Black watches from Baselworld Black is black
... sometimes even blacker than black. Watchmakers are increasingly turning to the dark side to create “total black” models. This is the first part of our mini-series on black watches.
As we saw at Baselworld, black watches are in. And we’re not just talking about watches with a black dial and a black strap: no, watches are increasingly sporting ultra-black cases and even black movements, particularly in skeleton watches. So, following on from the automotive industry’s flirtation with black vehicles of every size and shape, watchmaking is going full black, and every style of watch is affected: sports watches, classic watches, haute horlogerie and the avant-garde, as well as women’s watches and jewellery watches.
The cases of these “total black” watches are generally made of stainless steel, titanium or ceramic. While ceramic is relatively easy to colour, this is not the case with steel. Two coating techniques are used to produce a jet-black finish: PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition) and DLC (Diamond-Like Carbon). The majority of the timepieces presented here make use of these technologies.
Ultranero. The new Octo by Bulgari is defined by its colour. Produced in Finissimo Tourbillon, Solotempo and Velocissimo (chronograph) versions, it comes in a titanium (for the tourbillon) or DLC-treated steel case, and its dark looks are enhanced by a lacquered or polished dial and bezel, with matching alligator or rubber strap. The pink gold hands, indexes and crown – capped with a black ceramic insert – lift and lighten the total black look. Here, black provides a particularly elegant costume, particularly in the tourbillon version, driven by the BVL 268 calibre, the world’s thinnest tourbillon movement.
Raymond Weil also goes for the darkly sophisticated look in its new Freelander Squelette Black, whose black PVD-treated steel case, black crown, dial and leather strap are offset by the gilded indices and hands. The self-winding skeletonised mechanical movement, calibre RW4215, with its ruthenium finish, adds to the mystery of the piece.
Carl F. Bucherer puts a contemporary face on its famous GMT model, with a deep matt DLC-treated steel case and bracelet, driven by manufacture calibre CFB 1901.1, COSC-certified and capable of displaying three time zones simultaneously. The Patravi TravelTec Black provides optimum readability against its dark dial thanks to light-coloured hands, chronograph registers and indexes.
At Baselworld 2016 Chronoswiss unveiled two new models in its classic Sirius collection that are likely to appeal to the Lucerne-based watchmaker’s younger and more daring clients. The Sirius Flying Regulator and the Sirius Flying Regulator Jumping Hour, equipped with automatic manufacture calibres C.122 and C.283 respectively, feature a DLC-treated stainless steel case and galvanised black dial, giving the traditional regulator display and slim round case a very contemporary chic, amplified by a sporty red regulator hand and carmine stitching.
The stunning Epic SF24 by Jacob & Co., with its vertical digital GMT movement, comes this year in a Racing version, available in several colours. The all black model has a DLC-treated grade 5 titanium case which is particularly good match for this powerful-looking timepiece. Dial, hands, indexes and, of course, strap – everything is black, except for the name of the time zone city, in the iconic split-flap display, and the charming jumping hour cam located between 1 and 2 o’clock.
The new Academy Tourbillon Georges Favre-Jacot by Zenith has a 45 mm black ceramic case. The dial-less design features black faceted luminescent hands and indices, which stand out against the splendid movement: the new manually-wound El Primero 4805 with a tourbillon at 6 o’clock and a fusée-and-chain at 10.30 and 1.30. These are the lightest elements of the watch, standing out visually against the anthracite mainplate and bridges. The dark theme continues with a perforated rubber strap with PVD-treated titanium folding clasp.
TAG Heuer has also chosen ceramic for its new Carrera-Heuer-01 model, which is also available in titanium and steel. The caseband, lugs, bezel and pushers on the 45 mm case are made of ceramic, while the black cutout dial and its registers open onto the Heuer 01 manufacture chronograph movement, whose black upper bridge is skeletonised.
Total black is not a new idea for Hublot: this year, it celebrates the tenth anniversary of its “All Black” concept, and it does so with a rather contradictory piece. The case of the Big Bang Unico Sapphire All Black, as its name suggests, is made of black smoked sapphire. Every other element of the watch is black: the dial is black translucent composite resin, and the screws, crown, pushers and clasp are manufactured from PVD-treated titanium, as are the components of the HUB 1242 UNICO movement. As a final touch of sophistication, even the luminous coating on the hands and indexes is black! The result is a transparent all-black watch.
And there’s more...
In addition to the models presented above, the photo gallery continues our exploration of black with timepieces by Hamilton, Czapek, Romain Gauthier, Seiko, Ulysse Nardin, Armin Strom, Girard-Perregaux and HYT. Click on the big image at the top of the page.
The ARMIN STROM manufacture expresses the very substance of its founder’s legacy. Its guiding principle is that of reinterpreting watchmaking tradition. To this end, it applies the principle of...Find out more >
Bulgari has its own clear definition of excellence, which involves the perfect balance between design, added-value, quality of its products and its worldwide service. In the case of Bulgari...Find out more >
Watches of technical perfection and beauty, through tradition and the force of innovation. Carl F. Bucherer is an independent Swiss watchmaker with expertise in the production of precious...Find out more >
Chronoswiss prides itself on being an independent family-owned company that upholds century-old traditions such as enamelling and engine turning. It has always used top-quality components from...Find out more >
Czapek & Cie. harks back to the origins of one of the watch industry’s most prestigious names, which was born from the watchmaking skills of two Polish émigrés who sought refuge in Switzerland...Find out more >
Fabergé delights in producing the unexpected for its timepieces, much like the famous Imperial Easter Eggs for which the house is famous.Find out more >
Ever since 1791, Girard-Perregaux has been pursuing its course in the best tradition of Fine Watchmaking. The Maison’s history has been characterised by legendary timepieces that combine...Find out more >
The history of Hamilton is an exciting journey, spanning over 120 years from its foundation in Lancaster, United States to its present home in Biel, Switzerland – the capital of watchmaking. Today,...Find out more >
From the outset, Hublot has embodied design and innovation that differ markedly from the established watchmaking order. With the impetus provided by Jean-Claude Biver, by 2004 these values had...Find out more >
The pioneers of “fluidic time” have become specialists in something that had long been thought impossible: combining mechanics and fluids in a wristwatch.Find out more >
Jacob & Co. is an artistic visionary Maison that displays boundless creative freedom. Setting a completely new tone, both in terms of design and complications, it celebrates being different.Find out more >
At the time of the Brand’s creation in 1976, Raymond Weil wanted to bring luxury Swiss watchmaking within the reach of a wider public. This visionary approach, always dear to the three generations,...Find out more >
Romain Gauthier is a firm that has been built with care and patience. Using his knowhow learned over some 20 years in his native Joux Valley, and with his manufacture named after him, Romain...Find out more >
The history of Seiko is a more than 130 year story of innovation. From the very start, Kintaro Hattori was determined to be at the forefront of the industry and his oft-repeated credo was that...Find out more >
Over 150 years of watchmaking savoir-faire and technical innovation have made TAG Heuer a global reference in avant-garde sports watches. As it tracked the rise of sports demanding increasingly...Find out more >
Combining cutting-edge technology with a unique heritage from marine chronometry is what sets Ulysse Nardin apart from other brands.Find out more >
Ever since it was founded, Zenith has been cultivating the ability to open up new horizons by assisting with some of the most remarkable human achievements.Find out more >