Dialled in – the 10 most interesting watch dials of 2018

Dialled in – the 10 most interesting watch dials of 2018

Nick Kenyon

As we naturally personify the objects we come into contact with, the hour and minute indicators on a watch become articulating hands, and the dial becomes a face. Just as we will closely study the faces of the people around us, we search for meaning in the faces of our watches as we read the time, giving watchmakers huge incentive to design the most interesting dials for our viewing pleasure. With this in mind, it wasn’t hard to find a good-looking dial, making it a challenge to narrow down the 10 most interesting watch dials of 2018. Keep reading for some stellar horological handiwork.


Each dial is uniquely peppered.

With a history that stretches back over 185 years, it should come as no surprise that Longines has some solid historical designs to draw from. Their latest takes its vintage inspiration to a whole new level. Tracing its roots to a watch that was supplied to the British RAF during WWII, each cream-coloured dial is randomly speckled with spots of faux patina, with no two dials looking alike.

Ref No. L2.819.4.93.2, Case size 38.5mm, Case material Steel, Movement L888.2, Price $2775


MING 17.03

Ming 17.03
Burgundy is an underrated dial colour.

The brainchild of international photographer and watch collector Ming Thein, the Ming 17.03 retains all the distinctive characteristics of the 2017-released 17.01. From its flared lugs and floating numerals to its 38mm nitrogen-filled titanium case and a dial design that defies description. Inside is a Sellita SW330-1 automatic movement, which upgrades the movement, but also the added functionality of GMT complication.

Ref No. 1703M, Case size 38mm, Case material Titanium, Movement SW330-1, Price 1300 CHF



Not much dial for a 41mm watch.

Outside of their amazing automata and elaborate enamel masterpieces, Jaquet Droz are best known for their signature Grande Seconde. It’s a design that displays the hours and minutes in one small subdial, while the seconds are shown in a larger off-centred subdial. Now, for the first time, the Grande Seconde has been fully skeletonised. Opening up the white gold case and allowing a flood of light to enter, illuminating the intricate inner-workings below the transparent sapphire sub-seconds dial.

Ref No. J003524240, Case size 41mm, Case material 18k white gold, Movement 2663 SQ, Price $44,950



The vivid yellow dial of the Doxa SUB 300T Divingstar “Poseidon Edition”. Image: oceanictime.blogspot.com

The 1970s were a golden age for scuba diving, thanks to advancements in technology, which made it safer and more accessible. It was a time when every diver needed a dive watch, and one of the most trusted makers was Doxa. The brand made watches like the incredibly rare yellow-dialled 1970s SUB 300T Divingstar and a rarer still version that was made with Swedish dive equipment company Poseidon. Doxa pay faithful tribute to that collaboration here with this modern reissue.

Case size 42.7mm, Case material Steel, Movement ETA 2824-2, Price $2490 USD



Green Fumé

Known for setting a high bar in fine watchmaking with precious metal cases and enigmatic fumé dials, H. Moser & Cie are perfectly suited to the dressier occasions in life. But in 2017, they broke with tradition and introduced the sportier, all-steel Pioneer Centre Seconds, a curious hybrid of a dress watch and sports watch. This newest version brings a cosmic flash of green to the Pioneer’s dial, that is just as mesmerising as its Northern Lights inspiration.

Ref No. 3200-1202, Case size 42.8mm, Case material Steel, Movement HMC 200, Price $18,850



An unusual dial from Rolex – a gradient blue that evokes a sense of very deep water.

Sometimes all a design needs is a few small tweaks to deliver an entirely new watch. Case in point, the latest Rolex Deepsea. A redesigned case with thinner lugs combines with a larger Oysterlock safety clasp fitted to an upsized 22mm bracelet to improve overall balance and make for an incredibly well-proportioned feeling on the wrist. There’s another big change inside the case, with its movement upgraded to the calibre 3235, which has a 70-hour power reserve.

Ref No. 126660, Case size 44mm, Case material Oystersteel, Movement 3235, Price $15,950



A stunning textured green, fading as it reaches the minute track.

Once a rare choice, green dials are becoming more on-trend amongst the luxury watchmakers. The combination of this beautifully domed dial, stamped with decades-old dies from Glashütte Original’s archives and then textured by an imprint pattern varnished in green and black with a dégradé effect, is nigh on breathtaking. It may not be easy being green, but it sure is worth the effort. The kicker, though – it’s only available and produced for one year.

Ref No. 2-39-47-04-02-04, Case size 42mm, Case material Steel, Movement 19-47, Price $11,900



Grand-Seiko-SBGH267-5 10 most interesting watch dials of 2018
Radial spirals trace the tessellated dial pattern, each respectively stamped with the Grand Seiko “G”, “S” and factory symbol.

Today’s Grand Seiko is largely built on the foundation of the Caliber 9S. First unveiled 20 years ago, it was ahead of its time with its high accuracy and lengthy power reserve. The version inside this latest limited edition is given the hi-beat treatment – meaning it beats at 36,000 vph – and is paired with a newly designed 39.5mm steel case. The mosaic dial shifts from a dark to faded blue each time you glance at your wrist. Stunning.

Ref No. SBGH267G, Case size 39.5mm, Case material Steel, Movement 9S85, Price $9100



Cartier-Panther-Revelation 10 most interesting watch dials of 2018
Scores of minuscule gold balls descend the face of the watch, momentarily forming the face of a panther.

As with some of life’s great wonders, only when you see can you believe. And this latest marvel from the French Maison is the perfect example. With a simple turn of the wrist, what was once a blank dial begins to fill with tiny gold beads, flowing from top to bottom and revealing a stylised panther’s face. And then almost as quickly, it disappears, the beads resting at the bottom of the dial.

Ref No. HPI01259, Case size 37mm, Case material 18k pink gold, Movement 430 MC, Price POA



Omega Seamaster 300m
The wave motif on the Omega Seamaster 300m.

The name is Seamaster, Omega Seamaster. Introducing 14 new variations into the collection, Omega are celebrating 25 years of the original Omega Bond. A newly sized 42mm case houses its biggest update, the METAS-certified Master Chronometer Calibre 8800. The iconic wave motif also makes its triumphant return to its laser-engraved ceramic dial. This blue on blue version, with a colour-matched ceramic bezel, also features a slimmer steel bracelet with a comfy new ergonomic design.

Ref No., Case size 42mm, Case material Steel, Movement Calibre 8800, Price $6525