New Mens Watch Trends
The luxury watch sector can hardly be accused of being a fashion victim, racing to alter its collections to reflect the dernier cri, but it is by no means immune to trends and change. Admittedly, things move at a slower pace in the watch industry, given the long incubation times from conception to delivery of a mechanical watch. Isolating the Top Ten watch trends for 2015 will inevitably mean not just referring to trends from previous years, but also anticipating trends for next year, so here we take a look at some of the more pronounced tendencies in the fascinating world of watchmaking.
Size does matter in the watch world and, in the last two decades, we have witnessed dramatic fluctuations in girth. Who can forget the trend for ashtray-sized watches - those mighty Hummer statement pieces with 55mm diameters that could double up as a saucer for your espresso. Panerai watches were some of the first XXL-sized models when they surfaced in the civilian domain after years of top-secret service supplying Italy’s Royal Navy with massive luminescent instruments during WWII. Not surprisingly, muscle man Sylvester Stallone was one of the original fans of the Italian brand and wore a 47mm Luminor Marina Submersible in the 1996 film Daylight.
Now emerging as one of the most solid trends across the board is the reduction in size of watch cases. Many men’s watches have returned to the more classical and restrained proportions of yesteryear with diameters whittling down from the average 44mm to sizes ranging between 39 and 42mm, with purists advocating 39mm as the ideal size.
It is clear that both men’s and women’s watches are on the shrink, but there is an interesting new crossover player on the scene who remains deliberately ambivalent about whether he is a she or she is a he. The Portofino Midsize 37mm collection from IWC watches was plugged by both Emily Blunt and Christoph Waltz in a very glamorous production shot in Portofino last year. Even Rolex watches, the Swiss bastions of conservative timepieces, hopped on board the unisex trend with a very attractive new range of iconic Oyster Perpetual watches in five sizes (26-39mm) designed to appeal to both sexes.
Another conspicuous trend in watchmaking is in the colour department. Blue is unquestionably the new black and having scrutinised the brands at the SIHH and Baselworld watch salons earlier this year, it was almost impossible to isolate a brand that had not succumbed to the elegant tonalities of blue.
Patek Philippe watches presented five men’s models with blue dials, making blue the predominant colour in nearly a quarter of all its novelties, including the Annual Calendar Chronograph and the Calatrava Pilot Travel Time - both talking points at Baselworld.
Also in a blue mood were the Vacheron Constantin watches with both the new Overseas dual time models presented with ultramarine blue dials. My favourite one is the H. Moser & Cie. Endeavour Perpetual Calendar Funky Blue. One of the most elegant, simple and easy-to-read dials for a complication of this magnitude, the beautiful fumé sky-blue dial and cool kudu leather strap bring a contemporary touch to the watch and lead us directly to the next big trend of 2015.
In a great tongue-in-cheek moment aimed at smartwatches, and filmed taking a large bite out of an apple, Edouard Meylan, CEO of H. Moser & Cie., announced the release of the “original smartwatch” and showed the world how smart the Endeavour Perpetual Calendar model is in comparison to the smartwatches and digital gadgets flooding the market. Recurring to the same jargon as the tech industry, Meylan flaunted the “clean interface, great ergonomics and enhanced autonomy - no plug, not even once a week” of this highly complex mechanical marvel.
Although many of the older watchmakers have avoided sparring on the subject of smartwatches, secure in their belief that the mechanical watch market is a world apart from technological gadgetry, a few highly respectable brands decided to outsmart the smartwatch with a hybrid offer, combining digital connectivity and mechanical engines in some of their 2015 models.
Montblanc watches produced a connected version earlier this year known as the Timewalker Urban Speed Chronograph, an ingenious fusion of a mechanical chronograph combining discreet smartwatch functionality via an e-Strap. Tucked under your wrist, where the buckle usually sits, is an electronic module with a small screen that offers an activity tracker, smart notifications, and remote control functions via Bluetooth to Android phone devices. Montblanc was not alone in its hybrid solution, with Frédérique Constant and Alpina also hopping on board, as did TAG Heuer watches, with a much-touted announcement on the brand’s partnership with a hi-tech company, which was followed on its heels by a much more solid announcement from Swatch watches on the imminent unveiling of its own smartwatch.