Timepiece trends: flyback to springtime in Geneva

From 28th March to 2nd April 2023, Geneva played host to the Watches & Wonders and Time to Watches trade fairs where French watchmaking expertise was back in the spotlight. The models on display demonstrated the brilliant audacity and expertise of their master watchmakers. Read more about the latest trends.

The trend for Highly Sophisticated designs

Sophistication is the latest watchmaking trend, where complexity meets Haute Couture.

Strangely complex

There's no denying it: this year, watchmaking is all about technical and complex watches such as the Pequignet Royale Saphir (8 patents pending) or the Lorige Tourbillon AS-01. Watches with sophisticated dials and opulent finishes that break all the rules of traditional watchmaking with their strong shapes.

The French watchmaker Trilobe as well as Swiss names Hautlence and BA110D all introduce a new way to read the time: rotating and floating rings for the Une Folle Journée, rotating hours and minutes for the Vagabonde Series 4, and circular minutes with hypocycloidal hours for the CHPTR_Δ.

Haute Couture

At the Fair, Parisian Haute Couture & Jewellery Houses bring a new twist to their DNA by adding a modern touch of je ne sais quoi. Small, discreet, glittering: couture-style watches are refined as well as intriguing.

Chanel's Mademoiselle Privé Pique-Aiguilles reworks the Maison's iconic symbols through camellias, pearls, interwoven chains and a tweed suit. Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels dazzle with jewelled watches. Intricate settings and precious materials are in the spotlight. Cartier's Clash [Un]limited blends movement with graphic rigour to create a structured watch that remains faithful to the style of the Maison. Meanwhile, Van Cleef introduces an updated version of the astonishing Ludo Secret. A collection that perpetuates the brand's traditionally mysterious concept.

Grey is the new black

Dark, black, charcoal grey and metallic shades that play on light and transparency: these have been the must-have colours over the past few years. Grey is definitely the new black!

50 shades of grey

For the geometrically shaped case and iconic ladder bracelet on its Defy Revival Shadow, Zenith breaks new ground by using strong and durable matte titanium. These same features are also reflected on the elegant IWC Ingenieur Automatic 40. French watchmakers have also subtly introduced a splash of colour to lift the monochrome effect. The Hermès H08, the SYE MOT1ON Automatic 24 [Pebble] and the Beaubleu Vitruve all boast coloured second hands that form a bold contrast with the intensity of the black and steel.

Forged Carbon

In response to this perfect balance, carbon shades fuse with bright colours for a sporty, rebellious trend.

The BR-X5 Carbon Orange by Bell & Ross and Herbelin's Newport Carbon Titanium play on the contrasts between the materials used for the cases and the vibrant colours on the bracelets to create a uniquely sporty and high-tech look. Rebellion and TAG Heuer draw on bracelets with an intricate link design to bring out the originality of their Ronaldinho and Monza Flyback Chronometer models.

The dualistic nature of New Retro

Neo-vintage strikes a balance between traditional conventions and a new design for dials.


Firstly, there is the classic, sporty round watch with a topstitched leather bracelet. In shades of brown, camel or taupe, it features timeless dials such as the discreet Baltic MR01 that boasts a new take on the three-handed watch.

Reservoir's Black Sparrow model pays homage to First World War pilots. A black PVD or steel case and a dial with Art Nouveau inspired luminescent numerals take us back in time. Yema showcases vintage motorcars and the iconic Renault 5 Turbo with its Rallye 5 Turbo Limited Edition.

Shaped cases

Secondly, French brands are moving away from round cases and turning to retro styling.

March LA.B introduces its Golden Hour with a nod to the natural, golden light seen at dawn and dusk. A delicately sanded octagonal dial that contrasts with pronounced edges for an understated, refined look. Pequignet goes for a rounded square dial for its Concorde model, where aesthetics and technical prowess illustrate the spirit of the House to perfection. Finally, Hegid showcases its very first watchmaking collaboration based on the theme of Space-Time. It presents Celeste, an evolutionary and retro-futuristic timepiece.

Strong creative trends are in full bloom as we enter spring. Playing on contrasts, light and transparency, French brands have introduced unique, singular and sophisticated models.

In its aim to accelerate the development of French watchmaking, jewellery and tableware, Francéclat studies and understands markets, drives creativity, stimulates innovation and brings the right people together to boost their international reach.