While watch brands make a point of using innovative materials, often developed in-house, one of the materials making a breakthrough of late has been around a few thousand years. Bronze has the special appeal that, as it oxidises, it acquires a patina. Hence each bronze watch ages differently, developing its own unique appearance over time. In a market that values personalisation, the trend for bronze-cased watches, in particular dive watches, is showing no signs of stopping. Bronze is going for gold!
To keep things simple, we won’t be differentiating between new/older models of the same timepieces, or different dial colours, materials or type of strap. As the hashtag has been used more than 19,000 times and each image must be reviewed individually, we calculated percentages from a sample size of 2,500 images to determine the most popular watches across the hashtag. So here they are, the top 5 #bronzewatches on Instagram.
Tudor Black Bay Bronze
Percentage of total: 11
History: When Tudor released the first Black Bay Bronze in 2016, bronze was still something of a rarity in watchmaking. Various iterations have followed since then, playing on colours and special editions. The latest to date launched at Baselworld 2019. Same model, same design, new colour scheme: the new Black Bay Bronze features a sunburst gradient grey dial and bezel. While it flew under the radar during Baselworld, it takes an easy first place in this ranking.
Why: The latest grey-dial edition has been warmly received by watch fans and experts who praise the subtly contrasting colours that give this dive watch its vintage feel. And for under €4,000.
Christopher Ward C60 Trident Bronze Pro 600
Percentage of total: 4.6
History: Bronze is a material we associate with the sea, so it made sense for Christopher Ward to launch a bronze edition of their popular Trident collection. The British brand claims the metal, a Japanese alloy, will age with a distinctive copper-brown patina.
Why: There is a sea of bronze dive watches out there but Christopher Ward’s Trident, its blue dial accentuated by the warm metal, stands out with a less sporty look.
Oris Carl Brashear Chronograph Limited Edition
Percentage of total: 4.5
History: Number three in the ranking is the limited edition that Oris dedicates to Carl Brashear, US Navy Master Diver and the first African-American to graduate from the US Navy Diving School. After losing a leg in an incident during a salvage mission, he became the US Navy’s first amputee diver. A powerful story and one this chronograph does justice to. Launched in January 2018 with a bronze case, bezel and pusher together with a deep-sea blue dial, it bears a strong similarity to the 2016 original.
Why: The combination of bronze and chronograph is a rare one, making the Carl Brashear watch all the more interesting.
Ancon M26 Tank
Percentage of total: 4.1
History: With its massive case, reminiscent of 1950s military machines, the Ancon M26 Tank lives up to its name. Made of solid bronze, the case is dominated by the bezel and its engraved markers. The dial, similar in style to Tudor dials but with an added date window, is available in multiple colours. It houses a powerful Japanese Miyota movement.
Why: At an impressive 45 x 56mm, the Ancon Tank is at the larger end of the size spectrum, catering to fans of bigger watches.
Percentage of total: 4
History: A product of its times, the story of the BOLDR Odyssey began with a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for this big, bold dive watch. The iconic BOLDR Odyssey Dive debuted in bronze in 2018, with an updated bezel and in three dial colours. The robust, industrial-style case is water-resistant to 500 metres and features a helium escape valve.
Why: Released at the height of the bronze craze, this Odyssey has made this typically premium metal more accessible, thanks to crowd-funding.