W&W ROUND-TABLE #8: What Do You Hope to See More/Less of in 2015?


For our first Round-Table of 2015, we’re going to look down the road and take a stab at the following question: What do you hope to see more and/or less of from watch brands in 2015?

As always, let us know what you think in the comments!

The Watch Curmudgeon

This may make me very unpopular, but, in 2015, what I’d like to see less of is new watches. Yeah, I know, what we all live for is to drool over new watches. Unfortunately, the market is completely oversaturated, and every new entry steals a few sales from the “legitimate” watch brands. Which will seriously hurt them in the long run.

What do I mean by “legitimate?” Well, it could apply to a small Swiss brand that has survived for a century or more. Or it could apply to one of today’s crowd-funded entries, but only if the guy behind it is dead serious about building a long-enduring brand. And that takes courage, perseverance, business savvy, self-sacrifice, gobs of moolah, and plenty more.

It’s just too damn easy to start a watch company these days. How many of these brands will be around in, let’s say, five years? Some of the smart ones undoubtedly will, while some of the Johnny-come-latelyies will shift their attention to other interests du jour, like breeding Chihuahuas and/or developing cold fusion.


Now, assuming there will be gobs of new watches, I’d like to see more classically-inspired innovation across the board. How about some more slim, sleek Bauhaus entries? And some diver tool watches with crazy domed crystals? Those are my favorite categories.

What I want to see drastically less of are BIG watches, those uncomfortable, gaudy, 50mm mothers that won’t tuck under shirt cuffs. Fortunately, the market is slowly shifting away from these monsters. Honestly, all the functions us reality-based people want and need fit nicely in cases measuring 38mm. Just look at all those gorgeous vintage chronographs and divers. They even stuffed all the machinery in cases as small as 36mm!

Of course, if you must have a depth gauge, a double tourbillon for that “needed” accuracy, five barrels for a 300-day power reserve, and a phase indicator for Jupiter’s four large moons, you’ll have to settle for a Frisbee-sized case.

Another thing that really bothers me are all the pilot’s watches, the me-too ones that all offer the exact same styling. Note to watch makers: STOP making pilot watches unless they’re honestly innovative mechanically or graphically.

Just one more thing, and I’ll shut up until the next forum. What I want most in 2015 is to be pleasantly surprised. That’s simple enough. Just show me watches with intelligent differences that inspire me to place them on my growing grail list. Miraculously, I could even be seduced by the right pilot watch.

James Enloe

I have liked the trend through 2014 of brands using platforms like Kickstarter to launch their new pieces. I’m hopeful we will see more brands not only launch their business this way but keep it going. A continued emphasis on value and affordability is something else I’d like to see. With an ever shrinking personal watch budget I am always interested in brands that can put out quality pieces at reasonable prices.

Helgray Silverstone7

Sean Paul Lorentzen

The past few years have been a very exciting time for the watch world, and 2015 already looks to be a year of innovation and new ideas. Some of these things I’m very excited about, and others I can definitely do without.

For example, one of the most interesting ideas I’ve seen in a long time is Montblanc’s newly announced e-Strap concept, combining the functionality of a smartwatch into a luxury strap, and allowing enthusiasts like you or me to avoid sacrificing the style and mechanical marvel of a traditional watch. While it’s starting expensively, around $800, third parties are sure to pick up the idea, and I’m excited to see if the idea catches on this year.


Another thing I’d love to see more of in 2015 is the growing trend of reissued classic designs. Longines’ reissue line, for example, is absolutely incredible, with both the Heritage 1973 chronograph and the Legend Diver sitting at the top of my must have list. And while homage pieces from the likes of Autodromo and Helgray are great, I’d like to see the original manufacturers keeping the spirit of the classics alive. A new Pogue 6139 from Seiko for 2015? Or perhaps a new 666 ft Bulova Snorkel? I’d be ecstatic.

The one thing I’d like less of for 2015 is, thankfully, already on its way out. The giant case size trend seems to be slowly fading away, with less and less new pieces showing up in the 45mm+ range, and a gradual uptick in in <40mm fare. Here’s to more timeless sizes in 2015.

Christoph McNeill

For 2015, I would like to see a continuation of the ‘heritage’ trend that’s been gaining in popularity. Companies like Longines, Breitling, Seiko, and Squale to name a few, have been leaning on their history for inspiration for a while now. And this last year companies like Omega and Zodiac have started making modern re-issues inspired by their classic vintage designs as well. As a collector of vintage watches, it’s really great to see so many classic designs being brought back to life with modern specs and technology. Let’s hope this great trend continues!


Ilya Ryvin

I know I’m probably beating a dead horse, but I’d love for more brands to release watches under 40mm. I recently realized that my sweet spot is somewhere around the 38-40mm mark. I can push it, but I would prefer any watch creeping over 40mm to have a bezel or something else to offset the larger face. I know that guys with larger wrists will argue that they need all that heft, but I’ve noticed that even the bigger guys wearing wrist clocks often look ridiculous doing so. Sure, it might make sense with some sportier pieces, but a 44mm dress watch really has no place on anyone’s wrist.

And in a similar vein, I would love it if reissues of historical models stayed as true as possible to their original proportions and designs. It sometimes feels as though these brands are trying to cater to the collector community when unveiling reissues, only to ruin the package with a haphazardly placed date window or an enlarged case. Such execution seems a bit counterintuitive to me, and I hope 2015 sees some enlightenment in this area.


Ed Estlow

I’d like to see brands going back to basics. The marvelous, whacky horological machines are incredible achievements of engineering, but I pine for the days of a simple, easy to read, three-hander or spartan-dialed chronograph. Enough with the ever-thinner, ever-larger, ever-more complicated watches. Think evolutionary rather than revolutionary when it comes to design. Focus on quality and functionality, fit and finish.

Li Wang

In 2015 I would like to see better and more graceful original designs. Halios is a small shop taking the lead on this. Their Delfin and new batch of Halios divers (in stainless steel) are very subtle and are mimicking watches of the past in a way that doesn’t feel like a direct copy. It’s possible to be successful commercially and still be original. Look at the success Benarus has had with its Megalodon. It’s a big too big but there’s nothing else like it. They are on track to sell out of the fifth iteration of that watch.


I’d like to see a really nice-looking smart watch that doesn’t look like a device. I believe there is certainly a market for one. This will take some serious design acumen but I want to see a company seize this opportunity. Maybe even a fitness tracker watch that follows more traditional analog esthetics. Remember the ani-digi watches of the past? It’s possible, right? Or maybe not. I’m curious to see who can make this happen.

Mark McArthur-Christie

It looks as though 2015 will be the Year of the Smart Watch.  Meh.  My non-watchie friends laugh at my obsession with ticky mechanical things when they can tell the time on their ‘phones.  In turn, I think my ‘phone does a splendid job of finding emails, keeping my diary and tracking my to-do lists.  I don’t want my watch to do that; thanks all the same.

I’m hoping that 2015 will see me get less for my money.  I used to love IWC.  The MkXII is one of the most perfect watches ever made.  And it’s a lovely 36mm.  The MkXVI puffed up to 39mm.  Now the Pilot World Timer is a clockish 45mm.  Smaller, please, watchmakers.  A bit of understatement never hurt.


This year I’ll need to get a couple of watches serviced.  Last time I did this through one of the big brands, it cost me more than the national debt of a small African republic.  And, with my newly-serviced watch, I got a scrappy piece of A4 with an badly-spelled, grammatically disastrous receipt for nearly £500.  Come on, watch industry – a lot of us want to know how our watches work, how you service them and what you do.  Why not tell us?  It’d be great to see watchmakers start adding background and information to servicing.

Here’s to a cracking good year!

Zach Weiss

Well, I’m going to start with the obvious, more sport watches under 40mm, especially chronographs… Now that that’s out of the way, I’d like for certain brands, like Seiko, to pull more from their archives and focus more on mechanicals in the US market… Their Recraft series had the right idea, but the wrong execution. As we saw the other week with our look at their JDM pieces, they’ve got the goods, they just seem to push weird watches this way.


Back to the general, more of a focus on dress and business-casual watches from the affordable brands. Compared to the amount of dive and pilot watches that drop every year that are under $1,000, the number of dress watches is tiny. And this doesn’t mean that every brand has to make 60’s Seamaster-esque 38mm watches. Rather, it’s a terrain that is ripe for new ideas. And on that note, simply more originality… There are brands out there I really like that just need to find some new design direction to really live up to their potential. Let luxury brands be luxury brands and do what they do, their designs don’t need to trickle down.

Oh…and, Dear Giant Swiss Brands (you know who you are) perhaps in 2015 (though I imagine it’s too late, so 2016) you can stop putting date windows on every watch. Thanks!

Brandon Cripps

We saw some really interesting steps forward in a number of directions in 2014, and the next couple of years have the potential to be even more interesting in the watch world.  As we continue to deal with the fallout of Swatch/ETA’s decreased movement sales to outside brands, I’m excited to see other Swiss and Asian movement manufacturers fill in the void of cheap, reliable mechanical movements.  In the mid-market range, I look forward to seeing even more brands become self-reliant with in-house movements (obviously that’s a years-long goal, but I expect we’ll see a couple more pop up this year).  I’m curious to see where the smartwatch market goes and what kinds of tech consumers are ready to wear on their wrists.


2014 showed that watch brands have listened to our cries for more reasonably-sized watches, so I expect to see some great new pieces in the sub-42mm area.  We’re still in the middle of a vintage-inspired style swing, which is fine by me – there are still a few classic looks I’d love to see reimagined as new watches.  And, as always, it will be cool to see what vintage watches become the hot new must-have for collectors.  All in all, it should be another nice year for watches, and I’m ready to see what we get!

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