Traditionally, all-black watches are those which have black cases, dials and wrist straps. They are found across all types of watches from those reasonably priced to the most expensive haute horology. In the past, watchmakers made everything visible, such as the minute and hour hands and any numbers completely black. One of the most striking examples of these is the limited edition All Blacks Maori Tattoo created for the All Blacks 100 Club by Bulgari. The anthracite dial is imprinted with a black Maori tattoo designed by Tana Salzmann, a Maori carver. The back is engraved with the All Blacks rugby club fern leaf.
Admirers of all-black style have always noted that the watches sometimes are more difficult to read than their clear, sapphire crystal cased brothers and sisters. But, at the recent 2016 Baselworld, where the finest watchmaking houses in the world present their very best new creations, a new trend in the all-black watches category emerged. This year, the all-black watches at Baselworld included some superb examples which have touches of gold, silver, and other colors. These superbly crafted additions were well received.
All-black timepieces may never be the same again:
Hublot All Black Sapphire 2016
Hublot was the first watch manufacturer to launch a completely black watch. In 2006, the All Black made watch history, and it generated a trend within watchmaking of creating all black timepieces. The All Black was intended to be a production of less than 300 units, but 2700 were eventually sold. To celebrate the All Black’s tenth anniversary, 500 of the All Black Sapphire watches will be produced.
Hublot developed a new smoked Sapphire which is contemporary in appearance and gives the watch a lower profile than if the sapphire had been fully transparent. The strap is smoked transparent structured lined in black. The buckle clasp is black plated titanium.
- The polished black case is cut from blocks of smoked sapphire crystal.
- Transparent resin is the material of the skeleton dial.
- The skeleton dial matches the case.
- The bezel is of polished black smoked sapphire crystal
- There is an anti-reflective, double sided display glass.
- The screws are made of titanium.
- The flyback chronograph movement is Hublot’s HUB 1242 UNICO.
- The column wheel on the automatic movement is easily visible.
- The movement offers a power reserve of 72 hours.
- The winding system is bidirectional with 60 minute counter.
The price is approximately $57,900.
Zenith Academy Georges Favre-Jacot El Primero Tourbillon
Presented at the 2016 Baselworld, the El Primero is a movement which combines fusée and chain transmission system with tourbillon; a melding of iconic Zenith complications. This is a limited edition of 150 pieces, and the inclusion of the two specialties together in one timepiece is a first for Zenith.
- There is no dial, so that the complications can be easily viewed.
- Black ceramic case, 45 mm
- Tourbillon situated at 6 o’clock
- Blackened bridges support the fusée and barrel arbors
- Luminous black facetted hands and hour markers
- Power reserve of over 50 hours
- Mainplate and bridges coated with anthracite color
- Finishes applied with hand-chamfering, sandblasting, and straight graining
- 50 meters water resistance
- PVD coated titanium clasp, triple folding
- Perforated black rubber strap
The price is approximately $77,833.
Girard-Perregaux Competizione Circuito
When this watch was presented at Baselworld 2016, it was one of three chronographs which wind automatically. The Competizione collection is intended to take inspiration from the automobile world and pay homage to speed. This watch has what is termed a sporty design, while the other two chronographs, named Stradale, are elegant in styling. This watch and the other two in the Competizione collection celebrate the 225th anniversary of the house Girard-Perregaux.
- Carbon and titanium black DLC case
- 42 mm diameter and 13.99 thickness
- Sapphire back
- 30-meters water resistance
- Mechanical self-winding case
- 46 hour power reserve
- Black honeycomb dial
- Chronograph, date, hours, minutes, and second functions
- Black leather strap
The price is approximately $13,400.
Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Deep Black
When the Seamaster Planet Ocean diving watches were first launched by Omega eleven years ago, the design and technical components were a benchmark in the diving watch category. This newest watch features a new master chronometer with a co-axial design. The dial, bezel and case are all made from polished black ceramic. The dial features luminescent markers. The hour, minute and second hands are coated in the company’s patented Super-LumiNova, and the hand tracking the second time zone is varnished in a choice of silver, gold, blue or orange.
- Melted metal is applied to make the crown, bezel, logo and writings
- Naiad Lock ensures ceramic casebacks are easily replaced and face text leveled
- Sapphire crystal case back is a luxury for diving watches
- Power reserve as much as 60 hours
- Non-metallic, non-magnetic design
- 45.5 mm wide case
- Water resistant to 600 meters
- First ceramic watch to be water resistant at specified depth
The price is approximately $15,200.
Breitling Navitimer 46 Blacksteel
The black, carbon covered steel case of this new watch are what Breitling calls Blacksteel. This model is 46 mm with a dial streamlined for two counters. The rotating bezel is designed with a calculation scale which keeps air travelers on time through changing time zones. The back is beautifully engraved with the Brietling name and certifications. It has a black face, bezel, case and wrist band, with white numerical markings and a few tiny red accents for reading clarity.
- Water resistant to 660 feet
- Large crown, screw locked with protective reinforcements
- Bezel is rotating and unidirectional
- Automatic Colt Chronograph has military origins
- New, exclusive all-black version of the 1952 Navitimer chronograph
- Rubber strap with aircraft tire tread pattern
- High performance COSC certified
The price is approximately $9,244.
Chopard Mille Miglia GTS Automatic Speed Black
In the springtime, the legendary endurance race, the Mille Miglia takes place. There are at least 400 vintage cars which gather to compete. Chopard is the official timekeeper for this race. The new Mille Miglia GTS Automatic Speed Black was inspired by Chopard’s partnership and sponsorship of the annual event.
- All-black, DLC covered steel watch
- 43 mm case
- Self-winding 01.01-M Chopard caliber
- 60-hour power reserve
- Matte black dial
- Metallic black hands
- Accents of white and red, with red arrow logo of the Mille Miglia on the dial
The price is approximately $7,040.
Tudor Heritage Black Bay Dark
This watch uses technology developed originally by Nasa. The space program created Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) which bonds any inorganic material to metals. The process creates a thin film which can be used to make a coating. The Heritage Black Bay Dark case has a black satin matte finish similar to that found on military equipment. TUDOR has a history for making diver’s watches. Since 1954 the models focus on function, reliability and aesthetics. The Heritage Black Bay Dark is a handsome, ergonomic model.
- 41 mm black PVD steel case
- Black steel bezel of PVD steel, rotatable, unidirectional
- Matt black anodized aluminum disc
- TUDOR MT5602 movement, self-winding mechanical, bi-directional rotor system
- 70-hour power reserve
- Black dial
- Black steel or black leather strap, black PVD folding clasp, safety catch
- Additional black PVD strap included
- Black PVD steel crown engraved with trademark TUDOR rose
- Waterproof to 660 feet
The price is $4,034 for a leather strap and $4,341 for a steel strap.
Porsche 1919 Datetimer Eternity Black Edition All Black
This watch was made available in May 2016. It is a celebration of German design, blending iconic Bauhaus and Porsche clean lines and aesthetics of function. The watch was designed to meld together 1950s elegance with the design inspiration of the Porsche 356.
- Black titanium carbide coated case
- 42mm diameter and 11.92 mm height
- Screw down crown and case back
- Scratch-resistant, seven-layer sapphire crystal glass; anti-reflective and double-sided
- Water resistant to 10 bar
- Date window on dial at 3 o’clock
- Minute, hour and central second hands
- Black titanium carbide coated strap with folding clasp
- Sellita SW200 caliber
- 26 jewels
- 38-hour power reserve
- Porsche design rotor
The price is $4,300.
Bulgari Octo Ultranero Finissimo Tourbillon
This watch was presented at the prestigious Baselworld 2016. It is available without the tourbillon, but part of what made this watch a standout at the annual exhibit was that is one of, it not the thinnest tourbillon currently on the market. It features Bulgari’s new black DLC treated case in matt black, with a brilliant black lacquered dial, and striking black leather wrist strap. The tourbillon mechanism is flying at 6 o’clock.
- Ultra-thin flying tourbillon.
- Manufacture: 249 components
- Peripherally-driven, ultra-thin ball bearing mechanism
- Manual winding
- 52-hour power reserve
- Diameter is 32.60 mm and thickness is 1.95 mm
- Titanium case
The price is approximately $121,856.
Ressence Type 5BB
Benoît Mintiens, the founder of Ressence, created this dive watch which features a dial readable from every position underwater. This capability is achieved because the watch dial is filled with 37.5 ml oil, so there is no reflection, regardless of the viewing angle. This first in mechanical timekeeping relies on the laws of hydraulics; a liquid cannot be compressed. So, the oil compensates for water pressure. There was no need to add a large case and thick glass to compensate for water pressure, so the watch is very light. The oil continuously lubricates the watch components; being suspended in the liquid requires less power for them to move so the watch has more accurate time.
Embedded technologies include:
- ROCS refers to Ressence, Orbital movement, Convex curved discs and mechanical modular System
- A three dimensional in house module which reads time intuitively
- Two sealed and separate chambers; one filled with oil and the other filled with air
- The sapphire case back functions in place of a traditional crown
- Micro magnets transmit the minute information to the ROCS
The original edition of this watch was made in titanium, and this version also has a titanium base. Where it differs from the first edition is that it is coated with Black Diamond Like Carbon or DLC. The case is matte black, while the dial is glossy due to the oil inside. The watch comes with a black leather strap and a black fabric one to use when the weather is humid.
The price is approximately $35,000.
Written by Garrett Parker
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