over the past few years, watch brands are reanalyzing what they have to do to appeal to new customers and the ever-changing platform of retail sales,” says Roberta Naas, veteran watch and jewelry journalist and founder of atimelyperspective.com.
The average price point of brands has become more accessible, says Naas. She cites good value and good looks key across price points, with the greatest demand under $5,000 and over $50,000 at retail.
The price/value ratio is in a good place now, concurs Carol Besler, veteran watch and jewelry journalist and founder of the blog watchdetail.com. “The bar on quality of craftsmanship for watches, even for quartz watches, has been raised so high across the board over the past 10 years that there really is no such thing as a ‘cheap’ watch anymore.”
Showing up on many must have watch lists for 2017 are the latest models by brands including Seiko, Citizen, and Bulova. Among the top hits lauded are the Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Professional Diver 1000m, 1960 Grand Seiko (modern reinterpretation of its understated first model), and the Chronograph C from The Bulova Archives Series (aka Stars and Stripes).
Naas describes new models from these brands as beautiful and colorful, with an emphasis on sports, as well as a nod to the roots and traditions of watchmaking. Trending overall, she cites greater use of two-tone metals including rose gold, more color in dials and straps, and ultra thin and highly complicated styles.
Trends have moved toward cleaner, contemporary, smaller and thinner styling cites Samantha Barker, public relations and social media coordinator for Citizen in New York. “Straps and bracelets are still relevant, but with simplistic design.”
For Bulova focusing on unique form and function is driving its newest category that boasts sleek design and slim case never before possible in a chronograph movement (CURV). Susan Chandler, senior vice president merchandising, design and development in New York, says the brand is building on this innovation with new Progressive CURV styles for both men and women for the fall selling season.
Seiko offers the answer to the question of what formal watch to buy when one wears formal watches so rarely in its latest Presage “Cocktail Time” Collection. Inspired by the glamour of the cocktail bar, these new models are designed to bring a smile to your face,” describes Priscilla-Marie Ilarraza, public relations specialist at Seiko Corporation of America in New York. “This highly successful all-mechanical collection of dress watches perform well above their price level, and available in several hues and case colors.”
Barker notes that because younger consumers are more interested in investing in experiences versus consumer goods, Citizen introduced three new models that consumers will be wearing while participating in these experiences. “Our Promaster Collection speaks to a generation that saves its money for experiences rather than expensive goods by offering them models they can afford. These models focus on air, land and sea and each have features that coordinate with those semi-professionals and their experiential lifestyles.”
Technology trends focus on two areas new materials for watches, including titanium, reinforced steel, DLC coatings, and high-tech ceramic that make watches practically indestructible; and state-of-the-art mechanical movements with silicon based components that eliminate the need for lubrication, increase power reserve levels and enhance accuracy, cites Besler.
While smart watches are a trend that’s here to stay, many brands are doing whatever they can to distance themselves from the Apple watch up to and including interchangeable cases that would convert the Smart Watch to a mechanical timepiece, cites Barbara Palumbo, watch and jewelry blogger at adornamentality.com and whatsonherwrist.com.
Innovation in technical engineering can be seen in brands like Seiko who is bringing its GPS Solar technology to an ever-wider public offering a new caliber in Astron; Citizen in its first light-powered watch that functions to 1,000 meters, the Eco-Drive Promaster Professional Diver; and Bulova’s CURV, where not only is the movement curved, but the case, dials and hands follow suit to amplify the ergonomic shape.