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Watch Out: 4 Luxury Watch Trends to Follow in 2018-2019

After 15 years with Swiss watch brand OMEGA, Brice (pronounced: br-ees) Le Troadec jumped continents to head up iconic Japanese timepiece company Grand Seiko as EVP and brand president.

Le Troadec received his first watch as a little boy from his grandfather who was keen on new watch technology, particularly the advent of quartz movement. Quartz, unlike mechanical or automatic movement, is when the second hand moves in individual ticks, powered by a battery. That watch was a Seiko (the parent company of Grand Seiko).

The Manual sat down with Le Troadec to pick his brain about the biggest luxury watch trends that will dominate the fall/winter of 2018-19.

Vintage

In true timeless fashion, Le Troadec ended by saying that not following trends is a trend in itself. The timepiece embodiment of this sentiment is a timeless vintage-styled watch. “Models that carry the historical features of the brand will rise up,” he says. The exact aesthetic (i.e. sporty, dressy, diving, etc.) will depend on the wearer’s preferences, but the trend will favor watches that completely embrace the individual brand’s identity.

Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36000 Special Edition

Image used with permission by copyright holder

With a Caliber 9S 85, this Hi-Beat 36000 has a wickedly high oscillation rate of ten beats per second. Normally increased precision comes at a price as the faster rotational speed can take a toll on power reserve and watch longevity as a whole. At this 9S functionality, Grand Seiko keeps a power reserve of 55 hours. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the 9S mechanical caliber— a timepiece that revolutionized watchmaking and was one of the most important moments in the brand’s history. Only 1,500 pieces will be made.

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Limited Editions

With consumers (Millennials especially) Le Troadec says the “uniqueness of the timepiece” is of the utmost importance. “It used to be that brands hid their processes and technologies, but now there are high expectations for tech and knowledge,” he says. Watches with special builds and meaningful changes to the dial, texture of the dial, hands, shape, and finishing will stand out. These features are usually premiered on limited edition models. However he cautions, “It doesn’t have to be limited edition to be unique. It can be any special building.”

2018 Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Chronograph

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This modern remake isn’t a “limited edition” watch but was debuted in 2018 as a modern ode to the Polaris 60s throwback divers’ alarm watch. It’s the rebirth of an icon. With a 42-mm case, this timepiece features an open heart and three black finishes.

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37mm and Smaller

Le Troadec says the standard size of a luxury timepiece today is 40mm. Increasingly (much like the size of men’s pants), that is slimming down to 36-37mm. Over the end of 2018 and start of 2019, expect to see sleeker and thinner men’s watches that maintain the durability, precision, and manliness of a chunky 50mm+ without the bulk.

Omega Seamaster 1948 Limited Editions

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With 2018 marking the 70th anniversary of Omega’s Seamaster, this pair of vintage-styled 38mm refined timepieces sure are worth celebrating. Unabashedly vintage, the tech under the hood is hyper-modern, with automatic movements from METAS-certified calibers. Only 1,948 pieces of each have been made. Hands-down a striking timepiece for its trendy size.

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Manual Winding

“As consumers are more educated and desire to know every single detail, people like more and more to be connected to their watch,” says Le Troadec. This hunger for knowledge, mastery, and connection has resulted in more people wanting to wear a timepiece that requires mechanical winding with simple dials as opposed to automatics.

NOMOS Glashutte Autobahn Tetra Petit Four

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Working with artists and designers in neo-modernist works, NOMOS released their minimalist Autobahn collection of 41mm, water-resistant timepieces for drivers, cyclists, and divers. The hands on the autobahn-inspired face which is made to look like a vintage speedometer.

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Jahla Seppanen
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Born and raised off-the-grid in New Mexico, Jahla Seppanen is currently a sports, fitness, spirits, and culture writer in…
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