Baselworld 2018: Beyond Brown, Black and Blue

Colorful wristwatches for people in search of something different

When considering the most common colors of a watch dial, the mind undoubtedly goes to black or steel, perhaps blue or maybe an off-white. As for cases and bezels, it’s really silver, gold or black—reflecting the composition material (titanium, gold, carbon, etc). There’s a reason for this. Many watch-wearers, understandably, accessorize with the same piece every day. This means a dynamic color scheme that plays well with multiple outfits delivers the most value. Who wouldn’t want to wear a watch that goes with everything? For those who already own subtle timepieces or those looking to exude more personality from their watch, there are plenty of options that feature colors—or color combinations—that sing. Of course, there’s always plenty of green to be seen when we scour our way through Swiss watch fair Baselworld, but this year there was so much more.

Nomos Glashütte

“Grenadine, pearl, matcha, and azure” is how Nomos Glashütte described their four new Petit Four colorways. These watches are an update to their well-received Tetra case shape, but here the lugs have been adapted to fit an even more slender strap. Inside, there’s the brand’s proprietary Alpha hand-wound caliber (which is visible through an exposed caseback in two styles). These limited edition watches cost between $2,080 and $2,320.

Rado True Thinline Nature

We’ve noted that green has certainly become a more popular color with watch dials in recent years. That is not what you’ll find here, however. An update to Rado’s previous True Thinline green watch, the new “Nature” piece actually has the color patterning of a leaf—from the variation in darkness to texture and even veins. It’s a proprietary technique printed on the mother of pearl dials on these ceramic watches and it’s quite extraordinary. They will retail for $2,100 when released at the end of April.

Bulova Oceanographer “Devil Diver”

Another historic reissue from Bulova, the “Devil Diver” drew its nickname (it’s actually called the Oceanographer) when it was announced in the ’70s that the water-resistance was up to 666 feet. An immediate hit, the original’s military-grade functionality has translated to a Swiss automatic day/date movement, black/white bezel and commemorative bright orange three-hand day/date dial in this new piece. For the Archive Series reissue, almost everything has been left intact stylistically—which fans of the original will truly attest to. Only 666 pieces will be produced, retailing for $1,495.

Tudor Black Bay GMT

For years, Tudor has released watches that distance the brand from sister watchmaker Rolex. The goal was to define their own visual language, reveal independent technical developments and accrue their own value. It has worked. And with that success, Tudor was able to release this year’s Black Bay GMT that makes clear reference to the Rolex GMT-Master and GMT-Master II “Pepsi.” Here, however, there’s a distinctive bicolored burgundy and blue bezel drawn from Tudor’s previous Black Bay bezels. And inside there’s a Manufacture Calibre MT5652 movement. Here, the great success comes from the clash of colors, something that’s worked for this style since 1955. And at $3,900, it’s more accessible than its sibling.

Images courtesy of respective brands