Colorful Gray: 14 Watches With Gray Dials


Trendy watches of the past few years have been mainly blue and green. Now we’re seeing something completely new: gray. So take a few minutes to view some of today’s most exciting gray watches and immerse yourself in the diversity of color. It’s time well spent.

Bell & Ross BR 05 Grey Steel — Stainless-steel case, 40 mm in diameter, water resistant to 100 meters; Caliber BR-CAL.321 with wheel-shaped, openworked rotor (Sellita SW300-1), automatic, 38-hour power reserve; Stainless-steel bracelet with folding clasp $4,400 on rubber strap, $4,900 on bracelet
Armin Strom Tribute 1 — Stainless steel, 38 mm in diameter, water resistant to 50 meters; hand-decorated manufacture Caliber AMW21, hand-winding, barrel integrated into the dial with white-gold bridge, 100-hour power reserve; gray Alcantara calfskin strap with stainless-steel folding clasp; limited to 25 pieces, $15,600
Chopard Alpine Eagle — Stainless-steel case, 41 mm in diameter, water resistant to 100 meters; manufacture Caliber 01.01-C, automatic, chronometer, 60-hour power reserve; stainless-steel bracelet with folding clasp, $12,800

Watches have become noticeably more colorful during the past decade. As recently as 2010, luxury watches were still mainly an achromatic affair — with white or black dials and silvery steel cases, at most there was a singular red hand. But this situation soon changed. Colorful dials and bracelets became more frequent, and materials like rubber invited designers to play with color. In the second half of the decade, watches at first became blue, and later, more and more models appeared in green. Both trends continue to this day. But in 2021, a completely different hue moved into the limelight: gray.

Longines Hydroconquest — Stainless steel, 41 mm in diameter, partially PVD-coated, ceramic bezel insert, water resistant to 300 meters; Caliber L888.5 (ETA A31.L11), automatic, 72-hour power reserve; rubber strap, folding clasp with safety push-buttons, $1,800
Nomos Glashütte Club Campus 38 Absolute Gray — Stainless steel, 38.5 mm in diameter, water resistant to 100 meters; caseback can be engraved with up to 88 characters; Caliber Alpha, manual winding, 43-hour power reserve; black strap made of anthracite-colored calfskin suede, $1,650
Hublot Big Bang Integral Grey Ceramic — Ceramic case, 42 mm in diameter, water resistant to 100 meters; manufacture Caliber HUB 1280, automatic, 72-hour power reserve; ceramic bracelet with titanium folding clasp, $23,100

The surprising thing is that none of these gray watches looks gray — at least, not in the sense that people often associate with gray — drab, boring or inconspicuous. These watches are different. They stride onto a watch stage that is much more colorful and diverse than ever before. Today, any color is conceivable, even for a luxury watch, both in terms of technical feasibility and public acceptance. A watch that’s gray could just as easily be green, blue or red. Against this background, the conscious decision in favor of gray becomes a statement, and the effect is totally different than it would have been in 2010.

Bulgari Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar — Titanium, 40 mm in diameter, 5.8 mm in height (world’s slimmest perpetual calendar); manufacture Caliber BVL 305, automatic with micro-rotor, 60-hour power reserve; titanium bracelet with titanium folding clasp, $59,000
Tutima Glashütte Flieger — Stainless steel, 41 mm in diameter, water-resistant to 100 meters; modified ETA 2836, automatic movement; Horween leather strap with pin buckle, $1,650
Oris Big Crown Hölstein Edition 2021 — Stainless steel, 38 mm in diameter, water resistant to 50 meters; back engraved with the Oris bear; manufacture Caliber 403, automatic, resistant to magnetic fields, 120-hour power reserve; gray leather strap with quick-change system; limited to 250 pieces, $3,900

At the same time, gray is the antithesis to the world of colorful diversity. It invites its viewer to rest, pause and take a breather. Gray has another fascinating quality: it’s not one-dimensional because not all grays are the same. On the one hand, this is due to the proportions of white and black, which make the gray look darker or lighter. On the other hand, some gray tones look almost colorful because they change to green, blue or brown, depending on the lighting.

Sinn 358 Sa Flieger DS — Stainless steel, 42 mm in diameter, water-resistant to 100 meters, protected against low pressure Ar-Dehumidifying technology; dial with manually crafted decorative pattern; Caliber Sellita SW500, automatic, with chronograph function; textile strap with pin buckle, $3,050
Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 925 — Silver case, bezel with aluminum inlay 39 mm in diameter, water resistant to 200 meters; manufacture Caliber MT5400 with silicon hairspring, automatic, chronometer, 70-hour power reserve; taupe-colored textile strap with silver stripe, pin buckle, $4,300
Norqain Adventure Sport — Stainless-steel case, bezel with ceramic inlay, 42 mm in diameter, water resistant to 100 meters; Caliber NN08 (SW 200-1), automatic, 38-hour power reserve; stainless-steel bracelet with folding clasp, $2,190
A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus — White-gold case, 40.5 mm in diameter, water resistant to 120 meters; manufacture Caliber L155.1, automatic, 50-hour power reserve; rubber strap with pin buckle, $43,500
Seiko Prospex 1970 Diver’s Modern Re-interpretation SPB237 — Stainless-steel case, 42.7 mm in diameter, water resistant to 200 meters; manufacture Caliber 6R35, automatic, 70-hour power reserve; polyester strap with pin buckle, $1,300

A version of this article appears in the WatchTime Special Design Issue 2022, on sale now.

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  1. Araz Melkonian

    Very nice article, I would have added Rolex Yacht Master 40 mm Rhodium dial to this collection.

    Reply
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