06/08/2016
 4 minutes

Dress Watches With Black Dials, Sports Watches With White Dials

By Robert-Jan Broer
Dress Watches With Black Dials, Sports Watches With White Dials
Dress Watches With Black Dials, Sports Watches With White Dials

There are certain rules that need to be broken sometimes: a complication like a chronograph on a diver’s watch, a moon phase indicator on a sports watch, a dress watch on a bracelet or even a rubber strap – you name it. Watch brands try every possible combination to give the watch consumer a number of choices when purchasing a timepiece. You will find that most watch brands offer their classic dress watches with white, silver, or light-colored dials and sports watches tend to come with black dials to underline their toughness and sportiness.

Of course, there are some exceptions to these rules. Don Draper from Mad Men wears an Omega Seamaster dress watch with a black dial, and Prince William from Great Britain dons a sporty Rolex Explorer II with a white dial. These are combinations that might be considered “no-gos” in some circles, but they can be surprisingly interesting for those who are open to such broken design rules.

Dress Watches With Black Dials

Let’s start with some dress watches with black dials.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra-Thin Moon Reference 1368470

Black dials aren’t new to the Master collection of Jaeger-LeCoultre, but the majority of the watches do have light-colored dials. The Ultra-Thin Moon has a deep black dial, which makes the moon phase pop even more! This dress watch would go very well with black attire, or even a tuxedo (wearing a watch isn’t officially allowed with a tux, but do you obey the rules?).

Patek Philippe Calatrava Reference 5227G-010

The Patek Philippe Calatrava is probably the best-known dress watch in the world. Normally, the Calatrava features a silvery opaline-white dial or an ivory lacquered dial, but for the reference 5227G-010, there is a beautiful black lacquered dial. It perfectly coordinates with the gold applied numerals and white gold case.

A. Lange & Söhne Grand Lange 1 Moon Phase “Lumen”

Another classic brand with classic dress watches is A. Lange & Söhne from Glashütte. The company takes it a few steps beyond just a black dial with this Lumen edition featuring two black subdials on a dark transparent dial that reveals a bit of the wonderful movement. The numerals, hands, and markers glow in the dark due to the use of luminous materials.

IWC Schaffhausen Portofino Chronograph Reference 3910

You may wonder whether a chronograph is a true dress watch, but the IWC Portofino is marketed as one. Not only does this “dress chronograph” have a chronograph complication on board, it also has a beautiful black sunburst-finished dial. This piece is available with alligator leather strap or a very popular milanaise mesh bracelet in stainless steel.

Sports Watches With White Dials

White-dialed sports watches seem to be more common than black-dialed dress watches, however, sports watches are more popular by demand, so perhaps they need more variation.

Rolex Explorer II
Rolex Explorer II white dial – View offers on Chrono24

Rolex Explorer II

This 41-mm sports Rolex is different from all others. Not only are its size and nonrotatable 24-scale bezel unique, but it also has a white dial. The Explorer II used to be a black-dial-only watch in the 1970s, but in the 1980s, Rolex decided to come out with an additional white dial version. Some of those 1980s white dial versions turned ‘cream’ and became worth quite a bit, but the later white dial versions stayed white.

Omega Seamaster PloProf 1200M Co-Axial Reference 224.32.55.21.04.001

The original 1970s PloProf was water resistant to 600 meters and had a monobloc case. In 2009, Omega decided to revive this model and make it water resistant to 1,200 meters. The monobloc case disappeared and a helium valve was added instead. Also, Omega used their latest Co-Axial calibre 8500 movement. A few years later, Omega decided it was time to go all white and introduced a white dial, white bezel, and white rubber strap.

Seiko Prospex Sea Kinetic GMT Diver’s 200M Reference SUN043

Prospex stands for “professional specifications” and those are what this Seiko diver complies with. The Prospex watch is a serious diver’s watch on a rubber strap. It’s water resistant to 200 meters and uses a Kinetic movement. In short, this means a battery is charged by the rotor of the movement. It is a hybrid construction using quartz precision and some mechanical parts. This Seiko has a white dial, white bezel, and a white rubber strap.

Panerai Luminor Marina 19503 Days Automatic Reference PAM00523

The most classic Panerai Luminor has been available in white since the mid-1990s. Sylvester Stallone requested a couple of them (500 pieces) and the rest is history: Panerai was back stronger than ever. For a few years now, Panerai has used their own in-house movements, one of which powers this white-dialed PAM00523 with a 3-day power reserve.

The purist may turn his head away, but one thing is certain: this white-dialed Panerai will be noticed.


About the Author

Robert-Jan Broer

Robert-Jan, founder of Fratello Magazine, has been writing about watches since 2004. However, his passion for watches dates back much further. In fact, he sold his …

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