There are several recognizable trends emerging from watch companies this year, most of them are driven directly by demand from the consumer. In frying times, watch companies have had to become more end-consumer driven, and this has resulted in a remarkable range of product from which retailers can choose.

New Colors

MANUFACTURERS ARE STILL INTRODUCING new and innovative colors. Pastel colors are quite popular, as are brighter, more intense colors. Watches with interesting color combinations are hitting the market–watches that are unusual and eye catching. Movado, Hermes, Concord, Festina, Corum, MW by Michelle, Bedat & Co., Oakley and others have offerings that feature new and interesting colors.

Diamonds, Diamonds, Diamonds

THERE IS DEFINITELY A TREND towards jewelry watches, and companies like Calvin Klein, Tissot, Ebel, Ventura, Chopard, Omega, Longines, Movado, Concord and more are responding. Omega is adding diamonds to their women’s watches and to their men’s watches as well.

Though white diamonds are the dominant color, many companies are using different colors. Ventura uses some black diamonds in their diamond watches, and Chopard offers up a number of different colored stones, including chocolate diamonds.

It’s not just diamonds, either. Many companies introduced various colors of sapphires (black, blue, red, etc.), and often matched the sapphires with the dial and strap colors.

Yellow Gold Is Back

MANY OF THE COMPANIES showing at this year’s Basel Fair are adding gold to their lines. Festina is so sure of yellow gold’s reemergence, the company just built a new gold factory in Spain that is capable of producing 2000 watches a day. TAG Heuer has added gold and two-tone watches to the line, as have Tutima, Longines, Harry Winston, Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier, Piaget, Chopard, Alfex and many more.

Very Large or Very Small

COMPANIES ARE EITHER GOING WITH larger watches, ones that men and women can wear, or going with the mini watches, specifically targeted at women.

Many companies have broadened their choices in large watches, making midsize watches bigger, while other companies have gone the other way, making watches smaller and more delicate.

Complicated Watches

CONSUMERS AROUND THE WORLD are becoming much more educated about the movements that go into their watches, and companies are responding with more mechanical movements in their offerings and with increasingly complicated watches. Many companies are including or expanding the mechanical watches in their lines, including Maurice Lacroix, Hermes, Movado, Hamilton, Jaguar and more.

Mechanical watches can help reinforce or establish a watch-making tradition and satisfy customers looking for more value and more of a story when buying a watch.

Maurice Lacroix introduced an entire range of mechanical triple time zone watches, called the Masterpiece Globe, one with a mechanical alarm, further solidifying the company’s place as a maker of fine timepieces.

There are so many fine brands of high-end mechanical watches, like Patek Philippe, Dubey & Schaldenbrand, Glashutte Original, Breguet, Blancpain, Fortis, Harry Winston and more represented at Basel, reinforcing the trend towards more sophisticated timepieces.

Uniqueness

GIVEN THE PLETHORA OF BRANDS in the industry today, one way to catch the attention of the consumer is to introduce a watch that no one else has, like Tissot’s T-Touch, the industry’s first touch screen watch, or Ventura’s automatic digital watch. These watches can serve as a way in for the consumer. Even if they don’t buy that watch, they are aware of the line and more apt to buy.

Other examples of unique watches are the Swatch James Bond watches, the Hamilton Men in Black II watches, the Tutima range, including their new dive watch, the DI-300, the Fortis B-42 Mechanical Alarm, the Doxa Sub300T and many more.

Classic Styles

AT THE SAME TIME That companies are pushing the boundaries of style, mechanical complications and technology companies like Corum, Swiss Army, Longines, Hamilton, Hermes and others are bringing back styles from the past, styles that connect with the customer with a taste of nostalgia, and draw in new customers with a classic look.

Corum, which has really pushed design and style with the unique and striking Bubble line of watches, introduced a new line of classic-styled watches at Basel this year, and Swiss Army Brands is going back to the company’s roots with the newly introduced Alliance line, which features high polished watches with clean, classic designs.

Increased Versatility

IT’S MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER to have watches where the straps can be swapped out or that can show a different look depending on the wearer’s mood. MW by Michele has made watch straps extremely easy to interchange, Bedat & Co. has a wardrobe of strap styles and colors to choose from, and most other companies have a wide choice of straps that can be swapped to provide the watch with a new look. Tissot has taken that a step further with the Tissot T-win, where the black dial can be turned over to reveal a white dial.

Giving customers the flexibility to change the look of their watches as easily as they change their minds is certainly a trend most companies are aware of and one that many are addressing in their new offerings.

There you have it, some of the trends apparent as a result of the 2002 Basel and SIHH shows. This should definitely be a fun year for watches.