Bonds – Trends in the Luxury Watch Industry – What to Expect in 2022

27th November 2021

Trends in the Luxury Watch Industry – What to Expect in 2022

No one can say for sure what the future will bring but the economic conditions around the world over the last two years are a fairly sure indicator of what will happen to the luxury watch market in the coming twelve months or so. Why? Because what has happened in the world’s biggest economies in the recent past has been fairly universal insofar as many luxury items have not been produced in sufficient quantities to meet demand. What’s more, larger ones that are hard to ship have been even tougher to procure thanks to the way the post-pandemic economy has been adjusting with many of the world’s big shipping containers in the wrong places to meet demand.

When it comes to luxury watches, however, the story is a little bit different. After all, small luxury goods, like deluxe chronographs, can be sent just as economically via air freight or secure courier. You just can’t say the same of slabs of marble, designer furniture or sports cars. So, what can you expect in 2022 if you are following the luxury watch industry today?

A Return to Normality

As mentioned, the world’s supply chains are still out of kilter to some extent. They’re likely to remain this way throughout the first quarter of 2022 but become progressively more normalised. That means that we can expect the current demand for second-hand luxury watches to stay high for the next few months before more and more new ones come onto the market. Remember that it is not just a supply chain issue that has affected production this year and for much of 2020 but the availability of the skilled people who manufacture these items.

When it comes to luxury watchmaking, you cannot simply upscale your operation overnight. That’s why the peak demand for luxury watch brands we’ve seen during the global healthcare crisis is likely to continue for a while longer, thereby feeding the second-hand market for the foreseeable future. Having said that, demand for used watches will return to its normal level at some point as watchmakers get their production levels back up again. The question is when will this be? If you are looking to sell your luxury watch, perhaps so you can upgrade to something even more desirable, then perhaps you’ll want to trade it in sooner rather than later before the market shifts once more.

Online Coalescence

The luxury watch industry is like many others insofar as it still needs to find its market of consumers. Traditionally, luxury watches have been sold by jewellers and watch specialists on high streets all over the world. However, the online trade in luxury watches has been growing steadily, displacing this traditional model somewhat. This trend is likely to continue throughout 2022 and beyond even though conventional shopping habits might be restored to a degree. It seems we all like shopping online.

That said, there is stiff competition among online brokers for which one will end up dominating the marketplace. Just like Uber, Airbnb, Amazon and the rest of the big digital marketplaces, there will be some coalescence in the online market for luxury watches as the bigger players end up buying out the smaller ones. In the end, there’ll be just one or two big names left.

 However, some jewellers will buck this trend and continue to operate both online and in stores, often the places where you’ll be able to track down the best prices. According to just one such retailer with an increasingly online presence, Bonds of Brentwood, certain clients still like the idea of being able to go into a shop to trade their watch even if they don’t actually intend doing so. Knowing they can if they want gives them reassurance both as a buyer and a seller.

Watch Ambassadors

Luxury watch brands have always enjoyed partnering with celebrities to promote themselves. You only have to think of the relationship Rolex enjoyed with Paul Newman to see just how effective this can be. However, luxury watch brands haven’t always been so good at appealing to the female market as they have with men’s wristwatches. With the likes of Kate Winslett and Cara Delevingne bucking this trend in recent times, we can expect more and more watch brand ambassadors coming to the fore, perhaps in response to micro-trends in the marketplace.

What does this mean? In 2022, we are probably going to see the rise of the online influencer when it comes to promoting luxury watch brands. Even in the rather throwaway culture of Instagram and TikTok, there is a desire for unbeatable luxury. As such, these are the platforms the high-end watch industry is going to have to operate in to keep on reinventing itself for a younger demographic. Of course, this may mean brand ambassadors you’ve never heard of coming to the fore and potentially disappearing just as quickly.


Like many other industries, the watchmaking sector will become increasingly focussed on issues like sustainability going forwards. As a part of their corporate and social responsibilities, more brands will be pushing their watches on sustainable grounds. Of course, this will also help the used luxury watch market, too, since there really isn’t anything more sustainable than effectively recycling a watch by giving it a new lease of life.

In terms of sustainability, we’re probably going to see brands promote the sustainable mining methods used for precious gems, especially diamonds, of course. In addition, it is also probable that fewer battery-powered wristwatches will reach the market as brands want to appear to be more environmentally aware. Mechanical chronographs are going to be the on-trend watches of 2022! After all, modern consumers want to show off their sustainable credentials just as much as watchmaking brands.

Which Will Be the Trendy Watch Brands of 2022?

So much for the industry forecasts – what many buyers of luxury watches want to know is: which ones will be the trendiest. Well, at the industry’s global trade fair this year, one that is run by the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie, there were too many contenders to count. Rolex Watches, Tudor, IWC, TAG Heuer, Formex Watches, Patek Philippe and others all exhibited some stunning timepieces. Who knows which of them will become a future classic? Whichever of them it is, we can’t wait to find out.