There was a time when the watch was a crucial accessory to any outfit. You had the suit, tie, shoes, belt, and finally, the watch to tie it all together. For ’80s Hong Kong, it was the Rolex two-tone Datejust — much like the black submariner has found its way as a streetwear staple, the 36mm Datejust was a go-to for the yuppies of Central.
While that era has passed, we are witnessing a new resurgence in the popularity of mechanical wristwatches. And even if it is not so much for their horological value, there’s no denying that fashion houses are quickly catching on to this in rush to capture some of the timepiece market. Whether it be for the appreciation of craftsmanship, an ego boost, or the occasional flex, “most expensive” doesn’t always correlate with better looking, and there are always certain watches that pair better with one’s 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 that are partaking in some of the latest fashion trends? Which watches complement their aesthetics the most?
In a fun little exercise with Watchfinder, we’re going to look at some rising and returning trends and see which watches today could fill that spot on the wrist to harmonize with their favorite fits.
To loosely build on Jeremy Piven in Rush Hour 2: you’ve got 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 power suit with massive shoulders is going to be making multiple appearances.
This razor 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 instance, it needs to be field-tested with a certain degree of pedigree, and that is why watches like the Breitling Super Avenger II (Ref. A13371) and Panerai Luminor Submersible (Ref. PAM00615) fit the bill — both come in at over 45mm, are highly durable, and have ties to aviation and the Italian Navy, respectively.
Black is Back
DLC watches are somewhat of a tricky thing. It is well known that if you aftermarket “black-out” a watch like a Rolex, the price on average goes down. For this reason, I am going with watches that come all black — straight from the factory. The dark look had such a height in 2012 and is now making a full-circle return. Some great examples are the YEEZY GAP ENGINEERED BY BALENCIAGA collection, Fendi’s Fall/Winter 2022 collection, the obvious Chome Hearts train, and the eagerness surrounding every Rick Owens drop.
If you’re looking for some watches to complement your JULIUS, Ann Demeulemeester, The Viridi-Anne, or even Yohji, and are looking to go in a different route from Bamford Watch Department or MAD Paris, or don’t have the cash for the late Karl Lagerfeld’s PVD-coated Royal Oak 5402, there are still plenty of readily-available choices.
Watches like the Tudor Black Bay Ceramic (Ref. 79210CNU-0001), Tag Huerer Night Diver (Ref. WBP201D.FT6197), 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 that 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 being compared here utilize mixed media, and varying materials, and are highly conceptual and experimental, but at the same time are rooted in something traditional. From this, they’ve been able to carve out their own paths and are highly recognizable, even if outlandish at times.
Designers that come to mind consist of the likes of Thom Browne and Craig Green with an energy that can only possibly work for them and no one else. This is comparable to Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso with its subtle Art Deco lines and pioneering reversible case. There are a number of rectangular watches with small seconds, but none are as distinguishable as the Reverso. On a higher price tier is the A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus. While it does not have a signature trick like the Reverso, those that know the A. Lange & Söhne name hardly bat an eye at its $28,800 USD price tag — they know what they are getting.
A Hint of Color
Last year saw the incorporation of a lot of colors into dials, and that will also carry on into the upcoming seasons. This set of watches is for those that are into energetic brands like Casablanca, MSGM, Paul Smith, and Prada, to name a few. For these watches, we are looking at tried and true models that have been updated with hues outside of black, white, and navy. One trend we are witnessing is having a single bright-colored key item mixed in with muted tones. Watches that fall into this category are the Oris Divers Sixty-Five, Bell & Ross Drops BR 03-94, a number of commemorative Grand Seiko models, the Richard Mille Tourbillon (Ref. RM38-02), and the more recent Samuel Ross Hublot Big Bang 45mm.
Big and Billowy Classics
This category works off classic models but increases the dimensions. Beefy cuts, wide shoulders, and loose-fitting silhouettes will be big for the Fall season. Much like how Rolex has taken its classic-sized cases from 36mm up to 41mm, there’s just more to love here. It’s the same watch you already love but with 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, Kurono Tokyo Anniversary Edition Grand Mori Urushi watch sells out in 12 minutes.