The timekeeping tradition dates back to ancient times when the early watchmakers employed a sundial to keep time. And guess what? They too needed a dial. And it was built of a piece of stone (the dial) that was evenly split (hour markers), with the sun’s shadow pointing to the markers to keep track of the elapsed time. The Romans were the first to split the day into 12 hours. Today, the dial is without a doubt the most visually appealing component of a watch that draws you in. For me, it is the most crucial beginning point in falling for a watch, possibly even more than the caliber underneath. In this article, I’ll go through some of the best-textured watch dials released recently. Check them below…
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Meccaniche Veloci – Icon Veleno
The relatively new Italian watchmaker began its adventure in 2006 with the purpose of delivering substantial multi-dial car watches. It didn’t strike us as a promising dial name at the time, but given their recent approach to textured dials, we can conclude that the brand has delivered a distinctive and appealing concept. The new Icon Veleno has attention-grabbing design elements. The case is 49mm in diameter and composed of brushed natural titanium. The dial is made of carbon fiber, and the green subdials are decorated with the guilloché technique.
Glashutte Original Senator Sixties Panorama Fiery Orange
More and more is the German watchmaker, Glashutte Original, offering bold and colorful designs. In recent years, they’ve managed to become a prominent player in the horological field. Courtesy of their ability to deliver great movements that tick underneath dials like this one. The mesmerizing Senator Sixties Panorama from Glashutte Original is offered to you in a fiery orange domed dial. The latter comes with an embossed red and black dégradé effect pattern that I find quite hypnotic and calming at the same time. The Glashutte Caliber 39-47 powers the watch, and provides approximately 40 hours of power reserve.
Grand Seiko Shōsho
When talking dial textures, we must mention Grand Seiko. With dial textures like the Snowflake and Skyflake, the Japanese watchmaker has recently been a dial texture trendsetter. Today we’ve included one of the brand’s best models, the SBGJ249 Shōsho.
Because of its GMT feature, I picked it as one of my top preferred travel watches. I’ve been obsessed with the Grand Seiko SBGJ249 since the day it was launched. Why? So, we’ve returned to the subject at hand – the dial texture. The SBGJ249 adds a gorgeous blue swath that elevates it to the next level. The resulting effect is comparable to moving ripples on the water’s surface. Grand Seiko hits a home run with this peaceful and tranquil aesthetic impact.
AnOrdain Model 2 fumé
AnOrdain, a Scottish watch brand, has built a strong fan following and a reputation for delivering distinct and high-quality timepieces in recent years. Their skill of grand feu enamel dials is owed to them. Developing a magnificent fumé color-enameled finish over a wonderful ripple-like texture was part of the skill.
While experimenting with enamel on a silver blank, the brand’s in-house enamellers realized that when sanded flat, the enamel’s interplay with the metal generated an appealing gradient. This prompted the enamellers to experiment in order to replicate and improve the effect consistently.
The mix of the colorful fumé enamel and the pressed silver dial base of the Model 2 is stunning. As is every other hue the Scottish brand has tried so far.
Oris Big Crown ProPilot Okavango Air Rescue Limited Edition
The texture and color of a watch dial can be inspired by a myriad of perspectives. This time, the dial of this Oris Big Crown ProPilot is influenced by the grasslands that surround Botswana’s Okavango River Delta (Africa). The brand is saluting Okavango Air Rescue, a project spearheaded by the Swiss team Christian Gross and Dr. Misha Kruck. Their organization’s purpose is to give medical care to some of Botswana’s most isolated places. Like with all green dial watches, ProPilot’s rich, grassy green dial, with its overall nature-inspired motif, has a remarkable aesthetic appeal that is enhanced by the tool-like casing and knurled bezel. The watch is limited to 2011 pieces and comes with a price tag of $ 2,500.
Straum, a Nordic watch brand, created this textural wonder. Norway is widely recognized for its spectacular mountain glaciers and fjords, which are beautifully reflected in this dial texture. To get the final look, the steel dial blank is pressed and then coated with various layers of paints and lacquers.
The dial takes on a whole new personality depending on the dial color you select. The white dial resembles freshly fallen alpine snow. Straum has also gone to great lengths to accentuate the dial texture and give it prominence by relocating the chapter ring below the dial. The dial is then raised and kept in position by six enlarged hour indices, resulting in a highly impressive design. Price the last time I checked: $900
Czapek was always going to be in a list of top dial textures. The question is, which model do we focus on? We went for the Antarctique, the sweetheart of stainless steel sports watches for now. The watch’s dial texture is made up of an unusual trapezoid dial motif with a three-dimensional stamped flinqué pattern that generates a dance of shadows across the dial. It was dubbed the Passage de Drake “Stairway to Eternity” by Czapek (now you know what Drake means). A fitting name for the complex product. Depending on the angle you look at it, the dial can appear extremely different. If you ever get the chance to view a Czapek Passage de Drake in person, take advantage of it to study the dial texture. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.
NOMOS Glashütte Silvercut dials
Yes! Nomos made it on a list of top textured watch dials. How could it not make it? Just a peek at their new Silvercut dials is enough to leave you speechless. The dial texture is modeled by the basic platform of their most well-known model, Tangente, and transforms their plain white conventional dial into a lovely silver hue with a horizontally brushed finish. The silvercut dial lifts the Tangente design to a whole new level. It’s amazing how a minor change to the dial finish/texture can make such a big difference when everything else about the watch is core Tangente.
Ming 20.11 Mosaic
Different from the other mentioned textured dials in this article, where most of them draw inspiration from nature, the dial of Ming 20.11 Mosaic comes with a modern twist. The relatively new watch brand is noted for putting a fresh take on a classic, simple dial. The Ming 20.11 Mosaic is a perfect illustration of what distinguishes the brand from the competition.
This high-end watch features a laser-etched sapphire dial and a Schwarz-Etienne micro-rotor movement. The texture of the dial is intricate, almost pixelated. A high-power femtosecond laser is used to etch 2,650 squares of varied opacity, producing a stunning appearance. The pattern might become practically indistinguishable depending on the viewpoint. Underneath that breathtaking dial ticks an equally exciting movement. Visible from the sapphire crystal caseback, the watch is powered by calibre ASE200.2, which provides up to 80 hours of power reserve. The watch is limited to 50 pieces and comes with a price tag of $ 15,500. Sold out!
Andersen Geneve Jumping Hours 40th Anniversary
For 40 years Andersen Geneve has been operating as an independent watchmaker. They decided to celebrate this important milestone by delivering an equally important watch. Jumping Hours 40th Anniversary from Andersen Geneve is one of those grail watches few are lucky to adorn their wrists with. That, because of the mechanism, finishing, and the level of hand-made processes involved. It has a signature BlueGold dial color that is embellished with a “Magic Lozenge” motif. This guilloché design was created using three separate rose engine lathes and resulted in an architectural, maze-like dial. The shine of the material, along with the guilloché and simple signals, is just stunning. The watch model in platinum features above comes limited to 40 pieces and has a price tag of $ 44,500.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Titanium Flying Tourbillon 26530TI
Unlike the usual suspect (Audemars tappisserie dial we’re used to seeing all the time), the member of the Holy Trinity has chosen another path this time. Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Titanium features an excellent grained dial. It’s one of AP’s three difficult flying tourbillons, but only this one has a dial like this.
The watch features a 41mm titanium casing, which is an uncommon choice because titanium cases are often designated for limited editions. The sand-blasted, slate-colored dial mixes in nicely with the lightweight material and provides a clear view of the magnificent flying tourbillon. It changes from almost dark anthracite gray to a silvery tone depending on the light. The in-house Caliber 2950 was introduced in 2019 as part of the Code 11.59 collection and has now joined the Royal Oak family. The watch is part of the permanent collection and comes with a price tag of $160k.