For the past five or six years, we’ve seen a massive parade of blue watches marching across the watch scenario. All brands – really, all of them – had a blue version of an existing watch to show (with or without success). So now that blue has become the new black, it is time for our dear watchmaking brands to come up with something new. And if that’s not entirely established yet, it seems that brown watches could well be the upcoming trend. Here are five of them, launched at Baselworld 2018.
Warm, original and a great match with gold, brown remains a very dangerous colour if it is not well dosed. Without jumping into gross comparisons, we all know that brown is not the sexiest colour. Yet, when combined with the right metals and used in soft tones, it can lead to a nice, slightly vintage-inspired piece, as elegant as the classic black or blue options – as the rise of vintage, patinated watches with chocolate dials attests. This year, at Baselworld 2018, some brands dared to create brown dials/bezels and here the five best examples we’ve seen.
Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time 5524R
Let’s get straight to the point. The first version of the Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time, the white gold 5524G, wasn’t a unanimous success. Too much avant-garde, too sporty, too cold. It took many of us some time to accept this watch and see that, in the end, it was quite a cool watch. At Baselworld 2018, Patek had a new version, this time in rose gold, combined with a dark brown dial. And in all honesty, it felt much more desirable like that – much more Patek in fact. The watch is warm and luxurious without being too ostentatious or too dressy. This new combination of colour is drastically changing the watch.
Quick Facts: 42mm diameter – 18k pink gold case – in-house automatic calibre 324 S C FUS – Dual Time Zone indication, day-and-night indicators for local and home time, date – max. 45h power reserve – brown dial and brown calfskin strap – EUR 43,210 – more details on patek.com
Rolex GMT-Master II Everose Gold 126715CHNR
At Baselworld 2018, the GMT Pepsi in Steel was THE talking piece. Its two-tone “Root Beer” sibling was less of a hot topic and, finally, the full Everose gold version was even less coveted – even though it was the first time that Rolex uses its proprietary pink gold alloy on the GMT-Master II. Yet, this 126715CHNR is quite a cool watch. Its black and brown bezel contrasts nicely with the warm tone of the gold case. If some would have loved to see a brown dial (more faithful to the original Root Beer versions), the choice of black keeps it relatively discreet. Inside is a new movement, calibre 3285, with all recent innovations of the brand.
Quick Facts: 40mm diameter – 18k Everose gold – in-house automatic calibre 3285 – dual time indication with central 24h hand, date – 70h power reserve – black dial, black and brown ceramic bezel – 18k pink gold Oyster bracelet – EUR 33,600 – more details on rolex.com
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Day-Date 70s
The 1970s are back – and their funky colours too. This explains the creation of this very cool (really, one of the best looking Blancpain watches we’ve seen recently) Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Day-Date 70s. The gradient dial is warm grey or cold brown (choose the description you prefer) and animates this usually technical watch with well-executed finishes. If we could have done without the day-date complication (which remains historically relevant though) and one or two millimetres less in diameter… it would have been perfect!
Quick Facts: 43mm diameter – stainless steel case – in-house automatic calibre 1315 DD – hours, minutes, seconds, day-date – 5-day power reserve with 3 barrels – gradient grey-brown dial, black ceramic bezel – distressed leather strap or NATO strap or steel bracelet – limited to 500 pieces – EUR 12,000 – more details on www.blancpain.com
Porsche Design 1919 Chronotimer Flyback Brown and Leather
When thinking about Porsche Design watches, one immediately conjures up a cold, technical, robust chronograph in PVD-coated titanium. Well, that is certainly the case, but there is more now that the German brand is adding a bit more originality to its creations. For example, the new 1919 Chronotimer Flyback Brown and Leather. Based on the winning design of the barrel-shaped titanium case with hollowed lug modules, it is fitted with a new flyback proprietary movement and features a restrained brown dial, combined with a matching leather strap. The result is a less technical, more elegant version of this original watch.
Quick Facts: 42mm diameter – sandblasted titanium case – proprietary automatic calibre WERK 01-200 – chronograph with flyback and date functions – 48h power reserve – brown dial and leather strap – EUR 5,950 – More details on porsche-design.com
Oris Aquis Date 43.5mm Brown Dial/Bezel
Last but not least, one of our favourite dive watches here at MONOCHROME, the Oris Aquis receives a brown dial and bezel. Usually presented in black or blue, with a very technical/tool look, the Oris Aquis Date becomes much more original, thanks to a brown dial and ceramic bezel combination. The graduations on the bezel are gold-coloured and the watch is worn either on a steel bracelet, or (preferably) on a brown leather strap for a desk-diver look. Still, the Aquis is an Aquis and remains a robust, instrument-like watch that is made for the depths. Best of all, its unbeatable quality/price ratio.
Quick facts: 43.5mm diameter – stainless steel case – automatic Sellita SW-200 movement, with hours, minutes, seconds and date – 38h power reserve – brown dial, brown ceramic bezel with gold-coloured scale – EUR 1,600 on leather, EUR 1,800 on steel bracelet – more details on oris.ch