The global watch market is projected to grow at the rate of 8.2% from now through 2023, according to research conducted by Mordor Intelligence. Adoption of Swiss-made luxury watches, a rise in the demand for smart sport watches, especially among youths, and a change in lifestyle are some factors driving the watch market globally.
Demand is rising for watches that offer innovative design, superior quality, and craftsmanship. There’s greater preference for branded watches with limited edition ranges, finds the report. It also cites more brands launching smart sports watches equipped with advanced functionalities like multisport tracking, heart rate monitor, and GPS capabilities. In the next four years demand for sport and smart-watches is forecasted to grow at a faster rate globally.
The global watch market was valued at over US$47 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach more than US$72 billion by the end of 2025, growing at a CAGR of 6.2% during the next five years, according to Wrist Watch Global Market Growth, Opportunities, Analysis of Top Key Players & Forecast to 2025, by Wiseguyreports.com.
Carol Besler, veteran watch and jewelry journalist and founder of the blog watchdetail.com, cites sports watches making a comeback for men after several years of vintage styles dominating the trends. She sees a transition from vintage to sports watches that have a few more functions and much sportier looks.
In fact, she says multi-function sports watches and state-of-the-art versions of innovative technology, including Citizen’s ECO-Drive and Satellite Wave technology got a lot of attention at this year’s international watch fair, Baselworld. “It’s groundbreaking technology, a great strength for the brand. High-tech and affordable, it’s perfect for the U.S. market. Young people will find it interesting.”
Citizen’s Eco-Drive Caliber 0100, the brand’s most precise light-powered watch in the world with annual accuracy of +/- 1 second, releases in limited edition, fuse design with innovation. The case and dial details elegantly communicate the concept of ultra precision, says Susan Chandler, Chief Merchandising Officer, Citizen Watch America.
Described by many watch bloggers as, “damn cool” at this Baselworld is also Bulova’s Computron LED. Hot from the experimental quartz ‘70s, it’s one of the brand’s most iconic and nostalgic pieces. But this time around, it has more modern design elements — now available in all gold-plated case and bracelet with a red LED display, a black IP version with a rubber strap, and a stainless steel model with a blue LED display. “The anti-technology watch for today,” says Chandler for Bulova.
Among its Top 13 watches under $5,000 Gearpatrol.com calls out the Joseph Bulova Collection, which Besler describes as straddling the fence between modern and vintage styling. Chandler notes that this limited edition range, inspired by its 1920-1940’s archive timepieces, delves into its automatic roots.
Spied, too on Gearpatrol.com’s Top 13 is the Citizen Eco-Drive ProMaster. “2019 marks a milestone and we’re celebrating our 30th Anniversary of Promaster by introducing many exciting products,” says Chandler, with limited edition and new introductions in the brand’s air, land, and sea categories.
Focus on Females
Besler finds style and technology the buzzwords trending in products and marketing for women’s watches. Trends trackers also call out the growing “athleisure” movement inspiring the trend for everyday diamonds and watches that pair well with both casual-wear and special occasions.
But Barbara Palumbo, watch and jewelry journalist and blogger for Whatsonherwrist.com, is seeing more women going for gender neutrality as it pertains to style. “For years, “women’s watches” were made with white or pink straps, mother-of-pearl dials, a quartz movement, and embellished with diamonds. While several watches created specifically for women still include one or more of those characteristics, women are buying men’s timepieces because they like the versatility of a standard gold or stainless steel watch without feeling like they had to be dressed up to wear it. Even in men’s watches, we’re seeing a shift toward smaller case sizes, as brands offer more gender-neutral options.”
Citizen brings its Eco-Drive technology to sleek, curvaceous silhouettes for the fall/winter season in its latest Capella and Ceci collections. “Capella is inspired by the crescent moon against a dark sky, including diamond dial and bezels, and inset hidden crown,” describes Chandler. “Ceci is inspired by feminine curves. Its subtle C-shaped case is a nod to the brand, an identifiable signature detail.”
Bulova says its ladies watch business continues to outpace the industry. “We’re fueling this excitement with our new Rhapsody collection,” says Chandler. Rhapsody landed on Town & Country’s 10 Noteworthy New Watches Introduced at Baselworld 2019 — the only women’s watch on the list.
The brand also is introducing additions to its iconic Rubyiat collection, Chandler says, showcasing elegant diamond details and subtle ladies moon phase. And new classics in its Regatta series of ultra slim timepieces inspired from a 1960’s Bulova collection of the same name. Available in a range of case sizes from 30mm to 40mm, the style includes both automatic and quartz movements.
Gartner L2 Digital IQ Index for Watches & Jewelry 2019 advocates brands focus priorities on digital channels, as they look for more ownership of the customer across the purchase journey.
Among L2’s recommendations, it advises brands/jewelers to meet basic expectations for site functionality and customer experience, including features like geolocation, mobile-optimized check out, and live chat. It recommends integrating useful merchandising content across the purchase path to provide for a cohesive customer experience. It stresses the importance of investing in search and diversified content across platforms.
Most important for brands to do is to be real in their communications. Tell stories that convey the essence of the brand and its products through the people who make, sell and wear it. Approach the end-consumers via social media, bloggers and PR, and invite them to participate in the conversation.
Brands like Citizen and Bulova have seen their fan-base grow exponentially in the last five years through Instagram. Moreover, they offer new outlets to tap into new fan groups through licensed partnerships — like Citizen with Marvel and Disney, and Bulova with the GRAMMYs.