What’s the single most important component that dictates whether a new watch will be lauded or loathed by enthusiasts? Personally, I think a timepiece’s dial is the ultimate barometer of whether or not it’s a success. It’s what we look at most, and a beautiful dial has the ability to capture the imagination. There have been a bevy of wristwatches released in 2019 with gorgeous dials, and while we’d like to mention all of them, these five stood out as some of the best:
ANORDAIN MODEL 2 TORR BLUE
Scotland is not a location that immediately comes to mind when you think of watches with handmade enamel dials, but that is exactly what anOrdain offer. There is a reason you don’t see many watches with enamel dials, and that is because they are so challenging to produce. With each dial that anOrdain create taking a minimum of 12 hours, they are as rare as they are beautiful, with a glossy depth that only grand feu enamelling can achieve.
Ref No: Torr Blue / Case size: 36mm / Case material: Steel / Movement: Sellita SW-210-1 / Price: $1970
MING 17.06 COPPER
For a brand that has only been producing watches for two years, Ming have managed to create a remarkably consistent – and eminently recognisable – design language. This is clear in their new 17.06 Copper, an update to their original model, the 17.01. While the flared lugs express the panache of a brand making a name for themselves on the world stage, the gem hiding in plain sight on this watch is the dial. Its coppery warmth evokes the salmon tone used so commonly on the dials of mid-century Swiss watches.
Ref No: 17.06C / Case size: 38mm / Case material: Steel / Movement: ETA 2824-2 / Price: CHF1250
GLASHÜTTE ORIGINAL SENATOR SIXTIES
When Glashütte Original released the Sixties collection in 2018, the internet, while not breaking entirely, certainly broke out in applause. These delicious stamped dials, in an array of bright colours, are some of the best to ever come out of Pforzheim (a town that supplies most German watchmakers with their dials). Following that release was always going to be tough, but keeping the show-stopping orange variant up its sleeve was a masterstroke.
Ref No: 1-39-52-13-02-04 / Case size: 39mm / Case material: Steel / Movement: 39-52 / Price: $9650
The Seiko SPB093J offers all of the neo-classical design cues you would expect from a dress watch, with a couple of interesting features. With the date shown via a sub-dial at 6 o’clock and a power reserve indicator at 9 o’clock, the dial is asymmetrical while retaining its balance. The SPB093J features Roman numerals and brown alligator strap, which makes it an excellent option for a black tie event, and equally for the office day-to-day. A versatile expression of classicism.
Ref No: SPB093J / Case size: 40.6mm / Case material: Steel / Movement: 6R27 / Price: $3200
BREGUET CLASSIQUE 5177 BLUE ENAMEL
At first glance, the Breguet Classique 5177 Blue Enamel’s subtle details remain hidden. But this changes in a heartbeat, as you take it in with a longer view. The Grand Feu enamel dial is stunning. That almost goes without saying. But what really brings this piece to life are the minute and hour markers (look closely), the satisfyingly shaped date window (with expertly colour-matched date wheel) at 3 o’clock, and the ghost signature between six and centre.
Ref No: 5177BB/2Y/9V6 / Case size: 38mm / Case material: White Gold / Movement: 777Q / Price: $30,400