The Vintage Trend and the Future of Creativity in Watchmaking

The vintage design trend has taken the watch world by storm, if not virtually all industries in which design is highly prized. Nearly every brand with some sort of vintage heritage is producing re-editions, tribute watches, or anniversary timepieces. It seems that the flow of gorgeous vintage design will never end. But the real question on the minds of I and industry extraordinaries (I am not one of them) is whether the vintage trend is simply capitalizing or cannibalizing. If the latter is correct, as many fear, it could threaten innovation and creativity in future generations. The vintage-inspired design trend could potentially stifle creativity and disincentivize design breakthroughs. As with many crafts in the watch industry; if if one generation of teaching is missed, the craft could be lost forever.

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Public Domain

On a brighter note, there re many emerging brands who defy the precedent and consistently pioneer design. An example is Max Büsser of MB&F or the independent brands like F.P. Journe. Furthermore, Rolex is very adverse to following trends. After all, their non-profit status allows them to think long-term without the pressure of shareholders. So all hope is not lost!

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Public Domain

However, some brands may have to change their ways. The majority of brands in the Swatch and Richemont focus on vintage tributes by simply pulling from their back catalog for new releases. If produced on rare occasions, tribute watches serve a great purpose. However, it is a poor long-term strategy. To LVMH’s credit, their brands like Hublot, Zenith, Tag Heuer, and Bulgari do almost the exact opposite in many cases. In my opinion, it is only a matter of time until the vintage trend fades away. The aftermath may truly show the most creative and innovative brands.

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