It’s time to add some color to your watch collection – luxury doesn’t always have to be understated. Here are 16 watches, in four categories, that our friends at WOW (World of Watches) have curated that will do the trick.
Just a Hint
This is where the adage that less is more holds sway. With the right hue and application, a dash of color is sometimes all that is necessary, whether to demarcate different functions or to highlight specific parts of a watch.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver: This iteration of the Royal Oak Offshore Diver has a utilitarian slant that reinforces the collection’s tool watch DNA, beginning with a scratch-resistant case and bezel of black ceramic. A matching black dial maintains the serious vibes, while also adding a touch of class with its méga tapisserie guilloché – an Audemars Piguet signature. The crucial parts that divers rely on underwater have been highlighted orange here – the running second hand indicates that the watch is working, while the minute hand and 15-minute section of the inner bezel mark elapsed time underwater. (Price unavailable)
Rado Hyperchrome Automatic Chronograph Court Collection: Blue-on-black isn’t the best combination for legibility, since the former doesn’t pop on the latter. Rado overcame this limitation on the Hyperchrome Automatic Chronograph Court Collection by finishing the watch’s dial with a subtle sunray texture, thus accentuating the contrast between the two colours. Blue wasn’t chosen frivolously – it represents the hard court surface tennis is played on, just like how its siblings’ orange and green accents mirror clay and grass courts respectively. An ETA 2894-2 chronograph movement drives the watch, encased in a monobloc black ceramic case with stainless steel inserts. ($6,170)
Breitling Chronomat 44 Raven: Despite having a black dial encased in Breitling’s “black steel” case, the Chronomat 44 Raven is far from a stealthy watch. That isn’t a concern anyway, since the Raven is a pilot chronograph, which places a far higher premium on legibility. The latter is achieved by rendering the watch’s hands, indexes, bezel markings, and inner flange in bright orange, to make telling the time and using the chronograph a cinch. Of course, due attention has been paid to accuracy – the Raven packs Breitling’s chronometer-grade Calibre 01. ($13,840)
Raymond Weil Freelancer: This self-winding chronograph maintains the classic, understated styling that’s central to Raymond Weil’s DNA, but asserts its masculine and sporty side with subtle detailing. Note the watch’s industrial look with the screw bolting down the small seconds sub-dial, or the altimeter-esque date window that recalls a flight instrument panel. Red highlights set against a black and steel dial complete the package – both visually and functionally – by distinguishing the chronograph function from the rest of the watch, right down to the tachymeter’s markings. ($4,330)
Dial It Up
There’s nothing subtle about flooding the dial with a single vivid hue. Watches like these aren’t just easily recognised at a distance – they’re also bold statements that will be visible from across the room. Only the confident need apply.
Victorinox I.n.o.x. (pictured above): Built to mark the 130th anniversary of Victorinox, the I.N.O.X. (inox is French for stainless steel) is the timekeeping counterpart to the Swiss Army knives the brand manufactures, and meant to complement it as a “companion for life”. To that end, the watch had to pass a battery of 130 tests, including spending two hours in a washing machine and being driven over by a 64-ton tank. Numerous little details contribute to the watch’s toughness, from the slightly recessed sapphire crystal to having stamped – not applied – indexes. A simple, no-nonsense dial design emphasises the watch’s pedigree, with a blue dial and matching strap complementing this. ($719)
Luminox Scott Cassell UVP Special Edition: Luminox’s partnership with Scott Cassell continues with the UVP Special Edition. Part of this watch’s sales proceeds will go towards funding UVP (Undersea Voyager Project), a non-profit organisation founded by Cassell that is dedicated to ocean health. The watch’s 44mm case is made of carbon-reinforced polycarbonate, which imparts an excellent strength-to-weight ratio. A yellow dial with black hands and indices impart legibility, and a matching canvas strap completes the look. ($674.10)
JeanRichard Aeroscope Arsenal: Arsenal Football Club’s fans can wear their hearts proudly on their wrists by donning the Aeroscope Arsenal, its official watch. The timepiece features the Gunners’ cannon in lieu of a hand for its small seconds sub-dial, and uses the club’s color liberally. Red is an extremely striking colour in and of itself. When paired with black, it pops even more to grab one’s attention. From the honeycombed dial to the tachymeter markings on the bezel to the pushers’ detailing, the color ensures the watch’s prominence. (Price unavailable)
Seiko Automatic Divers Watch: This is the revised version of the Seiko diver watch commonly (and reverently) referred to as the Orange Monster. The “second generation Orange Monster” updates the original in several areas, including new shark-tooth shaped indexes and a simplified chapter ring. Its 4R36 movement is arguably the biggest change – unlike the original, the new watch can now be both hacked and hand-wound. The new calibre retains Seiko’s bidirectional Magic Lever winding system for efficiency though. Despite the availability of other colorways for the watch, Seiko enthusiasts still consider the Orange Monster a rite of passage. Clearly, not all colors are created equal. ($593.90)
Mix & Match
Playful. Technical. Rebellious. Whimsical. Avant-garde. The design approaches in response to having a larger palette are as varied as the colors themselves. Results too, run the gamut from what are literally art pieces to serious, sporty watches.
Hublot Classic Fusion Enamel Britto: Brazilian artist Romero Britto is known for his colorful works melding Cubism, pop art, and graffiti painting. His partnership with Hublot is of little wonder then, given the latter’s penchant for the “art of fusion”. The Classic Fusion Enamel Britto’s dial reproduces one of Britto’s artworks in miniature via grand feu enamel, with the 45mm Classic Fusion case in black ceramic serving as the painting’s frame. This timepiece is a 50-piece limited edition. ($59,700)
Romain Jerome Pac-Man Level II 40 Colours: The landmark arcade game returns! This homage to Pac-Man comes complete with eight-bit renderings of the game’s titular character, his adversary ghosts, and the strawberry power-ups needed to defeat them. Although the background is a drab monotone, no attention to detail has been spared – the “stage” is three-layered, and each one has either been bead-blasted or straight-grained to contrast with the lacquered sprites mounted on the dial. Housed in a 40mm case, this reference has a limited run of just 20 pieces. ($24,800)
Alexander Shorokhoff Miss Avantgarde: Words like “edgy” or “free-spirited” cannot adequately describe the Miss Avantgarde, what with its loud and flashy dial that uses color with seemingly no pattern. There is a method to Alexander Shorokhoff’s madness though. The time can actually be read easily as each design element is confined to a specific section of the watch. Colors have also been compartmentalized to avoid an overly busy dial, while the hands are white for maximum contrast. (Price unavailable)
Graham Chronofighter Oversize GMT: The Chronofighter Oversize GMT has a busy dial with red, blue, and white accents on a background of black. This is mirrored on the watch’s exterior, with its massive 47mm case sporting an equally colorful combination of steel, red gold, and black PVD surfaces. Interestingly, the chronograph, large date, and GMT complications haven’t been sorted by color. Instead, every part of the watch takes on its specific hues for maximum contrast – note how the bezel uses red gold against blue while the main dial has white against black instead. ($16,400)
Paints and coatings aren’t the be all and end all for achieving colours that pop in a watch. Materials that are inherently brightly colored can do the same, and lend their unique textures to boot. Stones, glass, and even liquids? Bring them all on.
HYT H1 Azo Project: No, it isn’t kryptonite. The H1 Azo Project’s florescent case is made of azo polyepoxide, a resin with exceptional scratchproof properties despite being much lighter than comparable materials like steel. Its color is, of course, a perfect match for the liquids encased in the watch’s fluid module – one has been colored a darker shade of green, while the other remains transparent. The hours are then read off the tip of what looks like an advancing column of liquid. ($95,000)
Hermès Arceau Millefiori: From straw marquetry to Japanese miniature painting on porcelain, Hermès has incorporated various crafts into watchmaking. The Arceau Millefiori focuses on glass art, specifically millefiori (a thousand flowers), where colored crystal canes are arranged to form various motifs before being sealed with transparent crystal. The technique is adapted here by cutting the finished product into thin slices and using them as dials. ($61,600)
Ulysse Nardin Marine Perpetual: At first sight, the blue sapphires on the bezel are immediately apparent, and serve as the highlight of the Marine Perpetual. Upon closer inspection, however, the bezel itself is revealed to be atypical – it’s made of rubber, and the sapphires are set directly into it. The technique, dubbed “soft stone in the sky”, is revolutionary for setting gems in a soft material, and parallels the manufacture’s perpetual calendar movement, which allows forward and backward adjustments via just the crown. ($59,400)
Bell & Ross BR 03 Red Radar: Bell & Ross’s timepieces are inspired by cockpit instruments but said instruments were never just confined to dials with hands and indexes. One outlier was the BR 03 Red Radar, which took the world by storm upon its release, and remains frequently cited as a milestone product for the brand. In lieu of hands, three black concentric discs are mounted to the movement, with a red mineral glass crystal sealing the watch. The result? A watch that displays the time like a radar screen. ($S$6,700)
Text by Jamie Tan
Photography by Raymond Lee
Art direction and styling by Tok Wei Lun