There are several trends dominating the watch market this year, including vintage-inspired timepieces that mark brand anniversaries and remakes of bestsellers; and more colorful, stylish options for women.
“The biggest trend in watches in the past two or three years is vintage,” says Carol Besler, jewelry journalist and founder of the blog watchdetail.com. “Almost every brand has an anniversary edition, commemorating either a model or the company itself.” Tied to this, she says, is the scaling down of watches, smaller, thinner styles that are reminiscent of the 1960s and ‘70s.
Always popping up in many top 10 best watch brands lists—Seiko, Bulova, and Citizen offer great examples of the trend for watchmakers to look to their past for inspiration while incorporating modern advancements.
Seiko, for instance, celebrates its strong history in dive innovation with its Prospex line targeting a new generation of adventurers with Fabien Cousteau, grandson of famed aquanaut Jacques Cousteau, the Seiko Prospex Dive ambassador, cites Eric Hofmann, senior vice president of business development for the brand.
Bulova too is revisiting its 1972 Oceanographer for fall 2018, the third model in its Archive Series started over two years ago to explore historically relevant designs from the brand’s past. Earning the nickname Devil Diver, the watch has ‘666 feet’ printed on the dial, referring to the depth it could withstand under water, instead of the traditional 200 meters used by Swiss watchmakers, tells Susan Chandler, the brand’s chief merchandising officer.
Watch brands are focusing more on the female wrist. One of the trends that many of the affordable, more mainstream brands are embracing is the desire to deliver to women more versatility and choice for good prices, says watch journalist and author, Roberta Naas, founder of ATimelyPerspective.com. “We’re seeing more brands with interchangeable straps for women giving a selection of great colors and choices,” says Naas. “Color is definitely coming into play in a bigger way this year, as well as classicism [which allows brands to market timepieces that are simpler and more accessible to a wider audience, using more functional materials like steel], an interesting dichotomy of choices.”
Giving a nod to women’s more casual side, Ellen Seckler, chief marketing officer for Citizen Watch America says the brand is launching its new Chandler strap collection featuring different colored straps and dials that has something for everyone and is easy to wear. “Citizen has learned over the years that women tend to buy based on current trends, not only that appeal to them but also to those they surround themselves with. We’ve seen a decline in the boyfriend style watch and have transcended that over to the new collections. The idea of layering and mixing metals is highly recognizable and we’ve worked towards appealing to that with our new Jolie and Citizen L Ambiluna collections. We’ve also found that less is more. You’ll notice in upcoming collections that not all are embellished with diamonds and crystals. Styles are becoming less of a showpiece and more a part of someone’s style.”
Chandler notes that the ladies segment has been a challenge for the entire watch industry over the recent years, but Bulova continues to entice women with modern design fused with true craftsmanship and empowering her femininity. “We’ve been fortunate in the recent historically relevant launch of our Rubaiyat collection with near immediate success. We’ve now added a series of diamond sleek and sexy ceramic designs and identified an opportunity to expand our straps with diamond dial timepieces featuring supple leathers.”
Seiko too is focusing on diamonds in settings that emphasize their brilliance and use the brand’s Solar technology that can be powered by any light with no battery change required.