Watches trend report

Five of the hottest watch trends for 2023

Rob Corder picks out recurring themes from a week at Watches and Wonders and other events around Geneva.

Now the dust has settled on the madness of Watches and Wonders and other shows around Geneva, it is time to assess what we learned from the products on show.

First, it has to be said that this was a largely conservative year, with few startling watches designed to make headlines.

Notably, Rolex was one of the few manufacturers to buck this trend, creating two of the most eye-catching watches of the year with its Oyster Perpetual “bubble” and Instagram-friendly Day-Date complete with emojis instead of dates.

For most other brands, it was steady as she goes with minor tweaks to bestselling lines, or recreations of hot watches from the past.

Despite this, retailers speaking to WatchPro since have been purring at the commercial appeal of almost everything on show, and at a time of significant economic headwinds, this is surely a sensible path for the industry to take.

The five trends we identify fit neatly into this narrative, with classical colours like salmon appearing on many dials and titanium favoured as a slightly more expensive construction material than steel as brands push up their average price points.

Here are the trends we at WatchPro think will make the greatest impact this year.

Tempting titanium

Watches rolex yachtmaster
Rolex Yachtmaster in Titanium.

There is nothing new about brands using titanium for lightweight, scratch-resistant watches.

But the metal seemed to be everywhere this year including at Rolex for its new Yacht-Master 42, only the second time the brand has used it (the first being the preposterously large 50mm Deep Sea Special launched last year).

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Grand Seiko Tentagraph.

Grand Seiko was also drawn to the material benefits of titanium for its sporty Tentagraph chronograph, and IWC unveiled a redesign of its Ingeneur, mostly in steel, but with a notable reference that caught the light with contrasting facets in different finishes using the greyer metal.

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IWC’s Genta-designed Ingenieur came in steel or this reference in titanium.

Salmon swims with the tide

No collection seemed complete this year without a reference using the classic salmon dial colour.

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Vacheron Constantin Patrimony.

Again, this is hardly a fresh take for the watch industry (there was very little truly original this year), but a fashion that can be traced back to wrist watches in the Art Deco period of the 1920s.

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Breitling Premier.

Rolex, Patek Philippe and Longines were among many brands using the hue back in the early 20th century.

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Vulcain Cricket.

In 2023, we saw it used by Vulcain for a reissue of its Cricket and Monopusher Chronograph.

Breitling adopted it for one of its recent Premier Chronographs.

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MB&F LM Perpetual.

Tudor couldn’t resist elevating its Royal watch and MB&F experimented with the style for the first time in a Legacy Machine Perpetual in stainless steel.

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Tudor Royal.

Vacheron Constantin reserved the colour for its complicated Patrimony Retrograde Date.

Set in stone

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Piaget Limelight Gala.

When it comes to stone dials, you can always rely on Piaget to come to set the trend.

This year is no exception, and the Richemont brand demonstrated its usual finesse with a ladies Limelight Gala golden dress watch with green malachite face.

Watches g0a48007 still a original
Piaget Polo Perpetual Calendar Ultra Thin with a blue Obsidian dial.

More unexpected was giving a stone dial to a sportier watch in the form of the Piaget Polo Perpetual Calendar Ultra Thin with a blue Obsidian dial.

Watches 03. Biver rose gold
Biver’s launch collection included this piece with a sodalite stone dial.

Biver, a brand launched by Pierre Biver and his father Jean-Claude, wanted to demonstrate haute horology craftsmanship, and opted for two types of stone dials in its debut collection.

One with an obsidian dial, another using sodalite.

Finally, we saw Gucci update its popular Grip collection with 18ct gold versions featuring brick red jasper and green chrysoprase faces.

Down to earth

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Patek Philippe Aquanaut.

Nobody seemed to want to call it brown, so we have chosen to describe this trend for 2023 as earth.

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Bell & Ross BR-05 Skeleton.

Bell & Ross got down and dirty with a new skeletonised BR05 in gold with a brown crystal plate. It is worn on a brown rubber strap.

Patek Philippe mastered the richness of the hue in a rose gold Aquanaut chronograph with a graduated sunburst brown dial watch worn on a matching composite strap.

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Grönefeld DetlaWorks.

Grönefeld made their first sports utility watch, the 1969 DeltaWorks, in three colourways including a very dark brown harmonised with golden hues.

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Panerai Radiomir Otto Giorni.

Panerai produced a sandwich dial in brown and cream for its Radiomir Otto Giorni, inspired by the very first Radiomir prototype in 1935.

Play time

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TAG Heuer Carrera.

There were certainly a lot of pink watches on display, including a fabulous Carrera from TAG Heuer, but the stand out trend was for playful watches, a trend led by Rolex with its mood lifting Oyster Perpetual Bubble and Day-Date, which swapped days of the week for emotions and dates for emoji-style symbols.

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Rolex Oyster Perpetual Bubble.
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Rolex Day-Date.

Oris was also in a frivolous mood with the introduction of a green ProPilot, which even has The Muppets Kermit the Frog (copyright Disney) appearing instead of the number 1 on the first of the month.

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Oris ProPilot X Kermit.

Jacob & Co. likes to bring a bit of fun to its timepieces, and this year returned to one of its favourite pastimes, roulette, with a new Casino watch.

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Jacob & Co. Cobra.

Chanel also likes to lift the mood with timekeepers featuring Gabrielle Chanel’s silhouette in a black-and-white evening gown on a J12 Cosmic Watch.

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Chanel Mademoiselle Gabrielle.

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