The 5 best yellow dial watchesD.C. Hannay
Summer’s just around the corner in the Northern Hemisphere, and it’s time to get outside, be active, and soak up that Vitamin D. Put those sombre greys and dark blues back in the watch box, it’s time for a sunnier outlook to match the vibes of the season. And there’s no more optimistic colour than a punchy yellow for banishing those winter blues. For the long, relaxed days ahead, here are five of my favourite watches that sport yellow dials that range from mellow to HELLO!
If these yellow dials aren’t enough for you, check out these full yellow watches.
Citizen Tsuyosa NJ0150-81Z
Citizen’s Tsuyosa has been a sleeper hit ever since it tiptoed its way into Citizen’s lineup. Enthusiasts have relentlessly stoked the boiler of the hype train, praising its Rolex OP/Oysterquartz vibes on a budget, especially this vibrant yellow variant, and I’m inclined to agree. For under US$300, you’ll get a well-proportioned stainless 40mm case with that angled Oysterquartz look, the still ultra-hot yellow dial, an integrated bracelet that riffs on another Rolex icon (the President), and a reliable Miyota 8210 automatic movement. Budget balling, indeed. Laying hands on one outside of Japan has been something of a wrench, but recently, it looks like it’s becoming more readily available. Your best bet is to search the specific model number (NJ0150-81Z), and you should see some options in Asia (and now Europe), as well as a good selection of eBay listings. Happy hunting!
Doxa Sub 600T Divingstar
A steep departure from the cushion-cased aesthetic typically associated with Doxa, the 600T is an unapologetically brash throwback to the brand’s unique ‘80s offerings. The sharp, angular countenance of the stainless 40mm case recalls all those iconic ‘-80s supercars’ wedgelike body designs, but make no mistake, the 600T is still a properly capable dive tool. Boasting 600 metres of water resistance, a reliable Sellita SW200 movement, and that super-legible dial popping with bright yellow, the Divingstar variant is my favourite of Doxa’s many colourways. Options include your choice of a stainless bracelet or yellow deployant rubber strap, and either a classic stainless or black ceramic bezel. My choice is the bracelet with stainless bezel for those old-school looks, but whatever you choose, this is a fantastically bold way to fly your colours all summer long. And Australian readers can get their own right here in the T+T Shop.
TAG Heuer Formula 1
I’ve always been a fan of the TAG Heuer F1, ever since the original fibreglass-cased version was unleashed in all its colourful glory during the go-go ‘80s. The modern 43mm stainless iterations are larger and more refined-looking, but still offer those brightly coloured dial options for those that are looking for something a bit bolder than black or blue. Of course, the yellow is my pick, recalling the historic liveries of classic Renault, Lotus, and Benetton team cars from back in the day. The sunray yellow panda dial is perfect for a racy chronograph, and pairs nicely with a yellow rubber strap. The black bezel makes for great contrast, but unlike the plastic originals, this one’s rendered in black PVD stainless. Like the originals, it features a reliable and accurate quartz movement, and is water resistant to 200 metres, pretty stellar for a chrono.
Breitling Superocean 42
Breitling is rightly known for their legendary Navitimer chronograph, but they’ve always offered a broad range of options, including some pretty capable divers. And flying in the face of the perception that Breitlings are too big for the average wrist, we have the Superocean 42, and this one comes equipped with a firecracker of a yellow dial. The dial is a contemporary take on the Slow Motion versions of yesteryear, but this is a thoroughly modern timepiece. Specs include a stainless 42mm case good to 300 metres, a chronometer-rated Caliber 17 movement based on the venerable ETA 2824-2, a ceramic bezel insert, and your choice of a stainless bracelet or black rubber. And with a 22mm lug width, this thing’s a real strap monster, so go nuts with your favourite summertime looks.
Rolex OP 126000
Finally, we get to arguably the hottest yellow-dialled timepiece out there, the Rolex Oyster Perpetual, now discontinued and priced well above its original retail. I’ve opted for the 36mm version, which I feel wears above its case diameter due to that eyeball-scorching dial hue. The OP is a fantastic, if overhyped everyday watch, with its 100 metre water resistance and chronometer-rated 3230 manufacture movement, and the dial has a perfect balance, owing to its refined applied indices and absence of a date window. It could easily be a one-watch collection, if only you could find one at a reasonable cost. Sadly, all of the OPs trade at inflated prices, especially the Tiffany-adjacent turquoise models, but there’s just something about this particular shade of yellow that does it for me. It’s a shame that these have become so unobtanium, but I’m holding out hope that Tudor gets more adventurous with the dial options for their Black Bay 36. You never know…