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Watches

Watches: nothing makes a statement like a splash of colour on your wrist

Want to be noticed? Get hold of something nice and bright

What sort of person buys a brightly coloured watch? Believe it not there are plenty of watch buyers out there who decide what brand they like, how much money they have to spend and then when it comes down to it, swerve past watches in regular tones and go for something horribly garish. And it’s getting more common by the day.

Getting funky with the colour scheme didn’t used to be an option. In the pre-electronic era, when watches were tools rather than trophies, you picked your metal and went from there. Almost everything had a steel case, so if you wanted something different you would have to go for gold – solid or plate, depending on your budget.

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When watch companies started introducing colour it was more about functionality than fashion. Most watches remained monochrome, except for the odd bold slash of colour to distinguish an important function – like showing the number of elapsed minutes on a diving watch, or to differentiate the chronograph dial from the running seconds.

In the flower power years of the Sixties and Seventies some makers started introducing radical colours just for fun. Rolex made “Stella” versions of its Day-Date watch, very rare editions with a range of coloured dials. Other examples were the watches made in the Soviet-controlled East German town of Glashütte, which came with a whole load of jolly faces in defiance of the reality of life behind the Iron Curtain.

Colourful watches existed, but they were very much the exception. Then along came the Eighties, the decade of kaleidoscopic pop videos, neon sweatshirts and Jane Fonda’s leg warmers. And watches got the colour bug too. The main driving force was Swatch, which changed the way everyone looked at watches. If you’d asked back then how long the trend would last, the best answer would have been: not very long. Not only has it lasted, but it has grown in popularity. Swatch and other entry level quartz watches are still getting busy with the colours. But so are the brands at the other end of the price range.

Steel, gold and black are still the most obvious choices, but colours are big. Question was, who’s buying these brightly coloured clocks? Anyone who thinks telling the time shouldn’t be taken too seriously.  

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MARLOE SOLENT

MARLOE SOLENT

Britain’s Marloe Watch Company has only been around a few years but has expanded to an impressive range of accessibly priced mechanical watches. Adventure focused, each range pays tribute to either a body of water – like the Coniston and the Atlantic – or the Campbell, which honours a family that enjoyed disrupting the tranquility of those bodies of water with very fast boats. The Solent Cardinal has a 42mm stainless steel case and a Japanese automatic movement with 40-hour power reserve. Water resistant to 100m. Available in a range of dial and strap colours.

£349; marloewatchcompany.com

MAURICE LACROIX AIKON

MAURICE LACROIX AIKON

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The cases in the #tide range are made from recycled plastic bottles dredged from the Indian Ocean. The funkily coloured watches feature a quartz movement in a 40mm case. The screwed down crown and caseback help the watch offer a water resistance of 100 metres.

£620; mauricelacroix.com

NOMOS GLASHUTTE CLUB CAMPUS

NOMOS GLASHUTTE CLUB CAMPUS

From the East German town of Glashütte, Nomos sells watches with in-house manually wound movements at prices that make other companies look punchy. The Club Campus has been launched with a range of saucy new colours. Stainless steel case of either 36mm or 38.5mm, water resistant to 100m.

From £1,100; nomos-glashuette.com

 

OMEGA AQUA TERRA 150M

OMEGA AQUA TERRA 150M

Strong contrast between the 38mm stainless steel case and the dial – terracotta, not red, Omega says.  Powered by an automatic movement with Omega’s patented coaxial escapement – a cool piece of kit that enhances accuracy. Water resistant to 150m.

£5,420; omegawatches.com

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