With a still-ongoing pandemic, some might think it quite fitting that the Pantone Color Institute chose Ultimate Gray 17-5104 as one of its two colors of 2021 (the other is the cheerier Illuminating Yellow) .
I think it is a great choice that will hopefully inspire many watch brands to make gray dials in 2021. While in everyday language gray is often associated with tristesse, melancholy, and boredom, the neutral achromatic color is a permanent staple in fashion and interior design and considered an elegant, stylish color.
Check out these five chic timepieces with gray dials that are available now and decide for yourself.
Breguet Marine 5517: sailing with precision and style
It is hard to imagine a more elegant way to board a ship, boat, or yacht than with a Breguet Marine on the wrist.
The Breguet Marine collection breathes new life into the maritime heritage of the Swiss manufacture’s legendary founder, ingenious watchmaker Abraham-Louis Breguet, who was once a member of the Board of Longitude and chronometer maker to the French Royal Navy. The Marine collection is synonymous with sophisticated luxury sports watches.
Among the new fleet introduced in 2019 ago is a very classic three-handed titanium model, perfectly sized at 40 mm and featuring a slate-gray gold dial. The subtle hue highlighted by a finely brushed sunburst finish serves as a great backdrop for the applied Roman numerals filled with Super-LumiNova offering excellent legibility at night.
I am particularly fond of this design because the numerals rise slightly above the surface, appearing like tiny sculptures with rounded edges mirroring the Super-LumiNova-filled five-minute markers above them. This style is repeated in the minute and second hands. Another detail I find stunning is the trapezoidal date window.
The Marine 5517 scores both with its harmoniously proportioned appearance and its inner workings. Flipping the fluted titanium case water-resistant to 100 meters over, we are treated to an unobstructed view onto and into Breguet’s modern Caliber 777A.
The automatic manufacture Caliber 777A movement comprises 179 components and boasts a power reserve of 55 hours. Its skeletonized rotor, mimicking the style of a captain’s wheel, rotates above a bridge adorned with a unique style of côtes de Genève that seems to be inspired by the teak deck of a yacht.
The movement is equipped with a silicon balance spring and pallet fork resistant to magnetic fields and an inverted in-line lever escapement.
For more information, please visit www.breguet.com/en/timepieces/new-models-marine/5517.
Quick Facts Breguet Marine 5517
Case: 40 x 11.5 mm, titanium
Movement: automatic Caliber 777A, 4 Hz / 28,800 vph frequency, lever escapement with silicon pallet fork and balance spring, 55-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, and seconds, date
Glashütte Original SeaQ Panorama Date: vintage vibes with top-notch manufacture caliber
While the Breguet Marine is the picture of elegance on a yacht, you would be hard pressed to go diving with a more elegant watch than the SeaQ Panorama Date. Part of Glashütte Original’s Spezialist collection, the SeaQ Panorama Date is inspired by the Spezimatic Type RP TS 200, the first diver’s watch created by Glashütte Original’s East German predecessor, Glashütter Uhrenbetriebe (GUB), which was launched in 1969 during the era of the German Democratic Republic.
While the original was built as a rugged tool watch mainly to serve divers, the modern SeaQ and SeaQ Panorama Date’s design is as classically elegant as you can expect from a contemporary luxury diver’s watch that – despite adhering to all the strict requirements of the genre – can also effortlessly complement a business outfit.
If there was a playbook for sporty dress watches, or even dressy sports watches, it could have been written with the SeaQ in mind.
There is much to like, including the excellent legibility of the fine Roman numerals, markers, and hands, sturdy ceramic bezel, bayonet-mounted case design offering 300-meter water-resistance despite sporting a sapphire crystal case back, and the the brand’s own large date, fittingly called the panorama date.
On this two-tone version of the SeaQ Panorama Date, the date is executed in white against an anthracite-colored background reflecting the overall color scheme of the dial, which I find simply awesome. Particularly in combination with the pink gold bezel and the gray synthetic strap that adds a casual touch of class.
The SeaQ Panorama Date is powered by Glashütte Original’s flagship manufacture automatic movement, Caliber 36-13, which was introduced in 2015 in the Senator Excellence. “Excellent” seems to be the right term when you consider the many technical highlights of the caliber, which was designed for high precision, reliability, and ease of service.
Its one mainspring barrel offers a power reserve of 100 hours thanks in part to an innovative silicon balance spring increasing durability and precision. Fans of the Glashütte style of watchmaking will be delighted by the swan-neck fine adjustment spring and the three-quarter plate adorned with Glashütte ribbing.
For more information, please visit www.glashuette-original.com/collection/spezialist/seaq-panorama-date.
Quick Facts Glashütte Original SeaQ Panorama Date
Case: 43.2 x 15.65 mm, stainless steel/pink gold
Movement: automatic Caliber 36-13, 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency, silicon balance spring, 100-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; large date
Chopard Alpine Eagle: modern sports classic rooted in best traditions
From the sea we take to the sky – not with a pilot’s watch, as one might expect, but with Chopard’s Alpine Eagle as a stylish companion.
Introduced two years ago as a new interpretation of the St. Moritz, a casual sporty timepiece from the 1980s designed by Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, this young collection is Chopard’s current take on steel luxury sports watches.
As a nod to its unique Alpine home country and in accord with the brand’s commitment to environmental sustainability, the Alpine Eagle is dedicated to the majestic bird of prey. As such, it features a stunning dial décor with a unique texture mimicking the iris of an eagle, according to Chopard.
While I find that comparison a little far-fetched, I love this fine, bold pattern with lines going from the center to the outer edges beautifully reflecting light from all angles. The slate-gray dial has a velvety lusciousness to it.
However, the dial color is not the only perk the Alpine Eagle has to offer. Its case and integrated bracelet are made of a proprietary stainless steel alloy called Lucent Steel A223, which is in part composed of recycled stainless steel and offers improved hardness. The Alpine Eagle boasts a manufacture movement with an official C.O.S.C. chronometer certificate for proven precision and a power reserve of 60 hours.
For more information, please visit www.chopard.com/us/alpine-eagle.
Quick Facts Chopard Alpine Eagle Large
Case: 41 x 9.7 mm, Lucent steel/pink gold
Movement: automatic manufacture Caliber 01.01-C, 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency, 60-hour power reserve, official C.O.S.C. chronometer certification
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date
IWC Da Vinci Automatic: homage to a Renaissance genius
Originally introduced as IWC’s first quartz timepiece in 1969 – as part of the legendary communal Beta 21 – the collection is dedicated to Leonardo Da Vinci; legend has it that the renaissance artist and universal genius had a special passion for timekeeping. Well, so does IWC. And with its unmistakable character, the Da Vinci is definitely a modern classic.
The collection, which includes some highly complicated timepieces, features a purist dial with applied Arabic numerals, lancet-style hands, a discreet date at 6 o’clock, and the perfectly round and smooth case shape. The Da Vinci Automatic’s case includes lugs that add flavor to the style and provide excellent comfort on the wrist.
IWC offers the Da Vinci with either a Santoni alligator leather strap, which makes it a textbook dress watch, or a five-link polished bracelet for a sportier look. Both pair beautifully with the slate-gray dial that is my favorite hue in this collection. The color is very discreet and enhanced by a sunray finish.
The dial features a color-coordinated date with white numbers against a gray background. The movement powering the Da Vinci Automatic is Caliber 35111, which is based on the workhorse Sellita SW300-1.
For more information, please visit www.iwc.com/us/en/watch-collections/da-vinci/da-vinci-automatic.
Quick Facts IWC DaVinci Automatic
Case: 40.4 x 10.2 mm, stainless steel
Movement: automatic Caliber 35111 (Sellita SW300-1 base), 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency, 42-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds, date
Tutima Glashütte Flieger: many shades of gray
In recent years, gradient dials have made an entrance in all categories of watchmaking. While not so long ago most luxury timepieces were fitted with subtle dials, colors have come into play in recent years, from blue to green to red and even yellow.
Watchmakers and dial makers have several techniques up their sleeves for enhancing their vibrancy such as sunray finish, special decors like guilloche, enameling, and the so-called degradé or gradient style, which is distinguished by a graduated color scheme with intensity increasing from the center to the periphery, usually from light to dark.
There are some stunning and highly sought-after haute horologerie gradient dials, including Glashütte Original’s annual special editions in the Sixties collection and H. Moser & Cie’s Pioneer Centre Seconds Cosmic Green to name just two.
Another brand with a new penchant for gradient dials is Tutima Glashütte. And the Saxon brand has introduced a new version of its automatic Flieger timepiece. This robust yet casual pilot’s watch takes to the skies with a slate-gray dial whose color transition is repeated by its distinctive dark strap made of Horween leather.
At under €1,400, the Flieger is very reasonably priced, considering the prestigious “Glashütte/SA” predicate on its dial signifying its prestigious provenance. At the heart of the Flieger ticks Caliber 330, based on the tried-and-tested ETA 2836.
For more information, please www.tutima.com/watch/flieger-automatic-6105-31.
Quick Facts Tutima Glashütte Flieger
Case: 41 x 13 mm, stainless steel
Movement: automatic Caliber Tutima 330 (based on ETA 2836), 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency, 38-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date
* This article was first published on January 15, 2021 at 5 Of The Coolest Gray Dials From Breguet, IWC, Chopard, Glashütte Original, And Tutima To Celebrate “Ultimate Gray” As A Pantone 2021 Color Of The Year.