Green dials are the next big thing in watches

Humans are able to see a whole rainbow of colors, but when it comes to the colors we choose to buy or wear, we tend to lack imagination.


When it comes to clothing, most people stick to basic shades. The types of cars we drive are even more conservative, with white, gray and silver accounting for more than half of all cars sold in Australia. Watches are a similar story, too: statistics from watch market leader Chrono24 consistently show, year after year, that black is the most popular dial color for watches. Yawn.

But it seems brands (and their fans) are getting more imaginative when it comes to dial colors. Over the past 12 months, the big watch face trend has been blue, with countless editorials writing about “the year of the blue dial”. Models like the Tudor Black Bay 58 ‘Navy Blue’ or the Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Mariner collection flew off the shelves – demonstrating the watch-buying public’s appetite for more than black-and-silver dial pieces.

We’re already seeing glimpses of the next big trend: green dials. Green-dial watches have gone out of fashion over the years, with the color experiencing a mild revival in the mid-2010s that was quickly subsumed by a return to black and the ascendancy of blue.

Now green is back in full force – and we’ve found a few brands worth investing in if you want to get in on the action.

Seiko Prospex

Image: Seiko

No serious discussion of watches – whether affordable everyday pieces or the absolute crème de la crème of luxury wrist candy – can take place without mentioning Seiko. One of the biggest watch brands in the world, Seiko has been responsible for several world firsts in the world of watchmaking, including introducing the world’s first quartz watch. Prospex is their sub-brand specializing in diver’s watches, which are widely respected by professional divers and land watch enthusiasts alike.

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Seiko has one of the most passionate watch customization scenes of any watch brand, so green-dial Seiko dive watches are nothing new. But for those who aren’t so keen on amateur watchmaking surgery, they’re in luck: the Japanese firm has just unveiled a limited-edition collection of green-dial Prospex that pays homage to the island of Iriomote, a Mecca of Okinawa diving famous for its lush green views, surroundings and marine life.

We love a watch with a story behind it, and the Iriomote-inspired dark green that colors these watches is particularly beautiful. These might be serious tool watches, but such a hue is surprisingly versatile and would work just as well in the office as it does on the ocean. Selling between AU$1,250 and AU$4,995, they won’t break the bank either if you’re looking to step into the green watch wave.

IWC Schaffhausen

Image: Jamie Weiss/DMARGE

The very first green-dial watches were military watches, with the color chosen for its functional advantages over any sense of aesthetic brilliance. While many watch manufacturers have supplied the military over the years, one of the most famous is IWC Schaffhausen, whose famous line of Big Pilot models pay homage to the pilot watches the brand produced during World War II. .

Naturally, many pilot’s watches from IWC are available with a green dial, but just as military watches are only one facet of IWC’s work, it’s not just their pilot’s watches that are available with a green dial. In an industry that has often shunned the green dial (much to their future detriment, we would say), IWC has chosen to bless its dressier models like their iconic Portugieser and Portofino with green dials as well. It’s easy to see why, too: the color works particularly well with the brand’s consistent minimalist aesthetic.

Adding weight to the green dial trend is their latest iteration, unveiled at Watches & Wonders earlier this year: the IWC Schaffhausen Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Top Gun Edition “Woodland” – and while that might be a bit stuffy, it is perhaps the best green watch ever made. Not only is the case of the Woodland Chrono made of 100% dark green ceramic, but its dial is also dark green, while its numerals and indexes are printed in a lighter green hue. It also has a matching green textile/rubber strap. That’s a lot of green.

RELATED: IWC Schaffhausen has created the ultimate green watch

All we’ll say is that if IWC gets in on it, it bodes well for the trend. Watch this place.

H.Moser & Cie.

Image: H.Moser & Cie.

H. Moser & Cie., a relatively small independent watchmaker famous for its avant-garde designs, is also based in Schaffhausen. You might know them for their rather cheeky Swiss Alp Watch ‘Final Edition’, a mechanical watch that sells for over AU$40,000 and intentionally looks like a crashed Apple Watch. But their work doesn’t just consist of expensive gag watches. What they do really well, in fact, is make some of the best and most colorful dials in the industry.

Specifically, they are famous for repopularizing smoky dials, also known as smoky, shaded, or gradient dials. A complex process that involves a number of different dial treatments, the resulting effect is sublime, both shiny and matte, washed out and shiny at the same time. The smoked dials of H. Moser & Cie. are also available in a wide variety of colours: blues, browns, greys, reds and of course greens.

Their Streamliner Center Seconds is an example of the latter’s quality. A “retro-futuristic” masterpiece with a design inspired by the high-speed trains of the 1930s, its unique “Matrix Green” dial might just be the most beautiful watch face in the world. It is no coincidence that the most modern luxury watch in recent memory also has a green dial…

RELATED: The new Streamliner from H. Moser & Cie. is a modernist masterpiece

Let’s put it this way. Dogs can only see two colors: blue and yellow. Humans, by comparison, can see thousands of different colors. What we’re saying is that if you limit yourself to blue or black dial watches, you might as well be a dog, so exercise your primate privilege and invest in a green dial watch. Your eyeballs will thank you later.

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About Robert L. Thomas

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