Although BaselWorld 2017 is still on, I wanted to share my thoughts about this year’s offerings. Most companies probably have already shown all their new models for 2017 so it’s safe to say nothing new will appear in the next week. Bare in mind, I haven’t attended this year show but it doesn’t stop me from having an opinion on what’s going on.
Such an enormous event as BaselWorld (both literally and being the most important event for the watch community) should make us excited. And although, I believe many people are genuinely hooked, I can’t really share that feeling. The reason being that every single company present at the fair decided to rehash their old designs. Literally dozens of dozens of homages, tributes, slightly retouched already existing models. Booooooring. All you see is a copy of a copy of a copy, to quote my favorite movie.
The worst part is that we all are responsible for that. It all started with microbrands and generic Chinese watch companies such as Parnis. They designed and sold various homages to vintage Rolex, Panerai or Omega watches to name a few. Most of them sold like hotcakes, and it’s hard to blame anyone for that. Great designs, automatic movements, and affordable prices attracted many people. The market for vintage inspired watches grew over the years. No doubt big companies picked up on that trend and decided to have their own slice of the cake. Over the years, vintage inspired timepieces grew in popularity, and more and more companies jumped on the bandwagon.
Don’t get me wrong, I love vintage designs myself. However, I think this trend has gone way too far. It’s to the point that it’s hard for me to find an interesting new watch with an original design in the whole goddamn BaselWorld fair. Blancpain shows tribute to Fifty Fathoms, Tudor releases a bunch of new Heritage Black Bay models, Rolex comes with new Daytonas and Submariners, Tag Heuer boasts their Autavia reissue. Even my favorite brand, which is Seiko by the way, presented a bunch of reused classic designs like 62MAS or Samurai.
I really love some of these watches, especially the new Autavia. It looks like a perfect chronograph watch to me, which I would really like to see in my collection. The same story with Seiko 62MAS reissue, SLA017J1 model. Given enough money, I would have no problem spending them on these kind of watches. Do you see the problem now? I rant over companies releasing lazy ass reissues of their historical timepieces, yet I would gladly spend my hard earned money on them. That’s the real issue because there are many of us. Companies know we love that vintage designs and they are exploiting that knowledge to the fullest. Why would they risk money on R&D of new projects which could easily fail, especially in the midst of reports that watch industry is having financial problems? They limit their risk by going the safe route of rehashed designs. All they really need is to go with the trend and spicy it up with a little of marketing.
As usual in such cases, there is only one way to stop this trend: vote with our wallets. As long as their profit charts go North-East we will see nothing new. On the bright side, it’s a big chance for independent watch manufactures to shine. Hopefully, they come up with new amazing designs which will steer people’s attention away from “tribute” watches.
And what is your opinion on that topic? Are you in love with this “reissue” trend or are you fed up with it and you want something new?