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The 4 hottest watches trends we’re expecting in 2024

Be prepared to look great with this year's watches

Cartier watch with rings

Watches for men have always been a game changer. They started as elegant items of heft in the front pocket connected to a chain and then developed into something more user-friendly as a tool strapped to your wrist. That wasn’t the first or the last innovation that caused men to save up their pennies and pick out their new favorite timepiece. Innovations like the Day/Date, the quartz movement, and the development of the smartwatch have made watches some of the most sought-after and beloved items in a man’s closet. Brands like Rolex, Citizen, Brietling, and Apple have led the way to some monumental moments in the watch world.

Of course, some developments were short-lived, like the calculator watch. It may have been a stellar idea that had its moment, but it fizzled out. Now we have a calculator on our phone, so it isn’t likely to come back. However, that doesn’t mean that 2024 won’t see its share of trends in the watch world. Looking at the future, we can see a return to simplicity. A return to elegance. And some refreshing fun. So, if you are a fellow chronophile, strap in for a fun year, as these are the watch trends we expect to see in the year 2024.

Man wearing watch
KC Stone / The Manual

Smaller dials are back

Think back to the 2000s. The Marvel Cinematic Universe hadn’t begun yet. Pierce Brosnan was still the debonair James Bond, and Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake were calling it quits. That was also when guys started wearing dinner plates on their wrists. The big watch trend blew up in the aughts, and the sizes shot from the traditional 37-38 millimeters to upwards of nearly 50 millimeters. There were times when it looked like guys were just taking the clock off the wall at the office and strapping it to their wrists using a belt.

We have started to see that trend scaled back significantly in the last few years. While the 20s don’t see many big watches any longer (thank goodness), they do still see plenty of watches in the 44-47 millimeter range. Of course, fellas with smaller wrists still struggle to raise their arms with those anvils, so the trend is now going to return to a more traditional 38-40 millimeter size. Last year, we saw men start to wear women’s watches in an effort to have smaller watches. Watch companies were likely to notice.

Man adjusting his tie wearing a watch
Ruthson Zimmerman / Unsplash

The triumphant return of the dress watch

The Apple Smartwatch took over the watch industry when it was first released. Maybe it was a collective realization of some nostalgic desire to be Dick Tracy, but we all loved the idea of having our phones strapped to our wrists. But, like everything else, the cyclical nature of our desires and interests began to tire of the technology of smartwatches, and the return of the dumb watch made waves in the last two years.

This year, you will see the dress watch start to climb back to prominence among the best tactical watches and tool watches. Once again, men are going to start seeing their watches as a part of the ensemble, an elegant addition to an already sophisticated look. Be ready for a lot of leather straps and subtle dials.

A Rolex watch on its side.
Carlos Esteves / Unsplash

Expect the unexpected collab

Collaborations are a great way to liven up the watch world. You may see a collection of subtle elegance gracing wrists in 2024, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be fun. You can go to almost any manufacturer and find a Marvel, Barbie, or Pokemon collaboration to let its wearer express their passions. This year, you should be ready to see some more unexpected and sentimental collabs from your favorite watchmakers.

Last year, we saw a watch collaboration that contained actual moondust. We also saw one that featured a piece of the Berlin Wall and a guitar string used by the Scorpions while performing “Winds of Change.” This is the energy we’re bringing into 2024, and we can’t wait to see what companies come up with to capture our attention.

Man wearing a watch
Bao Minh / Pexels

Dialing up the color

Finally, we understand if you’re not ready to suppress your personality with the return of subtle sophistication. The collaborations may be a little less colorful and more geared toward sentimentality, but that doesn’t mean you have to go in that direction. Instead, you will be delighted to know that this year will see the return of colored dials in all the best watches.

Your watch can now be a part of the color scheme when you put together an outfit or be the standout pop of color when wearing a more monochromatic look. Either way, these bright and more eye-catching dials will be the talk of 2024. As you go through the year, start checking off this list, and let’s see how close we were in December.

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Mark McKee
Contributor
Mark is a full-time freelance writer and men's coach. He spent time as a style consultant and bespoke suit salesman before…
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