One of the major features vintage collectors look for on vintage watches, especially on Rolex sports watches, are black dials that faded to brown over time, an effect that gave them the nickname “tropical” dials. While these faded dials are mostly in the realm of vintage timepieces, some brands have carried the look over to modern watches. Here are five modern watches with brown dials, both vintage-inspired and modern reinterpretations.
F.P. Journe Octa Havana
More used to silver or black, F.P. Journe here innovates with a brand new and simultaneously original colour for the Octa collection. Combined with platinum cases are warm “Havana” dials with milky hands and indexes. Even if the brand is far away from the “tropical” concept of vintage watches, this combination of vanilla and brown reminds one of the patina on antique timepieces. The result is warm, elegant and unique watches that bring some fresh air to the conservative styling of F.P. Journe.
Hublot Classic Fusion Berluti
Playing on its concept of “fusion”, Hublot introduced a unique combination of its more classical watches with leather accents, conceived together with the Parisian shoemaker Berluti. Mixed with the gold case are rich, deep brown Berluti leather straps and even dials. As a result, the usually rather technical Classic Fusion becomes almost vintage thanks to the addition of the patina-finished leather.
Nomos Zürich Braungold
When you think Nomos, you usually have in mind a certain Teutonic rigidity: sleek shapes, muted colours, and a minimalistic approach to design. Rich and warm colours are not usual with the German watchmaker, but when the brand decides to add colour to its dials, the result is the elegant yet modern Zürich. Metallic and not overly warm, the brown dial on the Zürich preserves the sleek style typical of the rest of the collection, combined with an original colour theme that’s not found on any other Nomos model.
Panerai Radiomir 1940 3-days PAM00662
Here there is no modernity – the brown dial is a clear reference to the faded dials on vintage Panerai. The PAM00662 is a tribute to the 1940s watches made by the Florentine watchmaker for the Italian navy. Still, there are no warm tones here, the choice of colour is pure and restrained. Far from the usual shade of brown, this Panerai suggests vintage with a pale, greyish-brown face. Combined with the iconic case of the brand and it is an instant evocation of Panerai’s glorious history.
IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Antoine de Saint Exupéry
Exclusive to the “Antoine de Saint Exupéry” editions, the brown dial here is matched with the complex and refined Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar. The rich, metallic tone of the dial is balanced by the no-nonsense look of the oversized steel case and the legible white indices and hands. While not entirely vintage-inspired, mainly due to the complicated movement with a seven day power reserve, the brown colour adds warmth to this highly technical watch.
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Frank Geelen – The Netherlands
Frank Geelen is an expert on Haute Horlogerie and beautiful hand-finished mechanical movements make his horological heart beats faster. He loves to explain all technical details of complications like tourbillons, minute repeaters, constant force escapements and column-wheel chronographs and he has been doing that for nine years.