Cashing In On Green
We used to say green is in, but we may now have to say green is the new blue, even as blue dials become ever more pervasive.
We tried quite hard not to produce an article about green dial watches, but the lure is irresistible. We also understand how ridiculous it must sound to you, dear readers – we could have just ignored the trend entirely instead of going to all the trouble of presenting it here. Not only that, by choosing to open with a cautionary note, we are either undercutting our own story or washing our hands of any responsibility. It all seems a bit dramatic and unseemly for a visually driven story about green dials, if we do say so ourselves.
The trend remains very strong with such timepieces crossing price ranges and stylistic categories. Everyone from WatchPro to WatchTime has devoted pages to this in the last 12 months. Of course, editors, collectors and specialists have their own favourites, and maybe that will be the most relevant take-away from this story. From what we have seen so far in 2020, the most impressive offering is the Grand Seiko Elegance Mechanical Thin Dress SBGW264.
Representing the natural beauty of Shizukuishi, the 39mm watch in rose gold is distinguished by a shimmering green dial whose intricate pattern is executed by very precise machine-engraving. A gaze into the design is meant to transport you to the forest of silver birch trees near the studio where the watch is made. Metaphorical sojourns at the manufacture are part of a recurring leitmotif as far as Grand Seiko is concerned. Having said that, the pleasure in owning this watch is not a matter of just impressions, feelings and ideas. Having this watch on your wrist, you will be able to appreciate the intricate details of the dial with the least interference possible, thanks to the use of a high definition, dual-curved sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating.
The Grand Seiko SBGW264 is a limited edition of 120 units. It is powered by the hand-winding Calibre 9S64, which offers a power reserve of 72 hours; it has also been prepped for chronometric excellence, and internal tests reveal an impressive accuracy range of +5/-3 seconds per day.
If you are in the market for a green dialled watch that you can wear more often, on a daily basis even, the all-new Breitling Chronomat collection has one model with a verdant dial for Bentley (a long-standing partner of theirs). This is among the partnerships that has made it into the current stage of Breitling’s development, under the direction of Georges Kern.
Originally introduced in 1984, the Chronomat collection is refreshed this year as an all-purpose sports watch. Ok, Breitling does have quite a number of all-purpose sports watches, but this one does have some particular characteristics, although the green dial should be noted for its approximation of British racing colours. The connection with Bentley should be obvious of course! The collection overall is notable for the modern-retro Rouleaux bracelet with a butterfly clasp, as well as the rider tabs on the unidirectional rotating bezel (two of which, the 15 and the 45 ones, can be switched as required for count up or count down functionality). We spent some time expounding on the virtues of this type of bracelet in issue #57, and we recommend that story for a little more detail on this subject. The Chronomat is powered by the Breitling manufacture Calibre 01, which is a self-winding chronograph movement with a column wheel and vertical clutch.
Although the 42mm Chronomat is water-resistant to 200 metres, it is not a dive watch in the strictest sense of the genre. Breitling has another collection for that, and a 2020 GPHG-winning model no less. Curiously, that one happens to have a green dial too, although in a much more muted shade.
In any case, fret not if what you really want is a dive watch in green, especially now that a certain green-dial icon has been retired, and you may have missed it (we did too). We can show you at least three other choices right now, starting with the Longines HydroConquest Boutique Edition. A sleek member of the well-priced and optimally specced diver collection, it had been previously available in blue, grey and black. In addition to the green ceramic bezel insert, this new Boutique Edition watch features a matching green ceramic dial as well, complete with a vertical brushing effect. Wear this watch on either a stainless steel bracelet or the included green rubber strap. As we mentioned in issue #56, there are two sorts of green here, and the one to look out for is the boutique edition. For the record, this edition sports a forest green dial while the regular edition is in khaki green. Look for the ZrO2 on the Boutique Edition dial to be sure.
Moving on to another patch, where the light is subtly refracted in a different way, we find the Seiko Prospex LX Line Limited Edition SNR045J. It takes you to the same depth of 300 metres as the Longines, but with a different personality, and another interpretation of forest green. This dive watch from Seiko’s premium sports line (not to be confused with Grand Seiko dive watches) boasts a Zaratsu-polished, distortion-free mirror surface on a beefier 44.8mm case that measures 15.7mm thick. Its green dial depicts an underwater scene of moss pillars in an Antarctic lake in the proximity of the Japanese research station Showa.
As an aside for those interested in this sort of thing, such lakes are fascinating, especially the ones below glaciers as they should be frozen stiff, but the enormous pressure of the glaciers above them keep them liquid. There is a parallel somewhere in this that applies to dive watches… Back on point, this 500-unit limited edition watch is powered by the 5R65 Spring Drive movement, adjusted to +/- 1 second per day, and a 72-hour power reserve.
Bringing an added measure of aesthetic difference is the Rado Captain Cook Bronze. Combining one of the oldest man-made alloys with a contemporary material, the 42mm watch in bronze is enlivened with a lush green sunray dial and a matching bezel insert in high-tech ceramic. Its titanium caseback with a sapphire crystal ensures skin comfort while offering a view into the ETA C07 movement with 80 hours of power reserve. The material combination is the real draw in this watch, being one of the few combinations of bronze, ceramic and titanium in the market now. For enthusiasts of the bronze watch, the presence of ceramic here offers an unusual contrast. Needless to say, the price proposition here is almost too good to miss out on.
Finally, why stop with a green dial and matching strap when you could just as easily have a completely green case. In fact, there is such a watch: the Swatch Camouforest SUOG114, which is most certainly not a dive watch. This 2020 edition features a translucent olive drab green plastic case and camouflage pattern on both the dial and strap. The quartz-powered watch is only water-resistant to 30 metres, and legibility might be an issue with this combination of camouflage and yellow hands. We cannot say for sure as we have not examined this model in person. In similar models, the style of the hands have made it difficult to read the seconds at more than a few angles. It is important to note for the record that the strap here is in silicone, not plastic, and is very comfortable in other Swatch models. On that note, in our next issue we take a look at a different breed of watches that include plenty of camouflage patterns: military watches.