There was a time when the watch was an essential accessory to any outfit. You had the suit, the tie, the shoes, the belt and finally the watch to tie it all together. For ’80s Hong Kong, it was the two-tone Rolex Datejust – just as the black submariner found its place as a streetwear staple, the 36mm Datejust was a staple for the yuppies of Central.
As those days are over, we are witnessing a new resurgence in the popularity of mechanical wristwatches. And even if it’s not so much for their horological value, there’s no denying that fashion houses are catching on quickly to grab a chunk of the watch market. Whether it’s appreciation for craftsmanship, an ego boost, or the occasional flex, “more expensive” doesn’t always correlate with better looks, and there are always certain watches that blend better with his personal style than others. The vintage/workwear crowd has it easy when selecting a watch, anything vintage Rolex works well with most ensembles, but what about those partaking in some of the latest fashion trends ? Which watches complement their aesthetic the most?
In a fun little exercise with Watchfinder, we’ll take a look at some rising and recurring trends and see which watches of today could fill that spot on the wrist to match their preferred cuts.
To lean freely on Jeremy Piven in Rush hour 2: you have thick wrists, big broad shoulders, ok, let’s put a 45mm on you. If Prada Fall/Winter 2022 has taught us anything, it’s that the massive-shouldered powersuit is going to make several appearances.
This razor-sharp V-shape with a cinched waist is pure 90s Hugo Boss and Armani, and what better watch than one that exudes masculinity. Not just any big watch works in this case, it has to be field tested with some degree of pedigree, and that’s why watches like the Breitling Super Avenger II (Ref. A13371) and Panerai Luminor Submersible (Ref. PAM00615) fit the bill – both are over 45mm in size, highly durable and have ties to the Italian Air Force and Navy, respectively.
black is back
DLC watches are somewhat tricky. It is well known that if you “blackout” a watch like a Rolex, the price drops on average. For this reason, I go with all-black watches – direct from the factory. The dark look had such height in 2012 and is now making a comeback. A few good examples are the YEEZY GAP ENGINEERED BY BALENCIAGA collection, Fendi’s Fall/Winter 2022 collection, the obvious Chome Hearts train, and the eagerness that surrounds every Rick Owens drop.
If you’re looking for watches to complement your JULIUS, Ann Demeulemeester, The Viridi-Anne or even Yohji, and you’re looking to go a different route from Bamford Watch Department or MAD Paris, or you don’t have the cash for the Royal Oak 5402 PVD coated by the late Karl Lagerfeld, there are still plenty of choices readily available.
Watches like the Tudor Black Bay Ceramic (Ref. 79210CNU-0001), the Tag Huerer Night Diver (Ref. WBP201D.FT6197), the Hublot Aero Bang (Ref. 311.CI.1170.GR), and black ceramic IWC Ingenieur (Ref. IW322503) are viable options.
Architectural and structural fabrics
This category is for those who aren’t necessarily into fashion or watch collecting, but are interested in design with a functional appeal. Comparable to the feeling you get when you see a building and instantly know who the architect behind the project was, these watches follow suit.
The labels compared here use mixed media and various materials, and are very conceptual and experimental, but at the same time rooted in something traditional. From there they were able to forge their own path and are very recognizable, if quirky at times.
Designers that come to mind are people like Thom Browne and Craig Green with an energy that can only work for them and no one else. It’s comparable to Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso with its subtle Art Deco lines and avant-garde reversible case. There are a number of small seconds rectangular watches, but none stand out as much as the Reverso. At a higher price point is the A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus. Although it doesn’t have a signature trick like the Reverso, those familiar with the A. Lange & Söhne name don’t care about its $28,800 price tag – they know what they’re getting.
A hint of color
Last year saw the incorporation of a lot of color into the dials, and this will continue in the coming seasons as well. This set of watches is for those who love energetic brands like Casablanca, MSGM, Paul Smith and Prada, to name a few. For these watches, we’re looking at tried-and-true models that have been updated with hues other than black, white, and navy blue. A trend we are seeing is to have a single key element of bright color mixed with muted tones. Watches that fall into this category are the Oris Divers Sixty-Five, Bell & Ross Drops BR 03-94, a number of Grand Seiko commemorative models, the Richard Mille Tourbillon (Ref. RM38-02) and the more recent Samuel Ross Porthole. Big Bang 45mm.
Big and Billowy Classics
This category works from the classic models but increases the dimensions. Chunky cuts, wide shoulders and loose silhouettes will be important for the fall season. Much like how Rolex has upgraded its classic sized cases from 36mm to 41mm, there’s just more to love here. It’s the same watch you already love, but with an added wrist presence. Watches like the Cartier Ballon Bleu (Ref. W6920003) and Santos 100 (Ref. W20073X8) are safe choices as well as the Rolex Sky-Dweller and Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Off-Shore.
In other watch news, the Kurono Tokyo Anniversary Edition Grand Mori Urushi watch sells out in 12 minutes.