There are few luxury items with the self-sustaining credentials of mechanical watches, their clever mechanisms merely requiring the energy of a hand-wind or your wrist motion to keep them running for years. All very green.
But one thing that’s hardly been green to date is the dial. Most dials have been white, silver, black or blue, meaning the watchmaking industry has managed to rack up five centuries of production without brands seeing a green dial as a go-fast signal for sales. Not any longer.
What began as a trickle – the odd green-dialled beauty from Panerai, IWC, Rolex, Oris, Montblanc, Rado – has turned into a flood, with nearly all brands signing up to the green push. It’s a list that’s now expanded to include the likes of Patek Philippe, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Cartier, Tudor, Tag Heuer, Audemars Piguet, Breitling, Cartier, Seiko, Bell & Ross, Hublot and Moser & Cie.
Barely a day passes without an email announcing yet another green-dialled watch pinging into my in-box. You might think this could result in an unfortunate watchy sameness, but rather than introducing new models to showcase their green coats, the brands are green-washing old favourites, using the colour to bring new life to looks and lines we already know and love – hopefully enough to revisit them in their new garb.
It helps that green is one of those colours that seems to come in infinite and identifiable variations. You can probably picture them: moss, bottle, lime, emerald, pea, sea, sage, acid, fluoro, khaki or that old favourite, British Racing Green.
That said, the most popular in horological circles have been the darker hues, some almost indistinguishable from black, the exception being Breitling’s choice of a rather vivid “pistachio” for its Premier B09 Heritage model.
Still, it’s early days. Whatever your favourite tint – dark or light, pale or punchy – chances are you’ll soon find one of the hundreds of shades of green gracing your favourite watch. In the meantime, here’s a concise horological colour chart of what’s all the go right now.
British Racing Green (BRG): Cartier Must de Cartier Monochrome, racy and almost retro. $4000 range.
Sober green: Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Small Seconds looks seriously bespoke in its new coat. $13,000 range.
Teal green: Tag Heuer Carrera limited edition (500 pieces) comes alive in this subtle hue. $9000 range.
Sunburst green: Tag Heuer Monaco acquires a fresh sheen that changes with the light. $9000 range.
Olive gradient green: Patek Philippe Nautilus promises a big return – if you can procure one. $50,000 range.
Pistachio green: Breitling Premier Heritage B09 brings a jaunty face to time-telling. $11,000 range.
Bottle green: Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight gets not only a green face but also a gold case. $22,000 range.
Palm green: Rolex Datejust 36 goes tropical with a palm-motif dial. $10,000 range.
Dark green: Grand Seiko SBGE257 GMT has second-a-day accuracy as well as everyday appeal. $9500 range.
Army “drab” green: Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Diver Military is limited to 999 pieces. $6000 range.
Moss green: Longines Spirit adds a contemporary take to a classic shape. $3500 range.
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