The answer to these questions is probably — spoiler alert — to earn money. But apart from that, what do brands typically expect when they launch new collections or additions to their portfolio? Yes, sure, in the end, it’s all about selling more of their products, but there can be different underlying motives as to why brands release so many watches.

In the realm of luxury watches, with a seemingly never-ending stream of new timepieces hitting the market, enthusiasts, and collectors are spoiled for choice. Many renowned watch brands consistently release a plethora of models, leaving us wondering why they maintain such a fast-paced production schedule. In this article, I’ll explore the reasons behind the constant stream of new releases.

Meet diverse preferences

One of the primary reasons that brands release new models is to cater to the vast and varied tastes of their customers. The horological landscape encompasses a wide spectrum of preferences, ranging from classic and understated designs to avant-garde and bold creations. By offering a diverse range of watches, these brands ensure that they can capture the attention and admiration of various customer segments and satisfy their desires for exclusivity and individuality. Additionally, limited-edition watches can enhance that feeling of owning something exclusive.

Why do brands release so many watches?

Create exclusivity and rarity (with limited editions)

The notion of scarcity and exclusivity is an integral part of the luxury industry. By releasing limited-edition watches or producing a limited number of each model, luxury watch brands create a sense of rarity and desirability among collectors. The feeling of owning a unique or limited timepiece fuels the enthusiasts’ passion for collecting. Additionally, the constant release of new models ensures that each piece maintains a certain level of exclusivity, preventing them from becoming commonplace. But while the customers are a very important driving force, technology is, of course, also an integral part of watchmaking.

Introduce technological advancements and innovation

And that technology is continuously evolving, driven by technological advancements and innovation. Brands invest heavily in research and development to enhance the technical performance, precision, and functionality of their timepieces. By introducing new models, they showcase their cutting-edge technologies, such as improved movements, materials, and complications. The pursuit of innovation not only reinforces the brand’s reputation for excellence but also attracts enthusiasts who are eager to experience the latest advancements in horology. More and more, though, we see that watches also become fashion statements.

IWC Ingenieur 2023

Keep up with fashion trends

Watches are not only functional timekeeping devices but also fashion accessories. Just like clothing and jewelry, watch styles and trends evolve. Brands aim to stay relevant by releasing new models that align with the current fashion trends. Some examples could be the revival of vintage designs, the addition of trending colors, or the incorporation of innovative materials. The brands adapt to the evolving tastes and preferences of their client base. By continuously refreshing their offerings, they ensure that their timepieces remain fashionable and appeal to the contemporary consumer. And in this age of social media, that can also help the brands to remain a topic of (online) conversations.

Why do brands release so many watches?

Maintain brand visibility

In today’s fast-paced world, maintaining visibility is crucial for any watch brand. By frequently releasing new watches, they generate excitement, capture media attention, and maintain a continuous presence in the market. This sustained momentum keeps them at the forefront of the horological industry, and it ensures that they remain top-of-mind for watch enthusiasts and collectors. Additionally, the release of new models provides opportunities for brand collaborations, limited editions, and special events. All of these things further amplify brands’ visibility and create a buzz within the community.

Our limited-edition Oris Divers Sixty-Five

Here’s how they do it

Now that we’ve discussed a few motivations, let’s go over a few examples. In terms of customer preferences, you can, for example, think of all the different sizes Tudor is releasing within its Black Bay range. Many brands also use the strategy of limited editions, but I think Seiko is a very good example here, for instance, with its Seiko 5 limited series. And when we look at the innovation side of things, I think Rolex is king. The brand might not have the most groundbreaking new technology, and its watches don’t look markedly different from generation to generation. However, Rolex is the champion of implementing gradual improvements in its watches.

One of the biggest trends in recent years (though it may be calming down now) is the integrated bracelet. We have seen many brands jump on this hype train, with IWC as one of the most recent examples with the new version of the Ingenieur. Finally, I think the best example of maintaining brand visibility has been the collaboration between Omega and Swatch, the ultra-successful MoonSwatch. The way people talk about these watches might not always be positive, but they certainly are part of the conversation.

NOMOS Tetra Why do brands release so many watches?

Final words

So yes, of course, selling more watches is the ultimate goal. There are, however, various underlying motives for releasing new watches. Though I’ve listed several above, can you think of any others? Please let me know in the comments below.

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