Vibrant, energising, calming and organic. The colour green is nothing if not a versatile weapon in the hands of a talented designer.
Few other colours can boast such a powerfully evocative arsenal of tones. Green can manage to be either warm or cool, depending which side of the colour wheel you visit. Bright greens grab attention like no other while olive greens are so subdued the military use them for camouflage.
If you begin combining green with other colours an even wider range of meanings begin to present themselves.
Most commonly associated with nature; green also represents growth, development and opportunity, which sees its frequent use in the context of business and enterprise.
Green is also a calming influence and can bring stability and a sense of timelessness to a design. This aspect is used to great effect by Shinola on variants of its Detroit-built Runwell watch.
The 30s-inspiration behind the Runwell is immediately apparent from the curved lugs, prominent, flat-topped chrono pushers and bold Arabic numeral hour markers to the font used to identify the movement on the dial. Here green suits the era in which the brand’s Detroit designers have chosen to place the product; one of manufacturing innovation in the face of crippling financial depression.
Michael Kors has opted for the striking appearance of a genuine slice of turquoise on the dial of its Channing, which is only accentuated by the vivid, satin-finished yellow gold tones used on the case and bracelet and most powerfully by the glossy finish of the Roman numeral hour markers and hands. What really sets the Channing Turquoise apart from a crowd of green pretenders is the irregular nature of the semiprecious dial material, no two pieces will look the same.
An even more powerful example of the design ‘pop’ possible through the use of green comes from the masters of vivid block colour, Ice-Watch. The Belgian silicone specialist’s ICE collection is based around a harmonious monopiece case and strap and includes a ‘classic green’ offering. The unbroken lines of the ICE offer a blank canvas on which this vivid shade is the main attraction. The only other tones used come in the form of a metal chapter ring and canary yellow indices and hands.
Follie Follie unveiled its Watchalicious collection at Basel this year; a rose gold-plated chronograph in a raft of colour options. The dial of this 40mm example is a calming light mint green, while the circular graining used to form the three sub dials also serves to create the illusion of a deeper shade. Much like the Michael Kors Channing, the look is completed by contrasting hands and indices in highly polished rose gold tones.
Dial materials and silicone straps are not the only way to introduce green into watch design. For purveyors of the finest precious stones like Graff and Backes and Strauss, and the customers that can afford them, emeralds offer an alternative method of going green.
Backes and Strauss’ Regent Princess Green Emerald uses Ideal-cut emeralds set in uniform lines along its 18ct white gold bracelet framing and accentuating two matching lines of Ideal-cut diamonds. While the majority of the ‘green impact’ is reserved for the bracelet, emeralds are also found on the dial with baguette cut stones serving as indices.
In total the watch features 233 Ideal-Cut diamonds weighing 12.04 carats and 80 emeralds weighing 7.67 carats.
Graff’s Butterfly Full Motif Emerald watch uses the company’s famed Butterfly emblem in repetition on the dial. Each of the six butterflies, mounted for contrast on top of a diamond backdrop, is crafted from four Pear-cut deep green emeralds with a diamond ‘body’ at the centre. The emerald insects flutter around a central, diamond-set watch face and are framed by a diamond-set bezel. A matching deep green crocodile strap continues the use of green around the wrist.
Grand Seiko’s new Hi-beat 36,000 GMT Limited Edition is outfitted in a handsome, gentlemanly green. An additional 24-hour GMT hand with easy hour adjustment has been built on to Grand Seiko’s leading calibre to create the 9S86, which boasts accuracy of +5 to -3 seconds a day as well as a power reserve of 55 hours. The calibre, which beats at 36,000vph, is kept powered by a specially designed oxidised titanium rotor that can be seen through the sapphire crystal exhibition caseback.
Last year Rolex released its Day-Date collection in a raft of colours with, for the first time, matching leather straps. The model was first released in 1956 but the recent popularity of early 1970’s coloured enamel dial ‘Stella’ variants, and the tendency for buyers to pair their new watches with matching leather straps, led Rolex to release these watches.
Rolex opted for a dark green colouring on the sunray dial of this solid 18ct Everose gold or 950 platinum, COSC certified watch. The modestly proportioned 36mm watch is secured with a matching green alligator strap and 18ct gold folding clasp with Rolex’s Crownclasp system. The automatic movement is available with 26 language options for the day display at the 12 o’clock.
Rolex’s Milgauss introduced perhaps the most subtle touch of green possible when, in 2007, it was unveiled with the world’s first green-hued sapphire crystal. A 2014 update of the anti-magnetic tool watch pairs the coloured crystal and its iconic orange lightning bolt seconds hands with a blue dial for added colour.