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Revival of the ring watch: A vintage accessory makes a comeback

ring watch makes a comeback

The fashion adage “everything old becomes new again” is exemplified by the resurgence of the ring watch, a vintage accessory first seen in the 1700s. This antique style is gaining traction among younger consumers who seek novel fashion items. According to Ashley Davis, Jewelry Director at Wrist Aficionado, ring watches have seen periodic popularity spikes from the early 1900s, with notable productions by Rolex in the 1930s and 1940s, and later in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Old fashion, new generation

Davis notes that the renewed interest in ring watches is driven by a new generation exploring 1990s and early 2000s trends, embracing a playful fashion approach. Interestingly, this trend isn’t fueled by traditional watch collectors but by consumers looking to subvert fashion norms with unique timepieces.

The brands

Fossil is a significant player in this trend, having launched its ring watch line in 2019 and expanding to around 15 different versions featuring various face shapes and materials. The brand’s collaborations, such as with Barbie and Disney, further bolster its offerings. Melissa Lowenkron, Fossil’s Chief Brand Officer, explained that the inspiration came from vintage watch rings and the increasing trend of timepieces as jewelry. This merging of timepiece and jewelry elements has created an item both iconic and nostalgic.

Other brands like contemporary watch maker Breda, jewelry brand Pascal, and independent sellers on platforms like Amazon and Etsy also contribute to the ring watch market. The accessory’s rise is aligned with the broader 90s and Y2K trends, evident in the popularity of other miniaturized accessories like handbags.

The innovation in ring watches lies in their small size, versatile designs, and expandable link constructions, allowing them to be paired with any outfit. This nod to ‘90s fashion combined with the novelty appeal has garnered significant traction. Consumers are attracted to the unexpected and exciting nature of these accessories, which are not merely for telling time but also serve as fashionable jewelry pieces.

Fossil plans to sustain this momentum with new styles and collaborations. While still an emerging trend in the jewelry market, the ring watch’s unique charm and accessibility are likely to maintain its appeal among younger consumers.

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