These Are the Watch Trends You Need To Know for 2021
Watch expert Cara Barrett also shares recommended models for first-time buyers.
The 2021 Watches and Wonders fair took place virtually in April, unveiling a number of unexpected collaborations and new models from brands like Cartier, Rolex, Tudor and more. Similar to how fashion is constantly shifting and evolving, watch trends vary every year. If you’re investing in your first luxury watch or looking to update your collection, here, watch expert and former HODINKEE editor Cara Barrett offers professional insight into the major trends to know this year.
Read on for the timepieces and brands to look out for in 2021. While you’re here, read about the rise of engagement watches.
Sustainable Design Features
Sustainability has finally started to hit the watch industry. While buying a luxury watch has generally always been sustainable — it’s rare you would ever throw one away, and buying pre-owned or vintage is part of the buying culture — brands like Cartier and Panerai have launched new watches that both feature sustainable attributes. Cartier launched its first solar-powered watch, the SolarBeat Tank Must, eliminating the need for a battery change. Panerai, on the other hand, launched the Submersible eLAB-ID, which is made entirely of recycled materials. This “trend” will certainly continue to grow as more public pressure is rightfully placed on brands to rethink their carbon footprint.
Color, Color, Color!
I have been noticing this trend slowly growing over the past few years ever since Rolex launched the rose gold Rainbow Daytona back in 2018, but now we are in full color swing. In addition to rainbow-colored dials, bezels and indexes being everywhere from Breitling to Timex to Chanel, colored dials are very hot right now. Rolex launched a series of candy-colored Oyster Perpteuals at the end of 2020, ranging from light pink to dark green, which seems to be the color du jour. Other brands have followed suit like the Oris Divers, Nomos Campus Club and the new Must de Cartier collection.
The Top Brands To Watch in 2021
Cartier, Tudor and Patek Philippe all played well to their audiences by producing watches that people will buy, wear and keep for a long time. An honorable mention, BVLGARI set yet another record with the thinnest, automatic perpetual calendar ever made — the Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar — measuring just 5.8mm.
Recommended Models for First-Time Buyers
Cartier Must Tank: A great option and a well-priced one at that. Plus, it’s inspired by the 1970 Must de Cartier.
Tudor Black Bay with silver dial: A fantastic, classic steel sports watch that you just might be able to get your hands on. You can pick your size too, which is a really nice option — I recommend the 36mm.
Classic Seiko and the Prospex 140th Anniversary: These hit all the right notes.
Cara Barrett’s Personal Favorites From Watches and Wonders 2021
My favorite watch from this year so far is the Patek Philippe Ref. 6119. It’s their latest version of the classic Calatrava that Patek first introduced in 1932 with the Ref. 96. The newest edition has a Clous de Paris bezel, which is a throwback to the Ref. 3919 from the 90s. I prefer the white gold with black dial because it looks like stainless steel, but isn’t.