A watch dial doesn’t usually get a lot of love from watch manufactures even though it is the first thing most people look at when considering a timepiece. Unfair, but true. Most watch companies prefer to outsource dial production to specialists in this field, which means they get very little design variation apart from the standard black, white, silver and the occasional grey.
That does not seem to be the case this year, as some brands have gone the extra mile to create exciting dial designs that delivers an extra punch to an otherwise classic vanilla timepiece. Not exactly ground-breaking haute horlogerie stuff but sometimes all we want to do is look at cool designs.
Indeed what BaselWorld 2018 lacks for in uber-complications—this is not the best time to be hunting for a grande complication—it more than makes up for with awesome original designs that range from the intrepid to the ingenious. Take a look for yourself.
Bulgari Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater Carbon
Bulgari has totally nailed the ultra-thin watchmaking game. Not only has it managed to make four ultra-thin timepieces, but doing it while looking so absolutely suave should be the single most amazing thing about the Octo Finissimo collection. The Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater Carbon is what happens when a feat of engineering meets sheer design ingenuity. This watch is ultra-thin, has a complex case shape, made of a material uncommonly found among repeaters, and chimes beautifully. Apart from the case, the perforated dial, bezel, and the multi-part bracelet are also made of carbon, lending it a super-sexy ultra-modern aesthetic never before found.
Omega Seamaster Diver 300m
This newly facelifted Seamaster Diver 300m reignites Omega’s passion for the world of deep diving. Not only has it been given a new and improved movement Calibre 8800 which is Master Chronometer certified, it’s got a completely new design that includes a bezel in Ceragold or white enamel. More pertinently, the dials are made of polished ceramic in black, blue or PVD chrome and have a wavy pattern that’s a throwback to the original 1993 Seamaster Professional Diver 300m. To celebrate the watch’s 25thanniversary, Omega has created a special piece, the Seamaster Diver 300M Titanium Tantalum Limited Edition (2,500 pieces). Unlike the non-limited edition model, this commemorative watch has a wavy dial engraved in negative.
Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36000 V.F.A. SBGH265J
The 20th anniversary of Grand Seiko’s 9S calibre is a big event and the company celebrates with this ultra-elegant, super-precise new collection. Three limited editions all pay homage to the high-frequency movement while Grand Seiko’s award-winning designer Nobuhiro Kosugi had been tasked with created the new design. The resulting watches have a timeless appeal that’s spiked with a tinge of modernity. Accurate to a hair-splitting +3/-1 seconds per day (phenomenally accurate for a mechanical movement), the dial carries the VFA label which stands for Very Fine Adjusted. Grand Seiko puts each of these watches through a 34-day testing program. The dial is decorated with a unique engraving radiating out from the centre, and composed of the Grand Seiko GS logo and a special insignia used back in the 1960s.
Glashutte Original Senator Sixties Annual Edition
The fact that Glashutte Original owns its own dial manufacture means that the sky’s the limit for this exuberant German watch company. Over the past couple of years, it’s been experimenting with a plethora of colourful dials particularly with the vibrant Senator Sixties line. For 2018, it continues with this theme and shows a beautiful emerald green model with a unique dial finish you’d be remiss to not take a long hard look at. Covered with an intricate pattern that radiates from the centre, the dial is made by applying a 60-ton press that imparts a texture that’s organically formed rather than repetitive like traditional hand-guilloche. Also, the colour has a degradé effect that’s darker around the edges.
Rado True Thinline Nature
The design maestro is at it again. This time Rado collaborates with Grandi Giardini Italiani, an organisation promoting the rich heritage of grand Italian gardens, to release a stunning trio of nature-inspired watches. Themed on Earth, Water, and Leaf, all of which are elements drawn from a natural environment, the collection uses different materials to evoke the spirit of that theme. Painted blue mother-of-pearl is reminiscent of the shimmery surfaces of a lake; green mother-of-pearl is combined with a leaf structure on the underside to evoke verdant plantlife; and finally a unique metallised coating resembles the rich earth. Suffice it to say, these watches aren’t like anything you’ve ever seen.
H Moser & Cie Swiss Alp Watch Minute Repeater Tourbillon
Admittedly, dial design isn’t going to be the first thing you’ll want to talk about when you’re talking about this beautiful example of fine Swiss watchmaking, but can you really fault us for that here? Of course the movement is spectacular; there’s a minute repeater that chimes on two odd-shaped gongs topped off with a flying tourbillon regulator. Not to mention the fact that the case is beautifully produced and polished. But that dial; that dial is an art piece unto itself. H Moser & Cie had it laser engraved in a mosaic pattern before finishing it with a smoked blue degradé effect. Gorgeous!