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Friday, 04 June 2021
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Christophe Roulet
Editor-in-chief, HH Journal

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4 min read

Among the hot reds and forest greens of the year’s new releases, black continues to hold its own as the perfect compliment to the intricate mechanisms beneath the dial.

It makes complications all the more distinguished, lends a ready-for-action aesthetic to tool watches and always looks the part with evening wear. In no uncertain terms, black states its case as an alternative to the brighter shades on this year’s dials. A roundup of some of 2021’s murdered out models.

Bulgari Octo Roma Carillon Tourbillon

Bulgari’s new “masterpiece of sound” combines a tourbillon regulator with a three-hammer chiming mechanism, with the addition of a metal grid on the movement for enhanced sound diffusion – all inside a DLC-coated titanium case with a matte finish. A high-tech carbon-based vacuum deposition brings a sleek aesthetic to the plate and bridges. Bulgari describes the result as a “modern deep black”.

Octo Roma Carillon Tourbillon © Bulgari
Octo Roma Carillon Tourbillon © Bulgari
Chanel J12 Electro Dream black

Chanel presents an Electro version of its trail-blazing J12 in black ceramic. Sapphires in twelve colours form a continuous gradient around the bezel, and are mirrored by the twelve baguette-cut sapphire hour markers. “Black intensifies colour,” says Chanel. This Electro Dream is the proof.

J12 Electro Dream black © Chanel
J12 Electro Dream black © Chanel
Chopard L.U.C Time Traveler One Black

The latest iteration of the L.U.C Time Traveler One world timer introduces a monochrome style to match the “fast-paced lives of today’s global citizens.” This is the first travel watch to be cased in ultra-light, hard-wearing ceramized grade 5 titanium. Dial, rubber strap and movement also adopt all-over black.

L.U.C Time Traveler One Black © Chopard
L.U.C Time Traveler One Black © Chopard
Chronoswiss Open Gear Black Ice

Different textures, surfaces and materials produce near infinite shades of black, as Chronoswiss demonstrates with the Open Gear Black Ice. A regulator-style display combines with retrograde seconds. Galvanic bath deposition and DLC coating bring on the black. Heavy metal fans will recognise the name as a nod to AC/DC’s Black Ice album.

Open Gear Black Ice © Chronoswiss
Open Gear Black Ice © Chronoswiss
Girard-Perregaux Tourbillon with Three Flying Bridges - Aston Martin Edition

Cementing its partnership with Aston Martin, Girard-Perregaux presents its iconic Tourbillon with Three Bridges in a grade 5 titanium case finished with black DLC. The three flying bridges, in titanium with a black PVD treatment, create the illusion that the movement is floating between two sapphire crystals.

Tourbillon with Three Flying Bridges - Aston Martin Edition © Girard-Perregaux
Tourbillon with Three Flying Bridges - Aston Martin Edition © Girard-Perregaux
Hublot Classic Fusion Takashi Murakami All Black

Hublot introduced its All Black concept in 2006: a signature it shares with contemporary artist Takashi Murakami whose flower motif fills the dial. For even greater impact, the petals are set with 456 brilliant-cut black diamonds and the centre with 107 brilliant-cut black diamonds.

Classic Fusion Takashi Murakami All Black © Hublot
Classic Fusion Takashi Murakami All Black © Hublot
IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “Tribute to 3705”

Released in honour of the Flieger chronograph, this new edition replaces the ceramic of the 1994 original with a case in Ceratanium, IWC’s proprietary alloy of ceramic and titanium that combines the hardness and scratch-resistance of the former with the light weight of the latter. Black underscores its neo-vintage appeal.

Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “Tribute to 3705” © IWC
Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “Tribute to 3705” © IWC
Omega Seamaster Diver 300M Black Black

This new Seamaster goes over to the dark side, with the promise of “the blackest black”. Omega takes advantage of ceramic’s versatility to create contrasting shades of a single colour. The choice of anthracite Super-LumiNova for the diving scale, hands and indexes preserves the dark aesthetic while maintaining legibility.

Seamaster Diver 300M Black Black © Omega
Seamaster Diver 300M Black Black © Omega
Panerai Luminor Marina 44mm Guillaume Néry Edition PAM1122

The case of this Luminor Marina, named after freediving champion Guillaume Néry, is 3D-printed in sandblasted titanium. The intense black of the rubberized coating applied to the bezel, crown and crown guard lends depth, while the dial – in black, of course – shades from light to dark.

Luminor Marina 44mm Guillaume Néry Edition PAM1122 © Panerai
Luminor Marina 44mm Guillaume Néry Edition PAM1122 © Panerai
Rebellion Predator 2.0

Rebellion continues to defy convention with its three-hands Predator 2.0. The new design, which again looks to motor racing for inspiration, is even more powerful than before, and all the more so in this version with a black DLC-treated titanium case, honeycomb dial and dark lume.

Predator 2.0 © Rebellion
Predator 2.0 © Rebellion
Richard Mille RM 74-01

Materials are a crucial element of a Richard Mille watch: in this instance, Cermet, a metallic zirconium matrix reinforced with ceramic inserts that is virtually as hard as diamond and lighter even than titanium for the case of this RM 74-01. Plate and bridges are in electroplasma-treated grade 5 titanium.

RM 74-01 © Richard Mille
RM 74-01 © Richard Mille
Tudor Black Bay Ceramic

Tudor’s first watch to be awarded Master Chronometer certification (one of the most demanding in the industry) is a Black Bay, a model that revisits the brand’s 1960s dive watches. Case and bezel are in black ceramic, with dial and strap to match.

Black Bay Ceramic © Tudor
Black Bay Ceramic © Tudor
Zenith Defy Extreme

The Defy Extreme is Zenith’s answer to life’s adrenalin junkies. This 1/100th of a second mechanical chronometer comes as multiple iterations, including a version in matte titanium that brings out the assertive personality of the angular case, finished with a facetted bezel.

Defy Extreme © Zenith
Defy Extreme © Zenith
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