Orange, turquoise and mint green dials, not to mention vintage salmon shades. In recent years, women's and men's watches have been dazzling in a plethora of colours, not forgetting pink. A colour that for the last hundred years has mainly been associated with little girls and incorrigible romantics is radically changing its meaning. Even men are no longer afraid of it.

It’s been more than 60 years since actress Audrey Hepburn and dancer Fred Astaire parodied the fashion industry in the musical Funny Face. Although the 1957 film would seem a bit out of date today, one of its songs has become immortal thanks to its opening lines: “Think pink, think pink, when you shop for summer clothes…” We’ll paraphrase it with permission for Lifetime: “Think pink, think pink, when you shop for a new watch.”

Pink dials have become a hot trend in recent months. And it’s not just the purely feminine models that have embraced this colour over the past few decades. No wonder, of course. The world of watchmaking is a conservative one; making a watch with a mechanical movement is not a matter of a few hours. Pink in Western culture – as opposed to Japan, for example, where men wear it as much as women – has been mostly worn by women, from little girls in prams to grown-up ladies who choose richer shades.

But, in the words of another classic – this time musician and poet Bob Dylan – “The times, they are a-changin”. And this applies not only to fashion trends or society, but also to new watches. Pink seems to be finally blossoming and taking its rightful place: Ryan Gosling, who shone as Ken in the blockbuster film Barbie, was seen last summer wearing a light blue suit with a pink shirt and, above all, a TAG Heuer Carrera Date watch with a vibrant pink dial. The famous actor is also an ambassador for the brand associated with motorsports.
Of course, the Canadian star is not alone in his new approach to colour in his wardrobe – let´s just mention the style of the famous Harry Styles. The colour explosion, which includes pink, is also influenced by African and African-American cultures, which are certainly not afraid of colour.

Colour trend
A literal colour rush in watchmaking was sparked by Rolex in 2020. They introduced nine coloured dials for the steel models in the Oyster Perpetual collection, which is based on the Oyster watches introduced in 1926. Turquoise, coral red, yellow, bright green or candy pink on the lacquered dials impressed collectors who longed to have them all. Rolex also made managers and designers of other watch brands sit up and take notice. Watches with candy pink dials were only available in the smaller – and more versatile – 36mm case size, while the 41mm models came without the pink dial.
Rolex’s celebration of colour culminated last year, when the brand introduced the Oyster Perpetual models in Oystersteel with a turquoise bubble dial in the 2020 colours (candy pink, yellow, coral red and green). Called “Celebration”, this dial is available in 41mm, 36mm and 34mm cases.
While Rolex started the colour trend, other brands have also associated pink with larger case sizes, which are traditionally seen as more of a men’s affair. Pink dials, as watch brands point out, are obviously not for everyone, and pink watches are usually associated with a particular event or the colour of sports teams. But we’d like to add that it’s always good to have the freedom of choice, even if it’s just the colour of the watch dial.

Pink wave

Last October, Zenith introduced the Chronomaster Sport Pink, the first model in the line to feature a coloured dial since its launch in 2021. The 41mm steel watch is equipped with an El Primero 3600 chronograph movement, able to measure and display 1/10th of a second. The special pink chronograph is made in a limited edition of 500 pieces and 20% of the proceeds will be directly donated to Susan G. Komen, whose foundation supports women with breast cancer. Another charity model is the DATE Pink watch, from the Glashütte Moritz Grossmann manufacture, launched in May. This unique piece with its 41mm steel case and pink guilloché sector dial will be auctioned for the Princess Grace Foundation, which helps children all around the world.

At the end of March, the Swiss brand Tudor launched the new Black Bay Chrono “Pink” with a pink dial.
Although the model is not a strictly limited edition or a one-off, the brand reports that it will not produce many chronographs with black subdials, which, together with the white indices, beautifully complement the sweet pink colour.

The watch pays homage to the colours of brand ambassador David Beckham’s Inter Miami CF football team and the pink jerseys worn by the winners of the Giro d’Italia cycling race. The Black Bay Chrono is based on the brand’s first chronograph from 1970. The watch is equipped with in-house calibre MT5813, housed in a 41mm steel case. It also features the famous “snowflake” hands and a date display at 6 o´clock.

Pink is the second colour – after blue – of the BWT Alpine F1 Team livery. The drivers will wear it during the eight races this year. The team is sponsored by the Schaffhausen-based watchmaker H. Moser & Cie., which was inspired by the pink jersey to create a limited edition of 20 pieces of the Streamliner Cylindrical Tourbillon Alpine Limited Edition Pink Livery, right after the limited edition of 100 blue watches. The small pink dial with hour and minute indicators at 12 o´clock is made of synthetic corundum, while the pink rubber strap has a fabric-like texture. The fully skeletonised model with its one-minute flying tourbillon has a 42.3mm steel case.

Germany’s largest mechanical watchmaker, NOMOS Glashütte, celebrated its debut at Watches & Wonders 2024 in style, by dressing the dials of its bestselling model, the Tangente 38 Date, in 31 astonishing colour combinations. The 37.5mm steel-cased watch is decidedly unisex, according to the brand, and 175 pieces of each colour will be produced. As for the pink, there are three variants to choose from: Bubblegum with a yellow small-seconds subdial, Flamingopink with an orange subdial, and Pompadour with cream-coloured accents. The last one, with its dusty pink dial, is a nod to the favourite colour of Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, Marquise de Pompadour, mistress of the French King Louis XV.

Men also like smaller cases
It’s great that nowadays men don’t have to express their masculinity with large watch cases – unless they want to. Even though the trend for smaller cases seems to have stopped this year after a few years, men can still wear watches with 36mm or 34mm cases on their wrists. Don’t forget that one of the most famous watches ever, Patek Philippe’s Reference 96 Calatrava from the early 1930s had a gold case measuring just 31mm.

Last year’s Carrera Date from TAG Heuer has already been mentioned in connection with Ryan Gosling. The collection has been redesigned to mark the 60th anniversary of the launch of the Carrera collection. It’s a three-hand watch with a 36mm steel case (the size is a reference to the case size of the original 1963 Carrera chronograph). In addition to the vibrant pink, the dials are also available in green, silver and blue. Last year, Omega also relied on coloured dials for its Aqua Terra collection, introduced in 2002. The Aqua Terra Shades steel watch has a satin-brushed shell-pink dial and a 34mm case.

This year’s new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding model boasts the same case size. For several years now, the haute horlogerie brand from Le Brassus has refused to divide its models into men’s and women’s watches, because, like niche perfume houses for example, it doesn’t want to prejudge anyone’s tastes.

The new rose gold model has a dial in a vivid pink colour obtained by atomic layer deposition (ALD). It is decorated with the Grande Tapisserie motif and the combination of rose gold and pink captivates not only women but also men whenever Audemars Piguet introduces new products.

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