Watch Trends to Expect in 2021

Like most things in the world, the watchmaking industry is also subject to trends that come and go. Whether it involves design patterns or general watch types, people seem to find something interesting to fawn over every year. Some watch trends can be relatively new while others might have resurfaced after a certain amount of time. So, what watch trends can we expect in the next year to come? Will it be patterns we’ve seen already or things we haven’t thought of? Which watch colors will be most popular? Here are some of the popular watch trends in 2021 to help you get with the times.

1. Vintage/Retro

First up, we have a watch trend that does not ever seem to go out of style. It is quite similar to how 90s fashion is becoming increasingly popular among the youth today, except with watches. In the watchmaking community, vintage-inspired timepieces have been prevalent for many years now and continue to be a big deal in 2021. This can be seen with brands that continue to release present-day interpretations of their most iconic models from the past. On the other hand, we also have some manufacturers who choose to draw inspiration from their own rich heritage to create timepieces with retro aesthetics.

The great thing about this type of watch is that a lot of different companies offer their own selections, which gives us a lot of options to choose from. This means that you are likely to find the perfect vintage timepiece that fits your preferences and budget quite easily. The following are some examples of the best vintage watches you can find on the market: 

Casio Vintage (A700WMG-9AVT)

front view of Casio Vintage Ref. A700WMG-9AVT watch

This Casio watch belongs to the brand’s digital-vintage collection. A lot of people who own this model consider it as a very versatile timepiece that can be worn with both casual and dressy attires. It features a protective mineral glass, a Milanese strap, and an LED display. Meanwhile, its functions include an alarm, a 60-minute stopwatch, and an auto calendar. 

Retailing at around $75 USD, this is the perfect retro-inspired piece that will not break your bank. 

Longines Heritage Military (L2.819.4.93.2)

front view of  Longines Heritage Military Ref. L2.819.4.93.2 watch

This Longines watch can be found under their Heritage Military collection. It is inspired by one of their iconic models from the 1940s, which was specially made for the British Royal Air Force back then. When it comes to aesthetics, all you need is one glance to tell that this watch definitely exudes that appealing vintage vibe. 

This Longines Heritage Military timepiece comes with a stainless steel case and a classic leather strap in a faded green color. The dial, which boasts a warm eggshell white hue, also features patterned black droplets, Arabic numeral hour markers, and a sleek blued steel handset. Lastly, it is powered by an automatic movement that has a 72-hour power reserve. If you appreciate the retro style of this watch, you can get your hands on a piece for around $2,150 USD. 

2. Eco-Friendly

While sustainability is more of a long term mindset rather than a watch trend, it is undeniable that there has been an increase in demand for eco-friendly products recently. As people are becoming more mindful of the environment, this lifestyle choice has definitely carried over into the watchmaking world as well. Over the past few years, a lot of relatively new brands have emerged with their portfolios of sustainable timepieces, while established manufacturers have also started looking into eco-conscious alternatives. More often than not, the watches they offer either showcase components that are less harmful to the environment or are created in collaboration with eco-centric organizations. 

This actually has a lot of advantages because, as brands shift to more sustainable processes, they also help to raise awareness for the cause. It gives watch patrons and enthusiasts an opportunity to contribute to ecological advocacies by either going green or by supporting their beneficiaries. The following timepieces are some prime examples:

Citizen Chandler

front view of Citizen Chandler watch

Citizen is a brand that has valued sustainability for a very long time now. In fact, many of their timepieces feature mechanisms that are powered by renewable resources, and the Citizen Chandler is no exception. 

The Chandler comes in a stainless steel case paired with a woven strap in green. The black dial has a straightforward layout with Arabic numeral hour markers, luminescent hands, a minute track, and a date-day display. The sustainable aspect can be seen in the inner workings of the watch. It is equipped with the Eco-Drive technology which means that it is powered by light instead of a normal battery. As such, wearers can reduce their waste production and do not have to go through scores of batteries to recharge their Chandler timepiece. Priced at $250 USD, the Citizen Chandler boasts excellent craftsmanship from a well-established brand. While it might look like any other ordinary watch from the outside, the Citizen Chandler definitely makes for a reliable, eco-conscious alternative. 

Shinola The Sea Creatures 

front view of Shinola The Sea Creatures  watch

Shinola is an American brand that offers a variety of lifestyle products. In their watch catalog, they have a collection called The Sea Creatures, which is geared towards marine conservation. What makes these timepieces truly sustainable is that they are made from with #tide ocean material, which means that the brand upcycled plastic waste bound for the ocean in order to craft this watch. 

This particular piece is presented in a case and strap made from recycled plastic pollutants. It features luminescent hands and hour markers, a date window at 3 o’clock, and a rotating bezel in black. Lastly, this model is equipped with the Argonite 715, which is an in-house quartz movement that boasts excellent accuracy. For around $450 USD, you get a lovely watch without having to feel too guilty about the carbon footprint you are leaving behind. 

3. Minimalist 

Much like sustainability, minimalism is perceived more as a lifestyle rather than just a simple watch trend (Thanks, Marie Kondo!). While that may be true, it should be noted that the word minimalist is also a term that is commonly used in design. The best way to describe the concept of minimalism is by using the phrase ‘less is more’, which is clearly reflected in minimalist outputs. Some may think it is boring but many watchmakers have taken on the challenge of producing beguiling and creative timepieces while using only the necessary elements. In fact, these efforts have led to a wide selection of timepieces that all showcase the charm of minimalism in different ways. 

Now, there are multiple brands out there that specialize in creating subtle yet expressive watches. One cool thing about this is that these companies all have their own interpretations of what minimalism is, which equates to a very diverse range for wearers to choose from. The following are some of the best examples of this watch trend:

Skagen Freja

front view of Skagen Freja Ref. 358XSSLBC watch

Skagen is a brand that is known for understated timepieces that reflect the Danish way of life. Minimalism is a pretty prevalent mindset for them, and they were able to convert it into a gorgeous portfolio of watches and other lifestyle products. They are definitely one of the brands you should check out if you want a more subtle and simple piece. 

This Skagen Freja comes in a stainless steel case paired with a leather strap in black. The silver-colored dial is clean and extremely spacious, including only two hands and hour markers in the form of 12 jewel stones. Lastly, it is powered by an SR516SW caliber movement. Priced at only $95 USD, you should definitely grab this if you want a classy yet minimalistic watch. 

Junghans Max Bill 

front view of Junghans Max Bill Ref.  041/4562.04 watch

Junghans is a German watch company that embraces the Bauhaus style. Each and every piece they offer boasts excellent craftsmanship and minimalist aesthetics. Despite the simplicity and straightforwardness of their watches, they are still able to make them incredibly appealing and easy on the eyes. 

This Junghans Max Bill is presented in a stainless steel case along with a warm, light brown leather strap. Its matte silver-plated dial features just the essentials of timekeeping, with luminescent hands, Arabic numerals in a thin font, a minute track, and a date window. Lastly, it is powered by a quartz movement which makes it quite the reliable piece. With a price tag of approximately $600 USD, this is a more high-end watch for the minimalist enthusiasts out there. 

4. Radical 

In an industry where using traditional and quintessential elements are prevalent, eccentric timepieces are almost like a breath of fresh air. Classic watches will always be a requisite for many in the watchmaking community, but the hype for radical, avant-garde models tends to come and go. However, this trend seems to be gaining popularity again these days. People generally want to be different from others, and this mentality can carry over to possessions as well. Since watches are often used to express oneself, some wearers opt for pieces that have more avant-garde and unique designs as a form of self-expression and as a way to stand out from the crowd. 

While it is always nice to see some diversity in horology and to have a lot of options, this also makes watches accessible to more people. Being able to cater to different tastes and preferences is definitely one of the pros of trends that come, go, and constantly change. 

Hamilton Ventura Quartz

front view of Hamilton Ventura Quartz Ref. H24401731 watch

If we are talking about eccentric timepieces, then the Hamilton Ventura must be on the list. It is one of the most avant-garde and easily-recognizable watches I have ever encountered. Clearly, many people agree, as this timepiece has been featured in numerous films as well, which just shows that it was always meant to be a star. 

This particular model has a very sleek exterior with its PVD-coated case and cow leather strap which both come in black. The dial also follows the all-black color scheme, from the sharp hands and hour markers, down to the brand logo. Moreover, it is driven by a reliable F05.111 caliber, which runs on a quartz movement. For a little under $1,000 USD, the Hamilton Ventura Quartz makes for an ideal radical and bold timepiece. 

SevenFriday Q2/03

front view of SevenFriday Q2/03 watch

SevenFriday is another go-to company if you are dead-set on getting a unique and mold-breaking timepiece. Most, if not all, of their watches feature very distinct aesthetics that are so true to their branding. The SevenFriday Q2/03, in particular, is more for those who enjoy large and rugged models with complicated-looking dials. 

The SevenFriday Q2/03, also known as the Choo-Choo, is equipped with a polished stainless steel case and a leather strap in dark brown. Inspired by its namesake, the dial includes an unorthodox rhombus-shaped hand, a decentralized disc for the AM/PM indicators, a timer, and a minute track on the outermost section. It is powered by an automatic Miyota 8219 caliber, which has an impressive power reserve of 40 hours. You can get this bold, statement-making watch for around $1,190 USD! 

5. Vibrant

This is a trend that comes and goes almost every year, and it feels like such a big deal every time it happens in the watchmaking and fashion world. Needless to say, 2021 will not be any different. One of the reasons why colorful and vivid timepieces are so popular is because it adds a fun factor to any brand or collection. Instead of going for an eccentric design, some watch companies opt to release some of their classic models in a variety of striking hues instead. Just like how it is with the trend of radical watches, vibrant timepieces bring something new and fresh to the table. 

The best part is that these lively watches are offered by many brands with varying price ranges, such as Rolex, Breitling, Swatch, Timex, and more, making for a wide and diverse variety which wearers can cherry-pick from. 

Breitling Superocean Heritage ’57 Pastel Paradise 

front view of Breitling Superocean Heritage ’57 Pastel Paradise watch

This Breitling Superocean Heritage is one of the many models recently released by the Swiss brand. It serves as a colorful homage to the original Superocean and to marine life. These timepieces are also meant to reflect summertime, which is why they carry such lively and striking hues. 

This particular Breitling watch is presented in a stainless steel case with a white bezel and a calfskin leather strap in tangerine. The white dial features colorful hour markers and hands which goes really well with the overall aesthetic. Lastly, it is equipped with an automatic Breitling 10 caliber which boasts a 42-hour power reserve. Priced at around $4,770 USD, this is a must-have for those who enjoy vibrant timepieces. 

Maurice Lacroix Eliros Rainbow

front view of Maurice Lacroix Eliros Rainbow watch

This next model from Maurice Lacroix is as flamboyant as it can get. This is definitely more of a statement piece for many rather than a classic option. A cool thing about this watch though, is that its color seems to shift and change depending on the position and other such factors.

It is presented in a rose gold PVD case paired with a rainbow leather strap. The matching rainbow dial features nothing but the hands and the Maurice Lacroix logo, which keeps the emphasis fully focused on the colorful vibrancy of this timepiece.  With a price tag of $645 USD, this is the perfect watch to spice up your wardrobe! 

6. Smart

Now, this watch trend is something that has taken the world by storm in the last couple of years. Owning a watch that does much more than just telling the time is exactly what the tech-savvy generation wanted. While the reputation of smartwatches is still nowhere near that of analog pieces, many youths are drawn to these smart models because of how multi-functional they are. With a single smartwatch, you get to connect to your phone, track your steps, measure your heartbeat, answer text messages, and do so many other things. 

Since we live in an era when convenience is almost always a strong priority, it is really a no-brainer as to why smartwatches continue to be so popular in recent years. 

Suunto 9 Baro Black

front view of Suunto 9 Baro Black watch

Suunto is one of the best brands out there when it comes to smartwatches. They have an extensive selection of timepieces that all boast a long list of functions and features. Under their sports category, you can find the Suunto 9 which, according to the brand, is a must-have for those who live an active lifestyle. With this watch, Suunto exhibits their technological prowess by creating a watch that is both multi-functional and incredibly durable. 

The Suunto 9 Baro Black includes many features such as wrist heart rate, intelligent battery mode, a variety of sports modes, touchscreen properties, weather functions, and a whole lot more. The best part is that you can get this amazing smartwatch that is built to last for just $500 USD!

Garmin Venu 2

front view of Garmin Venu 2 watch

Just like Suunto, Garmin is also a renowned brand that makes excellent smartwatches. They are regarded as one of the best companies when it comes to technological innovations, and this is evident in every product they make. They offer a series called the Venu 2 which is marketed as the ideal lifestyle watch. While it was designed primarily with active people in mind, the Venu 2 also caters to anyone and everyone. 

This specific Garmin Venu 2 is equipped with the following features: animated workouts, music storage, health stat trackers, sports apps, an 11-day battery life, and much more. If these functions have got you hooked, you can grab one of these timepieces for only $460 USD. 

Final Thoughts

Watches may not be a necessity of the modern world, but they surely are a part of fashion that never goes out of style. What is the ideal watch for you? Even if the year is about to end, you can still get your hands on one of these trendy watches to get with the times. 

Interested in watches with a more elegant, classy style? Check out our list of the 30 Best Dress Watches today!

All photos credited to official brand websites

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