Shree Ramkrishna Exports
Shree Ramkrishna Exports
Shree Ramkrishna Exports
Goto your account
Search Stories by: 

Feature Stories

Articles from WATCHES (834 Articles), WATCH BANDS / ACCESSORIES (41 Articles)

West End Collection
West End Collection

Unveiling the hottest fashion watch trends this season

The ubiquitous fashion watch is as popular as ever but it’s crucial for jewellers to stay in tune with market shifts to ensure this reliable item remains lucrative. ANGELA TUFVESSON reports.

In jewellery circles, the fashion watch is somewhat of an anomaly – it isn’t timeless; it’s not immune to passing fads; it’s not passed down through generations. Instead, the fashion watch is unashamedly a sign of the times, a trend vehicle that uses lifestyle cues to project identity and it seems consumers can’t get enough of these affordable timepieces.

Over the past few years, there has been an upward shift in consumer demand for fashion watches characterised by understated styles.

The brash, blingy watches of the past have been replaced by sleek, simple designs that reflect authentic lifestyles. This trend shows no signs of abating so it’s essential that jewellers keep up with subtle market changes that are altering the way consumers purchase fashion watches.

Here’s a taste of what’s in store for fashion watches.

Consumer demand

Sleek, utilitarian designs from the likes of Daniel Wellington are as popular as ever, according to John Rose, general manager of West End Collection, which distributes the brand along with others including Christian Paul and Olivia Burton.

“There is no doubt that the ‘bling’, which was so popular a few years back, is no longer on trend,” Rose says. “Simple, classic styling is where the market is experiencing its greatest success at the moment. Daniel Wellington embodies classical minimalism perfectly.”

Indeed, Rose notes that Daniel Wellington achieved a 56 per cent increase in sales in Australia and New Zealand in 2016.

The versatility inherent in simple designs is a major selling point of fashion watches, states Simon Garber, director of Cluse distributor Heart & Grace. “Classic minimalist styles seem to be more popular than ever,” Garber says. “The versatility of simple design is key and, with colour-coordinated interchangeable straps in leather or stainless steel mesh, there is the appeal of being able to match with any outfit and style.”

David Faraday, managing director of Oozoo Timepieces and Dukudu distributer Hipp, agrees.

“Because they’re classic and versatile, [fashion watches are] able to be worn with a greater variety of outfits. They make a strong statement about the wearer’s good taste while still being understated,” he says.

Of course, the market isn’t stagnant and there are noticeable changes in some areas.  

“There’s been a shift towards more variations in colour, textures and materials such as mother of pearl and coloured leather straps,” Faraday adds.

Instyle Watches
Instyle Watches
Heart & Grace
Heart & Grace

Jeanette Sceats, managing director of Pierre Cardin supplier Instyle Watches, says although understated, simple styles remain strong, the brand’s latest iterations have been injected with stylish accents.

“The minimalist, chic-yet-simple watch has continued to take the lead in the market,” Sceats states, adding, “Pierre Cardin watches have evolved these particular styles with mirrored dials and crystal accents.”

Rose says the most significant new trend that has occurred in the past 12 months is the emergence of patterned dials, which can be seen in brands such as Olivia Burton and Ted Baker.

“This new feminine take on watch design is influenced by floral patterns that top designers are showing on catwalks in New York, Paris and London,” he explains. “It gives the watch a personal touch and exemplifies the concept that a watch is a fashion accessory and an expression of your own personal style.”

At the other end of the spectrum, Sceats says gender-neutral styles are also popular.

“Jewellers are focusing on more of a unisex style – styles that have that ability to cross over from male to female are striking in minimalistic design with a point of detail. This also opens the style to a broader audience.”

Size matters

Big isn’t always better and, along with stocking sleek and simple designs, Garber says jewellers should pay particular attention to changing size preferences, especially among women’s watches.

“Over the past year, we’ve noticed the beginning of a move from the popular, oversized women’s watch to smaller styles,” he explains. “The shift began with fashion-forward designers primarily in Europe, and now we see them becoming more popular in the wider market here in Australia and New Zealand.

“As there is increasing demand for smaller faces in fashion watches, it’s important jewellers offer the most popular colour combinations in the smaller face sizes as well as the proven oversized styles.” Garber says Cluse offers two smaller variations to the popular 38 mm diameter case: 33 mm and 24 mm.

Ken Abbott, managing director of Timesupply, which distributes Danish Design and Jacob Jensen, agrees.

“Watch diameters have stabilised at a more user-friendly size and we are seeing increased sales with Danish Design in smaller-sized cases, particularly for women’s watches,” he says.

To keep up with this trend, Abbott suggests jewellers carry 40 mm case sizes for men and women in a variety of styles and colours, along with a collection of smaller cases with metal or mesh bracelets for women.


Going social

No discussion about fashion watches is complete without mentioning the industry’s most significant branding tool: Instagram. It’s hard to remember how suppliers and retailers marketed to the masses before the advent of the photo-sharing behemoth.

“For the younger generation, Instagram is the new Westfield – consumers look to Instagram to be inspired, informed and to shop,” says Phil Edwards, managing director of Duraflex Group Australia, which distributes brands including Jag, Police and Thomas Sabo. Along with a desire for personalisation and status, Edwards says Duraflex has identified technology as one of the biggest trends influencing the choices consumers make about fashion watches.

Larry Porter, CEO of Ice Australasia, which distributes Ice-Watch and Henry London, says social media platforms like Instagram are powerful because they create brand awareness as well as boost sales.

Just as consumer preferences and watch styles change, so too does the way consumers use Instagram. Claire Beale, program manager of the Bachelor of Arts (Textile Design) at RMIT University, says endorsements by average people – or minor celebrities who purport to be vaguely average – increasingly carry more weight now than paid celebrity endorsements.

“Social media is replacing a whole lot of other traditional marketing channels,” Beale says. “People are living the life and self-reporting what they like, and it’s something that consumers are much more likely to put trust in and believe.

“A platform like Instagram that focuses on quality images and short text seems more reliable as something you can interpret yourself. If you’re following someone on Instagram that you really like and they say they got a fantastic new watch last week, you’re already picturing yourself as being part of that person’s lifestyle.”

Indeed, when model Kendall Jenner posted an image of herself wearing a Daniel Wellington watch to her 75 million Instagram followers, the image received 2.7 million likes and 113,700 comments.

The result? West End Collection sold out of the timepiece within 24 hours.

Closer to home, Rose says Australian brands such as Christian Paul, which has a ‘huge’ local social media following, are also able to influence consumer behaviour directly through Instagram.

“Christian Paul reaches over one million of their target market through their social network for a product launch, which leads to immediate sales at store level,” he says.

As for other popular forms of social media, Faraday says Facebook is still relevant and Snapchat is huge with the younger demographic but Instagram should be the top priority for retailers.

“Social media and especially Instagram is key in reinforcing trends,” he states.

Duraflex Group Australia
Duraflex Group Australia
Ice Australasia
Ice Australasia

Looking ahead

Looking further ahead, Beale says external factors are likely to have a significant impact on how consumers make purchasing decisions about fashion watches.

Crucially, she says a global shift towards conservatism is driving a sense of nostalgia for the past. This is resulting in less appetite for edgy designs or watches that step outside the status quo.

“If you look at what’s going on in the world economically and politically, we’re quite destabilised,” she says.

“It’s a pattern we saw in the last recession and after the fall of communism, cycles in history where long-established ways collapsed and we become uncertain about the future. When this happens, consumers become distrustful of the unusual, which means designers are less likely to take risks.”

Consumers are likely to favour strong design, simplicity and affordability, which Faraday says is good news for jewellers selling fashion watches.

“Money is generally tighter these days and consumers are conscious of their spending, which propels them towards fashion watches that can deliver the look of the day and help consumers accessorise and refresh their outfit with relatively little expense,” he says. “You get a lot of fashion bang for your buck with a well-chosen fashion watch.”

Angela Tufvesson

Angela Tufvesson is a journalist with 10 years’ experience writing for many of Australia’s well-known consumer and trade magazines. She is a freelance contributor to Jeweller reporting on various aspects of the jewellery industry.


Read current issue

login to my account
Username: Password:
Jeweller Magazine
Expertise Events
© 2023 Befindan Media