From heritage reissues to bright and bold designs, the timepiece novelties seen so far signal an exciting year for watch lovers.
The seven-day Watches and Wonders trade show in Geneva wrapped up earlier in April – and with it, come the 2023 watch trends.
While not all watchmakers participated in the event, it does provide a picture of what watch lovers can expect in terms of timepiece novelties.
Looking back at January, a few brands already unveiled new models during the LVMH Watch Week in Singapore. Others plan to stagger their releases over the year – rather than announcing them all at one go.
That said, a major event such as Watches and Wonders is a great indicator of the horological world’s direction.
Here are the trends spotted from various launches since the start of the year.
A Punch Of Colour
“Dopamine dressing” is all the rage in fashion right now. It entails dressing up in bright colours to evoke happiness – with dopamine being the chemical messenger in the human body that produces a feeling of intense pleasure.
If that is the case, 2023 watches will definitely bring about joy. There are scores of bright, bold and beautiful designs this year.
The TAG Heuer Carrera 36mm also similarly got a colourful update. The hot pink model is especially pretty – and ticks off another fashion trend box: Barbiecore. This specific colour is touted as the hottest hue right now.
But if not coloured dials, how about coloured gemstones instead? With correct mixing and matching, the overall effect can be whimsical.
One good example is Bulgari’s new Allegra. Just feast your eyes on this technicolour beauty.
The diamonds placed as hour markers are already eye-catching, but the assortment of citrine, tourmaline, peridot and rhodolite gems set above and beneath the dial makes this watch simply hard to miss.
Old, New, Everything Else In Between
Brands are also keen to pay tribute to legendary watches. Modern reissues of popular heritage models have been sort of a theme in the watchmaking industry this year.
There is even a term called “neo-vintage watches” – which means timepieces that are transitional in their characteristics, falling between a vintage model and contemporary creation.
What immediately stands out is the vintage diving aesthetic, but paired with the very latest in modern submersible technology.
The bronze patina in itself presents a real classic look and feel. The alloy used is CuSn8, composed of 92% copper and 8% tin.
“Bronze watches are like fine wines: they evolve over time and acquire a patina unique to each wearer,” reads the description.
“Its tone is visually quite close to the classic fittings of old sail boats and classic yachts, while overlapping with the types of bronze so prized today by contemporary designers and architects.”
Parmigiani Fleurier, on the other hand, is combining traditional values with innovative technology. The Tonda PF Minute Rattrapante looks like a classic and elegant design at first glance, but housed within it, is something much more.
It makes use of the Rattrapante concept typically used for chronographs.
There are two minute hands. The rhodium-plated one indicates real time coupled with the hour hand, while its rose gold counterpart calculates minutes in five or one-minute increments on demand.
When done, the gold hand catches up to the regular minute hand and “hides” beneath it – similar to a Rattrapante hand on a split-second chronograph.
This feature is also said to be a reinterpretation of the graduated bezel on a diver’s watch – taking a classic function and updating it in a new form.
Minute In Size
Another apparent trend can be spotted in the myriad of smaller timepieces.
There are numerous men’s and unisex 36mm and 37mm watches introduced so far this year – the aforementioned colourful TAG Heuer Carrera timepieces and Tudor Black Bay 54 model being very good examples.
Another that fits the bill is Zenith’s Defy Revival Shadow. While it has the same octagonal case measuring 37mm in diameter and distinctive 14-sided bezel as last year’s Defy Revival, this model comes in micro-blasted titanium.
“A modern reinterpretation of the first Defy wristwatch model from 1969. The matte black dial adds a distinctly vintage touch,” the design profile notes.
As it is, this also happens to play on the theme of modern reissues.
Cartier also has a small watch among its novelties for 2023. The new Bagnoire is almost like a jewellery piece and can be stacked with other bracelets and bangles – all thanks to its slight size.
Since its creation in 1912, the watch has seen multiple incarnations – but in a new alignment of proportions, the brand explores the oval of the dial, the watch’s hallmark, and transposes it onto a bangle to be slipped as close to the wrist as possible.
Simply Too Cool
While there are those who pare down their designs in terms of aesthetic and size, other watchmakers believe in going all in with the unconventional.
Known as the “Master of Glow”, a reference to Badgerite, a 3D luminescent composite which he usually works with to bring a unique, artistic approach to everything he touches, the watch bears his signature stamp of cool attitude.
While a lot more classic in look, the Glashutte Original 2023 PanoInverse Limited Edition is just as cool. This design brings an urban cityscape to the wrist, via an engraved canvas of skyscrapers on the dial.
On the back, there is a different view. A closeup of the fictional buildings even allows a person to spot billboards scattered throughout.
Then there are screw-mounted gold chatons, ruby jewels, blued screws and polished steel parts that make you want to just look and look – then look some more.
Anyone who has a love for the unconventional when it comes to luxury watchmaking is sure to appreciate such details (and thought) in design.