There’s been a rumour whispering its way around the watch world for the past few months. In a surprising twist, the colour green is supposedly primed to overtake blue as the couleur du jour, but is this supposition realistic, or just grist to the gossip mill?
Image author’s own
When I was first approached to discuss this topic, I dismissed it offhand. As a watchmaker, I understand that the colour blue is not only prevalent for traditional reasons, but also for practical ones. Blue is a colour that can be created naturally, by heat-treating steel to 290 degrees Celsius. With the exceptions of anodised aluminium, oxidised copper, and PVD coatings, the colour green cannot be made to appear naturally. None of those techniques are pure; none of the results elegant.
Blue gives off a sense of tranquillity and harmony in the context of a watch movement. This is, I believe, down to its natural origin. Green elements in watches often look forced, or invasively manipulated. But things are changing. With the advent of new materials in watchmaking, achieving a green that is as comfortable in appearance as a blue is now evermore feasible. In addition to that, brands who are keen to harness the green buzz, but don’t have the capacity or inclination to create a new-fangled material to carry the colour, are exploring its application in more sympathetic areas of the watch – the dial or the strap, for example.
Image supplied courtesy of Meistersinger
And although I don’t believe for a second that green will ever overtake blue, it does seem to be the flavour of the week and is likely to establish a much more accepted position in the watchmaking spectrum.
One retailer that has given us more than their fair share of green watches is Harrods, London. Harrods’ traditional colours are gold and green, with many brands desperate to feature on their world-famous fine watch floor creating limited models for exclusive sale in the Knightsbridge store. Smaller brands like Meistersinger and NOMOS Glashütte have offered up dial and strap variants that are only available in Harrods, while bigger brands have pushed the boat out even further with watches built from the ground up to evoke the reputable style of this famous fashion outlet, with my personal favourite being the Hublot Big Bang Unico Italia Independent Watch in green. Made of Hublot’s own ‘texalum’ material, this model takes the show-stopping appearance of the Italia Independent model, and adds a splash of camouflaged cool to the range.
Other notable examples are the Panerai Luminor Marina 1950 Titanio with green dial and Harrods-engraved case back, and the Rolex date-just that sports a green dial with gold applied Roman numerals, encircled by a diamond-studded bezel that replaces the normal fluted style with aplomb.
With Harrods’ current showcase of 23 exclusives, many of which exclusive to the store itself, the exposure of the colour green in high-end horology has never been easier to appreciate. Head down to their Knightsbridge store and check out the Made with Love exhibition and the Brompton Road window displays to learn more.
About the Author: Fell Jensen is a Swiss-trained watchmaker working as an industry analyst.