Our Predictions for the Watch World in 2023

Welcome to 2023. As we recover from the excess of the holiday season, what the coming year has in store for us, or at least what we hope it has in store for us, begins to come into focus. Around here, we like to start the year with a look ahead to set some expectations, hash out a few trends we’d like to see continue, and of course, make a few predictions about the watches we’ll see from our favorite brands. Ok, more like the watches we hope to see from our favorite brands. Will the market keep cooling down? Are colorful watches here to stay? Are CPO programs really that big a deal? Here are thoughts from our editorial team as we ponder what the coming 12 months may have in store. 

Leave your thoughts in the comments below and keep an eye out for our podcast later this week, where we’ll discuss our hopes and predictions in detail. 

Zach Kazan

Up until recently, I’ve been very bad at making predictions. Every time I’ve pontificated on what Tudor or Rolex might do at some point in the future, I’ve been pretty much dead wrong. But over the holidays I redeemed myself, kinda. See, everyone around me thought for sure that Avatar: the Way of Water was going to flop at the box office. Not only did I know it wasn’t going to flop, I told anyone who would listen that it would be crossing the billion dollar mark right around the time the new year rolled around. And, would you look at that, with a worldwide gross of nearly $1.5 billion as of this writing, there’s no way to describe it as anything other than a box office phenomenon, proving the rule that you can never count out James Cameron. 

Anyway, the point here is that I’m absolutely bursting with what is likely misplaced confidence as we look ahead to what might be in store for 2023. I’m going to stay away from Rolex and Tudor, though. Because, frankly, I don’t care that much about what they do this year. Each brand will release a slate of watches that some people love and some people hate, and they’ll all be hard to get at first, and then not so hard to get, and then we’ll move on to the next thing. I think that just about covers the cycle we’ve experienced with the Crown and their sibling brand over the last several years. 


Something I do happen to be interested in is the state of what we’ve dubbed here at Worn & Wound as the “micro indie,” those watchmakers and brands that offer something approaching a bespoke experience at a price point that is approachable, at least compared to biggest indie heavy hitters. Brands like Garrick and Holthinrichs, and watchmakers like James Lamb, offer a combination of traditional watchmaking craft and customization that I think more collectors will be seeking out in 2023 and beyond. 

The watch hobby has grown substantially in just the last few years, and as collectors who entered the space at the height of steel sports watch mania graduate to something else, I think they’ll look to watchmakers who offer something unique, well outside of the cookie cutter mainstream. This is perhaps the area that vintage watches occupied five or six years ago, but as prices on the most desirable vintage pieces have remained stable or increased, even as the rest of the market experiences a correction, it’s hard to imagine newer collectors dipping into vintage for the first time now. That means there’s a huge opening for the Sartory Billards and Benzingers of the world to capitalize on collectors hungry for something unusual, and I hope they do. 

Zach Weiss

Just a couple of weeks ago I took a stab at this very question on A Week in Watches episode 29. I talked about the rise of the affordable GMT because of the new Seiko and Miyota movements available. Also a continued increase in the use of titanium partially thanks to Rolex releasing their first Ti watch in 2022. Then I touched on continued growth in the micro-indie sector, and those offering high end finishing and complications at more affordable prices. I also talked a bit about a renewed interest in dress watches earlier in the episode, which I definitely think will be a trend in the coming years. Check out that clip below.

Blake Buettner

I love this time of year. There’s plenty of optimism about what lies ahead, resolutions are still in tact, and there’s still a sense of confidence about getting things right this year. I hope to keep things simple in 2023, and I think the watch industry would be well suited doing the same. 

We’ve seen an influx of enthusiasts over the COVID years, and I expect that to contract a bit as some folks realize they got into it for the wrong reasons. But there will undoubtedly be a percentage that end up sticking around for the right reasons. Conversely, many have been sitting on the sidelines as the hype machine ramped up and investor to-the-moon types made their way through the hobby. With the market starting to cool down/normalize (I hope?), I think we’ll see a large group that never really saw themselves as part of that cool kid crowd coming back into the space. 

What does a hype watch look like in 2023?

As for the watches, I think and hope we’ll see more creative complications appear in unexpected places. Christopher Ward surprised everyone with their Bel Canto last year, and I think other brands of all stripes would be wise to take notice. I think this year we’ll see a defining line that separates the truly innovative and useful from the gimmicky and bloated. Customers and enthusiasts are savvier than ever, and they need to see and understand what their dollar is getting them, whether it’s a fancy new material or novel complication, it needs to make sense and be executed properly. Simple. 

In keeping with tradition, I’ll make one specific Tudor prediction that I hope to see, and that is a return to the Heritage Chronograph (though maybe by another name), a revitalized Home Plate and/or Monte Carlo chronograph collection in a case with similar dimensions to the original. It’s an original Tudor design and it deserves a spot in their modern catalog. Fingers crossed.

Is this the year we get a Tudor Heritage Chrono update? Image via Analog/Shift

Thomas Calara

Given the dizzying amount of sport watches specifically in the GMT and titanium variety released last year, I think I have a fair idea of what’s in store for 2023. It was a fantastic year for affordable GMTs and I think that trend is set to continue this year as the Miyota 9075 movement makes its way around the microbrand circuit. The new movement includes 42 hours of power reserve and an independently adjusted hour hand, making it a“flyer” GMT. The kicker here is that this movement allows for brands to introduce their versions of the highly-coveted “flyer” GMT at (likely) more affordable prices. We’ve already seen iterations using this movement with the Jack Mason Stratotimer, Bulova Wilton GMT and Boldr Freediver Odyssey GMT … and I believe that’s just the beginning.

It’s pretty clear-cut as to which titanium sports watch stole the show in 2022. The Tudor Pelagos 39 is literally the watch that all of us have been asking for. But that’s not the only attractive titanium offering from 2022 as Citizen, Baltic, and Unimatic have also joined the titanium fray. As we’ve traditionally designated stainless steel as the proper metal for a sports watch, titanium has steadily stolen some of the spotlight while simultaneously adding a higher spec’d and purposeful quality when compared to its steel counterpart. I think as the months progress, we will see more brands across the entire spectrum continue to experiment with the light-weight metal in 2023.

This might be out of my scope here, but my last prediction has to do with the CSEM patent for the silicon hairspring ending last November. My prediction here is that more-capable brands will start to incorporate silicon components and possibly some new innovations in the process. Silicon components have their own specific features that add to the overall quality of the watch. If this somewhat interests you, I’d say stop reading here and check out Zach Weiss’ article dedicated to obtainable watches with silicon components.

On to my “Hopes.” I’d love to see more intersections between the dive watch and the GMT. Not a GMT that has dive watch qualities, but the other way around. Give me a sports watch, steel or titanium, that has the ability to track a second time zone using a clever display within the dial or rehaut, and an elapsed time bezel. Enter my obligatory annual Tudor prediction here. Tudor, if you’re listening, please give me (and us) a Black Bay 58 or a Pelagos 39 with local jumping capability and preferably a fun color for the GMT hand. Thank you. 

I’d also like to see more sportier iterations from Independent brands. Romain Gauthier embodies this with their “C” or formerly known as the Continuum. I feel like we always get the “Independent” look from these types of brands and I’m interested to see what their concept of a sports watch within their specific design language would look like. Maybe keep the design entirely the same but make it in titanium. The Armin Strom collaboration with Collective Horology is another perfect example of what this would look like.

My last “Hope” or “Wish” for 2023 is to see more quartz options from luxury brands. There was a time where these brands would make their models with both a mechanical and quartz movement, and for some reason that fell by the wayside. I think a quartz watch from a higher-end brand allows them to let their hair down a bit, step out of their comfort zone, and potentially provide a more affordable watch. 

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