When you try to picture the platonic ideal of a watch, it’s most probably tethered to a slatted metallic bracelet in silver or gold — depending on your preferences. On the undertones of your skin. On the jewellery you slide on every day.
Fashion has long gravitated towards black-on-black ensembles — even in the scorching depths of Spring/Summer collections — for its unparalleled wearability. Wave ‘Hello!’ to the little black dress if you’re at all sceptical. A tonal blacked-out edit is drama sidled against elegance, with a further kick towards a nonchalance that’s unpracticed and effortless. It’s a cool-girl choice. It’s Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen in The Row. It’s timeless, absorbed in a single, Stygian shade.
As luxury brands and Maisons continue to diversify their portfolios, it’s only natural an all-black colourway for their timepieces would be optioned for the taking. So, might we interest you in five black dial watches? They’ll go with everything. Trust us.
The Ralph Lauren Black Stirrup
You only have to look as far as Ralph Lauren’s trademark logo to realise how intricately intertwined polo is to the identity of the American brand. It’s a relationship easily uttered in the same breath, culminating in a spirit of equestrianism that continues to ride on, mallets a-swinging, today. The Black Stirrup collection is an update to the original Stirrup; a series of timepieces in 23mm, 27mm, 32mm and 36mm formats, now, dipped and dimmed in the darkened depths of matte- and polished black finishes. The tab-and-studded closure poised at the top of each stirrup-shaped case — which allows for alternate strap options beyond the tonal calf — takes the image of a rider’s saddle, channelling the timepiece’s equestrian ambitions one step further still.
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The Gucci Grip
It’s not the usual suspects — think: equestrianism, archaic House codes and all manners of brand-building — that informed the creation of the Gucci Grip. You’d be a fool to expect anything as reductive from Alessandro Michele. Naturally. Especially on a timepiece that looks a little more like a scaled-down scale; or a wayward WiFi signal. Rather, it’s the world of skateboarding that served as inspiration; specifically, the gesture of a rider’s sneakers gummed to a deck’s grip tape. The steel-onyx colourway of this iteration’s case, though? A real ringer for its inspiration’s grainy gleam.
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The Gem Dior
Gem — a phonetic mirror to j’aime, French for ‘I love’ — is a 2021 release designed by Victoirse de Castellane; a seven-watch collection marking de Castellane’s twentieth year with the Maison. Gem Dior is etched out in dials reminiscent of natural minerals, shelving a conventional circular-adjacent case design for a craggy, almost-octagonal-but-not-quite shape, angled and awry. A shape de Castellane calls “abstract-organic.” This specific option of a black mother-of-pearl dial worn pressed against black leather is, perhaps, an anti-thesis to the overarching convictions of the collection which headlines on bold, prismatic colour. Think of this edition as absorption of all colour, supermassive black hole-style, then.
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The Chanel Mademoiselle J12 Acte II
At the cusp of a new millennium, Jacques Helleu, then-Artistic Director of Chanel, released the first-ever J12 following seven years of dedicated research. Now, two decades later, the Mademoiselle J12 Acte II emerges in homage. The timepiece’s sleek, jet-black ceramic is a silky, high-heat — upwards of 1,300°C! — resistant and stronger than steel by seven folds; a time- and temperature-tested classic that will endure in both make and style. A super-sweet finishing touch? The Mademoiselle Coco figurine, tethered to this J12’s 18k white-gold crown.
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This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Hong Kong