We Brits might know green as the colour of envy, but head further east, to China, and it’s got a more auspicious significance – something that might explain why the watch world’s been going green lately.
Chinese shoppers accounted for over $22 billion worth of Swiss watches in 2015 (a quarter of all exports), so it’s little wonder that more and more manufactures are taking pains to nod to cultural nuances.
But shopping habits aren’t solely responsible for the green wave, as Erica Redgrave, buyer at The Watch Gallery explains. “Jade and emerald tones are increasingly popular thanks to the Chinese shopper, but green dials have been intermittently in vogue since the Rolex Submariner,” she says. The landmark watch was one of the first to feature a vibrantly coloured dial, and green has been a go-to shade for watch brands ever since.
The colour might mean good vibes in Beijing, but the class of 2016 is enough to make anyone green. Us included.
Thomas Earnshaw Armagh
Swiss guts are often costly. Even more so when on display in a skeleton watch – two things that make Thomas Earnshaw’s modestly priced Armagh all the more refreshing. Not only is the movement exposed in all its mechanical glory, but the classic design sits atop a winning gold-green combo to boot.
Available at Thomas Earnshaw, priced £340.
Corniche Heritage 40 Visage No. 3
A forest green dial on a matching strap sounds jarring, but Corniche’s Visage No. 3 chimes a prettier tune. The muted dial counters the colour pop, while its stainless steel case sits firmly within the classic camp. Simply does it.
Available at Corniche, priced approximately £331.
Rolex Submariner 116610 LV
Less gentle birdsong, more peacock’s mating call – but that doesn’t discount the Submariner’s prestige. The OG of green watches (and debatably all watches ever) is one of the most iconic timepieces ever made. Something you might’ve picked up from its price tag.
Available at Watchfinder, priced £6,750.
If looking to experiment, there’s only so much you can do with a 36mm watch. But that didn’t stop Meistersinger – the German manufacturer was one of the first to pioneer a single-hand dial and despite its left-field look, still manages to turn out a class act.
Available at The Watch Gallery, priced £995.
Nixon The Rover SS II
There’s another year ’til the Blade Runner sequel, but clock-watching with Nixon’s Rover should satiate your appetite for neo-noir. The Rover SS II swaps a traditional case for one rejigged with widened minute and hour hands, metallic indices and a colour pop to brighten any fugitive replicant’s day.
Available at WatchShop, priced £185.
Gucci Gold PVD-Plated Watch
Ah, Gucci. As if the romantic ruffles and pussy bows weren’t enough, Alessandro Michele throws classic to the wind with the label’s watches too. This design’s notable for its anthracite dial and gold bumblebee motif – perfect if you want the Wes Anderson vibes without pulling on a powder pink three-piece.
Available at Mr Porter, priced £650.
TAG Heuer Formula 1 CR7
We can’t say much for the deep V-necklines, but at least Cristiano Ronaldo understands what makes a good watch. His collab with TAG Heuer combines a sportswatch design with a shade of pitchside green. Back of the net.
Available at T.H. Baker, priced £1,200.
Brands like Seiko made Japan a technology Mecca. And the SNAF09P1 is a shining example of the nation’s love for robust, feature-heavy watches: luminous hands, date aperture and chronographs for days.
Available at John Lewis, priced £179.
Shinola The Runwell Chrono
Finally, something that makes America great again. Shinola’s Runwell combines classic Americana vibes with a socially progressive backstory – the Detroit-based brand trains locals in the art of watchmaking, with a full-time job at the endpoint.
Available at Shinola, priced £645.
Dalvey Signature Grand Mariner Watch
In an age when watches can provide SMS alerts, it’s sometimes worth going back to basics. Dalvey’s Grand Mariner incorporates all the hallmarks of a good watch without resorting to novelty: classic, muted but impactful. Find something else to take your selfies with.
Available at Dalvey, priced £345.