By Rebecca Doulton
Breaking with the monotony of conventional silver, white and black dials, all the possible shades of the colour blue are bringing a new flavour to watch faces. The colour associated with the sea and the infinite sky, blue is painting a new panorama of endless aesthetic horizons in the high-end watchmaking scene.
Chopard started manufacturing its L.U.C family of watch movements in 1996, which includes this elegant, ultra-thin model with a case thickness of just 7.13mm. The L.U.C XPS watch comes in a 39.50mm platinum case and captivates the eye with its refined blue sunburst dial. But make no mistake about the low profile of this beauty; inside, an ultra-thin automatic movement of a mere 3.30mm thick powers the hour, minute, small seconds and date window with a 65-hour power reserve thanks to the two stacked barrels. For men who like certificates, this Chopard watch is a COSC-certified chronometer and bears the prestigious Poinçon de Genève.
Rolex, ever the bastion of Swiss watchmaking, has been incorporating colour on the dials of its classics to great effect. The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date II watch has been dressed with a very attractive glacial blue dial and slightly darker Roman numerals. The beauty of the Day-Date II is the legibility of all the indications, including the day of the week, spelled out in full at 12 o'clock, and the magnified date window. A prestige model, the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date II is powered by a chronometer-certified movement and is only available in 41mm gold and platinum Oyster cases, with a guarantee of safely gauging depths of up to 100m.
The Omega Aqua Terra watch is designed to perform on land and sea with equal precision, as James Bond will willingly attest. Not only will the 38.5mm steel watch accompany you to depths of 150m, the Omega Aqua Terra Co-Axial Calibre 8508 can withstand magnetic fields of 15,000 gauss, which is a lot more magnetism than most people encounter in their daily lives - unless, of course, they are nuclear engineers. The dial, which is decorated with the hallmark wooden decking of a sailboat laid out in vertical stripes, comes to life in this lovely navy blue sun-brushed and lacquered finish.
When it comes to complications, my favourite is the perpetual calendar. With accurate day, date and month indications over the next century or so, a perpetual calendar is just that: perpetual. The only setback is that if you ever have to adjust an indication, it will usually involve a great deal of fiddling and poking pushers on the side of the case. Ulysse Nardin watches changed all that with the first perpetual calendar to allow forwards and backwards adjustments on the crown. Featuring a dual time function, the blue dial is decorated with a pattern of waves, very fitting for this brand, which forged its reputation with marine chronometers. Available exclusively at Ulysse Nardin boutiques worldwide, the 43mm platinum watch with a blue dial is limited to 250 pieces.
Since retro has been so in vogue this year, we couldn't leave out a dashing new Girard-Perregaux watch, the Vintage 1945 XXL, which pays tribute to the brand's use of the colour blue on its dials towards the end of the 19th century. Housed in a handsome stainless steel Art Deco case, measuring 36.20 x 35.35mm, the blue dial steals the show with its vertical brushed finish.
Although it was launched last year, who could possibly tire of the galactic-blue beauty of the De Bethune Skybridge watch? Futuristic in its 43mm ultra-light titanium case, the DB28 offers the wearer a window on infinity with its intense blue dial representing a night sky of gold and diamond stars and a spherical Moon phase indicator at 6 o'clock. All aboard for the big blue ride.
Read more about subtle colours in men's watches