New two-tone Audemars Piguet
New two-tone Audemars Piguet

They say that what goes around comes around and when it comes to anything related to fashion, that’s often the case.  No, we’re not expecting to see bell bottom trousers return anytime soon, though we can’t rule out their return at some point in the future.

Just as children’s names cycle every few generations, so do fashion designs.  Things become popular, people buy them, people grow tired of them, they go out of style and something else is “in” for a while.  Then, the cycle repeats, as people get tired of that, and want something new.

Eventually, you run out of new things to offer, so you dust off something old that they haven’t seen in a while, and you present it as new.  Then they get excited and buy it.  Of course, when this happens, the people who do remember them from the first time around will scold you and point out that the “new” thing you’re buying isn’t really new, but that’s how fashion works.

That’s why we’re seeing two-tone watches again.

Two-tone watches were introduced at this year’s Baselworld exhibition and a number of watchmakers are beginning to offer these models, which are seen by younger buyers as being edgy and more daring.

In recent years, makers have opted for a single color model, which might be all yellow gold, or all platinum, or all white gold, or all stainless steel.  New models are now combining one metal with another or one of various other materials (composite; carbon fiber, or ceramic) to give a busier look to their wares.

One advantage is that a watch that’s made of part steel and part yellow gold is more affordable than one that’s all gold, yet it has the distinction of offering a different look and one that’s now eye-catching, given that two-tone watches have been absent from the marketplace for quite a while.

Of course, they’re still available on the second hand market, and even in high end models, it’s not too hard to find, say, a two-tone Rolex from the 1980s.  They’re out there, but as the trend continues, even the second hand market is likely to dry up in the near future.  Plus, as styles change and more people start to embrace the two-tone look, those vintage models that have up until recently been bargains are going to start getting a bit more expensive.

A vintage two-tone Rolex
A vintage two-tone Rolex

Regardless of your taste, if you’re looking for something that’s a bit different today, you might want to look at a two tone watch.  We wouldn’t recommend waiting, however, as by this time next year, everyone is likely to be wearing two tone watches.  At that point, you’ll likely be starting to look for something new and different.

At that point, watchmakers will come up with something new.  Or they’ll dust off something old, give it a new name, and present it to you as something you haven’t seen before.  Or at least, haven’t seen since the 1990s.

That’s the way fashion works.  What’s here today is gone tomorrow…and back again in a couple of decades.  What goes around comes around, and it works that way with watches, too.