Green machines: 7 of the best watches for a year of renewal

June 5, 2021, 8:00 PM UTC
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Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Self-Winding Chronograph.
Photograph by Janelle Jones; Botanical Art by Sophie Parker; Styling by Alex Silva

It happens in the world of fashion all the time. Designers working in far-flung ateliers come together in Milan, Paris, or New York to show off their latest creations and discover they’ve stumbled upon a common theme. It might be floral prints, high waistlines, low necklines: No matter how hard they try to be original, they converge on the inevitable.

The watch world is no different. Every year at Switzerland’s biggest trade shows, a singular idea emerges from the throng. In 2019, it was “two-tone” watches in yellow gold and steel. The year prior it was watches with dual time zone or GMT complications. 

In 2021, watch designers in Geneva, Paris, and Iwate Prefecture, Japan, all came to the same conclusion. For a year when we see the shoots of renewal climbing high, the most perfect color is green. 

1. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Self-Winding Chronograph 

Limited to just 125 pieces, this classic sport chronograph is reimagined in yellow gold with a deep-green dial. ($74,800)

2. Rolex Oyster Perpetual 36

The revamped Oyster Perpetual line makes a big statement as an entry point in the Rolex catalog. These time-only watches come in shades of candy pink, turquoise blue, yellow, and coral red, but it’s the green—reminiscent of a classic British racing car—that we think will be a future museum piece. ($5,600)

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Clockwise: Rolex Oyster Perpetual 36, Breitling Premier B09 Chronograph 40, and Patek Philippe Twenty-4.
Photograph by Janelle Jones; Botanical Art by Sophie Parker; Styling by Alex Silva

3. Breitling Premier B09 Chronograph 40 

Breitling continues its winning line of heritage-inspired watches with this pistachio-dialed chronograph. The 40mm case houses a two-register hand-wound chronograph movement, the likes of which put Breitling on the map in the glory days of aviation. ($8,400)

4. Patek Philippe Twenty~4 

Patek Philippe’s commitment to beautiful watches for women is evident in this steel piece with a bezel set with 160 diamonds. The olive-green dial in a sunburst pattern shines brilliantly in the light, but will take on more subdued hues for the evening. ($27,800)

5. Grand Seiko SBGJ251 

Japan’s premier watchmaker creates elegantly finished cases and technically innovative movements, but it’s the brand’s exquisite dial finishing that sets it apart from many of its European competitors. The soft-green dial and rose-gold accents of this dual time zone watch were inspired by Shunbun, the celebration of the vernal equinox. ($6,800)

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Clockwise: Grand Seiko SBGJ251, Cartier Tank Must, and Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 18K.
Photograph by Janelle Jones; Botanical Art by Sophie Parker; Styling by Alex Silva

6. Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 18k 

This year, Tudor took everything we thought we knew about the brand and turned it upside down. Long the reigning champ of sub-$5,000 dive watches in steel, Tudor recast its popular Black Bay Fifty-Eight model  in solid silver, and this model in 18-karat brushed yellow gold. ($16,800)

7. Cartier Tank Must 

The Cartier Tank Must recalls Cartier’s heady 1980s when every Wall Street trader and spouse rocked one. These bold unisex watches, also available in red and blue with matching alligator straps, take the classic design in a fun new direction. (To be released in September, $TBA)

This article appears in the June/July 2021 issue of Fortune with the headline, “Green machines.”

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