Black, blue, silver and white – these are the usual colours we’ve come to expect on dials.
This year, though, green has proven to be a hit with watchmakers, with various shades of emerald, artichoke and forest seen on a large number of timepieces, perhaps in part due to our ever-growing eco-consciousness.
In recent years, brands have made a visible move towards sustainable watchmaking, with cases made from recycled materials, plant-based straps, solar-powered movements and reinvented packaging.
Cartier’s Tank has been around for more than a century, but the Tank Must incorporates 21st century technology with the luxury watch industry’s very first solar-powered timepiece.
The brand spent three years exploring the concept of solar- powered watches to create the Solarbeat movement, which has an average lifespan of 16 years.
Fretting about whether a watch is meant for a man or woman seems so last century, especially with the return of more reasonable case diameters suited to every wrist size.
Watchmakers have reduced the sizes of their iconic pieces to range from 36 to 42mm, making them more appealing as everyday watches. The smaller size also makes it a practical option for female watch enthusiasts, so it’s a win for everyone.
Greeen is in
One of the first brands to produce coloured dials in the 1930s, Jaeger- LeCoultre has released the Reverso Tribute Small Seconds with a lacquered deep green face, inspired by the pine forests native to the watchmaker’s home in the Vallee de Joux.
The elegant timepiece also comes with matching straps crafted by Argentine leather maker Casa Fagliano.
Patek Philippe has replaced its famous blue dial with a sunburst olive green in its Nautilus 5711/1A- 014. This stainless steel iteration is a first in the Nautilus collection.
On the amazingly thin Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept La Cote-Aux-Fees, the four principal components of a watch – the movement’s baseplate, caseback, case ring and crowning bezel – have been merged into a single component.
Chopard has added a new diamond-set ethical 18K rose gold timepiece to the Imperiale collection. The self-winding timepiece with a 36mm textured mother-of-pearl dial in a soft green echoes nature and comes with a matching glossy strap.
Divers will be delighted with the vintage-looking 39mm Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight, now in 18K yellow gold with an army green dial and a new MT5400 movement that’s visible with a sapphire caseback display.
For a more affordable dive watch, there’s the Tag Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300, which boasts thinner, lighter, and shorter lugs, but still features the horizontal pattern on the dial that is a trademark of the collection.
The green 43mm dial comes with a titanium case and bracelet, which has a tool-less micro- adjust system in the clasp to allow 1.5 cm of extension without having to remove the watch from your wrist.
The technical feat involves using photovoltaic cells beneath the dial that receive solar energy via invisible perforations on the Roman numerals of the classic Tank Must dial.
Available in four different versions, each Tank Must Solarbeat comes with a plant-based strap that has been created from 40 per cent plant matter using waste from apples grown in Switzerland, Germany and Italy.
This sustainable strap has a lower carbon footprint (six times less), saves up to 10 litres of water and approximately 80 smartphone charges of energy, compared to what is needed to make one calfskin strap.
Upcycling is another way to reduce consumption of raw materials, as seen with Panerai’s Submersible eLAB-ID – 98.6 per cent of its weight is made from recycled elements.
The 44mm case, the sandwich dial, and the movement bridges are made from Ecotitanium, a recycled titanium alloy that is lightweight and an aerospace-grade metal.
Many parts are recycled: the Super- Luminova on the dial and hands, the gold hands, the sapphire crystal, and even the Grigio Roccia fabric strap.
The Italian watchmaker even released a list of the suppliers who helped make it, to encourage and provide a model for how circular practices can apply to Tank Must large stainless steel watch, Cartier Submersible eLAB-ID titanium watch, Panerai the watch industry.
“We don’t want to be the only one doing this,” says Panerai CEO Jean-Marc Pontroue. “Acting alone won’t save the world.”
In full colour
The past year has been pretty bleak, so injecting some fun and colour with these limited edition pieces seems timely. Something that definitely caught our fancy: the different variations of Chanel’s iconic J12.
The J12 Electro Dream, which really dials up the volume in black ceramic and steel, or white ceramic and 18K white gold with polychromatic 46 baguette-cut sapphires totalling 6.47 carats on the bezel and 12 baguette- cut rainbow sapphires totalling 0.47 carats on the 38mm dial (limited to 55 pieces each).
“I conceived this capsule collection like a performance programme, inviting our classics to take turns on this stage and to draw inspiration from the codes of this world,” explains Arnaud Chastaingt, the brand’s director of the Fine Watchmaking Creation Studio.
Piaget’s 32mm Limelight Gala is a true work of art inspired by haute couture techniques, with a perfectly integrated rose gold case, a bracelet hand-engraved with the iconic Palace decoration, and lugs adorned with exquisite gemstones.
Sourcing progressively sized, coloured gemstones – 37 sapphires and five tsavorites – is no mean feat.
The maison’s gem-setters need to create the perfect colour and size transition from one gemstone to the next using an intricate technique called “Sertie Descendu” on this Piaget 501P1 self- winding watch.
Zenith has taken a novel approach by incorporating striking colours everywhere but the dial with its Defy 21 Spectrum line of five zingy chronographs – in green, orange, blue, purple and black – limited to 10 pieces each.
The pop of colour on the 44mm stainless steel watch with 288 VVS brilliant-cut diamonds on the case is seen on the coloured main plates and oscillating weights, matched with vivid rubber straps and gemstone-studded bezels.
Rolex debuted a reissue of the vintage- sized 36mm Rolex Explorer from 1953 – the watch that made it up the first ascent of Mount Everest with Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. Going big on nostalgia, this is the first time Rolex has used gold in a time-only reference.
The bezel, winding crown and centre links of the bracelet are in 18K yellow gold, while the case and outer links of the bracelet are in Oystersteel. The new Explorer also brings back a glossy dial instead of the satin- finish that we’ve seen in previous years.
A decade since the debut of the Submersible Bronzo, Panerai has shrunk it from a full-figured 47mm to 42mm with the Blu Abisso PAM01074. Bronze watches are loved for the patina they develop over time, and this latest Bronzo is limited in production to 1,000 pieces.
IWC’s Big Pilot made its appearance in 1940, when IWC produced 1,000 military navigators’ watches with a purely functional cockpit- instrument design, oversized conical crown and legible dial.
The new Big Pilot’s Watch 43 is a faithful interpretation of the original, but now comes with a sapphire caseback and the IWC bracelet quick-change system for the first time.
Pick your proportions
Originally marketed as a man’s watch adored by women, the 35mm relaunched last year is a size that captures the androgynous and contemporary aesthetics of the design. The Pasha de Cartier now offers even more options with two new sizes: 30mm and 41mm.
“Relaunching the Pasha watch was an obvious choice for us. It’s a question of feeling and capturing the moment it embodies: the new notion of success defined by today’s generation, different to that of their predecessors.
We have, of course, updated the movement and made a few minimal changes that render it even more sophisticated,” says Pierre Rainero, director of Image, Style and Heritage at Cartier.
The smaller reference, more commonly seen on jewellery watches, retains that protruding cabochon sapphire, but gains a softer, more elegant look with its petite proportions.
Iterations in stainless steel and gold, with or without diamonds, speak to the versatility of this quartz-powered timepiece. Our favourite detail? The personalised engraved initials hidden behind the crown cover – now that’s your little secret.
This article was first published in Her World.