6 About-to-Break Watch Trends That Are Set to Take Over

Watch trends 2024
(Image credit: Rolex; Piaget; @ariviere; Cartier; Hermès)

The Luxury List is a monthly column on all things luxury, tapping the foremost experts in the fashion space to explore everything from craftsmanship deep dives to the little-known details to consider when buying fine jewelry.

Earlier this year, we declared that we’ve entered the era of the timepiece with the rise of women entering the watch space, both from an expert and shopping point of view. As we enter the second half of 2024, it’s clear that this couldn’t be more true and there are new insights about what is yet to unfold in the watch world throughout the year. Much of that newness was shown at the annual Watches and Wonders trade show in Geneva, Switzerland where industry insiders attended to see the latest timepieces unveiled by luxury brands.

To decode the biggest trends set to define the watch world in 2024, we spoke with experts to weigh in on the key takeaways. Overall, things were dialed back. “Watches and Wonders was a lot calmer than 2022 and 2023. To be fully transparent, it felt like the industry was reacting to the economic reality,” explains Malaika Crawford, a stylist and style editor at Hodinkee. “There were far less gimmicks and more of a focus on easy-to-digest watches for the mass consumer. With timepieces like The Cut from Hermes and the Tudor BB Monochrome, the show was certainly steering us in a more sensible direction to previous years.”

That isn’t to say that everything was about simple, practical pieces as there were also some elaborate showstoppers. Jewelry-meets-watch timepieces in the form of bejeweled necklaces, pendants, and even belts was another standout trends, as Trang Trinh, the founder of Girls O’Clock, pointed out. There is much more to unpack, though. Ahead, more on the 6 biggest watch trends to know from Watches and Wonders, and the next cult buy that is set to go viral once it is released.

Watch trends 2024

(Image credit: @josefinehj; Piaget; Chanel; Patek Philippe)

"There’s no doubt we all caught baignoire bangle fever in 2023. But that was the minimalist’s approach. This year we have a super diverse and slight more maximalist take on the jewelry-watch-hybrid category," Crawford shares. "Piaget is offering high jewelry glamor with its swinging sautoirs, Patek has made an Ellipse on mesh bracelet (a definite ode to the original '70s design), Chanel gave us Diana Vreeland worthy diamond cuff as well as a premiere sautoire belt. And Cartier went in for their second bangle, the slightly more ornate reflection de Cartier, available with diamonds or with a mosaic of colored stones. If you’re into self adornment in a '70s/'80s, more-is-more, Loulou de la Falaise Marrakesh fantasy kind of way then it’s your year."

The Key Buys: Audemars Piguet Mini Frosted Royal Oak, Reflection de Cartier, Patek Philippe Mesh Bracelet Ellipse, Chanel Sapphire J12

Watch trends 2024

(Image credit: @kristenmarienichols; Rolex; IWC; Chopard)

A return to elegance is something we are seeing in fashion overall in 2024, and that is translating to the watch space as well. With a movement away from flashy design, we are seeing the return of classic pieces including the dress watch set on a leather band. “Trends and our tastes of late seem to have gone back to the basics and this applies to watches as well," Tringh shares.

The Key Buys: Rolex 1908, Chopard Happy Sport, IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar

Watch trends 2024

(Image credit: @malaikamc; Tudor; Rolex; Tag Heuer)

"In a world of mini- and jewelry-watches, I’m most excited for the return of the sports watch—this time, much more empowering than the era of the 'boyfriend watch', yet just as sexy," Tringh says. "Tudor released their Black Bay 58, a dive watch, in 18k yellow gold and it remains my favorite watch unveiled at Watches & Wonders. Yellow gold watches are traditionally the loudest in the room, their hue emphasized with a polished finish. But the gold on this Tudor Black Bay 58 feels shockingly subtle in person with its brushed finish, almost as if it were a secret for its wearer to appreciate in private. To complete it, the military green dial and bezel harmonize beautifully with the yellow gold." The Tudor watch Tringh mentions

"Tudor wasn’t the only one who sought to redefine sporty—Hermès this year really emphasized their 'The Cut' watch, a softer, more rounded sports watch available in steel or two-toned steel and rose gold, with or without diamonds on the bezel, and in bracelet form or rubber-strapped," Tringh shares. "The watch itself is sleek, yet geometric, and above all, it’s distinctly Hermès."

The Key Buys: Hermès The Cut, Tudor Black Bay, Rolex GMT-Master II, Tag Heuer Carrera Chronograph

Watch trends 2024

(Image credit: @girls.o.clock; Cartier; Audemars Piguet)

"Where flair meets simplicity, monochrome watches strike the fine line of providing a subtle pop of color without overpowering the overall look. And rather, the attention is shifted to the silhouette of the watch instead," Tringh reports. "Case in point: Audemars Piguet released their Code 11.59 in eggplant and baby blue. Up close, your eye is drawn to the angles and curvature of the case, whereas afar, you can’t help but lust after its color palette. Likewise, Cartier unveiled their popular Mini Baignoires in monochrome shades of metallic purple, bronze, and black. The result is an emphasis on the gleaming watch case. Who said minimalists and maximalists can’t agree?"

The Key Buys: Cartier Baignoire, Augemars Piguet Code 11.59

Watch trends 2024

(Image credit: @girls.o.clock; Piaget; Cartier)

"Vintage reissues continue to dominate. The Piaget Polo 79, the Cartier Privé Tortue Monopoussoire chronograph, and the Cartier Tank LC Mini are all examples of vintage styles being rehashed to appease the appetite for more design-driven watches," Crawford says.

The Key Buys: Piaget Polo 79, Cartier Privé Tortue Monopoussoire

Watch trends 2024

(Image credit: @girls.o.clock; Chanel; Piaget)

"Originating from playful celebrity styling moments, cue: Rihanna's watch anklet and Emma Chamberlain's watch choker, the statement watch trend has taken the internet—and brands—by storm," Tringh observes. "Chanel reimagined their Première watch into a versatile necklace that doubles as a belt, and Piaget revisited their Swinging Sautoir with sensibility: the watch pendant can be unclasped and worn on the wrist with a satin strap. As watch brands continue to push the boundaries of creativity and functionality, the marriage of watches and jewelry is set to redefine accessorizing in the digital age."

The Key Buys: Chanel Première, Piaget Swinging Sautoir

Watch trends 2024

(Image credit: @carlosdiary; Cartier)

Of every timepiece presented at Watches and Wonders, one new release immediately went viral amongst the watch community: the Cartier Mini Tank Louis. The shrunken proportions of the tank watch play into the movement toward tiny watches that is all but taking over in the watch world. "The Tank LC mini is my prediction for next cult buy," Crawford shares. "Tiny watches have become ubiquitous within the collector community over the past couple of years. A wide breadth of social media content has led to a voracious appetite amongst collectors (old and new) for smaller, design-led watches. Celebrities have embraced the trend (see Timothée Chalamet wearing a ladies' Crash), and in turn have caused the wider world to pay attention to 'men in small watches'. The Tank Mini is delicate, but not too precious. It’s stackable, but unlike the Baignoire bangle, which truly feels more jewelry-like to me, this is a watch with pre-existing chops that has been shrunken down according to the tastes of the moment."

Tringh agrees that this is the key timepiece primed to take over in 2024. "Cartier’s classic Tank came back this year in mini form and it’s poised to take over our social media feeds, she predicts. "The Tank Mini itself isn’t a new release historically speaking for Cartier, but rather a re-release of the models sold in in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. But clean-cut fashion of today has shifted attention away from flamboyant colors, silhouettes, and runway gimmicks and evolved it into a respect for craftsmanship and—this is where the magic lies—brand history. Similar to Bottega Veneta's intrecciato revival in recent years, this downsized Tank is more than just a miniature, it's a testament to enduring elegance."

The Key Buy: Cartier Mini Tank Louis

Associate Director, Special Projects

Kristen Nichols is the Associate Director, Special Projects at Who What Wear with over a decade of experience in fashion, editorial, and publishing. She oversees luxury content and wedding features, and covers fashion within the luxury market, runway reporting, shopping features, trends, and interviews with leading industry experts. She also contributes to podcast recordings, social media, and branded content initiatives. Kristen has worked with brands including Prada, Chanel, MyTheresa, and Luisa Via Roma, and rising designers such as Refine and Tove, and her style has been featured in publications including Vogue.com, Vogue France, WWD, and the CFDA. Before Who What Wear, Kristen began her career at Rodarte, where she worked on assistant styling, photo shoots, and runway shows, and at Allure, where she moved into print and digital editorial. She graduated from the University of Southern California, where she studied art history and business, and currently lives in New York.