Green On Green: 5 Of The Best From Watches And Wonders 2021 By Tudor, Cartier, Zenith, IWC, And Patek Philippe
by Martin Green
One thing that became clear on the first day of Watches and Wonders 2021 is that green is not a trend color anymore; it is a movement. Unless you have a green-colored watch in your collection, you are out of the game. Or so it seems.
I have always had a particular fondness for this color – long before it gained such a following – and now I think is a good time to zoom in on five very different watches introduced during Watches and Wonders that put green on center stage.
Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 18K
Crafting a diver’s watch in precious metal always seems like an oxymoron to me. Why would you make something that many consider the ultimate tool watch from a softer material that potentially makes it less capable and less robust?
But for quite some time now, diver’s watches haven’t been made for divers but rather regular folks like you and me, who don’t even have diving certificates. If the watch is lucky, it gets dipped in a pool on occasion, but other than that its main task is simply to tell the time and look good doing so.
The new Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight in yellow gold has no problem doing just that. Coming in at 39 mm in diameter, the precious metal gives the case quite a bit of heft, which is in particular noticeable on the light textile strap.
The combination of yellow gold with the green dial and bezel is a striking one. Tudor opted for a fresh forest-green hue that draws your attention but is not overly in your face. This is also because Tudor has avoided using the popular fumé effect.
In a world where most diving bezels are made of ceramic, Tudor still fits its watches with anodized aluminum bezels. One could make the point that this is unacceptable at this price point, but I find it delightfully old school. In part also because I started my adventures in the watch world with a 1999 Omega Seamaster Professional outfitted with an anodized aluminum bezel.
With the Black Bay Fifty-Eight 18K priced at €15,880, Tudor is making a very clever proposition, elevating the (price) ceiling of its own collection while offering something that sister brand Rolex doesn’t have. For €14,500 you can get a watch as handsome as the Rolex Cellini Time, but it serves an entirely different demographic.
The Submariner is available in yellow gold, but only with matching bracelet, costing a total of €35,200 – a very significant difference.
Looking further, it becomes obvious that the competition for gold diving watches is quite slim. Breitling doesn’t offer one, and neither does IWC. Omega has its Seamaster Diver 300M in Sedna gold, but at €23.000 it doesn’t come cheap. Granted, it is not only larger but also comes with the superbly finished Master Chronometer certified Caliber 8801.
The movement that powers the Tudor, Caliber MT5400, might be a “mere” chronometer with rather sober finish, but it does suit the watch very well. In terms of price, and appearance, the Omega Seamaster 300 in Bronze Gold comes closer, costing €11,500 but there you get only 9-karat gold instead of the 18-karat alloy Tudor proposes.
Perhaps the only weakness of the Black Bay Fifty-Eight is that if it weren’t for the green dial and bezel it could easily be mistaken for one of its bronze siblings. For some that might be reason enough not to purchase this Tudor; others will love it all the more because of it.
For more information, please visit www.tudorwatch.com/en/watches/black-bay-fifty-eight.
Quick Facts Tudor Heritage Black Bay Fifty-Eight 18K
Case: 39 mm, 18-karat yellow gold, water resistant to 200 m
Movement: automatic Caliber MT5400 with 70-hour power reserve, 28,800 vph/4 Hz frequency, silicon hairspring, officially C.O.S.C. chronometer certified
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds
Cartier Tank Must green dial
The Cartier Tank Must is replacing the Tank Solo. While, technically, this is the “entry-level” Tank, it doesn’t look it. Now more than ever the Tank Must resembles the look of the Tank Louis Cartier, which is great news for new Tank Must owners but less so for Tank Louis Cartier owners.
The Tank Must also pays homage to the colored dials that played a significant role in further popularizing this collection in the 1980s. The reason for this is quite obvious: the color gets a solo slot on center stage. The only text on the dial is Cartier’s brand name and “Swiss Made” at the bottom. Even the traditional Roman numerals are absent, leaving it up to two elegant sword-style hands to tell the time.
This looks just as stunning today as it did back in the 1980s. While also available in blue and burgundy, it is the green dial that steals the show. Why? Because it is green and in fashion.
The Tank Must models with colored dials are available in just one size, 33.7 x 25.5 mm. This sounds small by today’s standards but suits all genders very nicely unless you happen to have truly large wrists.
An option that the new Tank Must offers that wasn’t available for the original is the stainless steel bracelet. While not delivered on one, it is an option for the models with colored dials. The bracelet gives the watch a contemporary touch that suits it very well while simultaneously making it a bit easier to blend in because it dilutes the bright color.
The big question is whether we should buy it. To answer this, you must (no pun intended) first determine how its quartz movement sits with you. If it doesn’t bother you, go for it. But if it does, remember that it is not unlikely for Cartier to launch a mechanical version of these watches in the years to come.
We saw this happen with the Santos-Dumont, and given the warm welcome that these colored Tank Must watches have received so far, it is not far-fetched to assume that the same could happen again.
It is also good to know that while Cartier was not very straightforward during Watches and Wonders about whether these colorful Tank Must are part of a limited edition or not, it seems now that they will be – though the exact limitation number is yet to be set.
For more information, please visit www.cartierwatchmakingencounters.com/en/tank#paying-homage-to-the-1980s-monochromes.
Quick Facts Cartier Tank Must Green
Case: 33.7 x 25.5 mm, stainless steel
Movement: unspecified quartz
Functions: hours, minutes
Limitation: yes, quantity as yet unknown
Zenith Defy 21 Spectrum green
Those of us who have been in the industry for a while will remember the days when Thierry Nataf ruled Zenith. He changed the trajectory of this star significantly, transforming it from a hidden gem mainly known to connoisseurs to an extravagant diva the world fell out of love with as swiftly as it fell in love.
Zenith’s course was corrected after Nataf left the building, but fortunately it did keep a fragment of that over-the-top, outgoing, extroverted character. Shortly after introducing the Defy 21, the brand launched diamond-set pieces displaying a different side of the watch’s personality. For those who find its styling unsuitable, it was never Zenith’s intent for those pieces to dominate the collection but rather have them available for collectors who they do please.
The same goes for the new Defy 21 Spectrum, which follows the same concept as that of 2020’s Defy 21 Pink Edition.
The Defy 21 Spectrum collection comes in five different colors, and Zenith is making ten of each; these are exclusively available through Zenith boutiques. Here I’ll focus on the green model but should you prefer another color, know that black, purple, blue, and orange are also available.
It might seem like a contradicting statement but Zenith applied the color effect quite subtly. On the case, only the bezel is set with baguette-cut colored stones, in this case tsavorites. This gemstone from the garnet family gets its vivid green color from trace amounts of chromium and/or vanadium. And the baguette cut brings the colors fully to life.
Zenith enhances the setting by giving the main plate of the movement a matching color. The rest of the stainless steel case is set with brilliant-cut diamonds, providing the rather prominent 44 mm watch with a very luxurious look.
Even though Zenith skeletonized the dial, the chronograph functions can still be read relatively easily. The highly technical nature of the Defy 21 goes well with the gemstone setting, in particular because both get plenty of room to shine.
The only thing I am not sold on is the rubber strap with Cordura effect. It is a bit of a contradiction to the rest of the watch, which screams for a nice alligator leather strap. As this is an easy fix, it wouldn’t keep me from getting a Defy 21 Spectrum in green.
For more information, please visit www.zenith-watches.com.
Quick Facts Zenith Defy 21 Spectrum in green
Case: 44 mm, stainless steel set with 288 brilliant-cut diamonds (5 ct) and 44 green baguette-cut tsavorites (2.12 ct)
Movement: automatic Caliber El Primero 9004, 36,000 vph/5 Hz frequency, separate escapement for chronograph function running at 360,000 vph/50 Hz, green-colored main plate, bridges, and oscillating weight, 50-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date, 1/100th of a second chronograph; power reserve indication
Limitation: 10 pieces, boutique edition
Price: CHF 34,900
Patek Philippe Nautilus Reference 5711/1A-014
You know that green is the new blue when Patek Philippe discontinues the 5711/1A-010 and launches the 5711/1A-014 with olive-green dial. This is a watch that I simply do not want to love.
This is because it is a Nautilus, meaning that apart from the fairs it will never grace my wrist. It will be unavailable at Patek Philippe’s official dealers, and as a “used,” “pre-owned,” or “grey market” watch, it will command such a high premium that it will be way beyond reach for most of us.
The buzz around this Nautilus is also interesting because all Patek Philippe did was change the dial color, nothing else. Quite a contrast to both the in-line perpetual calendar Reference 5236P-001 and the Calatrava Reference 6119, which the brand also launched during Watches and Wonders 2021 – both models bringing something entirely new to the table. Yet the Nautilus generated a similar amount of attention.
That aside, the olive-green dial is absolutely stunning and suits the Nautilus very well. The color softens the lines, making it appear slightly more elegant. The hue of the green dial seems to contrast less with the stainless steel than its blue-dialed predecessor did.
Patek Philippe introduced the watch in two versions: one with a plain stainless steel bezel and one set with baguette-cut diamonds. Preference is a personal matter, and most will go for the original with the plain stainless steel bezel, but as the bezel is relatively wide the baguette-cut version has a lot going for it as well.
Setting the bezel of a watch like the Nautilus with diamonds is not an easy task as each of the gemstones has to be cut differently to precisely fit its space. As a result, most of the stones are more of a trapezoid cut than a baguette.
The diamonds highlight the shape of the Nautilus, adding another attractive feature to the watch. Especially in combination with the olive-green dial, you get a unique combination that really expresses Patek Philippe style.
For more information, please visit www.patek.com/en/collection/nautilus/5711-1A-014 and/or www.patek.com/en/collection/nautilus/5711-1300A-001
Quick Facts Patek Philippe Nautilus Reference 5711/1A-014 and 5711/1300A-001
Case: 40 x 8.3 mm, stainless steel, diamond-set bezel (Ref. 5711/1300A-001)
Movement: automatic Caliber 26-330 S C, 28,800 vph/4 Hz frequency; 35-45-hour power reserve, Gyromax balance, Spiromax balance spring, Patek Philippe Seal
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date
Price: $34,893 (5711/1A-014); $94,624 (5711/1300A-001)
IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41
Just because my name is Green doesn’t mean that I automatically love all green-dialed watches. And case in point: for the new IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41, I prefer the blue dial over the green one.
I can’t really pinpoint a reason for this other than that the blue seems to be a bit more understated than its green sibling. IWC opted for a forest-green color showing a lot of play of light thanks to the sunburst finish of the dial. Being a bit more of an eyecatcher, I am sure that it is bound to become very popular because this new Pilot’s Chronograph is spot on.
With a diameter of 41 mm, the watch has a size that is much more manageable for most while remaining substantial enough for quite a bit of wrist presence and maintaining a sporty profile.
It is the best of both worlds, which gets even better because IWC also included other features that fully round out the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41. With a water resistance of 100 meters, it can easily handle a water landing, switching from a bracelet to a strap (or vice versa) in a matter of seconds without tools. And the sapphire crystal is protected against displacement in case of a sudden loss of pressure. IWC put a lot of thought into this watch.
The movement is also quite tempting, especially at this price point. Visible through the sapphire crystal case back, automatic Caliber 69385 features an upmarket column wheel chronograph mechanism. The finishing of the movement is industrial but with care and attention, matching the style of the watch perfectly.
Going blue or green remains the question, but the fact of the matter is that you can’t make a wrong choice with the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41.
For more information, please visit www.iwc.com/it/en/watch-collections/pilot-watches/iw388104-pilots-watch-chronograph-41.
Quick Facts IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41
Case: 41 x 14.5 mm, stainless steel, 100 m water resistance
Movement: automatic Caliber 69385 with 46-hour power reserve, 28,800 vph/4 Hz frequency, chronograph with column wheel
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; day, date, chronograph
Price: €7,000 (strap); €7,750 (bracelet)