“Black is modest and arrogant at the same time. Black is lazy and easy, but mysterious. But above all black says this: “I don’t bother you — don’t bother me.” — Yohji Yamamoto.
Inspired by the wise words of Yamamoto, we curated a selection of black watches that are low-key but still impressive in their own ways. The all black nature of the watch makes it flattering on the wrist as well as larger-sized pieces appear smaller. An element of mystery they possess draws viewers in closer for a second look, offering a chance for conversation.
Pictured above: Citizen Asia Limited 2020 Titanium Technology 50th Anniversary Promaster Mechanical Diver 200m Gent
2020 marks the 50th anniversary Citizen worked with titanium, a material prized for its lightweight and rust resistant properties. Incidentally, Citizen was the first watchmaker in the world to release a titanium watch.
As part of the celebrations, the iconic Citizen Promaster Diver 200m is reworked into an all black watch, featuring Citizen’s proprietary Super Titanium case and bracelet. A black Duratect DLC (diamond like carbon) coating is applied to the titanium pieces to further enhance the toughness, strength and scratch resistance of the watch.
In the spirit of the Promaster Diver, the anniversary timepiece is made in compliance with the ISO 6425 standard for dive watches. A characteristic bezel and engraving of a pufferfish is made on the case back, earning the Promaster Diver the Fugu nickname among ardent fans.
TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 02 Chronograph
The introduction of the TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 01 a few years back brought new definition to the Swiss Avant-Garde watchmakers. A mix of materials, openworked dial and angular case construction presented an aggressive racing and sporting sensibility.
TAG Heuer’s introduction of its in-house Heuer 02 calibre has seen several watch collections reworked, including the Carrera. Presented in an all black watch ceramic case and matching bracelet, TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 02 Chronograph bears the same sporting stance as its predecessor. The skeleton dial reveals the inner workings of the 80 hours power reserve Heuer 02 automatic chronograph movement.
A combination of silver and red elements on the dial are reminiscent of sports cars.
Cartier Santos de Cartier ADLC
Cartier’s version of the pilot watch was born in 1904 when Louis Cartier created a watch for his friend, Santos Dumont, a famous Brazilian aviator. The rounded angles of the dial, seamless curve of the lugs, and exposed screws make the Santos de Cartier one of the most iconic watches.
Of the numerous reinterpretations of the watch, one that lends it the sporty touch is the all-black Santos de Cartier ADLC. The black on black execution is offset by the use of white roman numerals and sword hands that glow a deep shade of green in the absence of light. A nanocomposite ADLC (amorphous diamond like carbon) coated steel case is paired with either a black rubber or alligator strap.
Chanel J12 Phantom
Chanel may not instinctively strike many as a watchmaker but it has established itself within the industry, having won and nominated for various awards at the “Oscars of Watchmaking” — the Grand Prix de la Haute Horlogerie.
The Chanel J12 Phantom takes an alternative route to the regular black iteration of the J12 where the watch hands and indices are presented in white. Instead, the J12 Phantom goes all black, hands and indices included. Clad in ceramic, the J12 Phantom’s diameter of 38mm might put off some gents thinking it is a ladies watch but this article expertly points out gendered watches and wearing one that fits your wrist.
Chanel’s new automatic calibre 12.1, released on the back of the J12’s 20th anniversary last year, powers the J12 Phantom. Its impressive COSC rated specifications thrusts the J12 Phantom into the deep end of watchmaking.
Check out our November 2020 cover story with Ross Butler after you’re done!