50 Shades Of Pink: Salmon Dials Go From Strength To Strength
by Martin Green
Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler probably didn’t have the watch world in mind when he sang the following lyrics in 1997: “Pink, it’s my new obsession. Pink, it’s not even a question.”
Perhaps it’s just the company I keep, but it seems to me that pink-dialed watches are getting more attention. Today, even more so than in 2018 when I wrote Serving Up Salmon: Watches With Sublime Salmon-Colored Dials And Why They Remain Rare, it appears that more collectors are appreciating pink-dialed watches.
Don’t get me wrong: salmon-colored dials are still niche market, and I don’t expect them to go mainstream anytime soon, but pink has become something of a buzz topic.
A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon: a warmer shade of pale
That not all pink is created equal became abundantly clear with the introduction of the A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon at the 2019 SIHH. What looks like a perfect salmon color in photos is a slightly different shade of pink in real life.
In the metal, it becomes clear that the dial of the Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon has more of a coppery than a pink tone, which is not so surprising as A. Lange & Söhne crafted the dial in solid pink gold and did not treat it with a layer of color.
The reason that the dial looks so pink also has to do with the other colors it is combined it with. The white gold case makes the dial appears slightly paler than it actually is (later on in this article, we encounter a watch where the opposite happens). And the blued hands and moon phase disk add to the effect as their bright color softens that of the dial.
A. Lange & Söhne made the right choice in going for a solid pink gold dial. Not only because it is Lange we are talking about, and such a precious dial suits the brand, but also because it needs the warmer copper tone to bring it all together.
Had A. Lange & Söhne opted for a painted dial in a lighter shade of pink, the watch might have looked slightly less spectacular. Especially with pink dials, the particular hue makes all the difference.
For more information, please visit www.alange-soehne.com/en/timepieces/datograph-perpetual-tourbillon/datograph-perpetual-tourbillon.
Quick Facts A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon Ref. 740.056
Case: 41.5 x 14.6 mm, white gold
Dial: 18-karat pink gold
Movement: manually wound Caliber L952.2 with one-minute tourbillon; 50-hour power reserve, 2.5 Hz/18,000 vph frequency, bridges and plates in German silver, assembled twice, 729 movement parts including a diamond endstone
Functions: hours, minutes; subsidiary seconds; flyback chronograph with precisely jumping minute counter; perpetual calendar with large date, day of week, month, and leap year display; moon phase display; power reserve indicator
Limitation: 100 pieces
Hublot Big Bang Millennial Pink: pink as a masculine color
While today pink is often associated with women, as I’ve previously written this was and is not always so. Hublot wanted to make a watch with gender-neutral case color and did so with the Big Bang Millennial Pink.
Hublot not only has a point from a historical perspective but also from an horological one. Pink-dialed watches are as easily worn by women as they are by men – that is, if the shade of pink is the right one. This is probably also where the use of the word “salmon” comes into play.
While my salmon may look different from your salmon, we can probably agree that it is not hot pink. The term “salmon” brings the range of shades much closer together, although it will never exactly define the color. Hublot also knows this and opted for a pale pink color on the Big Bang Millennial Pink.
As with the A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon, the dial’s metal also makes a difference. By using anodized aluminum, the Hublot dial gains a slight metallic look, giving the pink a vibrant touch that looks surprisingly good.
That said, while the A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon might entice classically inclined collectors, the Hublot Big Bang Millennial Pink is likely to be more popular with younger, more adventurous clients.
That is not so surprising, nor is it a problem, as the Big Bang Millennial Pink was created to make a statement, one that makes us think about how a color can predetermine and influence our innermost thoughts just by being that color.
For more information, please visit www.hublot.com/en-nl/watches/big-bang/big-bang-millennial-pink.
Quick Facts Hublot Big Bang Millennial Pink
Case: 42 x 14.5 mm, satin-finished and polished pink anodized aluminum
Movement: automatic Caliber HUB1280, 28,800 vph/4 Hz frequency, 72-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date, flyback chronograph
Limitation: 200 pieces
Price: €20,700 / $20,900 / CHF 19,900
Laurent Ferrier Classic Micro-Rotor: pink in its purest form
One boutique brand who understands the subtleties of a pink-colored dial is Laurent Ferrier.
In this variation of its Classic Micro-Rotor, the dial takes center stage by being fitted into a stainless steel case paired with very slender hands and hour markers.
Laurent Ferrier opted for a rather pale hue of pink, but enhances the color by using two different finishes. The dial itself is finely brushed, while the subdial isn’t, providing a superb subtlety to the watch that is just enough to spark the pink dial to life.
This leads me to perhaps another reason why pink-dialed watches are relatively rare: they are not that easy to get right in relation to the entire watch.
For more information, please visit www.laurentferrier.ch/collection/classic/micro-rotor/.
Quick Facts Laurent Ferrier Classic Micro-Rotor
Case: 40 x 10.7 mm, stainless steel
Movement: automatic Caliber FBN 229.01 with micro rotor and natural escapement, 72-hour power reserve, 3 Hz/21,600 vph frequency, officially certified chronometer (Besançon)
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds
Price: approx. $44,000
Habring2 Doppel-Felix: the strap completes the vibe
Habring2 follows the same recipe as Laurent Ferrier for its Doppel-Felix. Here we also have a brushed finish, giving the color more character, with subdials that stand out thanks to a different texture.
Richard and Maria Habring also take it a step further as they offer the Doppel-Felix on a dark-colored strap with pink-colored stitching. I’m a big believer in the difference a strap can make, and this Doppel-Felix variation once again proves that while the watch could have become a classic proposition on brown alligator, the strap it is on now gives it a far more youthful appearance.
This is perhaps also why pink-colored watches remain popular: they retain a current vibe and, when executed correctly, stay out of trend region.
For more information, please visit www.habring2.com/en/collection/doppel-felix.
Quick Facts Habring2 Doppel-Felix
Case: 42 mm, stainless steel
Movement: manual wind Caliber A11R (or A11RD with date), 48-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, (hacking) seconds; split-seconds chronograph, date included on request
Price: €7,750 (or €8,250 with date)
Santos de Cartier x Arab Watch Club: doing things differently
Despite the fact that pink-colored dials are niche, there are developments in this area (I might even dare to say trends). One of the most important is the way that the color is being combined with other colors and materials.
For decades, pink-colored dials were served straight up, combined with white-colored metals on brown straps or metal bracelets. This way, the pink took center stage. But recent developments have shown that pink can also hold its ground when mixed into a very nice cocktail.
Earlier in 2021, Arab Watch Club launched its very first collaboration with Cartier, which included not one but three watches.
The first follows a familiar theme as this Santos de Cartier features a white gold case with a pink dial. The twist with this watch is that it features a bezel in black DLC coating. This combination works surprisingly well and tones down the pink color of the dial.
It becomes even more spectacular in the two other watches, which feature the same black DLC-coated bezel and pink dial combined with a pink gold case. Both the Santos de Cartier and the Santos-Dumont available in this combination become surprisingly charismatic.
It took me some time to get used to the bold and unexpected combination of colors and materials, but it works. The pink dial comes across differently because of the pink gold case, receiving more of a copper tone.
One could perhaps best compare it to a chef serving your favorite dish with a twist you hadn’t tasted before.
For more information, please visit www.arabwatchguide.com/santos-de-cartier.
Quick Facts Santos de Cartier x Arab Watch Club
Case: 39.8 x 9.08 mm, satin-finished and polished pink gold with black DLC-coated bezel
Movement: automatic Caliber 1847 MC, 28,800 vph/4 Hz frequency, 42-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date
Limitation: 6 pieces
Czapek & Cie Faubourg de Cracovie Sockeye: salmon by nature, salmon by name
Czapek & Cie is a brand that loves to do things with a twist – and not only on its pink-dialed watches. Czapek is the only brand that officially refers to this pink dial color as “salmon,” both in the watch’s description and its name.
The Czapek & Cie Faubourg de Cracovie Sockeye is named after a species of salmon found in the northern Pacific and the rivers connected to it. An interesting detail is that this species is primarily (bright) red in hue during spawning season.
The dial of this Czapek is a beautifully pink and fused with a dark blue date wheel and subdials. In combination with blued hands and hour marker outlining, the color mix creates a very tempting watch that serves up salmon with a twist. The watch is dynamic, with neither color overpowering the other.
Czapek also plays with textures as the salmon-colored parts of the dial feature a distinctive guilloche pattern that seems to rush like a whirlwind around the subdials, giving off the impression of two eyes.
This pattern prevents the Faubourg de Cracovie Sockeye from becoming solely classical, injecting a vibrant dynamic that seems to be a general new trend, especially in pink-colored dials.
While pink hues are still available in classically inclined watches, they are also served up quite differently these days, often by a new generation of horological chefs.
For more information, please visit www.czapek.com/product/sockeye.
Quick Facts Czapek & Cie Faubourg de Cracovie Sockeye
Case: 41.5 mm, stainless steel case
Movement: automatic Caliber SXH3, 36,000 vph/5 Hz frequency, 65-hour power reserve, officially chronometer certified
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date; chronograph
Limitation: 18 pieces
Price: CHF 28,000