Having looked back on the year that has just been, it’s now time to look ahead to see what 2024 may bring. To conclude the year we turned to notable industry figures to see what they think will unfold over the next 12 months. Looking to gain insights from the breadth of the industry, we posed the question to influential personalities in key segments, from independent watchmaking to luxury brands to movement specialists. Each of these individuals brings a unique perspective on the outlook for 2024.
Director of Watches, Louis Vuitton
“Twenty twenty-four might be one of these foundational years that the industry will talk about for the decades to come. Interest rates and the global economic outlook have successfully cooled the frenzy around watches for most brands, and this will continue into 2024.
Whether we see a scaled correction or a ‘soft landing’ will depend on Rolex’s management of the situation. Being such a dominant player among retailers, it will be the deciding factor for 2024.”
“The last recent years of speculation in watchmaking astonished and sometimes frightened me. One of the biggest challenges will be to get back to normal times. I predict that the industry will refocus on enthusiasts and connoisseurs once again, since competition will definitely be fiercer.”
“When [Martin Frei and I] started Urwerk in 1997, we had one goal: creating watches rooted in the history of watchmaking – not by replicating but by respecting the philosophies of great watchmakers. This means using all the possibilities in materials, machining, and ideas, exactly what we do at Urwerk today.
Approaching 2024, this approach is starting to be widely understood and respected, reflecting the continued rise of independent watchmaking.”
Head of Innovation and Marketing at Sellita
“I believe 2024 will mark a hard return to reality. The post-COVID hysteria is very likely to subside, and businesses will revert to a more conventional state. This will certainly signify a further decrease of speculative bubbles and crypto-like fervour [in watches], ultimately benefiting the industry in the long run.
Customers, hopefully, will take centre stage again, and they won’t have to beg to be placed on any kind of waiting list. Some less prestigious brands will certainly suffer much more, as they took advantage of the fact that the most famous ones were simply unable to fulfil the demand.
Some online-only brands, particularly those that were highly hyped, may as well take a severe hit, as they don’t benefit from brick-and-mortar sales channels to support them during more challenging times.”
“We all expect a stabilisation compared to last years’ frenzy; the positive effect is that 2024 should see the return of real watchmaking lovers making up again the vast majority of clients – and what is left of pure speculators will have disappeared.
The brands and retailers who treated people with integrity and kindness during these crazy years should have gained considerable market share while those who did not, well… we will see.
On the craftsmanship front, normally the artisans and suppliers will be able to improve their flow and quality – insane stress and pressure from brands is always counter-productive for everyone.
Bottom line, we at MB&F believe that high-end watchmaking should come back to a more humane world and we are very much looking forward to that.”
Chief executive officer, H. Moser & Cie.
“2024 will be a year in which brands will take the time to breathe as the pressure of demand deflates. Consumers will refocus on true exclusivity and quality.
What I see essential for luxury watchmaking in 2024 is the mix between tradition and innovation in a delicate balance; the desire for personalisation and exclusivity as a continuous driver for the market; brands’ commitments to sustainability with a growing emphasis on environmental consciousness; a strong revival of vintage aesthetics and design elements; and an enhanced digital presence through e-commerce platforms.
Also, we can expect watchmaking to extend its reach beyond the confines of horology. Collaborations with renowned artists, designers, and celebrities are likely to produce limited-edition watches that are not only timekeeping instruments but also pieces of wearable art.”
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