Essence of Emerald: 15 Green-Dial Watches On Sale Now

It doesn’t get any greener in today’s watch world. Or does it? There have never been as many green watches as there are today, and in this feature from our 2019 Special Design Issue, on sale now, we explore the emergence of the trend and showcase 15 currently available emerald-hued timepieces.

Although blue has been the most prominent trendy color for watches for the past several years, green is gaining in popularity. Blue has enjoyed such strong success that blue dials and straps have become a part of the standard col-lections of many brands. But the market constantly demands new attractions, so more than a few manufacturers have introduced new models in green. Is green the new blue?

The answer is, “No.” There will never be as many green watches as blue ones. A green watch evokes entirely different emotions than a blue one does. This reason alone makes it impossible to compare the two colors. Blue pleases everybody, but green sparks differences of opinion. From a fashion perspective, blue plays a transitional role between classic “non-colors” (black, gray and white) and “real” colors like red, yellow, orange and green. Dark blue business suits, pastel blue dress shirts and blue denim jeans are seen so frequently that we don’t really notice that they are any color. But a green shirt, sport jacket or pair of pants attracts attention – and not always in a good way. Wearing clothes in green hues is a no-go in some situations.

The contrast isn’t quite so extreme for watches, but green polarizes opinions here, too. Although green evokes many positive associations, such as nature and youth, green is also the complementary color of the red of our blood and represents the opposite of rosy good health. When people don’t feel well, their complexion may get a greenish tinge. Poisons are often green. Monsters are often depicted with green skin. Verdigris is poisonous. And moldy bread has a greenish hue.

When green is worn on the wrist, it’s a color for individualists. Wearing a green watch makes a statement. It seems to proclaim, “I’m free to do as I please.” Green has many nuances and everyone has his own idea of what a “typical” green is.

The watches pictured here conjure up widely diverse associations. The palette ranges from subdued dark green, through fashionable pastel green, to green with a blue or a yellow tinge. Green can refer to the military, to hunting or to nature. And, of course, there’s also the color known as British Racing Green.

Green won’t become the new blue. But it nonetheless offers the option of expressing self-confidence and joie de vivre by wearing a color that’s likely to attract other people’s gazes – or to simply delight its wearers, who have chosen to put their favorite color on their wrists.

H. MOSER & CIE. SWISS ALP WATCH CONCEPT COSMIC GREEN

Moser Swiss Alp Watch Cosmic Green
Moser Swiss Alp Watch Concept Cosmic Green

Fumé dials with a fluent transition between black and a “real” color have become the trademark of H. Moser & Cie. Now the version in Cosmic Green adorns the Swiss Alp Watch, with a case design that Jony Ive and Apple have generously overlooked. White gold, 38.2 mm by 44 mm, manufacture Caliber HMC 324, hand-wound, 20 pieces, $26,900.

AUDEMARS PIGUET ROYAL OAK OFFSHORE DIVER

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver

AP continues to rely on “funky colors” in this divers’ watch, which stays watertight to 300 meters. After bright yellow, orange and bright green, one of the newcomers in 2018 comes with a dial and rubber wristband in military khaki green. Stainless steel, 42 mm, manufacture Caliber AP 3120, automatic, $19,900.

HUBLOT CLASSIC FUSION GREEN

Hublot Classic Fusion Green
Hublot Classic Fusion Green

Considering the variety of colors that Hublot boasts, green simply couldn’t be missing from the spectrum. For the olive-green Classic Fusion, this brand is prioritizing the theme of unisex, as the 38-mm case suggests. Titanium, Sellita SW300, automatic, $6,600.

OMEGA SEAMASTER 300 MALACHITE

A dial made from South African malachite gives a noble aura to the Seamaster. The combination of a green mineral for the face and yellow gold for the case and bracelet ($56,250) seems more appropriate for another brand, so we prefer the platinum version, which is unfortunately much more costly ($88,500). 41 mm, Master Chronometer Caliber 8913, automatic.

RADO TRUE THINLINE NATURE

Rado True Thinline
Rado True Thinline Nature

Despite their hue, green watches seldom conjure up visions of verdant foliage. But this Rado watch is an exception: the mother-of-pearl dial with leafy structure distinguishes the look of the True Thinline, which has a case and bracelet made of high-tech ceramic. The design results from a partnership between Rado and the Grandi Giardini Italiani organization. 39 mm by 43 mm, quartz movement, $2,100.

BULGARI OCTO FINISSIMO

Bulgari Octo Green
Bulgari Octo Finissimo

The super-flat Octo Finissimo is a mere 5.15 mm thick. It encases 2.23-mm-slim manufacture Caliber BVL 138 with a platinum microrotor. Only 10 timepieces exist in this green version; they’re available at Harrods in London. Titanium, 40 mm, £12,000.

MB&F HOROLOGICAL MACHINE NO. 7 AQUAPOD

MB&F HM7 Aquapod - Green
MB&F HM7 Aquapod

The previous Aquapod with its luminous blue rotatable diving bezel was already an eye-catcher, but now it’s impossible to take one’s eyes off this new green jellyfish wristwatch. MB&F stays loyal to its concept of putting the utmost in the watchmaker’s art – here, a flying tourbillon – into playfully and provocatively shaped watches, thus transforming craftsmanship into fine art. Titanium, 53.8 mm by 21.3 mm, manufacture caliber, automatic, limited edition of 50 pieces, $108,000.

SINN HUNTER CHRONOGRAPH 3006

SINN Hunter Green
SINN Hunter Chronograph 3006

Sinn presents a watch designed expressly for hunters. A shade of green with a distinctly yellow tinge was chosen for the dial and the silicone strap. Along with the camouflage effect, this watch offers a second useful feature for hunters: a little moon appears above the T-shaped mark at the bottom of the dial to indicate that ambient lighting is bright enough for a hunt after sunset. Hardened stainless steel, 44 mm, ETA Valjoux 7751, $3,970.

CERTINA DS ACTION DIVER

Certina DS Action Diver Powermatic
Certina DS Action Diver Powermatic

Certina’s new divers’ watch isn’t only watertight to 300 meters, but is also equipped with self-winding Caliber Powermatic 80, which amasses an 80-hour power reserve. Connoisseurs who prefer a more subdued color scheme can opt for the same model with a black dial, rotatable bezel and green seconds hand. Stainless steel, 43 mm,

CHOPARD MILLE MIGLIA CLASSIC CHRONOGRAPH RACING COLORS

Chopard Mille Miglia Green
Chopard Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph

To celebrate its 30 years of partnership with the Mille Miglia rally for classic motorcars, Chopard presents five chronographs in the colors of historic race cars. This color scheme was devised approximately 100 years ago for drivers from different countries. British Racing Green was assigned to the drivers from England. This dark and subdued shade of green contrasts elegantly with bright yellow, red, silver or blue. Stainless steel, 42 mm, Caliber ETA 2894, automatic, chronometer, $6,080.

SEIKO 1968 AUTOMATIC COMMEMORATIVE LIMITED EDITION

Seiko Diver SLA019
Seiko Prospex Ref. SLA019

The Swiss aren’t the only ones who know that green also looks good on a divers’ watch. Seiko offers 1,968 pieces of the Prospex Reference SLA019, which is watertight to 300 meters, equipped with a rotatable ceramic bezel and delivered with an additional silicone wristband. Stainless steel, 44.3 mm, manufacture Caliber 8L35, automatic, $3,250.

GLASHÜTTE ORIGINAL SIXTIES PANORAMA DATE

Glashuette Original Sixties Panorama Date
Glashütte Original Sixties Panorama Date

The green version of the Sixties not only has a terrific color, but also fascinates with a sunburst of lacquer particles that look as though they’re exploding from the dial’s center and spreading out across the entire face like a supernova. Just how is this “dégradé” effect achieved? The experts at Glashütte Original’s dial factory keep the answer a closely guarded secret. Stainless steel, 42 mm, manufacture Caliber 39-47, automatic, $9,300.

HERMÈS ARCEAU CASAQUE

Hermes Arceau Casaque
Hermès Arceau Casaque

It’s not surprising that Hermès has adorned the dial of this watch with a stylized horse’s head because this brand has its roots in the saddler’s craft. The Arceau Casaque also alludes to a French board game in which little horses move across the playing board. The watch comes in the four basic colors used in the game: red, yellow, blue and this trendy green. Stainless steel, lacquered enamel dial, quartz movement, $3,400.

ORIS AQUIS DATE

Oris Aquis Date
Oris Aquis Date

The Aquis is a wonderful “no-nonsense” watch. It costs astonishingly little, but it offers surprisingly a lot: watertightness to 300 meters, a ceramic bezel, a stainless-steel bracelet and a fold-and-slide clasp with built-in extension piece. The version with a steel bracelet ($2,000) goes most handsomely with the green bezel and dial, although a variation with a brown leather strap is also available ($1,850). Stainless steel, 43.5 mm, Sellita SW200, automatic.

MONTBLANC 1858 MONOPUSHER CHRONOGRAPH LIMITED EDITION 100

Montblanc 1858 Monopusher Chronograph LE - flat
Montblanc 1858 Monopusher Chronograph

The technology and the dial arrangement of this handsome chronograph refer to a monopusher version that Minerva built in the 1920s. The green color gives a certain vintage character to this watch, which is actually a state-of-the-art timepiece. Stainless steel, 40 mm, manufacture Caliber MB M13.21, hand-wound, limited series of 100 watches, $30,000.

Americana on the Wrist: Timex Goes Back to Its Roots With U.S.-Made American Documents Series

As major watch manufacturers go, it’s hard to imagine one more quintessentially American than Timex. Founded in Waterbury, Connecticut in 1854 as the Waterbury Clock Company, its mission to “democratize” timekeeping for the masses began with the manufacture of clocks that were less expensive alternatives to their European-made counterparts. It continued through the following decades with the mass-produced Long Wind pocketwatch in 1877, to World War I military wristwatches modified from ladies’ pocketwatches in the early 20th century, to the introduction of the first official Mickey Mouse watches at the Chicago World’s Fair of 1933, all the way to the famous “Takes a Licking but Keeps on Ticking” torture-test TV commercials of the 1960s.

Timex American Documents - flat
Timex American Documents combines American parts and craftsmanship with a Swiss-made quartz movement.

Now headquartered in Middlebury, CT, the Timex Group USA, as it is now called, is a large conglomerate, with numerous subsidiary companies, licensed fashion brands, and manufacturing operations throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. As a consequence of that growth, however, as with most all the historical watchmakers founded in the United States in the 19th century, Timex no longer makes the majority of its watches in the U.S. For the company’s 165th anniversary in 2019, however, Timex chose to honor its legacy by returning, at least partially, to its Made-in-America roots with the launch of the Timex American Documents collection.

The initial launch of American Documents consists of four models, all assembled by hand in Middlebury, all outfitted with Swiss-made quartz movements rather than the Asian-sourced quartz calibers that power most of Timex’s contemporary models. The movement parts are gold-plated to prevent oxidization and friction on the metal parts, making the occasional battery change the only regular maintenance required by the watch’s owner. It is on their exteriors, however, that the American Documents watches live up to their mandate of “capturing the spirit of what it means to be American-made,” in the words of Timex Group CEO Tobias Reiss-Schmidt.

Timex American Documents - bottom shot
The forged steel cases have a beveled top ring and a brass caseback coin.

The watches’ 41-mm, satin-brushed steel cases are drop-forged (a first for American watchmaking) to maintain the material’s original grain and strength and feature a beveled top ring, individually turned in a proprietary process and polished by hand to a glossy finish. On the front side of the case, covering the dial, is a crystal made from Gorilla Glass 3 NDR, an impact-resistant, chemically strengthened glass used for iPhone screens and manufactured by its parent company, Corning, in Massachusetts. According to Timex, these crystals are cut in the same highly precise process used for the lenses of scientific instruments like telescopes.

On the back side is an inset coin in “Aged Waterbury Brass,” forged and stamped in New England, with a Timex logo centered in a tiny, hand-polished relief map of the continental United States, along with raised text reading “Waterbury, CT” and “Watchmakers Est. 1854.” Another, smaller brass insert, with a “TX” Timex logo, subtly decorates the fluted crown. (During the Industrial Revolution, Waterbury was a major producer of brass, earning it the distinction of being America’s “Brass City.”)

Timex American Documents - Crown Insert
A brass insert with relief Timex logo adorns the crown.
Timex American Documents - Caseback
The Aged Waterbury Brass Caseback commemorates the Connecticut city’s history of brass production.

The dials of all four American Documents watches — made from U.S.-sourced brass — are designed for classical simplicity: central hands for hours and minutes, small seconds on a 6 o’clock subdial, date window at 3 o’clock, and thin bar indexes for hour markers. Timex developed a new process to create the faceted hands, which are also made from brass and are, according to the company, the only such shaped watch hands currently made in the U.S.A. The dial itself is formed in the style of Timex’s early clocks and pocketwatches, two-layered and triple-printed on their faces for increased depth.

Timex American Documents - Dial - hands
Timex developed a new process to make the faceted brass hands.

Finally, the soft leather straps are made by American craftsmen from domestic cowhides sourced from S.B. Foot Tanning in Red Wing, Minnesota, a company founded in 1872 — nearly as old as Timex — and which remains the primary supplier of leather for Red Wing shoes and boots. The stitched, double-layered straps are designed to conform naturally to the wearer’s wrist over time.

Timex American Documents - reclining
Over the grained dial is a crystal in Massachussetts-made Gorilla Glass.
Timex American Documents - Strap
The soft leather straps used U.S.-sourced cowhide from Minnesota.

The packaging for American Documents is also a notch or two above that of your standard Timex. Each watch comes in a case made of solid, indigenous cherry wood, hand rubbed to a natural finish, with an inlaid magnetic closure and brass hinges. And since this is 2019 and not 1854, Timex has also included a digital component in its ticking tribute to Americana. Each purchaser of an American Documents watch also receives access to a downloadable, print-quality, high-resolution image from the American Documents gallery, a project that teamed Timex with photographer Bryan Schutmaat. To create this visual diary of America’s landscapes, people, and culture — the “documents” that lend the series its name, essentially — Schutmaat traveled from the Northeast, the cradle of American watchmaking, through Texas and the Midwest to the Montana Rockies. “There’s a sense of possibility that comes from the vastness of this country,” Schutmaat comments. “I wanted to capture the timelessness of our landscape to convey the spaces that bring us and our culture together, because American Documents, and every component of it, honors the beauty of our nation.”

The initial four Timex American Documents models are white dial/black strap, gray dial/blue strap, blue dial/brown strap, and black dial/brown strap, with a gunmetal-finish case. All are priced at $495.

Pilots’ Hours: Testing the Bell Ross BR V1-92 Black Steel

Bell & Ross’s watches are inspired by the history of aviation. Legibility, reliability and precision lead the list of specs. We checked all these attributes in our test of the BR V1-92 Black Steel.

Ever since Bell & Ross was founded in 1992, pilots’ watches have not only been part of the brand’s collection; they have also comprised its core. The angular BR 01, which is a replica of an airplane cockpit clock, caused quite a stir when it was launched in 2005. The Vintage collection, which is identified by the letter “V” in the models’ names, is just the opposite: it combines a classic round stainless-steel case with an opaque back, a no-frills dial and a simple leather strap with a pin buckle. The BR V1-92 Black Steel, our test watch, was introduced in 2017.

Bell & Ross BRV1-92 Black Steel - flat
Bell & Ross BRV1-92 Black Steel

The tripartite stainless-steel case measures 38.55 mm in diameter and satisfies all the requirements of a functional watch for everyday use. It’s not overly large, so it fits well on most wrists. It feels comfortable on the forearm because the case’s lugs curve downward and the handmade leather strap is soft and supple. The crown is large enough to be easily wound by hand and, with a little help from the fingertips, it can be readily pulled outward to operate the rapid-reset mechanism for the date display and to reset the positions of the hands. The case resists pressure to 100 meters and is sealed shut by a massive back.

A typical detail of the BR V1-92 is an extreme bulge along the circumference of the sapphire crystal. This not only accentuates the watch’s vintage character but also ensures that the case can be kept slim. This slimness, in addition, further enhances the wearing comfort. The narrow and steeply sloping bezel surrounds the sapphire crystal, which is anti-reflective on both sides. Together, these two components provide ample room for a spacious and handsome dial. The contrast of black and white gives the face an uncluttered look as well as optimum legibility. The Arabic numerals and the index lines in three different lengths are neatly applied to the face. The long hour indexes glow brightly in the dark, as do the four Arabic numerals and the white Super-LumiNova on the hands. The lance-shaped hour hand and the baton-shaped minutes hand recall the hands on aircraft instruments.

Bell & Ross BR-V1-92 Black Steel - front
The contrast of black and white gives the dial ideal legibility.

A tiny stylized airplane acts as a counterweight on the short end of the seconds hand. Bell & Ross says that this new detail is slated to adorn many of its watches and will underscore the brand’s affiliation with aviation. But the seconds hand occasionally causes problems because it can be confused with the minutes hand when viewed quickly. The second hand’s rhythmic movements soon clear up the confusion, but misreading happens relatively often, leaving the wearer out of sync for a few minutes. However, the seconds hand cannot be seen at all in the dark, while all the other indicators have a rich green glow.

Our test watch gained between 4 and 6 seconds per day. BR-CAL.302 is based on an ETA movement and runs a few seconds too fast, but it keeps time accurately on the wrist. The caliber remains unseen behind the case’s opaque back, which really isn’t a problem because the caliber is unembellished. All in all, the BR V1-92 Black Steel fulfills its duties in daily life: it fits perfectly on the wrist, it runs well, it’s highly legible, and its vintage styling is simple and handsome, but it may be a tad expensive.

Bell & Ross BRV1-92 Black Steel - side
The case’s lugs curve downward for a comfortable fit on the wrist.

SPECS:
Manufacturer: Bell & Ross, 8 Rue Copernic, 75116 Paris, France
Reference number: BR V1-92-BL-ST/SCA
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date
Movement: Caliber BR-CAL. 302 based on ETA 2824-2, automatic, 28,800 vph, 25 jewels, Kif Trior shock absorption, gold-plated nickel balance, Nivarox hairspring, bipartite index (Etachron), 49-hour power reserve, diameter = 25.6 mm, height = 4.6 mm
Case: Stainless steel, sapphire crystal with extreme bulge along its periphery, anti-reflective on both sides (above dial), water resistant to 100 m
Strap and cla­­sp: Calfskin strap with stainless-steel pin buckle
Rate results (Deviation in seconds per 24 hours):
When fully wound +6.1
After 24 hours +4.5
On the wrist +4.0
Dimensions: Diameter = 38.55 mm, height = 11.14 mm, weight = 64 g
Variations: BR V1-92 Military ($1,990); BR V1-92 Bellytanker, limited to 500 pieces ($2,300)

Anything But Ordinary: 8 Watches Made from Extraordinary Materials

Is gold too precious and stainless steel too commonplace for you? Several watch manufacturers are experimenting with case materials that add even greater excitement to unconventional timepieces. From the WatchTime archives, here are eight timepieces that incorporate these out-of-the-ordinary materials.

DAMASCENE STEEL: Christophe Claret X-Trem 1

Christophe Claret Xtrem 1 Damascene
Christophe Claret X-Trem 1 ($308,000)

Damascene steel is seldom used in the watch industry because fabricating this material is a very complex and laborious undertaking. To create damascene steel, several different types of steel are placed one on top of the other and then forge welded. After the forging, the piece of steel is halved and the two parts are again placed one atop the other. This so-called “folding” yields damascene steel, which unites the properties of the various steels used in its fabrication. Another special feature is the attractive grained pattern that appears after surface etching. Christophe Claret uses damascene steel in combination with rose gold for the X-Trem 1. This watch is distinguished by its unconventional time display, which uses small hollow steel balls moved by two magnets to show the hours and minutes.

BREITLIGHT: Breitling Avenger Hurricane Military

Breitling Avenger Hurricane Military
Breitling Avenger Hurricane Military ($8,840)

Anyone who wears the Avenger Hurricane Military will notice that Breitlight feels warmer than metal, has an interesting marbled grain,and is noticeably lighter in weight than stainless steel. Breitling says that the substance is 3.3 times lighter than titanium, yet also harder than that metal. And the innovative material is 5.8 times lighter than steel, which explains why the 50-mm Avenger Hurricane Military weighs only about 69 grams, not including the weight of its strap. The polymer fiber is also scratch resistant. Breitling introduced this new case material in 2016 with the Avenger Hurricane, which is also 50 mm in diameter. The Avenger Hurricane 45 was recently equipped with a Breitlight case, too.

COLORED SAPPHIRE: Hublot Big Bang Unico Sapphire

Hublot Big Bang Unico Sapphire
Hublot Big Bang Unico Sapphire ($85,000)

Hublot is famous for its watches that use unconventional materials, such as linen, osmium or carbon. In 2016,this Swiss manufacture unveiled a model made entirely of artificial sapphire. The sapphire became colorful one year later, specifically blue or red. And despite the color, the Big Bang Unico Sapphire hasn’t lost its translucent appearance. Although colored sapphire crystal has been available since the beginning of the 20th century, synthesizing it in precisely the same hue is very difficult. To accomplish this, Hublot combines aluminum oxide – the raw material of sapphire – with either chrome for blue sapphire or iron for red sapphire during the manufacturing process. The properties of the sapphire – high resistance to scratches, extreme hardness and transparency – do not change. These characteristics also make the manufacturing process quite expensive. The middle part of the case, the back and the bezel are each cut from a solid block of sapphire and then abraded into their desired shapes. This requires special tools, which wear out quickly and must be replaced frequently.

VANTABLACK: MCT The Sequential One–S110 Evo Vantablack

MCT S110 Vantablack
MCT The Sequential One – S110 Evo Vantablack (113,000 euros)

“Vantablack”is a combination of the acronym for “Vertically Aligned NanoTubeArray”and the suffix “black.” A plate of Vantablack, with a thickness of just 1 mm, absorbs 99 percent of incident light and accordingly looks inky black. The Guinness World Records book lauded this material as “the blackest of all man-made substances” until 2015, when Vantablack was surpassed by “dark chameleon dimers,” a material that achieves the same light absorption as Vantablack with a thickness of just one micrometer. Neither of these materials had been previously used in the watch industry. One of the first watch manufacturers to employ these is MCT (Manufacture Contemporaine du Temps), which uses Vantablack for the dial of The Sequential One – S110 Evo Vantablack. In order to be able to use this material, the brand entered into an agreement with artist Anish Kapoor, who has secured the exclusive rights to use the Vantablack pigment in a work of art.

METALLIC GLASS: Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 BMG-Tech 3 Days Automatic

Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 BMG-Tech 3 Days Automatic
Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 BMG-Tech 3 Days Automatic ($10,200)

It almost looks like titanium, and the resemblance is intentional, but “BMG-Tech” isn’t a metal. Instead, it’s called “metallic glass.” BMG stands for “bulk metallic glass,” a composite of copper, aluminum, titanium, nickel and zirconium. The alloy is fabricated using high-pressure injection at high temperatures,followed by extremely rapid cooling, which doesn’t give the atoms enough time to distribute themselves regularly. The resulting amorphous structure gives BMG-Tech extreme hardness, shock resistance and corrosion resistance, while simultaneously making it impervious to magnetic fields. Panerai also states that the material is highly resistant to wear. In addition, BMG-Tech makes this 47-mm divers’ watch comparatively light in weight and, therefore, comfortable on the wrist.

GRAPHENE: Richard Mille RM 50-03 Tourbillon Split Seconds Chronograph Ultralight McLaren F1

Richard Mille RM 50-03 McLaren F1
Richard Mille RM 50-03 Tourbillon Split Seconds Chronograph Ultralight McLaren F1

Richard Mille premiered the RM50- 03 as the lightest mechanical chronograph of all time. Together with its strap, this lightweight model weighs just 40 grams. To set this record, Richard Mille uses carbon and titanium to craft the movement,which weighs only seven grams. The case consists of carbon and a relatively little-known material called“graphene.”A modified form of carbon, graphene is six times lighter in weight and 200 times more stable than steel. It’s included in the artificial resin that permeates the carbon. The carbon, in turn, is built from 600 layers of fibers arranged parallel to one another. None of these fibers is thicker than 30 micrometers. When the individual strata are arranged at a 45-degree angle atop one another, they create this substance’s characteristic marbling. This combination of materials makes the case very resistant and light in weight. Richard Mille also integrates graphene into the rubber strap to make it elastic and prevent wear.

CERAMICISED ALUMINUM Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Range Rover Velar Special Edition

Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Range Rover Velar Special Edition
Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Range Rover Velar Special Edition ($8,700)

Black cases give watches a sporty- technical look. That’s why they’re so popular. In most instances, these watches have stainless-steel cases that are PVD coated, although some black watches are made from black ceramic. Zenith takes a different tack. The 42-mm case of this Chronomaster,which was created in cooperation with RangeRover, is manufactured from aluminum. “Plasma electrolytic oxidation” transforms the surface of the metal into ceramic oxide,which is highly resistant to scratches and corrosion. This treatment initially gives the case a beige color; it changes to black when the surface is sandblasted. Zenith describes the final product as ceramicised aluminum.

COBALT CHROME: RogerDubuis Quatuor Excalibur Cobalt MicroMelt

Roger Dubuis Quatuor Cobalt
Roger Dubuis Excalibur Quatuor Cobalt MicroMelt ($400,000)

Cobalt-chromium alloys are often used for making dentures because these alloys are very hard, elastic and completely corrosion-free. A steel gray color is also a characteristic. Roger Dubuis uses this material for the 48-mm case of this Excalibur, which is limited to eight pieces. The addition of “MicroMelt” in this model’s name refers to the manufacturing process that was used to shape the case. The MicroMelt process is mainly used in aviation and astronomy. The alloy undergoes melting and pulverization. The resulting powder is then mixed and sieved to a defined diameter, poured into a canister, pressed, and then heat-formed into bars from which the final size is obtained. Unlike other manufacturing processes, this method can combine metals with nonmetals, which means the alloys have a higher porosity and stability.

Orange is the New Black: Our 10 Favorite Orange (Non-Dive) Watches of 2019

As my colleague Mark Bernardo pointed out during WatchTime’s post-Baselworld Round Table earlier this year, 2019 has often felt like it is “more about new colors than new complications.” Diverse colorways have no doubt been trending upwards in recent years with blue, green, and brown all making major headway onto the wrists of watch collectors. One color that we did notice on the upswing so far this year, especially at Baselworld, was orange.

Orange, being the drastic hue it is, has typically been the design fodder of dive and ocean-faring watches due to its head-turning color (Doxa being perhaps the most famous practitioner). After all, you wouldn’t want to wear a blue dive watch into the ol’ deep blue, would you? But more and more brands are focusing on bringing orange into the realm of daily wearability. In this article, we narrow down a few of our favorite watches released this year that utilize orange tones. We’re going to skip over the typical dive watch usage to focus on the color’s aesthetic extension into atypical watch designs.

Glashütte Original Sixties Orange

Glashütte Original Sixties Panorama Date Orange


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Glashütte Original Sixties Orange


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Starting in 2018, Glashütte Original launched a new initiative focused on bringing colorful variants of its vintage-inspired Sixties and Sixties Panorama Date watches to market. Last year, the German brand released two models with memorable green-hued dials; this year, it returned with an eye-catching, burnt-orange design. The dial, which transitions from a light yellow in its center to dark orange — almost black — on its sides, was achieved through a laborious process at the brand’s dial manufactory in Pforzheim, Germany. First, the dial receives a galvanic bath treatment which leaves it with an almost golden yellow tone. Then, the dialmakers apply multiple layers of orange and black lacquer to darken the sides of the watch and give it a transitional feel. Once the dialmakers are satisfied, the almost-finished product is fired in a kiln to burn in its final colors, making each watch produced totally unique. The three-dimensional texture is the result of a 60-ton press that leaves the dial with its embossed low-relief pattern. Other than the new dial treatment, the two new watches are practically identical to last year’s releases. Arabic numerals are found at 3, 6, 9, and 12 o’clock, while all the other hour markers are fitted with diamond-cut indexes that sink into the dial and showcase its nickel silver base plate. Sizing for both models, at 39 mm x 9. 4 mm and 42 mm x 12.4 mm, remains the same, as does the choice of movement, with Caliber 39-52 and Caliber 39-47 inside the time-only and Panorama Date models, respectively. The cases are built from polished stainless steel and come attached to a brown Louisiana alligator leather strap with a stainless steel pin buckle. After the success of last year’s version in green, it makes complete sense for Glashütte Original to make the colorful Sixties an annual tradition. The new Glashütte Original Sixties and Sixties Panorama Date are priced at $6,400 and $8,000. You can read more here.

Bell & Ross BR 03-92 MA-1

Petro Onysko
Bell & Ross BR 03-92 MA-1

This year, Bell & Ross looked beyond its typical cockpit instrument inspiration and took design cues from an iconic piece of aviator apparel, the famous MA-1 flight jacket that was adopted by the U.S. Air Force in the 1950s. Bell & Ross describes the model, with its familiar square case and large, legible Arabic numerals, as its “purest” pilot watch yet, meaning it’s the ideal stage upon which to pay tribute to the MA-1 “bomber,” whose parachute-derived nylon shell and reversible khaki green and orange design took it from utilitarian military gear in the ’50s to a stylish fashion statement in the ’70s. The 42-mm case is made of dark khaki-colored ceramic. The dial, also khaki-colored, is of the “sandwich” style with two superimposed metal plates, the lower one coated with orange Super-LumiNova that shines through the stenciled, cut-out numerals and indexes in the upper layer. Orange, of course, is a color long associated with the military and aviation, and the combo of khaki and orange is a direct reference to the MA-1 jacket. The strap, made of calfskin leather and fastening to the wrist with a gunmetal-colored PVD steel pin buckle, continues the theme. Like the jacket, it is dark khaki on its top layer (even the stitching is in the same color, for a total camouflage effect) and orange on its lining, and reversible. For a pilot in distress, putting the orange layer on the outside served as a beacon for Search and Rescue teams; for the wearer of this watch, it essentially allows you to wear it with two totally distinctive looks. The Bell & Ross BR 03-92 MA-1 is powered by the automatic BR-CAL.302, based on the tried-and-true Sellita SW300-1, which offers a 38-hour power reserve. It’s priced at $3,900 and you can learn more here.

Breitling B01 Navitimer Chronograph 43 Airline Edition – TWA

Breitling Navitimer B01 Chronograph 43 Airline Edition – TWA

The first Breitling Navitimer, with its built-in chronograph, stylish design, and circular slide rule bezel, quickly became a favorite of airline pilots shortly after it debuted in 1952, around the dawn of what we now refer to as the golden era of commercial aviation, from the late 1950s to early 1970s. This year, Breitling pays tribute to that booming era of passenger flight, and the iconic airlines that emerged from it, with the release of a new Navitimer “capsule collection” produced in a limited volume and celebrating three historic carriers: Swissair, Pan Am, and TWA. All three of the new Airline Editions are reimagined versions of Breitling’s Navitimer B01 Chronograph 43, with 43-mm stainless steel cases and that famous bidirectional circular slide rule bezel, an innovation that allowed the pilots of the ’50s to make crucial flight calculations on their watches, essentially serving as wrist-borne onboard computers in those halcyon days of commercial flight. Inside each case is Breitling’s in-house Caliber B01, renowned for its integrated 1/4-second chronograph function driven by a column wheel, its substantial 70-hour power reserve, and its timekeeping accuracy, as attested to by its chronometer certification. All of the watches feature the classic Navitimer three-register dial layout, with a date window at 4:30, and each one has a sapphire exhibition caseback bearing the classical logo of the airline it represents. Speaking of, Trans World Airlines, better known as TWA, seems to be experiencing a renaissance these days with the recent opening of the new TWA Hotel next to New York’s JFK airport. The defunct airline’s momentum doesn’t appear to be slowing down here either with a silver-colored dial featuring anthracite gray subdials and bright orange on the hands and inner calibrated slide rule scale. You can learn more here.

Breitling Cockpit B50 Orbiter

Breitling Cockpit B50 Orbiter

Breitling sure knows how to stand out in a crowd, doesn’t it? Along with the new Airline Editions, Breitling released an updated take on its ana-digi, quartz-powered Cockpit watch that commemorates the 20th anniversary of the Breitling Orbiter 3, the first non-stop balloon flight to circumnavigate the world. For many years, Breitling was sourcing its high-end quartz models from ETA; however, starting with the first Cockpit B50 that was released in 2014, the brand began producing its own hyper-accurate quartz models thanks to its now-patented Superquartz technology which is thermocompensated, COSC-certified, and billed as accurate within 10 seconds per year. The orange dial of the new watch references the color of the Orbiter 3 and contrasts nicely with the black titanium case construction. The caseback features an engraving of the original Orbiter 3 superimposed on a globe and surrounded by the words “FIRST NON-STOP FLIGHT AROUND THE WORLD – 20th ANNIVERSARY – ETANCHE 100 M” as well as the limited-edition number (1 of 213). Functions include a 1/100th-second flyback chronograph, a perpetual calendar, countdown timer, the ability to set up to two daily alarms, and a second time zone display. Limited to 213 total pieces, the Breitling Cockpit B50 Orbiter is priced at $8,360.

MeisterSinger Metris Black Line Edition 2019

The new MeisterSinger Metris limited edition

Diverging slightly from the orange theme of this article, MeisterSinger released a fairly surprising model in its Metris collection during Baselworld this year. Distinguished by a bright yellow dial — there are hints of orange around its periphery — the new watch fits seamlessly within the Metris family. While most of MeisterSinger’s timepieces lean on dressier motifs, the Metris line has established itself as a robust alternative that can handle a bit more wear and tear. True to form, the new Metris features a blacked-out, DLC-coating on its stainless-steel case. The 43-mm case integrates its rounded bezel with curved lugs, and protects the 3 o’clock crown via rounded guards. Like all Metris timepieces, there’s a date window at 6 o’clock that is amplified courtesy a cyclops date window. Inside the watch is either an ETA 2824-2 or a Sellita SW200-1, both offering up a 38-hour power reserve.

Zodiac Aerospace GMT

Zodiac Aerospace GMT

The Fossil Group has been making remarkable advances in recent years as it continues to rebuild the Zodiac brand within the minds of watch enthusiats. For those that have followed the re-development of the brand, it’s obvious that there’s been a great amount of attention placed on bringing the Sea-Wolf, and the Super Sea-Wolf, back to their rightful place in dive watch history. We were happy to find out during Basel that the brand is continuing to expand its neo-vintage lineup in 2019 with a re-issue of the Aerospace GMT in two limited-edition colorways. There’s a model equipped with a black-and-gray bezel that directly references the Aerospace’s historical predecessor that was released in 1966 as an extension to the Super Sea-Wolf collection. The other model comes with a bezel featuring an attractive combination of baby blue and burnt orange, a playful look that should appeal to younger enthusiasts looking to move up from the main Fossil catalog into the more upscale — yet still accessible — Zodiac brand. The Aerospace GMT is nicely sized at 40-mm, comes on a three-link bracelet, and has a date window located at 3 o’clock. Rather than using one of the Fossil Group’s standard STP movements, Zodiac opted to use an ETA 2893-2 with a 38-hour power reserve. While Fossil does not yet have its own true GMT caliber, the success of this limited-edition run could help determine future development. Both of the new watches will be limited to a total production of 182 pieces in each colorway for a price of $1,695. You can learn more here.

Oak & Oscar Humboldt

Oak & Oscar Humboldt

Oak & Oscar was no doubt an early adopter of orange as a whole, making the color a key part of the Chicago-based company’s branding early on. For Oak & Oscar’s most recent release, Chase Fancher and his team introduced the Humboldt, a timepiece that doesn’t stray too far from the neo-classic design language that previous Oak & Oscar timepieces, like the Sandford GMT and Jackson Flyback Chronograph, have established. The sandwich dial, after being noticeably absent on the Jackson, makes a triumphant return and the colorways, with ample usage of blue, gray, and, of course, orange for the seconds hand, continuing over from the previous editions. What is new here, however, is the introduction of a 12-hour, bi-directional bezel, that can be used to measure elapsed time or a second time zone, and the option of a stainless-steel bracelet. The 40-mm model is inspired by Alexander van Humboldt, an influential 18th-century explorer, philosopher, and natural scientist that is perhaps most famous for his extensive travels and writing on the Americas. More importantly for Oak & Oscar, who have focused on naming their various models after Chicago-based historical figures, is that he’s the namesake for Humboldt Park located in the city’s West Side. The Humboldt features the kind of detail we’ve come to expect from Oak & Oscar, solidifying its standing as a brand driven by enthusiast appeal. These minuscule specifics, often laid to the wayside by bigger, more-established brands, include the date window at 6 o’clock being color matched to your choice between charcoal gray and navy blue dials, and the drilled 20-mm lugs that allow for a more fluid strap changing experience. Inside the watch is the workhorse ETA 2892-A2 caliber with a 42-hour power reserve that is visible through a display back. Water resistance is tested to 200 meters for additional reliability, while the sandwich dial layout that features Super-LumiNova on the bottom layer will ensure a high degree of legibility wherever you take the watch. The previously mentioned stainless steel bracelet, the first time the option has been available for an Oak & Oscar timepiece, was the result of 18 months of research and testing. Built to the brand’s specifications, the bracelet has a fully articulated link design that gradually tapers from the 20-mm solid end links to the 16-mm buckle. The Humboldt is priced at $1,750 on the bracelet and $1,550 on the leather. You can learn more here.

Zenith Swizz Beatz

Zenith Defy Classic – Swizz Beatz Edition


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Zenith Defy Classic – Swizz Beatz Edition


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Building on Zenith’s relationship with the hip-hop artist and record producer Swizz Beatz, the Swiss brand released a limited-edition version of its Defy Classic in ceramic with a bright orange design during its Geneva Days showcase in January. I’m typically not a fan of timepieces that are born from celebrity collaborations as more often than not they come across as lazy and thrown together. That’s not the case here as there is no outlandish branding visible on the dial; instead, Zenith and Swizz Beatz let the watch do the talking. The standard Zenith Defy Classic is a simpler, time-and-date-only sibling to Zenith’s flagship El Primero chronograph and features a 41-mm case made of ceramic. The dial of this specific version is openworked in a reference to the brand’s five-sided star motif and features orange detailing on the surrounding minute track, the seconds hand, and the rubber strap. The watch is powered by the automatic Elite 670 Caliber, which could be described as a more understated younger brother to the famous El Primero. The Elite, the first generation of which debuted in 1994, contains 187 components, including 27 jewels and an escape wheel and lever made of silicon. It stores a power reserve of 48 hours, just a little shy of the El Primero’s 50 hours, and oscillates at a frequency of 28,800 vph — speedy, but a far cry from the El Primero’s supercharged 36,600-vph frequency. While the new watch celebrates the brand’s continued relationship with the Grammy Award-winning musician, it also represents a new frontier for Zenith as the timepiece became the first watch to be sold exclusively through the brand’s e-commerce site. Limited to just 50 pieces, the Defy Classic Swizz Beatz is priced at $7,900.

Richard Mille RM 16-01 Automatic Citron

Richard Mille RM 16-01 Automatic Citron


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Richard Mille RM 16-01 Automatic Citron


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Richard Mille creations have always been easy to spot in a crowd. Thanks to the avant-garde styling, the generous usage of color, and the overall level of technical sophistication, it isn’t difficult to comprehend how the firm has evolved into one of the most recognizable brands in contemporary horology. The Bonbon collection, released at SIHH 2019, continues this trend with a spotlight on sweetness. That’s right, the lineup of 10 watches, each a limited edition of 30 pieces, borrows liberally from the candy of our youths and transforms the face of each timepiece into a scene straight from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. The entirety of the new collection uses the construction of previous Richard Mille timepieces as a base. Recognizable models such as the RM 07-03, the RM 16-01, and the RM 37-01 have been completely transformed and sport a refreshed aesthetic. Cécile Guenat, the daughter of Richard Mille’s founding partner Dominique Guenat, served as the artistic director for the series and focused on injecting each new model with an extra dosage of joie de vivre. The 10 releases are further divided into either the Sweets collection (four watches) or the Fruits line (six total). The watches in the “Fruits” grouping all use Carbon TPT® or Quartz TPT®, the same layering materials found in popular models like Rafael Nadal’s RM 27-03 Tourbillon; the watches in the “Sweets” line are encased in two-tone ceramic. All the new watches include various details that help them stand out. Some models have miniature fruits and candies sprawled across the dial, while the crowns and case bands on other models take the shape of cupcakes and bowls of gelato. Guenat and her team leaned on the expertise the brand gained during their work with the street artist Cyril Kongo for the RM 68-01 to complete the project. At first glance, it might be hard to comprehend the value of such a whimsical approach to watchmaking, but there’s no doubt it provokes a response. Prices for the Richard Mille Bonbon collection range from $122,500 to $158,000. You can learn more here.

Chronoswiss

Chronoswiss Flying Grand Regulator Skeleton Ref. CH-6723S-BKLB

Chronoswiss has never been afraid to express itself with bold colorways to match its equally recognizable regulator-focused designs. This year proved no exception to that rule with a number of electrifying looks — just check this out — including a new option in the brand’s limited-edition series of Flying Grand Regulator Skeleton timepieces that combines baby blue accents with apricot-orange hands. Produced in a run of only 30 watches, the new release is housed in a 44-mm stainless steel case, with satin-brushed and polished finishes, composed of 21 parts. The knurled finish on the sides and vintage-look onion crown, longtime Chronoswiss hallmarks, add to the case’s distinctive look. The silvered, openworked dial offers a glimpse of the watch’s mechanical heart. Inside the case is the manual-wound C.677S caliber, whose plates, bridges and gear wheels have been painstakingly skeletonized. On the dial side, the multi-level construction features funnel-type subdials for the hours and seconds, plus Poire Stuart hands that sweep over the main dial and subdials to indicate the hours, minutes, and seconds.

Patek Philippe Sets New World Record

The Only Watch 2019 auction was held on Saturday, November 9 by Christies’ in Geneva, Switzerland. The 50 one-of-a-kind watches made for the biennial auction were auctioned off to support the research into the cure of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a genetic disorder characterized by progressive muscle degeneration and weakness. Luc Pettavino, founder and organiser of Only Watch (and winner of the 2019 GPHG Special Jury Prize): “What we do together on Only Watch is not just wishful thinking or good intentions. We are acting. The funds that we have raised over the past seven editions have been an incredible enabler for researchers all around the world to develop their science and get closer to a therapeutic solution for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. They have been used in the creation of biotech companies dedicated to drug discovery and preclinical development, they financed academic research.”

The Only Watch auction has been held biennially since 2005. To date, the charity auctions have raised more than $40 million, and this year’s sale has just added CHF 38,593,000 to that total. Main reason:

 

A New World Record

The Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300A-010 (the only stainless steel version of the Swiss manufacturer’s Grandmaster Chime) was not only the most talked about timepiece in the auction, the watch, equipped with a reversible case, two dials and 20 complications, sold for CHF 31,000,000 to an Asian collector, making it the most expensive wristwatch in the world.

 

The Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime (Ref. 6300A-010) was created specially for Only Watch 2019. It stands out as the first and only version of this timepiece ever produced in stainless steel. 

 

Launched in 2014 on the occasion of Patek’s 175th anniversary, the Grandmaster Chime became part of the manufacture’s regular collection in a white-gold version in 2016. The most complex Patek Philippe wristwatch features 20 complications, including five acoustic functions, two of which are patented global premières: an alarm that strikes the preprogrammed alarm time and a date repeater that sounds the date on demand. The double-face case with the guilloched hobnail pattern is endowed with a patented reversing mechanism.

“Patek Philippe thanks customers, watch enthusiasts, and collectors for their trust in the course of the Only Watch auctions; they have been backing the rising prices and have invested considerable amounts in support of struggle against muscular dystrophy.”

 

6 Key Takeaways From The 9th Only Watch Auction

  • this year’s sale total was CHF 38,593,000, making it the biggest watch auction ever
  • 99% go directly to fund research into Muscular Dystrophy
  • the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300A sold for CHF 31,000,000, setting a new record for the highest price ever paid for a wristwatch at auction
  • the Ref. 6300A also represents 80% of the total revenue of Only Watch 2019
  • 16 lots went for a lower hammer price than the estimate (see list below for all results)
  • with CHF 350,000, the Tudor Black Bay Ceramic One ended up being the watch with the biggest difference between hammer price and high estimate (it sold for more than 60 times its pre-auction estimate)

Scroll down for a closer look at how the participating brands performed:

 

Only Watch 2019 Results: Top 20

The 20 most expensive watches in 2019

 

Only Watch 2019 Auction Results: All Watches

(In descending order, prices are in Swiss francs, include the buyer’s premium and are rounded to the nearest franc)

Brand & Model
High Estimate
Hammer Price

Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime
3 000 000
31 000 000

F.P. Journe Astronomic Blue
600 000
1 800 000

Audemars Piguet Code 11:59 Tourbillon
240 000
1 000 000

Akrivia Chronomètre Contemporain
60 000
360 000

Tudor Black Bay Ceramic One
5 500
350 000

Richard Mille RM 11-03
250 000
320 000

De Bethune and Urwerk Moon Satellite
150 000
300 000

Louis Vuitton Escale Spin Time
100 000
280 000

Bovet Récital 23 “Hope”
80 000
280 000

Hublot Tourbillon Sapphire Orlinski
180 000
240 000

Hermès Arceau L’heure de la lune
55 000
210 000

Breguet Type 20
50 000
210 000

Ferdinand Berthoud Chronomètre FB 1
200 000
150 000

Chanel J12 inséparables
27 000
130 000

Boucheron Ajourée Amvara
40 000
130 000

Czapek Faubourg de Cracovie
36 000
110 000

Voutilainen TP1 Pocket Watch
70 000
110 000

Montblanc 1858 Split Second Chronograph
48 000
100 000

MB&F + L’Épée & T-Rex Tom & T-Rex
40 000
85 000

Zenith El Primero A386
45 000
75 000

Jacob & Co. Epic X Chrono Messi
100 000
75 000

Grönefeld 1941 Remontoire
69 000
70 000

Konstantin Chaykin Joker Selfie
24 000
70 000

Christophe Claret Maestro Corail
106 000
70 000

Fabergé Winter
70 000
70 000

Andersen Genève “Montre à Tact”
55 000
70 000

Carl F. Bucherer Patravi ScubaTec
30 000
60 000

Frederique Constantin Meteorite Tourbillon PPC
36 000
60 000

JLC Master UItra Thin Perpetual Enamel Chestnut
70 000
60 000

Bell & Ross BR 05 Skeleton Blue
25 000
55 000

Armin Strom Pure Resonance
55 000
50 000

Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Automatic
50 000
48 000

H. Moser Endeavour Perpetual Moon Concept
45 000
48 000

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Barakuda
20 000
45 000

Singer Track 1
55 000
45 000

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Skelet-One Ceramic
35 000
45 000

DeWitt Academia Slide
80 000
45 000

Louis Monet Memoris
40 000
42 000

Cyrus Klepcys Alarm
47 000
42 000

Moritz Grossmann Réserve de Marche Classique
50 000
36 000

Ulysse Nardin Exo-Skeleton X
45 000
35 000

Artya Son of Earth Precious Butterfly Engraved
35 000
27 000

Trilobe “Les Matinaux”
12 000
26 000

Arnold & Son DSTB
38 000
26 000

Girard Perregaux Laureato Absolute Chronograph
16 000
24 000

Ateliers de Monaco Tourbillon Oculus 1297
70 000
24 000

Rebellion Re-Volt
55 000
24 000

RJ Arraw 6919
21 900
24 000

Speake Marin London Chronograph
30 000
20 000

Maurice Lacroix Aikon Mercury
15 000
17 000

Source: Christie’s / Only Watch