Watches will never go out of fashion and the luxury end of the market is still thriving. From dress watches to Analogue watches, mechanical watches, digital watches, dress watches, smartwatches and sports watches ̶ what you wear on your wrist is as important as ever.
Whatever your lifestyle, be you a mountaineer, outdoor enthusiast, an avid scuba diver or a quant in London’s financial district, there’s a timepiece to suit your needs.
Here we will look at some market figures (which are staggeringly good) before we look at some of the oldest historical brands in luxury watches. In conclusion, we will outline some of the key trends in horology design and fashion for the coming year.
But first, here’s a quick overview of watches facts everyone needs to know:
- The revenue of the watches and jewellery market in China is $91 billion
- The luxury watch market value worldwide is $6.93 billion
- Vacheron Constantin is the oldest watch brand in the world
- Seiko was the top watch brand favoured by UK shoppers, followed by Hugo Boss and Timex in third place
- Smartwatches are still growing in popularity
Historical Watches Facts
The oldest uninterrupted luxury watch brand is Vacheron Constantin. Founded in 1755 by an independent watchmaker, Jean-Marc Vacheron, Vacheron Constantin has remained a leader in the luxury watch industry for some 267 years.
Blancpain is another brand with a long and successful history. Founded in 1735, Blancpain is most famous for its Blancpain 1735, which is one of the most complicated mechanical watches around.
This watch includes a tourbillon, perpetual calendar, and many other complications. Only 30 pieces were made at the time. Currently owned by The Swatch Group, Blancpain is based in Biel, Switzerland.
Another renowned watch brand is Breguet. Founded in 1775 by Abraham-Louis Breguet, their watches are known for several of their innovative creations, including the creation of the first wristwatch in 1810 as well as the first tourbillon.
Around 1839, Patek Philippe started creating beautifully designed and prestigious watches. Interestingly, the company was originally founded by two Polish immigrants, Antoni Patek and Francois Czapek, with Patek serving as the business-minded partner and Czapek as the watchmaker.
Just under a century later in 1932, brothers Charles and Jean Stern, owners of fine dial manufacturing in Geneva, bought the company and renamed it Patek Philippe S.A.
Moving forward to the 20th and 21st centuries, while the above luxury watches are still around, watches have become more robust and utilitarian, adapting to users’ needs in a modernising society.
Watches Facts For Today’s World
Rolex is a Swiss brand that recently beat huge global names such as Lego and Ferrari to earn the title of the most reputable brand in the business.
According to watches statistics, Ferrari, Lego, Rolls Royce and Mercedes Benz made up the rest of the top five.
Just How Big Is The Watch Industry?
The watch market is everything from cheaply made plastic watches sold in corner cafes to the luxury watch market which values precision, quality, beautiful design, perfect workmanship, tradition, and specialist technology.
At the luxury end of the scale, luxury watches place a high value on traditional Swiss watchmaking values and traditions. It is a highly export-driven sector, therefore these values have spread globally.
Global watch production is dominated by a few players, the clear leaders being Switzerland, Hong Kong, and China. Although China is the world’s biggest watch producer in terms of volume, Chinese watches are mainly geared towards the lower end of the price range.
In the luxury segment, Switzerland enjoys a position of near-monopoly.
According to a survey on luxury watch brands in the UK, during the second quarter of 2021, the most popular luxury watch brand was Seiko, which was favoured by 44% of respondents. The Hugo Boss watch brand ranked in third place with 42% among respondents, followed by Timex at 37%.
To get an idea of the scale of the watch industry, feast your eyes on a watch industry event held in Geneva this year called Watches and Wonders.
So what are the “watch watchers” and fashionistas predicting as watch trends to look out for in 2022?
Wristwatch Trends To Note In 2022
Colour is still popular
Green and blue are still popular, bronze is still around. But the new black is …?
Titanium is rising in prominence
Titanium is not a new material in watchmaking, but it’s perhaps gaining popularity with more brands in 2022.
Returning to the vintage watch trend, it is inspired by nostalgic elements such as thin cases, minimalistic dials, leather straps and beautiful history. A good example is the BOSS Elite Men’s Watch. Showcasing a simple, clean dial that contrasts beautifully against a black leather strap, this watch could epitomise the vintage look.
Tech-savvy millennials will feed the smartwatches trend for 2022
Smartwatches keep wearers in the know while helping them reach fitness goals. They have everything you need at the flick of a wrist. A good example would be the TAG Heuer Connected Smartwatch which is said to blend Swiss avant-garde manufacture with innovative technology to help wearers perform at their best.
Minimalistic watches trends for 2022
Picture clean lines and simple dials for this trend. These simple watches are for those who want a watch suitable for every occasion and outfit, taking you from the office to the bar in casual to smart style.
Bold and coloured dials are still in
Colour has been a huge trend over the past year with jewellery and now it’s landed on watch dials and faces. Blue watches, green watches and pastel dial watches have been a big hit. An example is the Vivienne Westwood Wallace Gold Tone Ladies Watch, with its luscious emerald green dial, all-gold design and crystal set bezel (that grooved ring holding the cover of a watch face or other instrument in position).
Retro sports watches trends in 2022
Think of colour and panda dials with a blend of modern craftsmanship and contemporary twists, making them perfect for the new 2022 watch trend. An icon in the watch world, this TAG Heuer Formula 1 Gulf Chronograph Special Edition Men’s Watch, the white chronograph sub-dials add a sporty touch to an already retro design.
Smaller watches trends in 2022 for both men and women. Watches are downsizing as we see the return of small-faced watches for men and women. Creating an air of class, the small watches trend sees both new designs and old favourites in a more compact case. Small doesn’t have to replace glamour. A good example is the Michael Kors Parker Silver Mother of Pearl Ladies Watch. Crystals embellish the 28mm case, while the rose gold finishing touches enhance the beautiful mother of pearl dial.
Watchmaking as a career has dropped off dramatically in recent years with fewer youth entering the profession. This is particularly the case in the US where watchmaking has moved to Switzerland or Asia.
Perhaps the positive spin on this is that watchmaking will become a highly-in-demand career choice as it would appear that watchmaking is here to stay.