5 Trends for the 2021 Watch Market

Written by:Fabrizio B.|

It’s always a tricky one to predict, but what will the next trends in the watch world be?

This is a question that we recieve on the daily in our DMs, and it’s certainly the most difficult one to answer. Predicting trends is no mean feat (let alone being the one setting them), and requires much more imagination than you may think.

Financial profile of the Rolex ref. 116610LV

Remember: the Daytona wasn’t so well-receieved in its early days, and the Paul Newman even less so. Let’s not even mention the AP Royal Oak, because very few people liked Gerald Genta’s creation when it first came out.
Today, though, it’s the polar opposite!

So, after extensive research, here are the 5 main predictions for horological trends in 2021.

Vintage Roger Dubuis Chronographs

Roger Dubuis made a name for himself throughout his stellar tenure as a watchmaker for Patek Philippe. One day, he decided to go solo, starting his own watch company. Many of his pieces paid homage to his former employer’s creations, but each had authentic and true characters of their own, thanks in part to the ultra-precise movements that were certified and co-signed by the Besancon Astronomical Observatory.

As we mentioned in this article here, having these kinds of accolades really make a difference.

The “Bulletin d’Observatoire” signature certifies the quality of the movement

We first started seeing flashes in popularity for Roger Dubuis pieces on the market in in 2019, and now the independent brand is gaining more and more traction. We wouldn’t be surprised if by the middle of 2021 they have a strong foothold in the market: current resell values are more than double what they were 4-5 years ago!

Left: an exemplar which bears many similarities to a ref. 1463 Tasti Tondi. Right: a rose gold monopusher


We recently did an entire article on the history of Movado, and we think that the brand is more than capable of trending this year. In fact, in our opinion, it should be held in the same regard as the “bigs” of the watch industry. Here’s why.

In terms of complications and “collaborations”, Movado has proven itself a household name, drawing many similarities to the activities undertaken by the likes of Patek Philippe. In fact, both brands got their cases from the same casemaker – Borgel-Taubert – and both have their very similar design cues (see: Tasti Tondi).

When it comes to quality, Movado “did things right”, building timepieces which were meant to last. Don’t just take our word for it, have a look yourself: you’ll find plenty of perfectly preserved Movado exemplars on the market, all working just as impeccably as they did 60+ years ago.

Not only that, but because Movado isn’t seen as “on par” with many other household names yet (despite its exceptional quality), you can find some of their finest pieces at “steal” prices.

In summary, Movado timepieces (particularly their steel-cased calendars, or those with a “Calatrava” case and Breguet numerals) are very underrated items, not known by many, and with plenty to give. That being said, however, we have noticed that searches and attention towards Movado are growing, particularly on social media platforms, so we wouldn’t be surprised if well-preserved exemplars skyrocket in price anytime soon.

Coffee Table Books

After we posted about it on the various IWS social media platforms, Matt Hranek’s “Un Uomo e il Suo Orologio” (“A Man and His Watch”) sold out in a matter of weeks. Following its spectacular success, we noticed a huge surge in demand for this genre of books.

Although many coffee table books are regarded as “decoration”, when it comes to watch related publications, many enthusiasts make good use of them! And for good reason: they are incredibly valuable tools and resources to learn and develop your horological passion. Although you can find plenty of information online, there’s just something about hardbacks which does it for us.

Like the one we mentioned before, many of these are selling out. Fast.
It’s best to not let these slip through your hands!

Omega’s own “From Seamaster to Seamaster” publication

Pocket Watches

Pocket watches? What is this, 1920? Who is even making pocket watches nowadays?

You might think we’re kidding, but, esepecially for contemporary-made pieces, this is a portion of the market with untapped potential, and includes some real gems. Indeed, when the market goes one way, the astute look around themselves and hypothesize what may sway the market in another direction in the future.

Will they blow up this year? Maybe not, but here at IWS we certainly hope they do, because we think that they’re so cool, and immensely undervalued.
So, next time you find yourself at an auction, look a little deeper, and you just might find true works of art which often go unnoticed.

One of the Patek Philippe pocket watches that has been discontinued beginning 2021

Rectangular & Tonneau-cased Watches

We think that this last one has the most potential for trend-worthiness in 2021. We’ve noticed that non-round case shapes are becoming increasingly popular – hence why the geometrical cases of the Royal Oaks and Nautiluses are reigning supreme these days.

Therefore, our prediction is that it’s now time for Tonneau or Rectangular cases to step up. From the Tank to the Reverso or the Tortue, there are plenty of models which we think the market will be kind to in 2021.

A rose gold Cartier Tonneau

These are some of our predictions… but what do you think? What other horological features do you think will blow up in 2021? Let us know in the comments below!

-Translated by Patrick R.


Fabrizio B.
Co-founder & COO
Est. 1999. From a simple idea he and his partners gave birth to one of the most famous media channel in Italy about horology. Consistency, commitment and a relentless ambition are all he is made of. He is the COO and Chief Editor of Social Media.

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