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Sporty Chic - Is the Sporty Chic Watch Gonna Go Away Already?

Sporty Chic Is the Sporty Chic Watch Gonna Go Away Already?

In the past five years, the chic and sporty watch has gobbled up the entire watchmaking space. The everything watch is taking exactly what its name says : everything

That's how strong a hybrid concept is. It can swallow up everything it hybridizes. The watchmaking style known as sporty chic, or sports chic, or sport chic or whatever, has been replacing the chic, dress watch and eating at the sports watch. It keeps growing as it spreads on either side of its core. It's got so strong it's commandeered the entire creative space. It's all anyone talks about, writes about, and sells. Every elegant, classic brand has been having such a collection in its catalog for a while now. But it's getting to a point where that one collection now defines the brand in the eyes of the public. Either because said public sees or wants to hear about nothing else, or because the aforementioned brands are not releasing anything else anymore, thus moving away from their profound identity out of opportunity. 

Patek Philippe ? Nautilus and Aquanaut. Audemars Piguet ? Royal Oak. Blancpain ? 50 Fathoms. Breguet ? Marine. Vacheron ? Overseas. IWC ? Pilot. As for Rolex, the one brand that has always been a little bit of both, the one that's managed to turn the Submariner into an urban watch, the one that's elevated the full gold bracelet to a classic, it's basking in a glow of unbelievable success like no other brand on earth.

Le sport chic va-t-il enfin se pousser?

Rolex, an everything platinum Day-Date © David Chokron/WorldTempus

So to make it short, a sporty chic watch is easy to wear, versatile, not too dressy, not too radical, capable of withstanding the adventures of our tranquil daily lives, it can be worn at the office, on the weekend, with a sweater, a shirt, a polo, a blazer, a bomber jacket, sneakers, by a man, a woman. It also makes coffee, cleans your car and scratches your dog at the same time.

It's the everything watch. It's usually made of steel, but also of gold because watchmaking keeps shifting upmarket. It's the ultimate crowd pleaser. It appeals to everyone. It comes in a blue dial, a green dial, a black dial, a salmon dial, a gradient dial. It's available with a gem-set bezel, preferably a rainbow one so the brand can show off its suppliers.

Le sport chic va-t-il enfin se pousser?

Parmigiani Fleurier, an everything Tonda PF GMT © David Chokron/WorldTempus

This is the single most potent and wide watch concept ever. Sporty chic is the ultimate composite, born out of ten years of casual chic, dress down and athleisure dominance in fashion. It's been jacked up by the pandemic, the lock-downs and the sentiment of newfound freedom that emerged as those finally ended. 

If you sell a watch today, it needs to have a metal bracelet, preferably integrated. Or a rubber one, with a cool pattern. Because crocodile and alligator leather are so passé, my dear. OK, I'm willing to take that beige calf strap with a turquoise or purple stitching because I'm in a millennial mood today. And don't go putting too big a complication in there by the way. Three hands are plenty enough. And since it's 2023, I'll take more of those chronographs because we all need a little change, right ? But make it panda. Or reverse panda or blue panda, or some sort of contrasting registers please. And if the customer is on the UNHWI side, which is more and more the case, then he'll go for a tourbillon or a QP. But on a rubber strap, that goes without saying.

Le sport chic va-t-il enfin se pousser?

TAG Heuer, an everything Carrera panda vintage chronograph © David Chokron/WorldTempus

I joke, I kid, I mock, but I also wear a sporty chic timepiece. I actually own several of them. And they're not to blame. It's actually pretty great to wear a watch you know is going to fit your entire day, wherever you're going, no matter the weather and what side of the bed you've woken up this morning. Especially since after so many years, it's grown more elaborate and mature. So there's a more chic side to it (gray gold, guilloché dials, slim movements) as well as a sportier side (titanium, large chronos, daring color dashes). 

I mean, come on. This is not all watchmaking is about. The design landscape of an entire industry cannot be reduced to just one style, however potent and sweeping it may be. Just like cars cannot just be SUVs, watches cannot become just the one, global, selfsame thing, like a cronut or a gourmet fried chicken burger where everything ends up blended and in the end, blander. 

Creation means making choices, establishing boundaries with a proper style, taking an essence and clarifying it, elevating a single concept to its highest form and most of all : making new things. Based on the 2023 previews I'm seeing, there seem to be the humble beginnings of a change, of an alternative, some sort of a refinement renewal that could lead to something different. That is going to take time and a massive, undeniable validation by the public, but it's going to happen eventually.

Le sport chic va-t-il enfin se pousser?

Audemars Piguet, an everything Royal Oak Jumbo © David Chokron/WorldTempus

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