Retro and vintage have been the watch world's prevailing winds for years now. Those timepieces from the '60s and '70s are cool and popular, but they were created to reflect the technology and spirit of their time — and sometimes it feels like our generation is lacking its own watch design and style. So where are modern watchmakers to take inspiration from?
In the last year (and even in the past week or so), there have been more examples of watches with video game, virtual reality or similar themes to the extent it might even smell of a mini-trend. Yes, some of them also play to retro nostalgia, but others are firmly futuristic. There's a lot of creative possibility in the concept. Here are some new and recent examples that, at the very least, offer something you don't see everyday.
Polish video game maker teamed up with local watchmaker Błonie on a special watch for its Cyberpunk 2077 game. To watch nerds, "cyberpunk" evokes mechanical clockwork, while this style of digital LED watch feels straight out of the '70s. And yet, it seems to fit right in to the game's near-future universe.
This week, our favorite coffee-culture-inspired New York watchmaker Brew introduced a playful new version of its Retrograph watch with a pixelated theme based on '80s arcade games. Even the chronograph hands have a funky, pixelated execution unlike any you've likely seen before. You gotta smile at something like this, and the brand keeps it as affordable and wearable as ever with a Seiko Mecaquartz movement and 38mm diameter.
At first glance this might look like the beat-me-up plastic-cased G-Shocks you've seen before. It has the same basic outward design but is rendered at a much higher level in titanium with a sapphire crystal and is packed with subtle details meant to evoke gaming universes and science fiction in general. If you were piloting a giant Japanese robot in some future space war, this is the watch you'd want.
Video game watches don't have to be quartz, digital or overt in their design theme — you can get a classic-looking automatic field watch that also has strong ties to gaming. This one is based on one of our favorite field watches, but this version was created for the game Far Cry 6 — appearing both on virtual characters in the game as well as on your wrist in real life if you want to snag one of the 1,983 examples in the limited-edition run.