Ceramic watches continue to make up as one of the largest watchmaking trends over the last decade despite strong competition from its ultra-futuristic counterparts, sapphire crystal timepieces. You may say that ceramic watches are more traditional or conservative, but there is a sense of timelessness that keeps its popularity going.
Needless to say, ceramic has plenty to offer in watchmaking beyond its matte, understated allure. The material is durable and highly scratch-resistant, meaning you get more mileage for your everyday timepiece, and is remarkable lightweight, so that’s comfort down pat. These watches are also unaffected by the sun’s ultraviolet rays, so you can count on your favourite timepiece to never fade or discolour.
If you’re in the market for a lifelong companion, here are the best ceramic watches to set your eyes upon in 2019.
Launched exclusively at the luxury online retailer to celebrate a resounding first year of collaboration, the Zenith Defy Classic Watch Exclusively For Farfetch is a suitably more futuristic counterpart to the recently-recommissioned model.
Its faceted 41mm case is now rendered in white ceramic, framing the intricate web that is the iconic central star motif and Elite 670 SK caliber within. The hyper-modern aesthetic is then matched by similarly-hued strap to make it extremely wearable for both day and night.
Ceramic watches often come in monochromatic hues — with the occasional blue — but IWC has sought to offer something a little more “military” this year. Rendered in a warm sandy hue is its Chronograph Top Gun, Edition ‘Mojave Desert’, inspired by the China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station, and its location in the arid California desert.
A dark brown dial and tan markings add a distinctly militaristic vibe, alongside a matching beige textile strap that’s lined with leather and finished with a captive deployant clasp. As with 2019’s class of IWC pilot’s watches, this 500-piece Top Gun is powered by an in-house 69000-series chronograph movement. In a thoughtful gesture befitting of the watch’s legacy, this aviation timepiece sees a double AR-treated sapphire case that prevents damage during sudden drops in air pressure – perfect for any daredevil flyers then.
Bulgari has always been in the business of the ultra-thin and ultra-light. This year, it stays at the top of its game with yet another for the Octo Finissimo line, a jet black Skeleton Ceramic timepiece that’s just as high-performing as it is slender.
Machined from black ceramic, the 40mm case sets the tone for the skeletonised dial within, which is open-worked to reveal the manually-wound BVL 128SK movement within. The extensive skeletonisation does plenty to elevate this watch’s sense of lightness, while the extensive use of ceramic throughout — both on the case and bracelet — adds texture and contrast to the inner workings within.
Utilitarianism has always been at Bell & Ross’ forefront, so what better way to present functionality than by reimagining a plane’s cockpit into a wristwatch. The Parisian-based brand has succeeded in making instrument watches for years now, but have outdone themselves in terms of design with its new ceramic BR 03.
Inspired by the analogue cockpit instruments and in particular, the vintage radio compass, this watch offers more complexity and depth than its other models, especially with the use of colours and sectors here. The central area indicates the blue-green Super-LumiNova hours via a triangle on a disc, while the seconds and minutes are showcased on the inner flange in a contrasting off-white lume. All this is set against a matte-black, anti-glare dial, which blends in seamlessly with its ceramic case to make for one seriously handsome timepiece.
Omega’s iconic Seamaster 300M has graced the wrists of elites around the world — James Bond included — so it comes as no surprise that it’s been updated with lots of easter eggs. The waves are back, for one, laser-engraved into the polished ceramic dial as a tribute to the original, and the date aperture gets moved to the six o’clock position as opposed to three. On the ceramic rotating diving bezel is also a diving scale that’s filled with white enamel for longer-lasting whiteness.
The Seamaster 300M has also grown 1mm bigger to become 42mm, making this a modern watch that would sit suavely on most wrists. Inside, the Master Chronometer Calibre 8800 movement is a force to be reckoned with — especially with certification from Omega’s METAS’ lab — and is anti-magnetic to 15,000 Gauss. Little wonder this is Bond-approved.