Blue Dials For Every Occasion
It’s a dream come blue.
Originally published on HODINKEE, March 3rd, 2022
The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics just wrapped up, a little over seven months since the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics wrapped up. Time shenanigans aside, this will be – hopefully – the only time that such a discrepancy exists, which makes the watches being produced by OMEGA in recognition of each Olympic Games an interesting souvenir of the times we’re currently in.
To celebrate Japan’s second time hosting the Summer Games, OMEGA released a collection of five Speedmaster Professionals, one styled in the color of each of the five Olympic rings, and two Seamasters. Future oddity status or not, OMEGA tapping the Speedmaster Professional in the Tokyo 2020 releases came as no surprise – the pairing just makes sense. In terms of execution, OMEGA did a very nice job with these watches, the five variants for each Olympic Ring have their own character as standalone objects while presenting beautifully as a set. We have a single example of the Tokyo 2020 “Blue Ring” Speedmaster, which was limited to 2,020 pieces, available now in the HODINKEE Shop.
For a brand that has become synonymous with sapphire and ceramic cases, large, colorful, and unique-looking watches, and an overall focus on contemporary design, the Classic Fusion collection is remarkably understated and, well, classic. At its core, the Classic Fusion is a pure interpretation of the brand’s DNA: combining old world luxury with new.
With its satin and polished finish 45mm titanium case, this Classic Fusion re-interprets the very first Hublot by swapping its black dial for a brilliant sunburst blue while simultaneously introducing a power reserve and sub-register to measure seconds. The dial details of the Classic Fusion are neat, tight, and focus on getting the job done in the cleanest way it can. Rhodium-plated, diamond-cut applied markers jump off the wrist and demand attention with every wrist check, something that is only matched by the equally clean, solid pointed handset. To help keep track of the caliber HUB1602’s eight days (that’s 192 hours!) of autonomy is a power reserve indicator neatly positioned in place of a ten o’clock hour marker.
Like many other watch brands, IWC released its first dive watch, the Aquatimer, during the 1960s, a diving was growing in popularity. This model was slightly different from other water-destined watches at the time, as the rotating bezel for the watch was actually internal and could only be operated using a second crown on the side of the case.
This special IWC Aquatimer was created in conjunction with the Cousteau Foundation to commemorate Jacques-Yves Cousteau, a pioneer of scuba diving who regularly communicated the importance of protecting our oceans (normally with a pretty cool dive watch on his wrist). This is the Aquatimer IW3290-05 which, apart from the solid caseback engraved with an image of Jacques-Yves Cousteau, has a captivating bright sunburst blue dial with the only other touch of color coming from the orange-tipped arrow seconds hand. Hands filled with luminescent material take command of this watch, further assisted by chunky, raised hour markers around the watch. Legibility and contrast are top-notch here, making this modern day diving watch capable of far more than simple desk diving.
Ulysee Nardin is a fascinating watch brand that has managed to effectively convey the brand’s rich history via modern timepieces such as this Marine Chronograph Annual Calendar. The characterful components do not start and end with the case, though, as the dial has a lot to shout about here. Stark white roman numerals consistently help frame the watch. Things step up a gear as we find 30-minute, 12-hour, and annual calendar sub-dials at the three, six, and nine positions, respectively. Gothic-like hands allow this watch’s true personality to shine through. A handy date window at the six o’clock position is framed via a rounded disk, in keeping with the whole ethos of the watch.
The Marine series from Ulysse Nardin manages to offer the wearer a reassuring nod to a lineage from the brand while balancing the right amount of modern flair and distinction. Many different complications and versions of the Marine have come to fruition over the years, including annual calendars, chronographs, tourbillons, and moon phases, all complete in both steel and precious metal cases.
Comfortably sized at 42mm, adoringly finished to the highest German standards inside and out, and elegantly asymmetrical, we love the Senator Excellence Panorama Date Moon Phase from Germany’s Glashütte Original for all dress occasions, as well as for casual occasions where a touch of class can make all the difference. The stainless steel case assures that this watch is never “too much,” but the high polish has fooled more than a few folks into seeing white gold, especially when paired with formal attire. It’s an incredibly versatile watch.
On the galvanized dial, the show really begins. Here, an off-kilter moon phase complication is milled in-house using diamond abrasives to create the three-dimensional domes of the moon. The hand-beveled edges of the moon-phase aperture pull the eye into the tiny world it showcases, which is especially rewarding to explore with a loupe. Diametrically across from the moon phase we find the panoramic date display, sporting a new take on the traditional “big date” display.
When the Premier collection debuted in Breitling’s catalog in 2018, the new family was a quick hit for its novel style, interesting colorways, and smart use of vintage inspiration for its design. Much of this praise came as a result of one specific model within the new collection, that being the Premier B01 we see here.
Since its debut, we’ve found there’s a lot to like in this dress-chronograph design, which notably features twin chronograph sub-registers and a six o’clock date window, the balanced design resulting from a refreshed application of the Breitling manufacture caliber B01 caliber that powers it and which more typically is used to power triple-register and 4:30-date-window watches. For fans of dial symmetry, that’s an undeniable win. Add in the applied hour markers, the cushion-shaped chronograph pushers, and the tight, downward-sloping lugs and you have a one-of-a-kind visual and tactile experience on the wrist. Overall, the 42mm stainless steel timepiece is one full of elegant details and vintage-influenced, but unmistakably modern touches – its uncommon style reliably powered via a chronometer-grade caliber with a solid 70-hour reserve.