While the warm hue is very much in line with Pantone’s 2019 Colour of the Year (ICYMI, it’s Living Coral), the use of salmon dials in haute horlogerie has long been associated with very rare, special order pieces by watch collectors. Most notably, singer-songwriter Eric Clapton owned a selection of Patek Philippe timepieces in custom designed salmon pink dials, one of which went under the hammer at an auction in Hong Kong in 2016.
Salmon dials enjoyed a rise in popularity from the early 1990s, but one could say the trend really kicked off last year when Patek released the 5270P Perpetual Calendar Chronograph in the colour at Baselworld 2018, becoming one of the most talked about watches at the fair.
Patek Philippe 5270p
Perhaps what makes a salmon-coloured dial so covetable is its unusual, striking aesthetic in a sea of white, black and gray watches. In some cases, it gives modern timepieces a vintage flair—a quality that is quite the rage these days; so much so that this year saw a wave of new timepieces in the rosy, pastel hue being put forth. Feast your eyes on them here:
A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon
The latest A. Lange & Söhne Perpetual Tourbillon comes in a pink gold dial and it is absolutely gorgeous—and yes, that is a solid (not painted on) pink gold dial. While the first edition of the Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon released in 2013 sported a platinum case with a black dial, this rendition is crafted in white gold. Case material and dial colour aside, the two timepieces essentially share the same tech specs: 41.5mm; the time, a perpetual calendar, a flyback chronograph, grand date, power reserve and moon phase all available to read at a glance; the tourbillon can be viewed through the case back; and it is powered by the in-house L952.2 movement. This masterpiece is limited to 100 pieces.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo Extra-Thin
You know a colour is definitely in season when even an icon takes it on. In Audermars Piguet’s latest Royal Oak, white gold meets a pink gold-tone “petite tapisserie” dial in perfect matrimony, giving off a lovely vintage feel. Fun fact: this is only the second time the brand has used white gold on a Royal Oak. Measuring 39mm across and just 8mm thin, it makes for an understated and elegant fit for most wrists. This, too, is a limited edition of just 75 pieces.
Montblanc Heritage Pulsograph Limited Edition 100
Montblanc introduced not just one, but a trio of salmon dials this year. All three hail from the new Heritage collection, inspired by Minerva wristwatches of the 1940s and 1950s. Let’s start with the rarer piece a.k.a. the piece de resistance, the Heritage Pulsograph Limited Edition 100. Aside from the domed dial’s rosy hue, the defining feature of this timepiece lies in the doctor’s pulsograph indication on the outer dial, which was once used by physicians in the past to check a patient’s heart rate. The international payphone indications of 3, 6 and 9 minutes on the chronograph’s minute counter add to its vintage appeal.
Now on to the non-limited pieces. If you like your dials clean and simple with a pop of unique finish—in this case, a pale salmon tone in contrasting textures—then consider the Montblanc Heritage Automatic. A 40mm entry-level timepiece fitted with an automatic movement, it is clothed in stainless steel, with the option of being paired with either a grey Sfumato alligator strap or a steel mesh Milanese bracelet.
Wished that the Heritage Automatic had another complication? Enter the Heritage GMT. It boasts the same clean, vintage aesthetic as the former, but comes with a second time zone, indicated by a blue arrow-tipped hand and 24-hour chapter ring on the dial. At the heart of the timepiece is an automatic calibre equipped with a 24-hour GMT complication.
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