Monochrome Watches
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Buying Guide

Bored With Plain Dials? Take A Look At Some Of The Coolest Alternatives!

From space rocks to space-age silicum, a dial can be an incredible canvas for creativity.

| By Robin Nooy | 5 min read |

Watchmaking is often touted to be about creativity and expressiveness, but when it comes to dials, brands tend to be a touch conservative. Simple silver, black or blue, however beautifully crafted they are, can be a bit, well, plain. And to some perhaps even boring. Luckily there are brands who dare to break those boundaries of materials and opt for something spectacularly different. With that in mind, here’s a look at a series of watches with the coolest alternative dial materials around.

Omega Constellation Meteorite

Perhaps the most conventional of the unconventional materials in this selection is the meteorite dials found in the new Omega Constellation 41mm collection. Despite being seen in multiple brands and watches, there’s always something fascinating about them. And Omega being Omega, they’ve gone the extra mile to colour-match Muonionalusta meteorite dials to the material of the case, from stainless steel to Moonshine Gold and even Sedna Gold (other dial colours are available too). Backed up by Omega’s Calibre 8900 or 8901 automatics, prices range from EUR 8,900 to EUR 40,200.

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Quick Facts – 41mm x 13.5mm – stainless steel, Moonshine or Sedna gold cases – bezel with Roman numerals in relief – polished claws – sapphire crystal front & back – 50m water-resistant – meteorite dials in various colours – applied indices – hands with Super-LumiNova – bevelled date window – Calibre 8900 or 8901 automatic – MASTER Chronometer certified – co-axial escapement – 25,200vph – 60h power reserve – integrated steel, Moonshine or Sedna gold bracelet – EUR 8,900 to EUR 40,200

Louis Vuitton voyager flying tourbillon

The Louis Vuitton Voyager Flying Tourbillon and its Plique-à-Jour is an absolute thing of beauty, thanks to its very special translucent dial. Constructed of interconnected segments of Vs and filled with five to six layers of enamel, each dial takes up to 100 hours to perfect. This mesmerizing play of colours lets light shine through in an unprecedented manner, making for a fascinating spectacle on and off the wrist. Fitted with a flying tourbillon movement, and finished to the Poinçon de Genevè standards, the price for this expression of Louis Vuitton and La Fabrique du Temps has a price upon request.

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Quick Facts – 41mm x 11.68mm – 950 platinum case – sapphire crystal front & back – plique-à-jour dial with white gold V-shaped structure – translucent blue and white enamel – offset dial for hours & minutes – Calibre LV 104, hand-wound – skeleton construction – made in-house by La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton – Poinçon de Genève hallmark – 21,600vph – 168 components – 60h power reserve – flying tourbillon escapement with V-shaped cage – navy blue leather strap with platinum folding buckle – price upon request

Louis Moinet Astronef Techno

We’re bending the rules a touch since the Louis Moinet Astronef Techno is a unique piece and therefore not the easiest to get a hold of. Yet it perfectly fits in this week’s Buying Guide topic, as it uses a space-age silicon wafer for a dial. This undergoes constant colour variations under changing lite and serves as a backdrop to the two flying tourbillon escapements that rotate in opposite directions. Everything is visible under the sapphire crystal container that sits atop the titanium case. This one-of-a-kind marvel has a sticker price of CHF 330,000, but that feels a bit irrelevant for such a work of art, doesn’t it?

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Quick Facts – 43,5mm diameter – titanium grade 5 cradle – sapphire crystal container – 10m water-resistant – silicium wafer base dial engraved with microelectronic circuits – central hour & minute hands – Calibre LM 105, hand-wound (developed with Concepto) – 471 components – 21,600vph – 48h power reserve – twin flying tourbillon escapements rotating in opposite directions – function selector for setting or winding on caseback – alligator leather strap with folding buckle – unique piece – CHF 330,000

Hautlence Vagabonde Tourbillon Series 3

When it comes to unorthodox dials, Hautlence has always been ahead of the game. One of the brand’s latest creative outbursts, the Vagabonde Tourbillon Series 3, is a collaboration with James Thompson (a.k.a. the Black Badger) and uses copper-niobium superconductor for its base dial. The superbly cool honeycomb structure is further enhanced with deep ripples and embraces the wandering hours display. Set in a blue PVD stainless steel TV-screen-shaped case, and fitted to a white rubber strap, you can be assured this watch will get some attention out in public! Only 28 pieces will be made, for CHF 68,000 each.

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Quick Facts – 50.8mm x 43mm x 11.9mm – stainless steel with blue PVD coating – sapphire crystal front & back – rubber-clad crown – 100m water-resistant – copper-niobium superconductor dial with honeycomb structure – wandering hours display with rotating minutes – calibre D30, in-house (based on Moser HMC200 with planetary display by Hautlence) – 21,600vph – 72h power reserve – 1-minute flying tourbillon escapement – integrated white rubber strap with blue PVD coated steel buckle – limited to 28 pieces – CHF 68,000

Artya Son of Earth Dome

Toning it down in price and complexity, but not in dial appeal, the Artya Son of Earth Dome collection comprises of limited editions and unique pieces. Each one has a dial made of a specific natural dial, such as the Labradorite or Fluorite dial seen in the two editions here. The case can be in stainless steel or coated with black PVD. As hinted by its name, the crystal has a very strong dome to it and a very narrow bezel. Time is indicated by Dauphine style hands, and power comes from the Artyon automatic movement (2892 architecture). The price for an Artya Son of Earth Dome limited edition is CHF 9,900, while unique pieces cost CHF 12,900.

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Quick Facts – 41mm diameter – stainless steel or DLC coated stainless steel case – domed sapphire crystal – screwed caseback with sapphire crystal – 30m water-resistant – natural material dial – curved Dauphine-style hands – Artyon automatic movement (2892 architecture) – automatic – 28,800vph – 42h power reserve – hours, minutes, seconds – handmade leather strap with pin buckle – unique pieces or limited editions depending on dial material – CHF 9,900 for limited editions – CHF 12,900 for unique pieces

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