Black watches, edited by Nick Carvell
An all-black watch has always been one of the chicest, and most versatile, timepieces a man can own – but that doesn’t mean this particular classic can’t benefit from a bold twist. Think of fine watches in a similar way to black tie – there’s a set formula in place for men (bow tie, patent shoes, white shirt, tuxedo in midnight blue or black), but it can be tweaked to great effect. If you’re going to play with a classic, you’ve got to be subtle about being bold – and often that’s about changing one small detail that gives a nod to your personal style (a pair of velvet slippers, a tartan dinner jacket, a 1970s-style ruffled shirt, perhaps). The same can be said of watches, especially when it comes to the current trend for all-black timepieces. The thing with a black watch is that, much like a black-tie get-up, it can ultimately feel very serious. What’s needed is a little irreverence to lighten it up a bit – and that’s where colour comes in. By taking a tough, all-black dial and introducing a burst of colour, you instantly make it more interesting. You’ve got something on your hands that’s classic – but just a little bolder. Here are three watches that add a splash of colour to the ultimate after-dark timepiece.
Girard-Perregaux Laureato 42mm Ceramic
First released in 1975, Girrard-Perregaux’s Laureato model was reintroduced to the watch world in 2017 with a new family of timepieces inspired by the original. While dial sizes and complications varied, the key marker that made the originator so coveted was preserved: the sports-inspired case with its instantly recognisable octagonal bezel and integrated bracelet. Here, the larger of the dial sizes (42mm) gets a modern-day twist thanks to tough-yet-sleek black-ceramic casing, a grey-tinted sapphire case back, a black 'Clou de Paris' patterned dial and a black ceramic strap secured with a titanium folding buckle. A sporty addition to your outfit that’ll have you covered whether you’re wearing on the back of a jet ski or just commuting.
MAD Paris Rolex Yacht Master II Noir 44mm
Across the Channel, MAD Paris has made a name for itself by going rogue on some of the watch world’s most recognisable models. Typically, this independant watch-customisation company takes requests from customers who want to personalise their favourite timepieces, but it also produces a line of ready-to-wear wrist action – of which this reimagined Rolex Yacht Master II Noir 44mm is one. Yes, all the original features are still in place under the hood – 5 ATM water resistance, a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal face, a 72-hour power reserve, a programmable countdown with mechanical memory, synchronisation and stop seconds for time setting – but the original stainless steel has been coated in matte-black DLC. Finally, and most importantly, the detailing on both the face and the bi-directional bezel has been picked out in zingy red.
March LA.B Belza Automatic
March LA.B was founded by Alain Marhic, a former model and a man who also used to own windsurfing academies in Brittany during the early 1990s. Today he splits his time between Los Angeles and Biarritz (hence ‘LA.B’ in the name), while running his watch company alongside creative director Jerome Mage and financial advisor Joseph Chatel – one that has travel, adventure and glamour at its heart. Its models are made in France and inspired by the life he’s lived, as exemplified by this Belza Automatic – a diver’s watch Marhic lovingly refers to instead as a ‘surfer’ – which was named after the Villa Belza, overlooking La Côte des Basques, a beach in Biarritz that became synonymous with surfing in France in the 1950s. Waterproof up to 200 metres, this black case complemented by a black rubber strap and deep black face is as ready to hit the waves as it is to wear with your suit.