Editor’s note: Who doesn’t love blue? It’s fun, it’s dressy, and it’s a heck of a lot less boring than black or white. So, here’s that time we wrapped up 15 winners from 2018.
Over the next month or so we’re going to be running a series of colour-coded stories, where we focus less on the movements and case details and more on the dials. The brighter and bolder, the better. To kick things off we’ve rounded up a bunch of the best new blue dials because, honestly, who doesn’t love blue? From subtle to shimmering to downright electric, this versatile colour can go from sporty to dressy in the blink of an eye.
Seiko Prospex ‘Save the Ocean’ SRPC91K1
Let’s start with a dial that has it all, and at a price that’s hard to beat. Yep, I’m talking about Seiko. Specifically, the latest take on the Turtle — the SRPC91K1, a conservation-oriented piece; a real showstopper of a dial that fades from pale to deep blue, all the while being interspersed with wavy lines, reminiscent of that most magnificent of mammals, the blue whale. $725
Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5740
On the opposite end of the spectrum is another sporty number with a horizontally lined dial, this time from Patek. The latest take on the Nautilus, the QP-equipped reference 5740 was an obvious, and inevitable, inclusion on this list. And given its certified icon status, it’s easy to see why. 105,000 CHF
So far we’ve had two showy, textured blue dials. The dial on this Longines Record might be fairly simple in comparison, but the real power here comes from the combo of starburst blue and red gold case. Plus the COSC-movement and aggressive price doesn’t hurt either. $8050
Franck Muller Vanguard S6 Yachting
Can a watch dial be blue if the watch doesn’t really have a dial? That’s a question for more metaphysically inclined watch writers than I, but for the sake of this story I’m saying heck yes! This big Franck Muller plays with the same blue and gold combo as the Longines above (albeit in a very different style), to great effect. It’s a definite style stakes winner.
Tissot Seastar 1000
Tissot take it back a notch (or five) with this clean but very handsome addition to their Seastar 1000 family. While the solid build, Powermatic movement (80 hours of power!) and clean stylings already make this a great-value offering, that blue-to-black graduated dial is just killer.
A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Thin in Copper Blue
In a somewhat controversial choice, this “line extension” Lange was my favourite from their 2018 SIHH showing, even though it’s a simple line extension rather than a mega-complication-epic-graph. But see this copper oxide-infused aventurine dial in the metal and I dare you to disagree with me. $29,500
Grand Seiko SBGH267
There is no way I could write a story on exceptional dials and not include a Grand Seiko. I would be kicked out of all the reputable watch gangs (and most of the disreputable ones). Grand Seiko know how to make a dial. And while I was tempted to go for the subtle (yet still superb) Spring Drive, this tessellating mosaic monogrammed number is hard to argue with. I mean, just look at it. $9100
H. Moser & Cie. Swiss Alp Minute Repeater Tourbillon
Speaking of intricate, excellent blue dials, how about this Moser! I mean, sure, you’ve got that suspiciously familiar Swiss Alp case, plus a tourbillon AND a minute repeater, but for me it’s that alternating, shimmering mosaic-like dial that seals the deal. 292,000 CHF
Omega Seamaster Diver 300
If minute repeaters and tourbillons aren’t your thing, and you’d much rather a bulletproof, do-anything all-rounder, Omega has your watch. Specifically with the smartly updated new SMP 300. The classic blue dial is back, now in ceramic, and with a laser-etched wave pattern no less. $6525
Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Power Reserve Ceramic Clous de Paris
Omega’s Swatch group stablemate Jaquet Droz also has a textured blue dial on offer, in their Grande Seconde line. This sporty ceramic-cased version adds a classic Clous de Paris texture, creating a watch that straddles the line between classic and contemporary quite neatly. $22,500
Hublot Big Bang Meca-10 Blue Ceramic
Hublot’s big blue number ensures the “is a skeletonised dial a dial?” debate rears its head again (and how!), in spectacular form. If I’m completely honest, this blue dial is playing second fiddle to that frankly epic blue ceramic case. Go big or go home — it’s classic Hublot.
Van Cleef & Arpels Lady Arpels Planétarium
While quite a few of the above watches would look exceptional on a female wrist, it’d be rude not to include a watch specifically made with them in mind. Enter the VC&A Lady Arpels Planétarium. And while the mind-blowingly cool complication is what most people are talking about, I’m all about that midnight aventurine.
Ulysse Nardin Marine Tourbillon
Last year, Ulysse Nardin impressed with their well-priced and very well-specced Marine Tourbillon. This year, they did it all again, but with a banging blue dial with a fine radial guilloché treatment. Subtle but strong. $41,700
IWC Tribute to Pallweber Edition “150 Years”
If you’re in the market for a blue-dialled IWC you are spoiled for choice, as their entire “150 Years” capsule collection was offered in rich white and blue dials, heavily lacquered to look like enamel. And while they’re all pretty solid options, if you’re after maximum dial, it has to be the jump hour Tribute to Pallweber. $33,000
Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special — 40mm
And finally, Zenith. Zenith’s Pilots are, as the name suggests, pretty special. But they’re also very big. That isn’t so much of a concern with this new 40mm version, cased in bronze and paired with a very nice navy blue dial. It’s just a really good-looking watch. $8100