Will these trends influence how we design, buy, wear watches in 2023?

    ANCX staff | January 24, 2023

    2022 has been an exciting time for the watch world with disruptive market trends, a welcome concept in retail, the rise of alternative brands and the unexpected return of coveted timepieces. Which brands have made a name for themselves, which ones have been talked about the most and which ones continue to build on their already established reputation for high quality and craftsmanship?

    ANC’s long-running lifestyle magazine Executive Class recently did a real highlight reel of the year 2022 in watches, and here’s what made the list. Will these entries influence watch trends for 2023? I guess all we can do is, well, watch.

    Omega x Swatch Moonswatch watch. Photo from Swatch website

    1. The phenomenal popularity of Moonswatch

    The Omega x Swatch Moonswatch, a legendary chronograph collaboration, was the most talked about watch of 2022. It is an attempt to recreate the iconic Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch – the first watch worn on the moon – but in a bioceramic case. Wristwatches are also playful homages to the planets; take a look at the eye-catching color combinations.

    Executive Class host David Celdran said “the mass-produced plastic quartz chronograph managed to outperform some of the rarest and most technically advanced mechanical watches released last year.” There was a mad rush across the world which is why it was impossible to find stock in stores. But the brand assures that it “works around the clock behind the scenes to make the 11 unique watches”. So yeah, there’s still a chance you can get your hands on it.

    Patek Philippe store in Greenbelt
    Patek Philippe store in Greenbelt. Photo from Lucerne Luxe magazine

    2 The new retail concept of Patek Philippe and Rolex

    In 2022, the two brands began to implement a new showroom policy in the sale of timepieces. Whereas before buyers could only see the waitlisted pieces in brochures, with the new ruling, watches, including rare and limited-edition Grand Complications, can now be seen in local boutiques a few weeks after their launch in Switzerland. Fans won’t be able to walk away with the watch, but they will be able to see and feel what they’re ordering.

    Tudor Black Bay Pro
    Tudor Black Bay Pro. Lucerne Luxe website photo

    3 The rise of alternative brands

    Grand Seiko and Breguet, although not as popular as Rolex, Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe, were “equally valued and bragging rights in serious watchmaking circles, if less so among speculators”, observed Celdran. And unlike the hottest brands, interested shoppers can walk into one of their stores and purchase a watch on the spot.

    Tudor was big last year too, thanks to the elusiveness of Swiss-branded sports watches. Tudor filled the void with three beautiful professional tool watches – Black Bay Pro, Ranger and Pelagos 39 – which came in a more versatile package and at a more affordable price. Originally introduced by Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf, Tudor was considered the budget Rolex. But if you ask Celdran, the comparison might be a bit unfair.

    “With their increasingly original design language, innovative use of metals and in-house chronometer-certified calibres,” explains the TV host, “Tudor’s current collection of professional diver’s and tool watches can shine on the road without having to mention its association with Rolex.”

    Grand Seiko SBGN005
    Grand Seiko SBGN005. Grand Seiko website photo

    4 The revival of quartz watches

    The quartz watch movement is considered inferior by some watch elitists. But thanks to the popularity of Moonswatch, quartz watches are now seen as potential collector’s items. Brands like Casio and Swatch are also rekindling their interest in wristwatches with quartz movements. Grand Seiko continues to offer well-made quartz watches. And even luxury brands like Cartier and Patek Phillipe make quartz watches. “For the watch industry to thrive,” Celdran says, “it needs to be accessible again and the snobbery needs to end.”

    Omega Seamaster
    Omega Seamaster Professional Diver 300M. Photo of the Omega website

    5 colorful watch faces

    A few years ago, Rolex offered the Oyster Perpetual in five bright dial colors. Not to be outdone, rival Omega has launched its own version covering an even wider model range. The Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M models were also offered in a range of fresh colors. Green dials also seemed to be in vogue last year, Celdran offered, citing the Omega Seamaster 300M Diver, Speedmaster ’57 Heritage Chronograph and Moonshine Gold Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional as proof. Even conservative brands, from Audemars Piguet to Patek Phillipe, have flirted with shades of the rainbow.

    Rolex GMT-Master II
    Rolex GMT Master II. Photo from the Rolex website

    6 Beware of left-handers

    Celdran called the Rolex GMT Master II “The Holy Grail Watch of 2022”, not only because this collector’s item comes in a unique combination of green and black, but also because it is designed for left-handers. “It’s one of the few products made by Rolex in history,” he said.

    What does Executive Class consider the watch of the year? Click on this link to find out and see the full story of the year:

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