Luxury watchmaking is a world that never ceases to amaze. Beginning from the age of pocket watches to the era timepiece that can display your heartbeat on an LED touch screen, the industry has evolved in a multitude of leaps. What intrigues the most is the extent of the said evolution. The Haute Horlogerie realm is not the same as it was a few years ago, let alone decades. Everything ranging from case sizes to dial colours to even the bracelet has witnessed a change in terms of consumer preference.
To put things in simpler terms, in this blog, we will be exploring these changes. Let’s begin, shall we?
Ever since the advent of luxury s[orts watches began, the trend of case sizes began to change as well. Historically, mechanical watches, especially the high-end ones, have been petite and small in size. This patten was then altered with the rise in demand of tool watches. Watch wearers, a huge part of which were men, began garnering a taste for large oversized watches. Watches such as the IWC Big Pilot’s Watch, Breitling Chronomat, and the Panerai Luminor are a few great examples.
In the present-day scenario, however, things are not as they used to be. Perceptions have altered and so has consumer behaviour. Case sizes of watches seem to have a diminished influence as the days go by. Women are preferring larger case sizes such as 40 mm and 42 mm, while men are opting for smaller and easier to carry case sizes such 38 mm and 36 mm.
The luxury watches business is a place that has always been dominated by traditions. There are certain traditions that just cannot be broken, that is, unless someone is gutsy enough to break them. Occasionally, there happens to be a brand that has the grit and vision to change the said ‘rules’ and make new ones. One such brand is Audemars Piguet that single handily revolutionized the industry with the launch of the Royal Oak. The brand broke a huge taboo when it used stainless steel for its flagship timepiece.
Today, a similar development can be seen with dial colours. Gone are the days of the classic gold and blue. Brands of today are not afraid to experiment with colours tones. More recently, watch brands have garnered a liking for green dials, something that would have been unthinkable a decade ago.
Smartwatches have not been in the industry as long as luxury watches but they sure have made an impact. Often looked down upon by purists, smartwatches have taken the industry by a storm. Not only are they way more affordable, they also offer a plethora of functions that mechanical watches just cannot.
So, are they better than painstakingly created and handcrafted luxury mechanical timepieces? Well, we all wish life was that easy, don’t we? The thing is that as technology evolves, industries have to adapt accordingly. A similar trend has been going on in the Haute Horlogerie world as luxury watch brands are turning towards smartwatches. The biggest examples would be the TAG Heuer Connected and the Hublot Big Bang E.