Perfectly circular watches may dominate the shelves, but a new generation of weird and wonderful case shapes have captured our attention. Here’s our pick of the best options out there…

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Accessories need a wake-up call, or at least that’s what acclaimed handbag designer Anya Hindmarch believes. The British star has made the most of iconic pop-art motifs to decorate her designs; from cereal box clutch bags to orange roadworks signs emblazoned across backpacks.

With all this fun, silly excitement in the air, it was only a matter of time until watch brands caught up and let rip. Typically it is unchanging signature designs, like the Gucci Horsebit stainless steel watch below, that take on the responsibility of boundary pushing case shapes – with brands sticking to classic rounds elsewhere.

However, recent months have seen this balance shift in favour of more unusual shapes, sizes and proportions. We’re even being tempted with asymmetrical cases, perhaps in reaction to the boom in uneven ear jackets, ear cuffs and stacking rings (just check out Saoirse Ronan at the Oscars and you’ll know what we mean).

Bright colours are going to be everywhere this season, so why not amp-up the show-off factor with one of these watches?

From eye-catching ovals to soft rectangles, there’s a new generation watch shape to suit every budget (and even some luxury timepieces for those with a little extra cash to burn). Here are the key trends to look out for and some of our personal highlights to buy now…

The handbag strap

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Bright and bold leather straps are always going to grab our attention, but nothing is more disappointing than when an amazing strap is paired with a boring watch case. Fortunately, the new ‘handbag strap’ trend solves this problem.

Our favourite watch to embody this tell-tale shape is the Salvatore Ferragamo Buckle watch, especially the fuchsia and red versions pictured above. If you’re looking for a slice of the action without the hefty price tag there’s this quirky Kate Spade Fish Bowl Metro watch (below), which is guaranteed to impress.

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Salvatore Ferragamo Buckle RRP £900 Shop
Kate Spade Fish Bowl Metro RRP £209 Shop

The 6 o’clock quirk

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The south point of your wrist naturally points towards the sky when you’re sat down, typing or simply just pointing the way to the nearest Starbucks so it make sense to make the 6 o’clock position a design feature.

This Gancino bracelet watch (left) is another hit from Salvatore Ferragamo, but it’s this affordable Nude Pearlised leather strap watch from Fiorelli that has us hitting the shops. The watch is available in yellow and silver tone finishes with five different straps to choose from.

Salvatore Ferragamo Gancino Bracelet RRP £690 Shop

Fiorelli Nude Pearlised RRP £55 Shop

Signature asymmetry

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The Gucci Horsebit watch may not be a new launch, but it is a fantastic example of how unusual case shapes can tell a wonderful story (even if you’ve never sat on a horse in your entire life!).

This type of asymmetrical design is starting to gain ground too – just take a look at the gold-plated stainless steel Givenchy Seventeen timepiece below. Not only has the bezel been given a punk rock feel with spike detailing, but the cage around the case makes it that little bit more exciting. If colour is more your thing this beautifully off-balance Fendi with red and black enamel is also a highlight.

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Gucci Horsebit RRP £575 Shop

Givenchy Seventeen RRP £770 Shop

Fendi Chameleon RRP £750 Shop

The statement oval

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So we know what you’re thinking, oval watches have been around forever right? Of course you’re right, but the new breed of ovals are elongated to maximum proportions, smothered in crystals and stretched away from the typical ‘oval dress watch’ aesthetic.

One brand doing this with gumption is Folli Follie, which has two lovely watches of note; the Swiss-made Romance watch (above left) and the rose gold-plated Ivy watch both in a lovely sunny blue colour.

Romance watch RRP £390 Shop

Ivy watch RRP £200 Shop

The soft rectangle

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Rectangular watches always give us that ‘serious watch’ vibe, like we’ll be ready for action if an impromptu business meeting materialises around us in an instant. 2016 is all about the soft rectangle, with leather straps and an altogether more voluptuous feel.

We’ve already snapped up this lovely Vivienne Westwood Tourte watch with a black leather strap (the brand’s Ravenscourt, The Twist and Beckton ranges are equally unusual), and the next piece on our shopping list is the Coach Thompson with a striking pink wraparound strap.

Vivienne Westwood Tourte RRP £185 Shop

Coach Thompson RRP £175 Shop

Best of the rest

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Hexagonal and octagonal designs have a lovely vintage flair to them; something which Olivia Burton has capitalised on for its Mini Antiques watch. Bulova has also excelled with its take on a vintage dress watch with four sweeping sides and a pleasingly traditional dial design.

If, on the other hand, you’re looking for something more contemporary we think you’ll be intrigued by this watch by emerging Danish brand Bulbul (below). The design, which was almost two years in the making, takes inspiration from the smooth contours of the pebbles found on Scandinavian beaches.

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Olivia Burton Mini Antiques RRP £80 Shop

Bulova Ladies Dress RRP £134 Shop

Bulbul Pepple watch RRP £285 Shop

Unlikely luxe

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Dolce & Gabbana has got hearts fluttering with its new Sofia collection, with pieces available in soft pink, sky blue, brown, silver grey and black. The square case with smoothed corners is enhanced by the lovely faceted sapphire crystal glass and chunky ruby-set crown.

Elsewhere, the world of luxury watches has some interesting case shapes to tempt deeper wallets, including this surrealist Cartier with a diamond-set bezel and this stunning Vacheron Constantin in rose gold.

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Dolce & Gabbana Sofia RRP €5,950 Shop

Cartier Délices de Cartier RRP £16,000 Shop

Vacheron Constantin Malte RRP £17,200 Shop

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