Watches

The Year in Watches 2019: Blue Dials, Rose Gold Cases, Vintage Revivals

As the year draws to a close, we take a look back at some of the best models, launches, trends, and topics that made horological news this year, as seen in the watches that took residence on our wrists.
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Unlike in the world of fast, disposable fashion, where cuts, shapes, silhouettes, and prints can shift as quickly as the seasons, the watch industry can be notoriously slow-moving and resistant to change. This is usually a good thing, as watches are seen as more of an investment or a future heirloom meant to be passed down, as opposed to something that ought to be upgraded with every hot new launch or trend that comes around.

That being said, you will see that there are some ideas and commonalities that tend to take root, mostly in the form of innovative models that truly made waves—and while not everyone has the luxury of purchasing a new watch for their collection every year, it’s always good to take note of some of the movements and developments that are taking place to get a feel of where things could be headed next. Maybe it will even encourage you to dust off some of the prized pieces that have been sitting in your vault, knowing that everything old will one day be new again.

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Here is a recap of some of the notable pieces that caught the watch world’s imagination in 2019, just as we are getting ready to welcome the new crop of watches that will be catching our eyes in the new decade and beyond.

Blue is the Warmest Color 

Just as a blue suit is probably the most versatile one you could ever own—perfect for day and night, business or casual—the Classic Blue shade that Pantone has hailed the color of 2020 was already dominating our wrists all year long. Beyond basic black and white, blue provides that safe but unexpected pop that also functions as a perfectly neutral foil for everything you already own. And just like the suit, it works pretty much everywhere and anywhere, too.

Cartier Privé Tonneau XL Skeleton Dual Time

Photo by CARTIER.
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Breitling Navitimer B01 Chronograph 43 Pan Am

Photo by BREITLING.

Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Selfwinding Chronograph

Photo by AUDEMARS PIGUET.
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Smaller and Smaller Circles

If the late ’90s and early aughts saw a literal rise in watch size, as brands began putting the equivalent of portable wall clocks on the wrist, there’s been a move toward smaller, more miniatures case sizes as of late, bolstered by an embrace of vintage-style watches. Just as in the earlier days of the wristwatch, where cases were well below the 40mm range, a smaller case size lends a watch a throwback vibe—as though it was lifted from your grandfather’s collection, even though it is brand new.

Tag Heuer Monaco Calibre 11

Photo by TAG Heuer.
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Breguet Classique 5177 Grand Feu Blue Enamel

Photo by BREGUET.

Everything’s Coming Up Rose Gold 

There was a time when wearing a yellow gold watch meant you were as bold and fashion-forward as they come, the territory of rappers, athletes, the nouveau riche, pretty much anyone obsessed with flash and bling. But those with taste know that the metal’s more sophisticated, understated cousin, rose gold, is the one to put your money in, and it still looks good when set against black, white, or any other metal as well. An undeniable plus is that the warm, subtle tone is incredibly flattering against tanned skin.

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Piaget Altiplano

Photo by PIAGET ALTIPLANO.

Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Chronometre

Photo by PARMIGIANI.
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Take Me Back

Brands continue to mine their archives and reissue some of the most popular models of generations past, and why wouldn’t they? These retro revivals always come with a cool origin story (and everyone is all-too-willing to share the one behind theirs), are a chance for the old-school houses to flex their heritage and history, and provide an opportunity to revisit a beloved design by giving it a modern upgrade, such as introducing new materials or technology. Proof that you can teach an old dog new tricks.

IWC Pilot’s Watch UTC Spitfire Edition MJ271

Photo by IWC.
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Tissot Heritage 1973 Chronograph

Photo by TISSOT.

Seiko Prospex 1970 Diver’s Re-Creation Limited Edition SLA033 

Photo by SEIKO.
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Nana Caragay
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