Watches and Wonders

Like all invited trade visitors and public ticket-holders, we cannot wait for Watches and Wonders 2024 to begin. Last year’s show was a resounding success not just with hosted guests, but the 12,000 individuals from near and far who paid for entry into the premier horological showcase.

In 2023, total estimated sales for the top 50 Swiss watch brands reached CHF36 billion, rebounding strongly from a low in Covid-hit 2020. In line with the boom in new global horology fans, we are expecting a wider-than-ever selection of models, from re-issues to new designs. While last year’s Watches and Wonders novelties were defined by smaller dimensions and daintier proportions, we have no doubt this year’s offerings will deliver sizes and aesthetics in spades.

Watches and Wonders
Judging by the public turn-out of young and old at last year’s show, we anticipate this year’s launches to have a wide appeal (Credit: WWGF/Keystone/Valentin Flauraud)

As much as history has always inspired watchmakers, bolder influences of the past should be back with a bang this time — because isn’t it time everyone has a little more fun? Specifically, we are betting on the cheeky ’70s and excessive ’80s, as well as the elegant yet imitable Art Deco period. 

After losing favour over the past few years, yellow gold is currently experiencing somewhat of a revival — with Piaget leading the way with the long-awaited release of its new Polo 1979 this February. Having said that, so far we’ve seen a slew of recent models adorned with brownish, bronzey, copperish shades of gold. But gold isn’t the only colour brands are experimenting with: Besides dial shade du jour, green, we anticipate a broader, and maybe even wilder and more psychedelic, palette. Disco, anyone?

The Beauregard Dahlia watch is a showcase of the fusion of high jewellery with high watchmaking (Credit: WWGF/Keystone/Valentin Flauraud)

Women who adore sporty watches should brace themselves, for last year’s roll call of steel sports watches with integrated steel bracelets might just take on a more glamorous persona, gemstones included. Speaking of such sparkling creations, a comeback of the classic jewellery watch has been brewing for a while now. Heritage design codes will no doubt be maintained, but we are sure the legacy watchmakers are putting their full weight into dreaming up even more fantastical, innovative concepts that combine high jewellery with high watchmaking.

As some brands like Tag Heuer and Breitling have demonstrated, whether lab-grown diamonds are truly sustainable and ethical is not a matter of contention anymore — at least in the luxury watchmaking sphere bound by the highest standards. But have they found a place in more quarters? What more are brands doing to go green? At the upcoming fair, we will be attending a public panel discussion called Virtuous Cycles that addresses how the watchmaking world is tackling environmental challenges, so watch this space.