The Pantone Color Institute, which regularly tracks colors in all industries and annually announces its colors of the year, has spoken. The 2021 color is not just one hue, but two: Ultimate Gray and Illuminating. Illuminating is a bold yellow while Ultimate Gray is exactly what it sounds like. Not one of the 50 Shades of Gray, but instead a rich warm gray that, when juxtaposed to Illuminating, is expected to evoke warm emotions. However, since we have already had a lot of gray in our 2020 lives, we are witnessing certain watch brands that were jumping on the yellow color scale before Pantone made its Illuminating announcement.
In the latter half of 2020, we witnessed watch brands in all price ranges unveiling watches with yellow dials and accents in the hopes of brightening spirits. So, it seems, watch brands may be ahead of the curve. Here we take a look at some of the hot yellow watches unveiled this year.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual – Price USD 5,900
This year Rolex went all out with color, unveiling some stunning watches. Among them: the Oyster Perpetual in three sizes. The 41mm watch seen here is crafted using Oyster steel for the case and bracelet. The bright yellow dial boasts hour markers made in 18-karat gold. The 41mm watch is powered by the Rolex 3230 Superlative self-winding movement that was developed in house and that led to several patents, including one for the brand’s Chronergy escapement. For some, the bright yellow from Rolex came as a surprise, but those who know Rolex well know that color has always been a part of the brand’s history.
Breitling Endurance Pro – Price USD 3,000
Created as a special collection this year, the Breitling Endurance Pro watch comes in a variety of colors, but the bold yellow – with a yellow strap, yellow dial accents, and yellow crown cover – is by far the most exciting. The lightweight watch is crafted in Breitling’s proprietary materials, Breitlight® which is more than three times lighter in weight than titanium and almost 6 times lighter in weight than stainless steel. It is also non-magnetic and highly resistant to corrosion and scratches. Designed for heavy-duty sports action, the watch is powered by Breitling’s Caliber 82 – a Thermocompensated SuperQuartz chronometer-certified movement. The chronograph times to 1/10th of a second and 30 minutes.
Doxa Divingstar Sub 300T – Price USD 1,890
Swiss watch brand Doxa launched its first Sub 300T (Conquistador) diving watch more than 50 years ago in 1969. Equipped with a helium release valve, the watch quickly became a fan-favorite and has evolved over the decades. This Sub 300T Divingstar pays tribute to the original. The three-hand watch is crafted in stainless steel and the sapphire crystal boasts an anti-reflective coating. The watch can withstand pressures up to 120 bar (1200 meters) and is equipped with a patented unidirectional rotating bezel that features a no-decompression dive time calculator. Super-LumiNova makes for easy underwater reading. The watch is powered by an automatic ETA movement.
Nomos Glashütte Club Campus 38 Pride – Price USD 1,650
This year Nomos Glashütte, a brand that is no stranger to color, teamed with Cool Hunting to create a colorful limited-edition mechanical watch in support of the global LGBTQ community. The result was six different watches with dial colors to represent the rainbow. The yellow Sunlight version of the Club Campus 38 Pride watches are created in limited editions of just 22 pieces of each color. The yellow version represents sunshine, while other colors offer serenity, spirit, life, nature, and healing. All of the watches measure 38.5mm in diameter and are powered by the German brand’s Alpha manual-wind movement. Water-resistant to 100 meters, they feature a woven textile strap. A donation of $100 is being made to The Trevor Project (suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization) with the sale of each watch.
Carl F. Bucherer TravelTec Color Edition Four Seasons – USD 10,900
Swiss watch brand Carl F. Bucherer offers several over-the-top colors for its sports TravelTec Four Seasons series, including yellow to represent summer sunshine. The TravelTec is a chronograph as well as a certified chronometer. On top of that, it offers time in three zones, as well as a date indication – making it a highly functional timepiece. With yellow dial accents and a bold yellow rubber strap, the watch screams performance. The stainless steel watch is powered by an automatic movement that offers 42 hours of power reserve and is water-resistant to 50 meters.
New this year from the House of BOVET 1822 is a bold yellow Haute Horology timepiece: the Recital 26 Brainstorm® Chapter Two Sunshine. When one takes a look at the inset dial and the strap of this watch, the name becomes all too clear. Created in a limited edition of just seven pieces, the watch is meant to recall the warmth and beauty of the sun. The fully hand-engraved movement is visible inside the transparent monoblock sapphire Writing Slope case – modeled after old-time school desks. In the dark, the domed yellow dial turns green thanks to a Super-LumiNova® coating. The complicated watch offers a patented double-face flying tourbillon, a patented three-dimensional V-shaped needle that lets the wearer showcase the time zone of their choice, moon phase indication in both hemispheres, and Universal time indication. The watch is fitted with a yellow rubber strap.
These six watches are a great demonstration of the power of color, especially yellow, and of the power of the watch industry to be on top of the trends.
About the Author
Roberta Naas is a veteran watch and jewelry journalist who began her career in the early 1980’s, and was the first female watch journalist in the United States. She is the editor and founder of the authoritative watch blog, ATimelyPerspective, has written six books on watches, writes for numerous consumer publications (including Forbes and Elite Traveler) – and always brings forth in her work the essence of what makes watches tick. She tirelessly travels the world in search of watch news and stories that she turns into compelling and enlightening articles.