By Rebecca Doulton
When it comes to using colour on men’s watches, the approach by most watchmakers is one of caution and parsimony. Mechanical watches are designed to last a lifetime and colours tend to be conservative and tasteful - something you can look at 30 years down the line and not cringe.
Chocolate dials are still doing the rounds, but blue is definitely the "it" colour of the watchmaking scene. We have seen many watch dials displaying elegant tonalities of blue from Patek Philippe’s Calatrava Time Travel to the cool Funky Blue Perpetual Calendar from H. Moser & Cie. A relative newcomer on the scene, Fabergé watches are right on trend with metallic blue details on the 44mm titanium and platinum Visionnaire I men’s watch with a flying tourbillon.
Chopard watches has declined its ultra-thin and ultra-sophisticated L.U.C XPS collection in a variety of subtle colours inspired by the tonalities of vintage wines. The attractive satin-brushed dials in Bordeaux, cognac and champagne hues are housed in slim 39.50mm gold cases, which measure just 7.13mm in height.
On the subject of champagne, Laurent Ferrier’s Galet Square watch with a gorgeous golden coloured dial was one of my favourites this year. The smooth and gentle contours of this square 41mm watch - inspired by a sea-worn pebble - frames the minimalist gold-toned dial for a subtle yet highly sophisticated appeal.
IWC Shaffhausen watches has just announced that the stylish Portofino Hand-Wound Monopusher chronograph will be unveiled at the Watches & Wonders show in Hong Kong this autumn. This model, the brand’s first ever single pusher chronograph, comes in a 45mm white or rose gold case. The white gold model with the slate-grey dial is particularly handsome and comes with a matching grey Santoni alligator leather strap.
Once again, Jaeger-LeCoultre watches displays its consummate ability to marry superior watchmaking to equally superior decorative crafts. The Master Ultra-Thin Squelette collection lays bare the impressive hand-engraved skeletonised movement. An exquisite dress watch, the 38mm gold case protecting the wafer-thin movement is a mere 1.85mm thick. These two models are decorated with intense enamelled bezels, one in a rich deep pigmented blue to contrast with the white gold case, and the other in a frosted chestnut brown to match the warm pink gold case.
Even Rolex watches have warmed to the idea of colour in the iconic Oyster Perpetual collection - ranging in diameter from 26-39mm - with an attractive selection of colours on the dial. The direct descendant of the world’s first waterproof watch launched in 1926, and the foundation upon which the Rolex empire was forged, the Oyster Perpetual comes with sunray-finish dials in dark rhodium, red and white grape, and blue.
Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?