Watch retailers facing consumers torn between a timepiece that is petite and delicate or one that is big and bold will be pleased to hear there’s been a flurry of fashion brands combining the two styles to create watches with a dial that is large in contrast to its thin strap. When big faces and thin straps collide, the result can be striking.
A watch with a large dial and thin strap can work for watches with either a leather strap or bracelet. The resulting look allows the wearer to make the comfortable transition from day to night.
British brand Accurist has gone down the bracelet watch route. Its recently compiled Charmed range features timepieces inspired by jewellery trends. Take for instance, the Bangle models that take their cue from delicate bracelets combined with chunky pendants. Following a similar design blueprint, the watch’s elegant and thin bangle bracelet accentuates the size of the face, which although still petite, has a bolder look in contrast to its bracelet. The result is a classic cocktail watch, enhanced by a mother-of-pearl dial.
Georg Jensen’s concave collection also carries off the thin strap, large dial look. The Swiss designer behind the collection integrated the dial and the watch case into one form so that all visible elements of the watch are concave, giving the look of a single form. The model is available with either a calfskin or stainless steel strap. Once again, the case is not huge, coming in 39mm and 30mm diameter options, but in each example, the delicate strap adds the appearance of extra bulk. “The big dial and thin strap create a look that stands out in the watch market, where most round watches have straps with similar width as the dial,” says Nina Dalkjær, VP watches at Georg Jensen.
The look aligns itself particularly well with fashion watches, where buyers often seek something a bit different but on trend. Vivienne Westwood has adopted the style in various forms. “There has been a move away from the more chunky, bolshie watch styles that have dominated in recent years,” says Emma Cole, product developer for licensed brands at Vivienne Westwood distributor Zeon. “The trend for large, in-your-face watches has been replaced by a move towards more classic styles with cleaner lines and a more understated look.” She adds: “Paring back the width of the strap leaves more room to focus on the details of the watch face and can provide a more balanced aesthetic.”
Cole also points out that a thin strap and big dial can work in favour of the jewellery trend for stacking with matching bracelets and bangles. At Vivienne Westwood this style combination has been used to achieve a variety of looks.
For instance, the Clarity Bright watch, with a very narrow strap on one of the brand’s largest women’s cases, sold so well in its first season the range has been extended to include a variety of colourways. The style has also been used for the new AW13 Ladbroke II model, which features a skeleton dial set on a narrow, crocodile leather strap.
Other fashion brands using the contrast of a slight strap to emphasise the simplicity of a dial are Michael Kors and Fossil, both supplying options with leather or stainless steel straps. Different colour metals have also come into play with Storm maximising on different metal tone combinations. The Storm Zia is sleek with its ultra thin bangle and slim round dial while the Storm Aura has a slim enamel strap with a raised glass rectangular dial.
Lulu Guinness too has introduced pieces with the sophisticated strap partnered with substantial dial. “The large dial packs an instant punch, making for a bold statement piece usually associated with men’s and masculine styled watches,” says Jordan Crowley from Lulu Guinness distributor IBB London. “The thin strap then breaks this down, with the delicate nature of the band giving the watch a kind of dainty feel traditionally found in female watches.
The resulting look is one of a kind of ironic elegance, eye catching and strong but with an edge of gracefulness.”
The classic look is captured by Olivia Burton with its 38mm Big Dial timepieces with delicate leather straps that come in a range of colours. “The combination of large face and thin strap lends itself to a look that is more classic and understated,” says Jemma Fennings, co-founder of the brand. Coupled with the simplicity of the dial, the timepieces have a clean and timeless appearance.
Calvin Klein watches has focused on the juxtaposition of the proportion of the dial to the strap, with the intention of emphasising the detail and design of the dial and creating pieces that can be worn with a business suit or evening dress.
Delicate straps enhance a watch dial, while also combining masculine and feminine styles, to make for a piece that comfortably makes the transition from day to night.
This article first appeared in the October issue of WatchPro magazine.
To read the full digital version of the issue, click here.