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The Watch Trends of 2016

Categories Watches

The main ‘movements’ in timepieces this year (little horological joke there)…

Black is back

Black-on-black watches have been building momentum for years to the point where they’re a staple piece for fashion-conscious watch collectors. Refined and masculine, nearly every watchmaker produces an all black timepiece — Breitling’s Superocean Heritage Chronoworks, the Omega Seamster and Tudor’s Black Bay Dark reflect this trend, while Bulgari’s Ultranero, the limited-edition Zenith Academy Georges Favre-Jacot Tourbillon and the sporty Girard-Perregaux Competizione Circuito are other stylish black pieces.

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Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronoworks

And so is bronze

A softer metal, bronze can’t compete with stainless steel in the ‘My watch is more heat-proof/water-proof/bump-proof/nuclear-war-proof’ stakes but its striking appearance certainly stands out from the crowd. Tudor’s Black Bay Bronze — a new addition to their successful heritage collection paying homage to the material of antique diving equipment — is one such piece, as is the ion-plated bronze detailing on Casio’s EFR-544RB-1AER and Oris’ bronze version of the old-school Divers Sixty-Five.

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Tudor’s Black Bay Bronze

Less is more

Men’s watches have been slowly shrinking to match the demand for more restrained case sizes — larger pieces (46mm-plus) now look outdated compared to elegant sub-42mm designs. Tudor’s Black Bay line (36mm), Seiko’s anniversary edition 1967 62GS Automatic (37.6mm) and Rolex’s 39mm Oyster Perpetual Explorer exemplify the shift towards more slender timepieces.

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Rolex’s 39mm Oyster Perpetual Explorer

Going retro

Slim cases go hand-in-hand with the vintage watch trend, producing sleek, classic dials with traditional batons. These retro-inspired pieces are more modest and classic, designed to subtly complement your outfit rather than grab your attention. Many watchmakers are also adding more sub dials to these cleaner designs — Frederique Constant’s Slimline Perpetual Calendar incorporates four sub dials into its vintage, uncluttered face.

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Tudor Black Bay

Make it your own

There used to be a time when the only way to customise your watch was to engrave your initials into the back of it — but the trend to personalise the design of the straps gathered ever more momentum this year, perhaps encouraged by the interchangeability available to Apple Watch and other smartwatch wearers. Many enthusiasts collect a range of leather wrist straps — in different colours and materials — so they can put a new spin on their favourite timepieces to suit a specific outfit.

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Getting smarter

Traditional watchmakers are carefully experimenting with cutting-edge technology to challenge the Apple Smartwatch in this dawning segment of the market. TAG Heuer’s Connected sold out its pre-order this year, leading the pack with sophisticated smartphone-compatible technology, while other brands like Fossil, Michael Kors and Nixon are following suit with features like GPS and weather sensors.

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Fossil Q