The T+T Team’s watch predictions and hot takes for 2023 The T+T Team’s watch predictions and hot takes for 2023

The T+T Team’s watch predictions and hot takes for 2023


Editor’s note: After spending a bit of time reflecting on the best moments, releases and trends of 2022, the Time+Tide team is now turning their attention to the year ahead. So we’ve assembled to present our predictions, hot takes and Hail Marys for 2023.

Fergus Nash: Yellow gold should make a big comeback

We’re living in a time where the ‘70s and ‘80s have been romanticised to the point that it wouldn’t be surprising to see a return of hair-nipping elasticated bracelets, but there’s still one step which many watchmakers haven’t yet embraced in force. When I think about gold, I think about the bright glowing briefcase in Pulp Fiction or the face of Indiana Jones ready to grab the statue. I think of finding those specks of bright metal while panning the river of Victoria’s favourite gold-rush theme park Sovereign Hill. What I don’t think of, is the coppery smoulder of rose gold and red gold.

I don’t dislike rose gold by any means, and although this probably fits more along the lines of a hot take than a prediction, I just feel that using rose gold as the default luxury material has been thoroughly played out over the last 20 years. The perception of yellow gold has tarnished as people associate it with old fashioned values or gaudiness, but I believe that 24k gold has remained a standard of beauty for millennia — literally the gold standard — for a reason. It’s time for yellow gold to retake the crown and embrace its glory, both former and future.

Zach Blass: Rolex will debut another RLX Titanium watch

watch predictions 2023

As much as Rolex watches can be unobtanium, the renowned manufacture does not participate in limited editions or one-offs. Therefore once a material development has been introduced by Rolex, it is fair to assume there will be incremental expansion throughout their catalogue. A long awaited move from the Crown, Rolex closed out 2022 with the debut of their first production full-titanium watch: the Rolex Deepsea Challenge in what they have dubbed RLX Titanium. At 50mm in diameter, the watch is definitely a big boy – and not one that most will be able to wear. So, of course, Rolex fans are eager for more novelties cased in RLX Titanium.

To be honest, I had always thought the first Rolex watch to be produced in full titanium would have been the Yacht-Master. In 2021, more awareness was drawn to the fact legendary sailor Sir Ben Ainslie was in possession of a titanium Yacht-Master prototype that he wore while competing. With this in mind, I imagine the impending Watches & Wonders fair in March will be the perfect platform for Rolex to introduce a more wearable professional RLX Titanium model. I doubt the Daytona will be introduced in titanium for its 60th anniversary, although how frickin’ cool would that be. My money is on a production Yacht-Master being introduced in RLX Titanium. Ainslie’s prototype notably did not have a cyclops lens over its date window, but I imagine the production model, were it to come to market, would return this aesthetic and functional signature to the crystal.

D.C. Hannay: H. Moser meme the sun, and Tudor release a banger

watch predictions 2023
Tudor Submariner Snowflake. Image courtesy of Analog:Shift

In keeping with their tradition of skewering the traditions of the watch industry, H. Moser & Cie. will release a limited edition Vantablack sundial. That’s right, a timepiece with no movement, that absorbs all available light. They’ve trolled the watch industry, the entire country of Switzerland, and now, they’ll extend a giant middle finger to the sun itself, saying: “Let’s see what you do with that!”.

All kidding aside, my prediction for 2023 sees Tudor reaching back into their storied history with a new edition of one of their heritage classics, the Snowflake Sub, with a new steel watch based on the BB58’s architecture. The new Snowflake will be a no-date 39mm model with a faded blue dial that features the squared-off indices of the classic version, but with a modern movement and features. To differentiate from the recent Pelagos FXD “Marine Nationale”, the new Snowflake will sport a 39mm steel case, removable spring bars, and a more muted colourway. The dial will be softer and less vibrant, giving all the pre-aged feels, and if Tudor really wants to amp things up, they’ll pair it with a “pre-ghosted” ceramic bezel in a soft matte blue-grey. Build it, Tudor, and they will come.

As a broader prediction, 2023 becomes the year that officially sanctioned “relicing” for new watches goes wide. Defects that manufacturers spent decades correcting (tropical dials, painted bezels prone to fading) will now be considered features. In the field of electric guitars, Fender and Gibson have long offered “relic” versions of reissue models, complete with finish fading, scratching to simulate playwear, and even rusty hardware, depending on the level of aging you want. While a number of watchmakers have dabbled in “pre-aging”, this will become a regular practice among bigger manufacturers. Buying a pre-aged watch (which skews a bit toward “stolen valour” if you ask me), or one made with fade-prone dial and bezel materials will gain wider acceptance with buyers who want to speed along the vintage process. You get the look of a classic piece, a modern movement, reliable water resistance, and even a warranty, which should prove irresistible to a certain segment of the market.

Borna Bošnjak: Universal Genève is back

watch predictions 2023

Oh, how I wish for this one to come true. In a time when demand for historically significant and mechanically impressive vintage watches rises ever higher along with their prices, Universal Genève is still impressively underappreciated. Iconic models like the Genta-designed Polerouter and Shadow, Nina Rindt and split-seconds chronographs, and of course, all of the Compax-named pieces are all lost to history.

Today, the brand continues to be owned by Hong Kong’s Stelux group, and attempts at a revival have been made, going as far as developing a new in-house micro-rotor calibre. However, these attempts looked like the image above at best, so it’s no wonder that the once household name hasn’t seen any new additions to the collection since 2011.

Uni-Compax Big Eye ref. 884100/01 and Massena LAB’s Uni-Racer. Image courtesy of Wind Vintage

The closest we got to a faithful renewal of the brand was with Massena’s Uni-Racer, modelled after the highly sought-after Universal Genève Uni-Compax Big Eye, though, with all due respect to Massena LAB, it’s not the same as having the actual thing on your wrist. There is a miniscule glimmer of hope, however, by virtue of one Guillaume Laidet. Having already revived Excelsior Park, Vulcain and Nivada Grenchen, the Frenchman expressed his interest in purchasing the naming rights from the corporate clutches of Stelux – no luck thus far, however. For the sake of watch enthusiasts worldwide, godspeed Guillaume.

Luke Benedictus: The IWC Ingenieur makes an overdue comeback

IWC Ingenieur SL

Demand for integrated-bracelet watches continues to chug along at high speed. This has prompted a bunch of brands to hastily ransack their archives to see what they’ve got in that department.  In 2021, Tissot brilliantly resuscitated the PRX, a model that was first released in 1978. At the other end of the market, Vacheron Constantin last year released the Historiques 222, a slinky gold stunner that riffed off the original 1977 model created to commemorate the company ’s 222nd anniversary. In this context, it would make total sense if IWC decided to bring back the Ingenieur.

Designed by Gerald Genta, the man behind the Royal Oak and Nautilus, the Ingenieur gained popularity in the 1970s and is ripe for a comeback. Not only does it come on an integrated bracelet, the riveted bezel also echoes the Royal Oak’s exposed screws and the overall result marries tool-watch functionality with palpable sophistication. IWC should re-engineer the Ingenieur.