11 of the best blue dial watches proving it’s still the colour to have 11 of the best blue dial watches proving it’s still the colour to have

11 of the best blue dial watches proving it’s still the colour to have

Borna Bošnjak

Even though the classic blue dial has lost some ground in terms of popularity due to the rise of other colours (most notably green and pink), it’s still arguably the most popular choice for any watch. This of course excludes black and white, but since they’re not actually colours, my point stands. Within the vast number of options, we sought to pick out 11 of the very best blue dials, offering everything from hue and texture, to value proposition and craftsmanship.

anOrdain Model 1 Blue Fumé

Often when looking at the best of the best, it’s easy to lose sight of the value proposition. That’s a bit of a shame, because you risk missing out on gems like anOrdain’s Model 1. Its fumé enamel dial was an accidental discovery, resulting from a warped silver dial blank that was sanded down to reveal the stunning gradient and grained pattern. The entire painstaking process is recounted here, even more impressive considering it’s all made in-house in anOrdain’s Glasgow workshop, rightfully gaining the brand a place on our best of British list. Price: £2,595

Grand Seiko Iwao Sea of Clouds SBGP017

No list of best dials would be complete without a Grand Seiko. Regardless of the frankly ridiculous number of new releases the brand pumps out, they still manage to come up with beautiful designs. Being completely honest, a number of them could’ve taken the cake here – any one of the Omiwatari, Kishun, or kirazuri Sōkō models are worthy contenders. There was only one, however, that truly captured my gaze, and that’s the SBGP017, aptly nicknamed the Sea of Clouds. Its subtle brushstrokes of baby blue reflect in the highly polished, faceted ingot-like indices, and the blued seconds hand and applied GS logo are icing on the cake. As if the watch needed to be any cooler, it also sports a display caseback showing off the Grand Seiko-level decoration of its quartz movement. Price: US$3,800 (retail, sold out), ~US$4,500 (secondary market)

Czapek Promenade Goutte d’Eau

czapek promenade goutte deau dial

Czapek has been pushing out iterations of their popular Antarctique for some time now, but the debut of the Promenade collection at Watches & Wonders 2024 was headlined by the stunning Goutte d’Eau. It achieves the water droplet effect that gives it its name by layering translucent grand feu enamel onto a three-dimensional base, until the whole thing is flat. Czapek are transparent about their work with Donzé Cadrans that manufactured the dial, showing how important hiring the best of the best can be. The piece is limited to 100 units, and by the time of writing has already sold out. That’s wholly unsurprising, considering the rest of the watch is quite brilliant too, but the dial is obviously the star of the show. Price: US$20,600

 A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Thin Blue Copper

a lange sohne saxonia thin copper blue
Image courtesy of Lange Uhren GmbH

Let me preempt this pick by saying – this isn’t just an aventurine glass dial. As nice as those are, they’re relatively commonplace, so why is the Saxonia Blue Copper on this list? Rather than using aventurine, Lange creates the Goldstone dial (also a form of glass) by coating a solid silver blank with a mixture of silica and copper oxide, resulting in crystallisation of the copper before the glass fully harends. The 39mm x 6.2mm white gold case gets its thinness from the hand-wound L093.1 movement rendered in warm German silver, and with Lange’s signature balance cock engraving. Price: US$22,000 (retail, discontinued), ~US$20,000 (secondary market)

Rolex Perpetual 1908 in platinum

rolex perpetual 1908 dial

Despite the brand’s command of the worldwide watch market, Rolex isn’t usually heralded for their groundbreaking dials. That’s not to say Rolex dials are bad, but even when they have a go at cloisonné enamel, we get it in an emoji-and-inspirational-message-clad Day-Date. If that’s your thing, no worries, but at Watches & Wonders 2024, we finally got a more traditional attempt at a high-end dial from the Crown. The Perpetual 1908 was well-received, if a little underappreciated, but Rolex went guns blazing with a platinum case and rice grain guilloché dial in their signature ice blue. While I’m sure Rolex won’t start churning out artisanal, hand-crafted dials any time soon, at least this 1908 is proof that there’s a some old-school soul left in the grand halls of the corporate giant. Price: US$30,900

H. Moser & Cie Streamliner Small Seconds Blue Enamel

h moser cie streamliner small seconds blue enamel

Moser’s Streamliner was always a left-field take on an integrated-bracelet sports watch, so why not slap a grand feu enamel dial on it as well? A similarly textured dial was previously available on the Endeavour Perpetual Calendar, but there’s just something about the juxtaposition of a sporty, water-resistant case, and a traditional enamel dial that works for me. The best thing about it for me though is that Moser is so confident in the look, that it didn’t bother putting a logo on the dial, something the brand has become known for over the years. That kind of confidence (or cockiness) is rare in watchmaking, and a breath of fresh air. Price: CHF 29,900

F.P. Journe Chronomètre Bleu

Image courtesy of Wind Vintage

In a list of the best, it’s difficult to pick just one, but this would be it for me. If you can believe it, F.P. Journe’s Chronomètre Bleu used to be an under-the-radar piece just a few years ago, before artificial scarcity of other, more popular watches caused its demand to skyrocket. Availability woes aside, the Chronomètre Bleu sports a bluish-grey tantalum case, solid 18k gold movement and the best blue dial in the business. Numerous layers of blue lacquer are mirror-polished and hand-applied, and depending on the light, results in an inky black or electric blue. The off-centre small seconds are finished with azurage, showing off the full range of the blue colour in its sunburst execution. Price: US$37,400

Credor Eichi II Ruri

Image courtesy of A Collected Man

Released to honour Seiko’s 140th anniversary, the Eichi II Ruri is a special edition of Credor’s minimalist masterpiece. Its dial is made of fragile porcelain, glazed in blue lacquer that gives it an ethereal glow around the edges and centre pinion, with plunging depths elsewhere. The logo and indices are all hand-painted, seemingly suspended above the dial. Here comes the all-important and overused trope – you really have to experience this one in person. Admittedly, even though its exquisite Spring Drive movement is finished by the Micro Artist Studio, nearly A$100k for a time-only watch is a ridiculous sum of money, no question about it. However… I think I’ve been charmed by this glowing blue wonder enough to think it might make sense. Price: £50,000

Chopard Alpine Eagle Flying Tourbillon

Of the long list of iconic integrated bracelet sports watches with blue dials, picking the Alpine Eagle to be among them is a bold choice. The swirling texture of the Aletsch blue, inspired by the pattern of an eagle’s iris makes for a stunning display in any light condition. My favourite of the lot is the dial of Chopard’s Alpine Eagle Flying Tourbillon, with the pattern emanating from the tourbillon cage, rather than the centre pinion. Price: US$112,000

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Tourbillon titanium

vacheron constantin overseas tourbillon titanium dial

The Alpine Eagle’s swirling iris is beautiful, but the original under-the-radar piece with an incredible blue dial was the Vacheron Constantin Overseas. While the time-only variants popularised the model, it’s the high-end pieces that make the most of the plunging depths of the blue lacquer. This is especially true with the titanium-cased Overseas Tourbillon. Vacheron did a great job of polishing the metal which is known to be difficult to finish, but its inherent darker grey hue makes the electric blue highlights of the dial stand out even more. Price is on request.