Moving into another year is always something, but entering an entirely new decade seems to come with even higher expectations. The last decade was a turbulent one, with rapid innovations of which one, the smartwatch, was accompanied by a potential cloud of doom for the traditional watch industry. While the devices such as the Apple watch sold very well, the watch industry wasn’t plunged into another quartz crisis. Many now consider that smartwatches got a new and young generation of customers used to wearing something around their wrist. As a result, they are also curious about what else there is to wear, and then the magic of tiny little gears, levers, and other parts that work together with an astonishing precision seems to be hard to resist. In the new decade, the smartwatches with undoubtfully hold their ground, as their technological features will ever increase. Still, they will no longer be an imminent threat to the mechanical watch industry.
While there was a time that watches couldn’t be big or bulky enough, this trend too seems to be on its way back. Even Panerai, for which large watches where such an integrated part of their brand identity, went down a step in size in 2016 with the introduction of the Due-collection. It is interesting to see that even many, more complicated, watches also went down in diameter, increasing there wearability. There is now a greater appreciation for not only smaller watches but also thinner watches. Most prominent in this is Bulgari, who spearheaded this movement with their Octo Finissimo collection. Other brands also go for smaller and thinner watches, such as Cartier with the Santos Dumont, which was introduced early last year. What would have been destined to be marketed as a ladies watch at the beginning of the previous decade is now a desirable piece for men. This trend is likely to continue, but while thin will remain ‘in,’ is the diameter of men’s watches expected to be only further reduced marginally.
The economy also plays an essential role in which direction the watch industry will develop, and that is always difficult to predict for an entire decade to come. Strong economic growth will make watch manufacturers often focus more on the particular markets in which this growth takes place, making their preferences somewhat leading for the development of their collections. Overall strong economic growth often also induce more complicated watches to be created. With vintage watches we have seen, especially in the last few years, record-breaking results and even many more common models benefited from high demand. This is also a trend likely to continue, and perhaps even expand as we enter a new decade in watches.