We observed the onset last year, but at this year's Baselworld 2014 it was evident: blue watch dials are increasingly popular—and an impressive, classy alternative to the more common black or silver. There are plenty of variations in the blue, running the gamut from sky-like to deep and dark. Whether intended to wear during sport or work functions, the following watches garnered our attention with their bright yet balanced use of the color. Among various price points and styles, blue bolsters these watch faces and their overall personality.
Vulcain: Aviator Instrument Chronograph
With a royal blue, rhodium-coated applies dial under a domed sapphire crystal—and a matching pusher, Vulcain's Aviator Instrument Chronograph glows beautifully. Although it doesn't have their specialty Cricket movement, it does boast a Calibre Vulcain automatic v-59 movement, in addition to nickel-coating and a skeleton rotor. There are 247 components to this piece, which features a center second chronograph, 30-minute chronograph counter at three o’clock and 12-hour counter at six o’clock. To round out the color's infusion, a blue leather strap brings the piece together. This Aviator Instrument Chronograph sells for $4,350.
The value for price offered by Denmark's Skagen is second-to-none. There's a delightful simplicity of design to their Ancher watch body, and it's also a fully functional chronograph. There is a deep, steady evenness to the blue dial, in delightful contrast to the reflective nature of its three sub-dials. When released later this year (slated for fall), the SKW6105 will sell for $175.
Rolex: Oyster Perpetual Milgauss
A "Z blue" dial lays the groundwork for Rolex's update to their classic Oyster case Milgauss. It's quite difficult to select another series of words to define the classy, yet entirely eye-popping color—accented by the orange lightning bolt-shaped second hand, and Chromalight-applied hour markers and hand. Rounding out the materials, 904L stainless steel superalloy (a Rolex signature) wraps all the color nicely. Inside this 40mm diameter piece is the 3131 Manufacture Rolex calibre. It's a different sort of Rolex, for wristwatch wearers looking to make a statement and it retails for $8,200.
Glashütte Original: Seventies Chronograph Panorama Date
Germany's Glashütte Original has added this edition to their 20th Century Vintage Collection. The Seventies Chronograph Panorama Date, features an entirely new chronograph movement designed and engineered in the watchmaker’s Glashütte manufactory. The blue dial is lustrous with a color gradient, showcasing the piece's luminous detailing—in fact, even the white gold hands are luminous. The price for this piece will be $14,900, on either the alligator or rubber strap.
Tudor: Heritage Black Bay "Blue"
The pre-existing line of Heritage Black Bay watches has achieved great respect, and much attention for Tudor. This latest iteration features a matte blue shade in the dial so dark that it almost appears black. They've also swapped out their burgundy bezel with a dark blue one and replaced gold accents. Accompanied by an aged leather strap, this is one potent piece. It's a 41mm steel case, with both polished and satin finish. Altogether, this beauty (with a self-winding mechanical movement, Tudor calibre 2824) retails for $3,100.
JEANRICHARD: 1681 Central Second Gold
A bright, strong blue lacquered dial set beneath pink gold-plated hands with luminescent detailing and within a polished and satin-finished pink gold case all define the bold power of JEANRICHARD's 1681 Central Second Gold. The watch feels respectably sporty and substantial at a 44mm diameter. With a Manufactured JR1090 movement, caliber JR1000 with small second module, self-winding—the piece is as internally sound as it is vibrant. The blue alligator strap with alligator lining seals the commitment to the color and marks a unique piece in shape and style. This refined, vibrant watch retails for $21,400.
Marvin: M126.14. ￼￼Malton Bathyscaphe Diver
A perennial favorite of CH, Marvin's latest in the Malton line will be the Bathyscaphe Diver—available in a series of colors, including a Blue Lake iteration. Within the range's signature cushion case, a rich, textured blue dial defines the timepiece. Every flourish to the watch design also represents functionality and, as far as divers go, the brand new setting device on the inner-bezel makes for an ease of use—as well as safety and reliability. Within, the watch is powered by a Swiss-made ￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼Sellita SW 200 automatic movement. Each piece also offers a rubber strap and Teflon diver's strap to switch between, based on usage. The Malton Bathyscaphe Diver will retail for $1,720.
NOMOS: Tetra Nachtijall
One of the four latest from NOMOS, the Berlin-designed, Glashütte-made Terta Nachtijall showcases a midnight blue lacquered dial and gold-plated hands. The square case provides distinction in a world of round watches, and the velour leather gray strap contributes to this as well. Inside the hand-wound NOMOS Alpha caliber, their now well-respected first movement ever, delivers quite a bit in a watch that's just 23.3mm in diameter. This piece sells for $2,320.
Additional reporting by Evan Orensten; Vulcain and Rolex photos by David Graver, all other images courtesy of brands