Watch dials have undeniably gotten more colorful in recent years, but even beyond expanding the palette of tones and textures, some watchmakers have turned to the flora and fauna of the natural world for inspiration. Here are five watches that bring organic and environmental motifs to the wrist.
CHOPARD ALPINE EAGLE CADENCE 8HF
Chopard’s Alpine Eagle collection combines the design DNA of its first sports watch, the 1970s St. Moritz, with a modern, organically textured dial motif that evokes the iris of an eagle’s eye. The most recent addition to the avian-themed family, the Cadence 8HF, represents two firsts: the first Alpine Eagle in titanium rather than Chopard’s proprietary Lucent steel or ethically sourced gold, and the first use of the ultra-high frequency movement, Caliber 01.12-C, within the new collection. The movement achieves its astounding 57,600-vph (8 Hz) frequency via the use of silicon for many of its high-friction parts. Along with the eagle-iris pattern, and the eagle-feather counterweight on the seconds hand, the dial is notable for its new Vals Grey color, inspired by the rooftops of an alpine village. The 41-mm case connects to an integrated bracelet with a sophisticated array of finishes. Price: $19,000, limited edition of 250 pieces.
GRAND SEIKO HERITAGE COLLECTION 140TH ANNIVERSARY LIMITED EDITION
With a dial designed to evoke the natural beauty of tree rings, this watch is among several models that embody Grand Seiko’s “Nature of Time” motto. Its multi-textured, tactile wood-grain appearance, with subtle but visible variations in the depths of the rings, is meant to symbolize the growth of both Grand Seiko and its parent brand Seiko, whose 140th anniversary the watch celebrates. The 40-mm case is made of platinum and features a combination of mirror-polished and hairline-brushed finishes on its facets. The hour markers, the “GS” applied logo at 12 o’clock, the frame for the date at 3 o’clock, and the push-button clasp on the crocodile leather strap are all made of solid white gold. Grand Seiko has equipped the watch with the Hi-Beat Caliber 9SA5, which combines a 36,000-vph frequency with a lengthy 80-hour power reserve, and offers a precision rate of +5 to -3 seconds per day. Price: $59,000; limited edition of 140 pieces. You can learn more about it here.
MONTBLANC 1858 GEOSPHERE LE 1858
Tyrolean mountaineer Reinhold Messner’s solo trek across the Gobi Desert in 2004 provided the aesthetic inspiration for this special edition of Montblanc’s mountain-exploration-themed Geosphere, which combines a desert-toned fumé dial with a brushed bronze case. The case measures 42 mm in diameter, with the Geosphere family’s characteristic bidirectional compass-themed bezel, also in bronze, with a brown ceramic insert. The dial features a distinctive world time display, with two turning half-globes representing the northern and southern hemispheres, at 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock, respectively, along with vintage-look, gold-toned cathedral hands, a dual time-zone subdial at 9 o’clock, and a date at 3 o’clock. The movement, Montblanc’s automatic Caliber MB 29.25, based on a Sellita SW 300-1 and fitted with an in-house module, ticks behind a caseback decorated with an image of the Gobi’s Flaming Cliffs. Price: $6,600. Click here for more details.
NORQAIN ADVENTURE NEVEREST GLACIER
Norqain added the Neverest sub-family to its Adventure collection in 2021, with portions of sales from the watches supporting the Butterfly Help Project, a charitable organization providing aid to families of Sherpas who’ve lost their lives on Mount Everest. Most directly influenced by the Himalayan Mountain is the Glacier model, which derives its name from the cracked texture on its icy white dial. The motif emulates the jagged crevasses of Khumbu Icefall, the most challenging stage of the climb to Everest’s summit, and features red accents including the bezel scale’s zero marker, the central seconds hand, and the “chronometer” inscription above 6 o’clock. The 40-mm steel case has an exhibition caseback with a view of Norqain’s Caliber NN20/1, whose attributes include a “weekend-proof” 70-hour power reserve and a double-N logo symbolizing the Swiss Alps on the rotor. Price (on bracelet): $3,250. More on the collection can be found here.
ORIS BIG CROWN PROPILOT OKAVANGO AIR RESCUE EDITION
This watch’s textured green dial is inspired by the marsh grasses of Botswana’s Okavango Delta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site made up of grasslands, marshes, lagoons, and thousands of islands. Specifically, the watch pays tribute to Okavango Air Rescue (O.A.R.), an aeromedical organization that brings quality medical care to the locals and tourists of the African nation. Suitably for a watch celebrating the accomplishments of rescue pilots, this limited edition of 2,011 pieces hails from Oris’s Big Crown ProPilot family and includes all of its familiar hallmarks, including a coin-edge motif on the side of the case echoing the look of jet turbines and the large, fluted, screw-down crown that gives the model its name. Inside the 41-mm stainless steel case, behind a special engraved caseback, beats the automatic, Sellita-based Oris Caliber 751, which stores a 38-hour power reserve. Price: $2,500. You can read more about it here.