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Top Timepiece Trends From Watches And Wonders 2021 |  April 12, 2021 (0 comments)


Geneva, Switzerland—Watches And Wonders 2021 (née SIHH) is underway. For 2021, the event is a “phygital” one, being held both online from Geneva April 7-13, and continuing with an in-person component taking place in Shanghai from April 14-18. 38 leading luxury brands—including Rolex, IWC Schaffahausen, Panerai and more—are debuting new models in the virtual component. 

I thought I’d have a look at what some of the experts are touting as the most notable introductions and share those with Centurion Newsletter readers. I readily admit that as a career fashion and luxury jewelry editor I’m looking at these trends through a lens more visual than functional, but even as a non-expert it’s not hard to see one overriding trend among all the top introductions from the show.

Sorting through some top editors’ picks in the watch world, what’s immediately evident is how much classic looks are the single standout trend and, really, it shouldn’t be a surprise. We know that the pandemic helped rocket diamond and jewelry sales far beyond anyone’s wildest expectations last year and we know that people are buying and gifting jewelry for both lasting value and the same core emotional reasons that fine jewelry has always withstood tough times. We also know that in the jewelry category, classics like diamond stud earrings are selling best. 

Therefore, it stands to reason that if someone’s going to invest in a luxury timepiece in the current zeitgeist, they’re going to want something that’s either already a classic or destined to become one. Whereas neon bright colors, massive size, or avant-garde styling were top trends in the not-too-distant past, that’s not what the watch pros are zeroing in on this year. For instance, Rolex is reintroducing its Oyster Perpetual Explorer in a 36mm case (image, top of page), the size of the original 1953 model. Even sports watches are newly understated, featuring classic woven canvas straps instead of high-tech rubber or other materials.

Now, that’s not to say there’s nothing new. After all, you have to have something new, otherwise what’s the point? So yes, there are innovative feats of engineering (like IWC’s Big Pilot’s Watch Shock Absorber XPL) and complex functionality (like Vacheron Constantin’s tourbillon perpetual calendar ‘Planetaria’) among the new introductions. Still, while those might be going on inside the watch cases, the faces they present to the world are elegant, and, ahem, timeless. 

T3’s Spencer Hart picked two IWC Pilot’s Watches: the iconic design of Big Pilot’s Watch 43, above top, and the Big Pilot’s Watch Shock Absorber XPL with a revolutionary advanced anti-shock system eight years in the making. Images:

Corum’s 45 Automatic Openwork Flying Tourbillon Carbon & Gold Watch was one of the more avant-garde designs unveiled during Watches & Wonders. Image:

Classic Panerai styling with a twist: the new Luminor Marina model features eSteel, a recycled-based material emphasizing Panerai’s commitment to reduce extractive mining and its associated high environmental impact. Image:

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