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Color theory

COLOR THEORY

WHEN IT COMES TO THROWING SHADE, THESE WATCHES DON’T STOP AT THE DIAL

Blue and green dials have been on-trend in luxury watches for years. But for those who want to make an even bolder statement on their wrists, nothing speaks louder than a watch that fully embraces color, case and all.

While PVD coatings have been used to turn case metal black, blue, and other shades, using advanced materials, such as ceramic, makes the color more than skin deep.

Hublot spent four years perfecting its proprietary bright red ceramic, made by fusing heat and pressure through a special technique that doesn’t scorch the pigment. The patented material not only is vibrant and glossy, it’s also super-dense, making it even harder and more scratch-resistant than typical ceramics.

The audacious Swiss brand launched the material in last year’s Big Bang Unico Red and followed up with this year’s 45mm Classic Fusion Chronograph Orlinski Ceramic (US$24,100), a limited edition of 200 pieces powered by the skeletonized automatic HUB1155 chronograph movement.

Given that brand ambassador and French pop artist Richard Orlinski is known for sculpting animals in bright-scarlet chromed resin, the red ceramic was a no-brainer for the faceted watch case that defines the line bearing his name.

For slightly more timid souls, Hublot also makes ceramic cases in white, black, blue, and green.

Hublot’s Classic Fusion Aerofusion Chronograph Orlinski Red Ceramic
Hublot’s Classic Fusion Aerofusion Chronograph Orlinski Red Ceramic.

Ulysse Nardin also has been experimenting with alchemy, fusing lightweight carbon fiber with red epoxy resin to create the new Skeleton X Magma (US$25,000). The brand launched the open-worked Skeleton X line earlier this year, showcasing the X-shaped, manual-winding caliber UN-371 movement’s pared-down architecture, and dispensing with the dial for an unobstructed view through the watch.

While the Skeleton X is striking in more conventional materials, the new carbon and resin case transforms it into a futuristic 43mm beast. The design is further amped up with fiery red applied to the indices and its namesake X framework. Even better, the material’s inherent irregular, undulating patterns make each watch unique.

This year, IWC focused on its popular aviation range with several new models, including the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Top Gun Edition Mojave Desert (US$9,100), limited to 500 pieces. The military-infused design claims to be the first watch with a sand-colored ceramic case.

The 44.5mm automatic chronograph is powered by the IWC-manufactured caliber 69380, with a classic column-wheel design that pairs the chronograph function with day-and-date displays. The brand’s bidirectional pawl-winding system efficiently generates 46 hours of power reserve.

Endowed with a soft-iron inner case for protection against magnetic fields, a screw-down crown, and an antireflective crystal that remains secure even when air pressure drops, this robust watch is built to handle extreme missions.

The unusual color chosen for the ceramic case was inspired by the Mojave Desert, home of the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake. The shade, which perfectly matches the uniforms worn by Navy pilots, is created by combining zirconium oxide with other metallic oxides, bringing new meaning to the term “khaki fever.”

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