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Luxury Timepieces: Moving From Black And White To Vibrant Colours

Pinks, blues, greens and more; these luxury wristwatches will add a dash of colour to your collection.

Mitrajit Bhattacharya

The doom and gloom of the pandemic is well behind us and the luxury watch industry has witnessed a huge resurgence of sales across the world. And what a rebound it has been; Rolex is selling at a premium, Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe have long waiting periods, that too without any confirmed advance booking. While the craze for quality is at an all-time high, there has also been a distinct preference for colours. There is not a colour that’s not on the dial, even on the bezel, strap or bracelet. The mood is clearly bold, monochrome, solid, pattern, and artistic, but in colour. So, what has attracted my attention among the recent launches? Here are few:

1. TAG Heuer Formula 1 Chronograph

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TAG Heuer just rejigged their popular TAG Heuer Formula 1 collection with three stylish models in fresh, energetic colours evocative of the racetrack: green, yellow, and red. These statement quartz sports watches authentically capture the spirit of the first TAG Heuer Formula 1 pieces from the 1980s, which were known for cool colours and strong character. Over the years, green, yellow and red have been signature motorsport colours, carrying the legacy of the race car livery colours, which indicated the nation of origin of the car, its driver, or its team: British Racing Green, for example. 

The updated design codes of the three pieces are assertive and fun, with a harmonious and dynamic play of contrasting colours. The 43-mm case is in fine-brushed stainless steel with pushbuttons at 2 and 4 o’clock and a strong black PVD steel fixed tachymeter-scale bezel with positive numerals. The screw-down steel case back reveals a checkered flag motif.

2. Oris ProPilot X Calibre 400

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The joy of mechanics comes to the fore in the new ProPilot X Calibre 400, a titanium-cased watch inspired by more than a century of aviation heritage and powered by a five-day proprietary automatic movement by Oris.

When Oris introduced the Calibre 400 in June 2021, it set a new standard for the industry, riding on accessibility and reliability. With a 120-hour power reserve, anti-magnetic properties, and service at 10-year intervals, it debuted as part of the Aquis line.

Now, a year later, the ProPilot X Calibre that uses the same movement assumes importance as a collection using today’s tech-forward material- titanium featuring a simple elegance in the dial and has a blasted and satin finish look.

3. Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 40

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The Day-Date has always been exclusively made from precious metals, it was the first calendar wristwatch to indicate, in addition to the date, the day of the week spelt out in full in a window on the dial.

Rolex released at the Watches & Wonders 2022 the Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 40 in 950 platinum – easily recognisable thanks to its ice-blue dial – with a fluted bezel for the first time. A cornerstone of Rolex’s aesthetic heritage, this striking component, which is found only on some classic models in the Oyster Perpetual collection and until now has only been made in 18-carat gold, now exists in Platinum, a material that has a captivating white glow but is challenging to work with, especially when carrying out finishing. Rolex, therefore, came up with an innovative new manufacturing process for creating a fluted bezel in 950 platinum.

The new Day-Date 40 is equipped with Rolex’s robust workhorse calibre 3255 that features hours, minutes, seconds, day and date. And guaranteeing great performance on the wrist, the Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 40 comes with now a standard Rolex feature- the superlative Chronometer certification.

4. Van Cleef & Arpels Lady Arpels Heures Florales Cerisier

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A watch that is pretty and intelligent at the same time and available in pastel shades of pink and blue! Inspired by the floral clock concept imagined by Carl Von Linné in 1751, the Lady Arpels HeuresFlorales Cerisier offers a poetic rendition of the passage of time. This is made possible thanks to a special module opening and closing the 12 corollas on the dial. Telling time becomes a spectacle, as the flowers blossom and close, renewing the scenery every 60minutes. And a red mark on the side of the bezel marks the minutes.

5. Panerai QuarantaQuattro eSteel

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Panerai has been at the forefront of sustainability and much of its stellar effort recently has gone into updating its products that deliver on the goals. The Panerai Submersible QuarantaQuattro eSteel™ recognises the critical need for reducing waste and promoting the reuse of materials. Fifty-two per cent of the total weight (137g) of the watch is made of recycled materials.

Panerai chooses eSteel™ for its Submersible diving watches as it has the same properties as conventional steel, including identical chemical behaviour, physical structure and resistance to corrosion. The presence of eSteel™ is announced by a special engraving on the crown protection device and an inscription on the dial. Available in deep blue, grey and green, there is a wide range of colour options. Also, Panerai uses for the first time a high gloss surface on the unidirectional bezel. The dial has a polished finish and colour gradient that steadily deepens from top to bottom.

6. Montblanc 1858 Geosphere Chronograph 0 Oxygen LE290

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Dedicated to making professional timing instruments for today’s explorers, Montblanc’s latest 1858 Geosphere watch sees the addition of a brand-new chronograph movement, devoid of all oxygen. The ‘Zero Oxygen’ timepiece, made to work in the harshest conditions, comes in a limited edition of 290 pieces only. No oxygen inside the movement eliminates fogging, which can occur due to temperature differences at various altitudes. It also prevents oxidization. And without oxygen, the components last longer and help offer higher precision over time.

The watches come with zero-oxygen certificates indicating encasement without oxygen. These timepieces undergo rigorous 500-hour tests to ensure performance in tough conditions. Montblanc’s challenge with this timepiece was to take the watch on a real expedition to the tallest mountain in the world, Mount Everest.

The blue dial features a glacial ice aesthetic achieved with a technique called gratté boisé. The watch is also fitted with a matching blue calf leather strap with white stitching and a titanium deploying buckle. 

Photo: Oris; respective brands
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