With all due respect to the Pantone Color Institute, its color of the year announcement for 2021—naming Ultimate Gray and Illuminating, a bright shade of yellow, as the year’s twin hues—was way off-base.
Any watch lover who’s tuned in to social media over the past few months knows that the color of the year, at least horologically speaking, is green in all its various iterations—forest, mint and olive, to name a few. And collectors are pretty jazzed about it.
“We love seeing makers experiment with style and color,” says Asher Rapkin, co-founder of Collective Horology, a community of enthusiasts based in California. “To us, the use of more vibrant colors signifies that both the old guard and the indies are leaning in and being more adventurous and creative with their designs, and that’s good for everyone. The more risks the industry can take, the better the creative opportunity for all.”
There are plenty of theories to explain the industry’s collective embrace of green (mostly on dials, but also on bezels and straps): The environmental movement is stronger than ever. Having spent the past year (mostly) stuck indoors, we’re all craving anything that reminds us of nature. And, well, the color is associated with wealth and money.
Among Rolex lovers, however, one argument is especially compelling: “The huge number of watches with green dials we’re now seeing is due at least partially to the success Rolex has had with green models in the past,” says Paul Altieri, founder of Bob’s Watches, the popular online marketplace for secondhand Rolexes. “The Ref. 116508 green dial Daytona in yellow gold came out in 2016. The full retail is $36,000—if you get your hands on one, you’d be lucky to pay anything under $70,000.” Alternatively, if you are looking to sell, the time is ripe.
There’s no way of knowing whether watchmakers are following Rolex’s lead, or if the Zeitgeist has merely pointed everyone in the same colorful direction. But it sure is fun to speculate.
Below is a collection of nine brand new luxury timepieces that take their hue cues from Kermit the Frog (the Muppet, if not the 2003 Rolex Submariner, aka Ref. 16610LV, arguably the recognizable green horological machine).
Breitling Chronomat Automatic 36 South Sea
Breitling’s new Chronomat Automatic 36 South Sea with the mint green lacquered dial is as fetching as the prospect of a holiday in Bora Bora. The piece, which belongs to a capsule collection of three models in gem-set 36 mm stainless steel cases, is equipped with Breitling Caliber 10, a COSC-certified chronometer with a power reserve of approximately 42 hours. It retails for $8,500.
Glashütte Original PanoMaticLunar
Fans of Glashütte Original will recognize the PanoMaticLunar’s handcrafted dial with its off-center hour and minute hands, prominent small second display, and signature Panorama Date display at 4 o’clock. Note the dial’s color gradient, which imperceptibly graduates from an intense dark green in the center to black at the edges. The piece, which comes in a 40 mm red gold case on a green alligator strap, retails for $20,500.
Moser & Cie. Pioneer Centre Seconds Mega Cool
All of H. Moser & Cie.’s timepieces with the signature fumé dials are cool, but this 42.8 mm steel Pioneer Centre Seconds with the Blue Lagoon dial is aptly nicknamed Mega Cool. The limited edition retails for $15,300. Go ahead — dive in!
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Small Seconds
For the 90th anniversary of its iconic Reverso model, Jaeger-LeCoultre pays homage to the colored dials that were a house staple in the 1930s. The monoface Reverso Tribute Small Seconds ($8,750) comes in a stainless steel case fronted by a green sunray-brushed dial, and offers a blank slate on its reverse side, just waiting to be customized.
Montblanc 1858 Split Second Chronograph LE 18
Available in a limited edition of 18 pieces, the 1858 Split Second Chronograph from Montblanc reinterprets a 46 mm Minerva historical military chronograph from the 1930s equipped with the original calibre 19-09CH. Housed in a 44 mm case made of a unique 18-karat gold alloy, dubbed “Lime Gold,” the $50,000 piece features a distinctive gold-colored dial with contrasting green elements and comes on a matching vintage green nubuck calf strap. Ok, so it’s not really a full-green dial, but it’s still giving us the vibe.
Patek Philippe Ref. 5711/1A Nautilus
Just when it seems like the mania for the recently discontinued Ref. 5711/1A could not get any more intense, Patek Philippe introduces this $34,893 steel version with an olive green sunburst dial, and proves that yes, yes it can. “Patek Philippe’s use of green demonstrates their willingness to remix classics and respond to consumer tastes,” says Gabe Reilly, co-founder of Collective Horology. “A subtle but positive sign for any collector interested in the brand.”
Speake-Marin Dual Time Mint
New to Speake-Marin’s Openworked collection is the Dual Time Mint ($32,0300) with retrograde date. The design, inspired by the Black Architecture movement, is bathed in a playful pastel shade of mint green, in stark contrast to the black DLC-coated titanium of the case and black matte finish of the bridges visible on the dial.
TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre Heuer 02
The Monaco Calibre Heuer 02 with the electric green face made its debut at the end of April, on the occasion of the prestigious Grand Prix de Monaco Historique. The 39 mm steel watch, which retails for $6,650, is limited to just 500 pieces—though rumor has it, they’re already sold out.
Rolex Datejust 36
The new Rolex Datejust 36 ($7,050) with the beguiling palm frond motif dial is a departure from Rolex’s green watch tradition, epitomized by the perennially in-demand and rather masculine-looking Submariner “Hulk,” but what this 36 mm model in the Oystersteel case lacks in size, it makes up for in easy, breezy style.
Zenith Defy 21 Urban Jungle
For all its stealthy ambitions, the new Defy 21 Urban Jungle from Zenith ($14,500) — housed in a 44 mm khaki green ceramic case that perfectly matches the green-coated mainplate and oscillating weight of its high-frequency chronograph movement — is a timepiece guaranteed to stand out.