2022 ushered in a golden age for luxury watchmaking. Enthusiasts had time on their hands to look beyond mainstream brands, and luxury brands made a foray into the pre-owned market. This year proves to be no different with exciting things happening in the watch world, from some big anniversaries to grand exhibitions. We have curated a selection of upcoming watch trends, new releases and events for 2023 to help you to find your horological style this year. The future is looking bright for 2023.
After luxury watch giant Rolex stepped into the resale industry with their certified pre-owned programme, the pre-owned watch sector has got an boost. A legitimate programme from the world’s leading watch brand will only give a boost to other brand-led initiatives. Richard Mille also has since 2015 (aeons in the certified pre-owned world), opened dedicated retail outlets that sell authorised pre-owned pieces, with locations in Japan and London. The move by brands to encourage a circular economy in the watch world will help enthusiasts place their watches back into circulation formally, bringing greater liquidity and opportunities.
Gender-neutral watches have been popping up in the horological conversation for some time, but recently brands have hopped onto the bandwagon. Unisex watch styles are going to be a big trend in the upcoming year. Men’s watches are often larger with cleaner designs so it is understandable that many women prefer this aesthetic. However, some men are also opting for women’s timepieces. Gemstones and feminine touches have become more prevalent in men’s fashion through recent years, and this trend has finally found its way into horological design and aesthetics.
Styles always come back around, and the current trend for vintage and retro aesthetic has not left watches untouched. Watchmakers have an enduring love affair with the 1960s and 1970s aesthetic, which shows no sign of slowing down. Cartier’s Darling Pebble watch launched on the occasion of its 50th birthday was a boon to collectors when an original 1972 model was sold for around £359,000 at Phillips. Many people are opting for retro styles for both fashion and sustainability aspects.
Bold colour palettes and dial designs will be the top trend for 2023. While watch brand notice new colours entering into horological fashion, this time blue took and green has become a firm favourite. Although the shades seem to change with the season, the colour itself is not going anywhere.
Sustainability has been a huge buzzword in the past year, and it is only going to become more prevalent. The technology around sustainable materials and processes is finally being noticed by watch brands. Ulysse Nardin watches are becoming more genuinely green; its latest Arctic Night diver is a collaboration with the Norwegian outwear company Norrøna and features the likes of carbonium, a special material taken from offcuts of airplane parts, straps made from recycled fishing nets and steel from recycled automotive materials.
The sport watch segment, which has dominated the industry for a while is now showing signs of slowing now. It is believed that the pendulum is swinging back to a more refined style of dress, watched leaving busy dials behind and instead opting for a clean slate. Despite the trend of colourful designs, clean dials are always going to be a staple in watchmaking design.
Rolex Daytona’s 60th anniversary and Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore‘s 30th Anniversary
This year marks Rolex Daytona’s 60th anniversary, and it would be a delight to see what the brand comes up with. Will Rolex strike watchmaking gold again with another iteration of the Daytona?
The Royal Oak Offshore debuted in 1993 as the Royal Oak’s younger, sibling 2023 marks 30 years of the model and we know that the brand will not miss an opportunity to celebrate a big birthday.
Patek Philippe Watch Art Grand Exhibition Tokyo 2023
From June 10-25, Patek Philippe will stage the sixth, and largest, of its Grand Exhibitions, this time in the Japanese capital. Featuring some 500 timepieces and objects, including several, highly collectable limited editions, the event will take place at Sumitomo Sanka. The Tokyo affair will transport visitors to Geneva, including the watchmaker’s historic headquarters in the rue du Rhône, the manufacturer at Plan-les-Ouates and the Patek Philippe Museum. The exhibition was originally slated for 2021 but was cancelled due to the pandemic. Now, after four years, the event is free and open to the public.