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Watches & Wonders, Geneva’s timepiece showcase that draws collectors, editors, and retailers from all over the world, always creates quite a stir amongst watch lovers, collectors, and enthusiasts. The fair brings together the most creative and innovative advances in watchmaking under one roof as each brand’s novelties for the year are presented. From learning about the new complications, interesting materials, and thoughtful design elements that go into each watch to taking in the general splendor of the dazzling gems, guilloché, and other decorative techniques that embellish these pieces, Watches & Wonders always sets the stage for the next most talked-about and coveted timepieces. Here, we break down the biggest watch trends for 2023 and beyond.
Watch Trends for 2023
Size: Scaling Down
This year’s novelties saw a decrease in case sizes—some brands approached changes in scale in a less dramatic way than others, but overall, a trend towards daintier sizes reigned supreme. While some sizing decisions were made with the idea in mind that both women and men could shop a particular design, other pieces were made in petite sizes to really show a dramatic departure from the more oversized references from the last few years. These smaller silhouettes, like Van Cleef & Arpels’s new Perlée watches in a 23mm case size or Chanel’s Première Robot watch (boasting onyx, yellow gold, ceramic and blackened titanium and a case size of 19.7 x 15.2 mm), pack a punch in a more subtle way. Cartier also debuted a new Baignoire timepiece that doubles as a piece of jewelry and can be stacked with other bracelets and bangles, all thanks to its slight size.
Materials: Platinum and Titanium
Not surprisingly, there were two materials used in innovative ways this year at Watches & Wonders. Titanium—the material that is stronger and lighter than stainless steel—was ever-present, as was the powerhouse platinum—and several brands made new strides using this luxurious material in their novelties. Rolex presented its Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona in 950 platinum paired with the brand’s iconic ice blue dial, a transparent case, and 18 karat yellow gold oscillating weight. We’re particularly partial to the brown chestnut Cerachrom bezel as well. Parmigiana Fleurier’s new Tonda PF Micro-Rotor is the picture of sleek and minimalistic – a platinum case, bracelet, and dial are powered by an ultra-thin, self-winding Calibre PF703 movement, also outfitted with a platinum micro-rotor.
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Color Story: Champagne and Violet Tones
At last year’s Watches & Wonders, there was a trend of salmon dials (as seen in VERANDA’S 2022 July/August issue), and this year, that color was definitely popping up in a more subdued, metallic tone (see Chopard’s new Alpine Eagle 41 XPS, Hermès’s new Cape Cod Chaîne d’ancre, and Tudor’s new Royal, all sporting the classic pink-hued dial). Even more notably, there were shades of champagne and violet appearing in dials and bracelets. Cartier’s new Clash [Un]limited watch features a violet gold in its articulated beads that adorn the bracelet. This special shade of gold is a special new shade that was developed solely for Cartier with tones shimmering violet, which lends the piece a silvery effect that is mesmerizing. Additionally, Vacheron Constantin’s Overseas Self-Winding watch boasts a pale violet dial that is surrounded by diamonds on its bezel, only adding to the sparkling effect.
Forms: Jewelry Influences
In terms of timepieces that were more gem-studded, this year’s novelties upped the ante with pieces that felt more like jewels that happened to tell time, as opposed to timepieces decorated with gems. Two strong examples of this, among others, were Hermès Médor Mini Joaillerie watch—the brand’s homage to the pyramid motifs that first appeared on its belts in the 1930’s before becoming the first watch in 1993 designed by Philippe Mouquet—and Piaget’s hand-twisted gold link Sautoir set with turquoise and diamonds that takes its cues from the maison’s 1969 21st Century collection. This piece takes the maison’s artisans 250 hours to create, and the dial is created by a single piece of turquoise as well.
Mechanics: Time Travel
When it comes to the technical side of timepieces, there were two standouts as it relates to traveling: Patek Philippe’s Calatrava Pilot Travel Time Chronograph and Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso Tribute Duoface Tourbillon. The Calatrava Pilot Time Travel Chronograph is the first chronograph model from the brand’s Pilot style line and also boasts a Travel Time function and a date indication combined with the local time. The Reverse Tribute Duoface Tourbillon is inspired by the Jaeger-LeCoultre’s first tourbillon timepiece and features two dials with complementary looks with a second time zone and day-night indicator on the reverse dial for time-telling ease when traveling.
Senior Style Editor
Rachael Burrow is the Senior Style Editor at VERANDA, covering the latest design and market trends, from jewelry to fashion, tabletop to furnishings, and everything in between.