It’s official. Pantone, provider of professional color language standards and digital solutions, has announced PANTONE 19-4052, Classic Blue, as the Pantone Colour of the Year for 2020.
Emblematic of heritage but at the same time highly contemporary and versatile, it should come as no surprise that blue dial watches have been growing in popularity for the last several years.
Here are ten you might not have noticed this year but are certainly worth a try in 2020, according to Tom Mulraney.
1. Bulgari: Bulgari Watch
Bulgari has had its hands full these past few years setting world record after world record with its ultra-thin, ultra-complicated watches. That’s not the only story coming out of the Italian luxury brand though. Somehow, its watchmaking division also found time to revamp the iconic Bulgari Bulgari Watch.
Created by the Bulgari brothers as an exclusive gift for their 100 best clients back in the 1970s, the popularity of those early pieces soon saw the watch evolve into a full collection.
The minimalist design is inspired by ancient Roman coins and features the Bulgari logo engraved twice on the bezel (hence the name).
Offered here in a slimmed-down 41mm case crafted from black DLC-coated steel, it features a finely grained and blue lacquered dial with contrasting gold hands and indexes.
The inner workings are just as impressive, with an in-house manufactured Solotempo automatic movement doing all the heavy lifting. Completing the look is a distinctively textured blue rubber strap.
2. Favre-Leuba Raider Sea King
Best known for its rugged and highly functional tool watches designed for very active wear, Favre-Leuba has built something of a cult following amongst enthusiasts.
You don’t have to climb mountains or explore the depths of the oceans to wear one though. The Raider Sea King has been designed for those who admire the Favre-Leuba approach to watchmaking but prefer to wear something a little less technical.
Offered in a smaller – for them – 41mm case, it retains the same distinct style and shape of the Sea Raider collection but with a different bezel.
The sunburst blue dial features faceted, rectangular hour markers and distinctive hands inspired by Favre-Leuba models from 60s and 70s.
A sloping flange for the minute track adds a sense of depth.
Don’t let its more casual appearance fool you though, the Sea King is still a robust tool watch, rated water resistant to 300m.
3. Grand Seiko Elegance Limited Edition Steel SBGK005G
It seems Grand Seiko is the name on everyone’s lips these days, and with stunning pieces like the limited-edition steel SBGK005G it’s not hard to see why.
Belonging to the recently unveiled Elegance collection, this model offers a more refined, sophisticated aesthetic. The 39mm Zaratsu polished case is slimmer than we’re used to from Grand Seiko and features softer angles, making it an attractive and elegant companion both on and off the wrist.
The highlight of this new watch, however, is its stunning blue dial with a delicate pattern inspired by the frozen snow perennially seen atop Iwate Mountain.
Visible from the nearby Shizuku-Ishi Watch Studio, where Grand Seiko watches are made, this snow is buffeted by strong winds, causing it to crack.
This natural phenomenon is replicated here in a range of blue tones emanating from the centre of the dial.
Limited to 1,500 pieces, the SBGK005G in steel is powered by the in-house, hand-wound Calibre 9S63.
4. ICE-Watch ICE star Black deep blue
Mysterious, feminine and incredibly chic, the ICE star black deep blue will turn heads with its glossy deep midnight blue dial framed by a bezel studded with sparkling Swarovski crystals.
At 40mm in diameter, the black polyamide case is the ideal size for making a statement on the wrist and is paired with a silicon strap offering versatility and comfort. Luminous Arabic numerals denote the hours at 3, 6 and 9 while Swarovski crystals adorn the remaining indexes, with the exception of 12 o’clock which features an upside-down triangle.
More than just a glamour queen, the ICE star black deep blue is rated water resistant to 100m, meaning it won’t be out of place whether you’re at a cocktail party or a pool party.
5. Hublot Big Bang Unico Blue Magic 45mm
Always one to fully embrace trends, Swiss watch manufacturer Hublot wasn’t satisfied with just making a blue dial. Instead, it made the whole watch blue.
Which is just as well, given that there’s not really that much of a dial to speak of on this particular model. At least not in the traditional sense.
Renowned for its mastery of high-tech materials, Hublot spent four years researching and developing techniques for creating vividly colored polished ceramic watch cases.
The latest example comes in the form of the Big Bang Unico Magic Blue, which boasts a 45mm case and bezel crafted from polished blue ceramic.
The open-worked dial, in a mixture of blue and black, offers a bird’s eye view of the HUB1242 self-winding chronograph movement below.
Designed and manufactured in-house, it boasts a healthy 72-hour power reserve. Completing the look is a black and blue structured lined rubber strap closed by a black ceramic and black-plated titanium deployant buckle clasp.
About the author: Tom Mulraney is a 10-year veteran of the watch industry. He is the publisher and editor of The Watch Lounge, a digital magazine with a unique take on the world of luxury watches. www.thewatchlounge.com