Olive you so much! The best olive-green watch dials including Seiko, Oris and Longines (Pt 1)Thor Svaboe
Green is the new blue, someone told us last year and, with the benefit of hindsight, this might well be the case. The evidence from 2020 and the early months of this year was saturated with gorgeous greens from lime flash to mossy dark elegance. Amid this sea of green, one of my favourite shades is the downplayed formality of olive tones. This is a distinct sub trend that started two or three years ago and anchors the bold notion of colour with a subdued panache. This particular segment of the green spectrum with its darker, more subtle nuances and hints of grey and brown, is as versatile as it is eye-catching. It actually proved quite difficult to pick my goal of five, so here are 10 examples of the best olive-green watch dials from refined dress pieces to military-tough field watches.
Farer Field Watch Exmoor
Farer has built a reputation as a small brand with an emphasis on vintage inspiration, often slim of design with fresh colours and bags of personality to spice things up and take them to another level. What distinguishes Farer from the microbrand pack is a British sartorial take on the simple, mechanical wristwatches we love, from dress watches to chronographs, infused with a quality that belies the price point. In particular, their use of colour consistently excites. And in this, the Exmoor variant of their new field watch range, they don’t disappoint. With a classic pointer date function, this pragmatic field watch has the calmness of an olive almost mossy green dial with cheery pops of blue and orange to make it seriously stand out from the crowd. Admittedly, it is a field watch and would love nothing more to sit tight on its tough NATO strap under your woolly jumper as you bound across the moors. That being said, it’s easily transformed. Farer have generously supplied both a quick-change steel bracelet and a soft vintage leather strap if you’re feeling a bit more “shirty”. Price: $995USD
I would happily admit that this particular reference from Longines got us hooked and popped up in multiple stories on Time+Tide for a reason. I have had the pleasure of a weekend with the Longines HydroConquest on the wrist, and it is an intriguing mix of quiet elegance and tough sports. The 41mm diameter is perfectly proportioned with what is one of the best lug shapes for a Swiss diver, broad-shouldered and ergonomically downturned. Another masterstroke from the Swiss value brand is a textured olive green rubber strap that offers great comfort on the wrist. Dial work is on point, as usual for Longines, but especially here. The bold applied indices and HydroConquest sword hands make for a delicious contrast to the quiet demeanour of the matte olive dial and a fitting stage for the winged logo. Price: $2400 AUD.
Seiko Presage SRPF41J1
Seiko has strong dial game and here’s their 2020 take on olive green in a distinctly textured limited edition. The SRPF41J is a Presage case design we know from the Cocktail Time series, but delightfully reduced to what is, for me, a rather perfect 38.5mm. With a short lug to lug of less than 46mm, this is a dressy and rich design that once again has me lost in the dial. The olive green is an intensely detailed surface close to a moss green, that undegoes a chameleonic shift throughout the light in the cycle of a day. The polished, traditional Arabic numerals sit in delicate contrast to the deep rustic feel of the degrade green surface with its light centre. Once again it raises the question: how does Seiko manage their dial magic within the constraints of mass production and at this price? The automatic movement is the tried and tested 4R35 we know from the Prospex range, and the watch sits on a soft, vintage two-stitch strap with a deployant buckle. Read our full story here, and you’ll discover some huge value with full in-house production at just $750AUD.
Oris Divers 65 40mm
OK, I might stretch the olive colour swatch towards a darker green here, but it’s worth it. The Oris Divers 65 in 40mm is a watch I have tried on, and it is as close as you can get to a slim vintage sports watch as any. It comes on a tapered, riveted bracelet with a luscious green dial, seriously matched for richness in the golden sword hands and beige Super-Luminova application to the classic skin diver indices. I would love a no-date version, but the small, dark date window perched atop the 6 o’clock index is a perfect piece of graphic design at the base of the dial, so we’ll leave it alone. For me the icing on the cake is Oris’ own take on two-tone, in the richness of bronze used for the slim, period-perfect bezel framing the box sapphire crystal. The Oris 65 is powered by a 38 hour power reserve Sellita SW 200-1 automatic. Price: $2300 USD
Seiko Prospex SPB153J1 “Captain Willard”
Just like its sibling, the Seiko SPB151J, the SPB153J is a slightly more modern interpretation of the famous Seiko ref.6105 “Willard”. Featuring a dark olive green dial and bezel, the iconic flat case shape is as comfortable on the wrist as the black silicone strap that fastens it there. While the green was new for 2020, it certainly offers the flavour of a military watch, just like the original 6105. Have a good look at it in our story here, and you’ll easily understand why a Seiko designer managed to push through the idea of (shock, horror!) proposing a brand new colour to the rebirth of the medium-priced version of their razor-sharp SLA033, the pitch perfect connoisseur’s 6105. The olive green dial and strap look at home and, as many times before, only underline the bang-for-buck dial details of a Seiko Prospex right down to the delightful pop of red on the lollipop seconds hand. Price $1695AUD