2023 saw some interesting trends take over the watch industry, ranging from a slew of collaborations (such as Audemars Piguet x Travis Scott, TAG Heuer x Rowing Blazers, Swatch x Blancpain) to some important anniversaries (60 years of the Rolex Daytona, 75 years of the Omega Seamaster, 70 years of the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, and others) to more rainbow watches you can shake a stick at. While some of these will likely carry over in the new year, we expect a few other watch trends to emerge in 2024. Read on to find out our top watch trends for 2024.
The trend towards smaller case size options will likely continue in 2024 with a particular emphasis on midsize watch cases, which we define as 36mm, give or take a couple of millimeters in each direction. 36mm is a great fit for many wrist sizes and appealing to both men and women.
Image: Tudor Black Bay 36
Plus, it’s a perfectly acceptable size for dress watches, everyday casual watches, sports watches, and complications. It’s a Goldilocks measurement for timepieces, in our opinion, and by adding more midsize cases to their catalogs, brands could attract a larger buyer base.
Speaking of dress watches, we expect even more formal timepiece options to crop up in 2024. In particular, we foresee that brands that normally focus exclusively on sportier designs will start peppering their collections with more compact, slim, and understated watches to expand their offerings.
Image: Breguet Classique Répétition Minutes 7637
Think neutral colors, leather straps, and time-only dials. This 2024 watch trend goes hand-in-hand with the direction toward smaller watches and an extension of the “quiet luxury” phenomenon that took over fashion in 2023.
Dials are going to get even fancier in 2024 with watch brands not only experimenting with a variety of materials but also manufacturing processes. For instance, in 2023, Oris used melted fishing net discards to create beautiful kaleidoscope dials, and a few months later, the company unveiled striking gradient dials that were fashioned using an innovative laser technique.
Image: Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 36 “Jigsaw”
Rolex surprised onlookers with the puzzle Emoji dials, celebration dials, and cello-themed dials. We’ll likely see even more dial experimentation in 2024, including precious stones, exotic materials like meteorite, more gems, more colors, and more ornate designs.
It’s not just dials that are going to get more ornate; we think 2024 will be the year of the jewelry watch. Pieces dripping with diamonds and other gemstones will be enjoyed not only by women but plenty of men too.
Image: Timotheé Chalamet wearing a diamond-adorned Cartier Crash
Timothée Chalamet stepped out on the Golden Globes red carpet with a diamond Cartier Crash on his wrist, The Weekend wore a diamond Piaget Limelight during the premiere of HBO’s The Idol, and Leo Messi wore the Patek Philippe Aquanaut Luce Rainbow during his Inter Miami presentation. This trend will likely go even stronger in 2024 and watch brands will oblige by offering additional exceedingly expensive and ultra-exclusive jewelry watches for those who enjoy the “more is more” philosophy.
Peach Fuzz Watches?
Just like in fashion or home decor, the watch world favors a specific color every few years. Dark blue dials were popping up everywhere followed by green ones. Then turquoise became super trendy and for a while, purple dials seemed to be a the forefront for a minute.
Image: Oris Propilot X Calibre 400 “Peach Fuzz” Dial
So what’s the color of choice for 2024? Well, Pantone declared Peach Fuzz as the Color of the Year for 2024, a shade not dissimilar to salmon dials, which are already a watch collector’s favorite. So maybe we’ll see even additional salmon dial watches this year and perhaps.
Extra Lume, And Not Just On the Dials
More watch brands will embrace luminous materials, and we’re not just talking about dials. The recently-released Bell & Ross BR-X5 Green Lum, for instance, paired a luminescent-accented dial with a fully lumed case, which gives us a small taste of what to expect in the glow-in-the-dark watch segment.
Image: Bell & Ross BR-X5 Green Lum
We won’t be surprised if we see more creative applications of luminous materials in watches including cases, strap components, full dials, bezels, and so on. We might even see some “secret messages” etched in luminous paint, similar to what Omega did on the Ultra Deep a few years back.
Chinese New Year will take place on February 10, 2024, ushering in the Year of the Dragon — and several watch brands have been busy making their dragon watches to commemorate the occasion.
Image: Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Titanium Dragon
From the wild Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Titanium Dragon Watch and tattoo-inspired Bell & Ross BR 05 Artline Dragon Watch to the red-toned IWC Portugieser Chronograph and TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph Year of the Dragon watches to the complicated Piaget Polo Emperador Dragon Tourbillon Watch and Ulysse Nardin Blast Tourbillon Dragon pieces, 2024 is the era of the fiery mythical beast.
Better Value for Money
Following a few crazy years of hype watches and having to pay twice or three times retail to secure sought-after models, the watch market is in a correction phase. The so-called “waitlists” are shortening (or disappearing) at retail stores and pre-owned market prices are coming back down to earth. Aside from these wins for watch buyers, we also predict that brands will release watches that offer better value for money (think higher quality materials, improved movements, more attractive designs, added benefits such as quick-release strap systems and additional straps, extended warranty periods, and so on) to attract customers during this slow-down period.
Image: Christopher Ward C1 Bel Canto
Connected to this will be the continued rise of smaller watch brands (aka micro brands) that already work hard to gain loyal followers with well-priced watches. Pieces like the Christopher Ward C1 Bel Canto or companies like Monta, Baltic, Furlan Marri, and Lorrier illustrate that you can buy excellent watches without spending a ton of money — and that will certainly be something buyers will embrace in 2024.
We may not have a crystal ball, but these are the trends we anticipate across the watch industry in 2024. What do you predict will be the “next big thing” to take over timepieces over the next 12 months? Do these trends even matter or do you prefer to stick to the classics? Drop us a comment below to share your thoughts.