This spring’s watch launches have spawned a whole new school of salmon dials in a continuation of a trend that has been swimming upstream for a while now. In the past year or two, we’ve seen a slew of vintage-looking peachy dials from the likes of Rolex, Oris, and Patek Philippe (who started the trend the first time around in the 1940s). Since then, the salmon pool has grown ever larger and more diverse. A quote from the cheeky press release on a recent addition to the species, Moser’s Streamliner Smoked Salmon, gives you an idea of how fervently focused it has become: “There is salmon and there is salmon. Our inspiration does not come from the traditional Atlantic salmon, or Salmo salar to give it its Latin name, but from its very rare cousin, the Oncorhynchus kisutch. Allowed to mature in total freedom and massaged each day by specialists using an oil infused with aromatic herbs picked from the slopes of the Himalayas, this species only eats crustaceans that have been pre-digested by pink flamingos. Each individual fish is smoked using a secret recipe made using Scottish whisky. This is what gives the flesh this exceptional color, and is the inspiration behind our new dial,” says Edouard Meylan, CEO of H. Moser & Cie and seasoned fly fisher.
Here are a few more examples from this year’s salmon run.
Laurent Ferrier GrandSport Tourbillon Pursuit
It may look like salmon, but the master independent watchmaker’s latest rendition is inspired by something on land. Ferrier, who was a race car driver in the 1970s, says the hue was inspired by the rising sun over the Le Mans track at dawn after a night of racing. It is powered by the manual-wound tourbillon caliber LF619.01 with a double balance spring and an 80-hour power reserve. $190,000
MB&F Legacy Machine Perpetual
The focus of this piece is the raised balance at the center of the dial (held by what MB&F describes as the world’s longest balance staff) surrounded by subdials and movement components on various levels. But lurking under it all is a salmon-colored main plate that makes everything glow. This is the model’s debut in stainless steel. $180,000
Chopard L.U.C 1860
Chopard’s L.U.C 1860 is modeled after a neo-vintage release from 1997, but the salmon dial gives it a vintage appeal. Made of gold, this is one of the most elegantly decorated dials in the salmon category, with a guilloched center, a snailed small seconds dial, and applied chevron markers. It is made to Poinçon de Genève standards and contains the ultra-thin caliber L.U.C 96.40-L. The case is steel. $23,200
Chopard Alpine Eagle 41 XPS
The 41 XPS is another Poinçon de Genève piece with a salmon dial and a steel case, and even the same movement as the 1860, but as a sportier model, it has a different aesthetic. Here, the “monte rose pink” dial is named for the second-highest mountain range in the Swiss Alps, and their characteristic pinkish shimmer. The high-relief finish is inspired by the eagle’s iris. $22,500
Breitling Premier Chronograph
As Breitling’s heritage watch, the Premier, represents the brand’s transition from producing tool watches for the military in the 1940s to creating more elegant chronographs for the wider market. The salmon dial is a nod both to its vintage roots and its modern, trendy vibe. $9,100
Among the 13 dial options in the Tudor Royal collection is this new salmon tone, one of the shiniest variations of the trend, with a sunray pattern radiating out from the center. The Royal is another gender-neutral option, with 28, 34, and 38mm case sizes to choose from. The applied numerals and COSC-rated movement make it a great value at under $5,000.
H. Moser & Cie Smoked Salmon Streamliner
Moser gives the salmon dial species its own signature with this “smoked” version that interprets the brand’s fumé (which literally means “smoked” in French) dial style. Beginning from the outer edge, it graduates from dark to light, with a vertically striped griffé finish found only on special Moser editions. This model will be available for one year only. $21,900
Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Retrograde Day-Date
The combination of platinum case, salmon dial, and a double retrograde complication is a winning formula and a sure indicator that this boutique-only Patrimony will be a fast sell-out. The date/day retrograde arcs at the top and bottom are marked by skeletonized blued-steel hands, adding to the vintage vibe. Price upon request