Innovation, research in materials and elegance
New trends in high-range in regard to watches are clear and are also determining market progress. This is one of the main factors that emerged after the Geneva and Basel Shows, where, although the panorama is somewhat complex, anchor points were nevertheless detected in 2018 compared to last year.
Starting from every company in the sector focusing on innovation: a concept that, while certainly nothing new to watch-making, has, in recent seasons, involved watches in their entirety, with particular attention to materials. After a considerable boost in movements with, for example, the silicon revolution, firstly exclusive to a few large companies and now also offered by middle-range brands, producer attention has now shifted to the external parts of the watch.
The success of high-tech ceramics, for example, is no coincidence and, after the black and white period, the colour challenge is now being faced with pioneer brands in this development, such as Rado, and those innovation leaders in different fields. These include Hublot, which is contending with red ceramics for its Big Bang Unico Red Magic, and Rolex, which has been investing in the research and development of this particular aspect for some time and which, with the Cerachrom brand, produces ceramic components for its sports models, including the iconic two-colour bezel on the GMT-Master II.
Great and continual consent is also being given to titanium since its extreme lightness is ideal for large sports watches. Among the companies that are proposing titanium this year is Bulgari with its Octo Finissimo, with the addition of carbon for the case of the Octo Finissimo minute repetition.
As for traditional metals, steel is holding its own and is now found in the most elegant collections. In fact, the Swiss watch industry Federation recorded a significant contribution by steel watches in the growth in export values during the early months of this year. Then there are precious metals such as gold and platinum, the privileged choice for prestigious brands, often combined with dials made using rare and ancient techniques, or even decorated with gems for the ladies' models.
Innovation plays an important role in this case too. One only has to think of the development of new alloys to obtain different coloured precious metal associated to the best technical performances: from Chanel's beige gold to 18kt Sedna gold by Omega and Hublot's King Gold.