Colours can add oomph to a simple timepiece effortlessly and start a conversation without cue (case in point: these emerald-hued watches), but we understand that not everyone can stomach a sprightly-coloured watch with a business suit. As such, we’ve gone right the other way, scouring the darkest corners of the horological world to bring you these all-black watches.
As enigmatic as they might look, the all-black watch was first seen on the wrist of Ferdinand Alexander Porsche. The founder of Porsche Design created a chronograph watch which featured a stainless steel case that was powder-coated in black. It wasn’t long before the big boys like Tag Heuer and IWC caught up to the trend.
Technologies have evolved over the years — physical vapour deposition (PVD) is now the de facto method instead of powder-coating — but the modernity of these low-contrast timepieces have transcended trends, lending a tough-guy aesthetic while still keeping the sophistication alive.
Sleek, contemporary — and honestly, quite badass — these watches are a masterclass on how a good dose of black magic can make all the difference.
Black has always been known to be a slimming colour, but Bvlgari’s Octo Ultranero Chronograph doesn’t need to be toned down. The famous eight-sided silhouette takes its functionality to the dark side this season, shedding all colour with the 41mm watch. The iconic octagonal case gets its brooding good looks with a little help from jet-black DLC on its stainless steel case, complemented by an equally darkened V-shaped, three-counter layout against the matte black dial. The rubber strap adds a good dose of functionality — it is, after all, an instrument watch.
First offered as a limited edition of 500 pieces each for the basic model of the BR-01 and its chronograph version, the striking Phantom colourway now finds itself on the BR-03. The hefty 42mm timepiece is — as its name suggests — designed to go undetected, and manages to keep a low profile with a thickness of just under 10mm. Like many of Bell & Ross’ creations, the BR 03-92 references cockpit board instruments through its mechanical automatic movement humming under the black dial with appliqué metal indices and numerals. A matte black ceramic case protects the watch by being highly scratch resistant, and the black rubber bracelet can be interchanged for a heavy-duty canvas variation.
Infusing the Classic Fusion with his signature faceted aesthetics, contemporary French artist Richard Orlinski brings to life his graphic universe in this collaboration with Hublot. The result is a case with a few extra panels and cuts, creating a Neo-futuristic timepiece that spans 45mm wide and 13.4mm thick. The black ceramic case houses a complex skeletal dial, which reveals a black-plated amalgamation of a self-winding HUB1155 chronograph movement, polished hands and intricately etched-out numerals. The S$25,700 timepiece comes with a 42-hour power reserve and is water resistant to 50m.
Ever since Buzz Aldrin took the original “Moonwatch” along for the history-making Apollo 11 ride, Omega has been very public about its relationship with the moon; its Dark Side of the Moon series, specifically, celebrates the lesser-seen side of our most loyal satellite. Out of the many versions, the Black Black stands out for being a faithful representation, with its case, matte ceramic dial, applied indices, and even its Super-Luminova fashioned out of the raven hue. The same Omega Co-Axial 9300 calibre powers the running seconds at 9 and 30-minute, and 12-hour chronograph counters at 3 o’clock.
Audemars Piguet does a subtle rendition of its famous grand complication this year by fashioning it in black ceramic, a material that the brand hasn’t been shy to use on its Royal Oak line. Beneath the sapphire dial lies black counters and a black inner bezel, punctuated only by white gold applied hour-markers and Royal Oak hands. Its self-winding calibre 2885 features an impressive mix of minute repeater, perpetual calendar, moon-phase indicator and split-seconds chronograph — a delicate display of how old-world horlogerie finesse can co-exist with new age materials.