Besides the standard black and silver/white dials, we would have to argue that blue dials are the next preferred choice on a timepiece. Sometimes blue dials can be more popular than their counterparts when featured in the same collection. Blue dial timepieces offer a lot of versatility. This dial colour compliments a lot of different shades and case material colours. Depending on how deep the blue is, it can go really well with rose-gold or gold cases and blue always goes well with platinum and stainless steel.
But is the blue dial overplayed? Is it over-used by watch brands? Blue dial timepieces have been around for decades. One of the first blue dials to appear in production was from IWC in 1967. In its early days, blue dials were reserved for limited edition timepieces for a lot of brands, signifying its specialty. This still is the case with a few brands today (think IWC, TAG Heuer, etc) even though blue dials are very popular in the modern age.
Even with its popularity, we feel that blue dials are essentially a timeless design. No matter how many blue-dial watches you see, every brand has its own take on it, making each watch stand out in its own way. There are also quite a few different shades of blue. From H.Moser & Cie’s incredible Endeavour Perpetual Calendar Tantalum Blue Enamel (which you can read about here) to TAG Heuer’s TAG Heuer Monaco Gulf Special Edition (read here), there is a variety when it comes to blue dials to suit all kinds of personalities and tastes.
With this in mind, we want to showcase some of the best blue dials to come out of Watches and Wonders 2023. Not just any shade of blue dial however as there would be far too many options. In particular, we want to showcase the navy blue dials.
This timepiece is a brand first for Panerai. For the first time, they have introduced an annual calendar into their Radomir collection. They have introduced two variants, with this variant being made from GoldtechTM with a blue sun-brushed dial.
The Panerai Radiomir Annual Calendar comes with a beautiful sun-brushed sandwich dial which is overlaid on top of the disc of Super-Luminova, with the deep blue accompanying the Goldtech™. This blue dial is perfectly complemented by the white and rose gold details (hands and hour indices).
Oris is accustomed to using beautifully blue dials on their timepieces, especially on their Aquis range. For this year’s Watches and Wonders, Oris released a fun summer timepiece, in either a beautiful forest green or deep blue.
What makes this Aquis model stand out from the rest of the blue dials in Oris’s range? It would have to be the combination of the 18-carat gold finish with the blue. The bezel has an outer edge made from 18-carat. The details inside the dial, such as the hour hands and hour indices all have gold finishes, which along with the white SuperLumi-Nova contrasts beautifully against the blue backdrop.
At only 5.3mm thick, the Piaget Altiplano is not only a stunning timepiece but a masterful creation as well. This new Altiplano Ultimate Automatic in Rose Gold is very much similar to last year’s release, now just without the diamonds and bling.
And the dial? A stunning piece of art. The dial is carefully created to be as aesthetically pleasing as possible. A half-skeleton dial is combined with an off-center circular sun-burst main dial in a dark navy blue. This is finished off with rose gold details that complement the dial and case nicely.
TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph
This list wouldn’t be complete without including a blue-dialed timepiece from TAG Heuer. They have released quite a few great models already this year, but a blue-dialed timepiece that stood out the most for us was the latest TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph unveiled at Watches & Wonders 2023.
The watch speaks for itself. A racing-inspired chronograph, the dial is filled with colourful reminders of TAG Heuer’s racing heritage and racing timepieces. This model has a signature blue sunray-brushed finish, which plays with light beautifully.
A blue dial with a twist. The Baume Mercier Riviera Azur 300m is no ordinary blue-dialed timepiece. Released as part of Baume Mercier’s 50th-anniversary celebrations for the Riviera collection, this new Azur 300m is a fashion sport-chich timepiece that can take a beating.
This diving watch comes with a smoked blue (or grey sapphire variant) that has a transparent wave decoration. A semi-skeletonised timepiece in which you can actually see the date ring underneath but not much else of the Baumatic manufacture movement. The transparent waves were inspired by the Mediterranean seafloor and the images of the ocean during summer. Perfectly suited for a blue-dialed timepiece.
One of our favourite blue dials released during this year’s Watches & Wonders 2023 has to be the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Moon Phase Retrograde Date. The shade of blue on this lacquered dial is truly breathtaking and deserves to be seen up close in person.
As the name suggests, this model comes with a moon phase indicator at 6 o’clock, which is beautifully decorated, and then a retrograde date indicator along the top half of the dial. The 18k white gold hour markers, and hands, along with the steel case and bracelet only aid this watch further in making it a visual masterpiece.
This year saw Seiko unveil a completely new watch for the brand. A mechanical chronograph timepiece. The Grand Seiko TENTAGRAPH is introduced into the world of chronograph timepieces with the precision of high-beat movement and long power reserve.
The Blue “Mt. Iwate” pattern takes inspiration from the mountain that’s visible from Studio Shizukuishi. The rich deep blue of the dial is a reference to the night sky above the mountain. The timepiece’s readability is enhanced due to the direction contrast of the large hour indices and hands, which have also been coated in SuperLumi-Nova.
With this display of different blue dials, the question of are blue dialed timepieces overused can be answered and safely put to rest. We think that while yes, blue dials are common, it is certainly not something that should be taken for granted. From even just the above chosen timepieces, it’s evident that no two brands showcase the same dial features. As we mentioned earlier, each brand has their own taken on the colour and finish of blue on the dial. And even if two brand’s shared this same dial colour and finish, what set’s them apart is the functions, design of hour indices and hands and also the material’s chosen for these features on the dial, which ultimately give the final touch to the blue dial.