Give Me Five! 5 Blue Dials: A New Blue Period Has Begun With These Watches From Panerai, IWC, Chopard, Andersen Genève, And Ulysse Nardin
The trend toward blue has been in evidence for the last couple of years, adorning many haute horlogerie timepieces.
Powerful royal and midnight blues and touches of turquoise add cool flairs to delicate sky- and ocean-colored hues. Blue has stood the test of time because it comes in such a remarkable variety of shades and nuances – from mysterious and dazzling to elegant and classic.
Its popularity is not surprising as, in the psychology of colors, blue has very positive associations, symbolizing loyalty, confidence, and reliability as well as integrity and tranquility.
Ulysse Nardin Marine Regatta
With this new timepiece announced at SIHH 2017, Ulysse Nardin likewise celebrates the color blue, but against a most technical field that draws on its longstanding maritime history. In fact this watch is so widely recognized for its incredible technical prowess that it was voted the Best Sports Watch at the 2017 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève.
Horological bravura distinguishes its sophisticated countdown function, which is designed for the critical and hectic minutes that take place before the start of a regatta when the crew needs to get into perfect position. The ten-minute countdown function is clearly displayed in bright yellow on the inner circle of the large dial with sunburst finish and large Roman numerals.
Once started, it tracks the final minutes and, thanks to an ingenious inverter mechanism, at the end immediately begins measuring time just like a traditional chronograph. This technical, rare feat is made possible by automatic Caliber UN-155, a column-wheel chronograph movement that comprises 650 components and offers a three-day power reserve.
It ticks inside a 44 mm case with a water resistance of 100 meters. The notched bezel and blue rubber strap subtly complement the beautiful nautical aura of this regatta chronograph par excellence – which also rings true for the finely decorated movement sporting a rotor with two stylized little anchors.
Further reading: Flying With the Wind In Its Sails: Ulysse Nardin Marine Regatta
For more information, please visit www.ulysse-nardin.com/news/marine-regatta.
Quick Facts Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronograph Manufacture Regatta
Case: 44 x 14.92 mm, stainless steel
Movement: automatic manufacture Caliber UN-155 with silicon escapement and spring, 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency, 72 hours of power reserve thanks to two spring barrels
Functions: hours, minutes, small seconds; date, bi-directional regatta timer with countdown minutes, standard chronograph minutes and hours
Andersen Genève Perpetual Secular Calendar 20th Anniversary
When talking about veteran independent master watchmaker Svend Andersen, everything is exceptional: from his generous, open-minded, and kind character to his pioneering spirit in the field of independent watchmaking to the some of the most sophisticated contributions to creative horology stretching across more than four decades.
The riveting story started with the world’s first clock in a bottle back in 1969, which instantly earned him international fame and the nickname “watchmaker of the impossible.” Danish by birth, Andersen, who had moved to Switzerland in the early 1960s, began his career at Gübelin, later joining Patek Philippe’s grand complication workshop.
He is also known for his highly complicated erotic automata watches, sought after among collectors and fans of individual timepieces and made to order. By connecting a myriad of the tiniest pieces in a marvelous mechanical microcosm, Andersen can bring almost any fantasy to life. It is truly amazing to look at these miniature spectacles staged on his dials.
Another declared specialty of the “watchmaker of the impossible,” who is also a founding member of the Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendents (A.H.C.I.), is indeed something “impossible” that most watchmakers could not accomplish: a “real” perpetual calendar.
The “common” perpetual calendar’s mechanism correctly displays the date based on the Gregorian calendar, taking into account the differing lengths of the months as well as leap years until 2100. All years that cannot be divided by 400 are known as secular years – these include 2100, 2200 and so on – and these do not fit neatly into the Gregorian calendar. Therefore, they need to be manually corrected on a perpetual calendar watch.
So it was quite a sensation back in 1996 when Andersen Genève presented the first perpetual secular calendar in a wristwatch that was “programmed” for the next 400 years, past the year 2100, masterfully overcoming the irregularity of our western calendar.
On the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of this exceptional calendar watch, Andersen has even added a new complication: weekday indication. Given that the names of the weekdays are derived from the sun, moon, and five planets, these seven celestial bodies are shown as hand-engraved gold buttons on the dial.
The current day of the week is indicated by a dot in a small aperture above each one.
A dial found on the case back features the familiar perpetual secular calendar display on three subdials with the four-year cycle over 48 months, the 400-year cycle with a hand making two rotations per century, and the secular wheel making one rotation in 400 years. It is truly amazing how this complex mathematical calculation can be displayed in such a clear and neatly arranged way.
But let’s return one more time to the front dial, which is a piece of pure art itself: it is crafted in Andersen’s rare blue gold, a secret alloy comprising gold, nickel, and iron and tempered to an intense blue color. The vivid hue, further enhanced by a beautifully executed guilloché pattern, makes the perfect backdrop for the seven celestial bodies.
For more information, please visit www.andersen-geneve.ch/high-complications.
Quick Facts Andersen Genève Perpetual Secular Calendar 20th Anniversary
Case: 42.8 x 11 mm, platinum
Movement: automatic manufacture caliber with perpetual secular calendar module, 4Hz/28,800 vph frequency, 40 hours power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; perpetual secular calendar with day, date, month, leap years over 400 years
Limitation: 20 pieces
Price: 148,000 Swiss francs
Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 BMG-Tech 3 Days Automatic – 47 mm (PAM00692)
Like all of Panerai’s watches, this line traces its ancestry to the timepieces that were made in the 1930s and 1940s for Italian navy frogmen. The cushion-shaped case with its hinged crown protector is as legendary as the distinctive sandwich-style dial and the ruggedness of the instrument watches designed for performance in extreme conditions.
In order to further enhance sturdiness, strength, and lightness, Panerai has developed an innovative new material called BMG-Tech, which is used in this timepiece’s case. With a look similar to titanium but slightly darker grey, the material is made from Bulk Metallic Glass.
BMG, an amorphous metal alloy, is processed by high-pressure injection at high temperature followed by a very rapid cooling process so that the formation of a crystalline-like structure is prevented that sees atoms arranged in regular geometric order. The disordered atomic-scale structure of the alloy comprising zirconium, copper, aluminum, titanium, and nickel exhibits very high resistance to corrosion, shock, and magnetic fields as well as great strength properties according to Panerai.
Aside from these interesting material advantages, first and foremost the PAM00692 is a professional diver’s watch with a water resistance guaranteed to 30 bar and a counterclockwise-rotating bezel.
One of the few timepieces in Panerai’s collection with a blue dial, it features clear markers to provide excellent legibility under all conditions thanks to two different coatings of Super-LumiNova.
It is powered by manufacture Caliber P.9010, an automatic movement with a power reserve of 72 hours.
For more information, please visit www.panerai.com/en-us/collections/watch-collection/luminor-1950/luminor-submersible-1950-bmg-tech-3-days-automatic-47mmpam00692.
Quick Facts Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 BMG-TECH 3 Days Automatic – 47 mm (PAM00692)
Case: 47 x 13.94 mm, BMG TECH (Bulk Metallic Glass: alloy of zirconium, copper, aluminum, titanium, and nickel)
Movement: automatic manufacture Caliber P.9020, 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency, 72 hours power reserve thanks to twin spring barrels
Functions: hours, minutes, small seconds; date, calculation of dive time
IWC Da Vinci Automatic 36
IWC draws on a long tradition of blue dials.
Be it sophisticated grand complications like the Portugieser Perpetual Calendar, bold pilot’s chronographs like the Big Pilot’s Watch Edition Le Petit Prince, or various diver’s pieces from its well-known Aquatimer collection – IWC was probably among the handful of luxury marques to create this azure-tinted trend in the first place.
The sophisticated Da Vinci line has been a permanent feature in the Schaffhausen-based manufacture’s portfolio since 1969. First unveiled at Basel in 1969, the Da Vinci made quite an entrance with its hexagonal gold case – and flamboyant enough to fit into the fancy 1970s style that was about to emerge.
Interestingly, it is one of the few industry staple watches that has managed to change its case shape over the years a variety of times.
The first eye-catching hexagonal shape went classically round in the 1980s before receiving a more daring tonneau shape thanks to designer Guy Bove when it relaunched in 2007.
Ten years later, the line once again returns to a round case, and simultaneously welcoming a host of new family members such as the Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph, which is the first watch from IWC to combine a mechanical chronograph with a perpetual moon phase display on a small subdial at 12 o’clock.
All of the new Da Vinci pieces feature a notably classic design, celebrating the round shape with aesthetic proportions. Even the crown features a semicircular shape.
New movable lugs ensure that the alligator skin strap from the sophisticated Italian Santoni workshop fits snugly around the wearer’s wrist. These are fastened securely by a new triple-winged butterfly clasp.
Among the many new variations of this year’s lineup is the Da Vinci Automatic 36, a ladies’ three-handed timepiece with date indication. It is powered by the popular automatic Caliber 35111. The variation with a midnight-blue dial harmoniously complements the overall elegant yet understated appearance.
The case back, which is engraved with the so-called Flower of Life, offers harmonious geometry comprising 19 intertwined circles, which has been known as a symbol of energy for thousands of years. Leonardo da Vinci was also inspired by the form of the Flower of Life, studying its mathematical properties in extensive art.
For more information, please visit www.iwc.com/us/en/watch-collections/da-vinci/iw458312-da-vinci-automatic-36.
Quick Facts IWC Da Vinci Automatic 36
Case: 36.0 x 9.0 mm, stainless steel
Movement: automatic Caliber 35111 (base Sellita SW300-1), 4Hz/28,800 vph frequency, 42 hours power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, hacking seconds; date
Price: $5,500 (steel/strap), $6,500 (steel/bracelet), $13,800 (red gold/strap), $39,300 (red gold, bracelet)
Chopard Happy Ocean
Hardly any other wristwatch indicates the passage of time as playfully as Chopard’s Happy Diamonds, a style icon that made its debut with mobile diamonds freed of fixed settings (thereby dancing across their dials) in 1993. Happy Diamonds are both a masterpiece in nanotechnology and a marvelously uncomplicated philosophy of life with a feminine expression of sporty chicness.
Ever since its debut, Chopard has been charming consumers with a broad range of styles in this intriguing ladies’ line.
This year, though, it came as a real surprise that the Swiss brand added to the line with an entirely new family: Happy Ocean. While preserving the decidedly elegant “Happy” approach with five moving diamonds, this is a true diver’s watch offering the essentials needed for adventures under water: water resistance to 300 meters, a screw-down crown, unidirectional bezel, and a luminous, clearly legible dial.
Combined with a large 40 mm stainless steel case, the unidirectional rotating bezel with its two-tone blue-turquoise or blue-raspberry coloring is inspired by azure shades of water and brightly colored corals. The case back is also engraved with a wave motif.
The navy blue dial provides good legibility on land and underwater as the indices, hour and second hands glow with either blue or white luminescence. The minute hand and the bezel radiate a green glow.
Happy Ocean is powered by automatic Chopard Caliber 01.01-C, entirely developed and produced in the workshops of the maison in Fleurier.
For more information, please visit www.chopard.com/us/happy-ocean.
Quick Facts Chopard Happy Ocean
Case: 40 x 14.21 mm, stainless steel
Movement: automatic manufacture Caliber 01.01-C, 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency, 60 hours power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; calculation of immersion time
Also published on Medium.