The Baselworld Fair opened today, and already we are seeing key trends emerge, including an emphasize on interchangeable watch straps, the introduction of new materials and a general downsizing of case sizes for men and women.
Interchangeability and versatility. As witnessed already at SIHH, watch brands are recognizing that consumers today like choice. As such, we expect to see a lot more brands offering interchangeable watch straps — with new methods for easy-click changeability and with grand diversity of leathers, metal bracelets, finishes and colors.
Continued use of new materials. While gold, steel and titanium remain the staple of watchmaking, we continue to see an evolution of new materials. Our favorite is the use of bronze because it develops its own patina over time, making the watchcase unique to its owners. On the flip side is the innovative use of sapphire, with more sapphire box cases being unveiled at the high-end of the spectrum, allowing for ultimate visibility of the movement, and with some brands unveiling new colors of sapphire. Additionally, certain cutting-edge brands are unveiling new alloys and new colors of alloys that bring an edginess to the timepiece.
Smaller case sizes. While the much-loved 44mm size for men and 36mm size for women will never go away, this year we are seeing a reduction in case sizes. For women, these reductions mean a emergence of "mini" cases (24mm) from couture brands, as well as from fashion-forward brands, and of 32mm and 34mm sizes that sit nicely on a thinner wrist. For men, 38mm sizes in a classic watch are beginning to populate the offerings. For comparison's sake, a US quarter measures about 24mm.