Between the way the market has been performing and the designs of new novelties from celebrated brands, it’s safe to say this has been a green year. Once looked upon less favourably than blue dial fitted timepieces, green is now all the rage. This notion is surely supported by the fact that in the last year alone, we’ve seen watches with green dials introduced by Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, Cartier, Grand Seiko, and Rolex among others.
While tastes may be subjective, there’s no denying history, and if one was to explore the origins of this latest craze, all roads would likely lead back to Rolex. Though the Wilsdorf-founded manufacture is by no means the first firm to produce a green dial, many of their signature, brand color celebrating pieces have definitely paved the way for newer pieces from other brands. Take for example the latest Ref. 5711 Nautilus, and the green dial it sports, or the similarly viridescent Royal Oak references recently introduced by Audemars Piguet, many of which are heavily complicated featuring tourbillons and the like.
Beginning in 2003 with the Ref. 16610LV Submariner, Rolex integrated the emerald tone into a steel sports watch for the first time. This would later be succeeded by the Ref. 116610LV of 2010, featuring a ceramic bezel and super case, but not before Rolex introduced the Ref. 116718LN GMT-Master II, celebrating the GMT-Master’s 50th anniversary in 2005 with a gold case and green dial. It is this reference than can perhaps be deemed the most significant in carving out the market for green dial fitted timepieces, and setting the tone for much of the horological landscape’s colour scheme for years to come.
Despite this significance in hindsight, it’s not the reference which attracts the most attention. That would come when Rolex later doubled down in celebration of their brand’s defining color, and introduced the 18k yellow gold Ref. 116508 Cosmograph Daytona - unsurprisingly characterized by a brilliant green sunburst dial. This watch, along with John Mayer’s endorsement of its beauty in an instalment of HODINKEE’s Talking Watches series, truly took the green dialled watch to a new level of widespread appeal. This is certainly supported by the premiums this reference currently enjoys, which is admittedly not as high as it’s been in previous months, though still positioned strongly above retail.
With all the new green-faced references to choose from, coming from brands small and large alike, members are naturally left wondering which are the best buys with broad appeal, and which are more likely riding the coattails of more sought after timepieces? As with all other horological trends, it’s advisable to direct your attention towards pieces from what’s arguably the pioneering manufacture (Rolex) of the trend, along with iconic pieces from other firmly positioned brands. This is simply a matter of what is most liquid, which will always be trend-following references from already highly liquid brands.