Green watches has always been a popular hue in luxury timepieces, but its popularity has skyrocketed since the epidemic. The entire industry appears to have gone green, from Audemars Piguet’s platinum Royal Oak with a gleaming emerald-colored dial to Zenith’s subdued woodland Chronomaster Revival Safari.
Green timepiece sales have also surged. “We’re selling millions of pounds worth of watches with green dials,” said Mark Toulson, head of watch procurement at the Watches of Switzerland Group, which operates stores in the UK and the US. “Since the beginning of the year in May, we’ve sold 80% more green watches than in 2020, and 197% more than in 2019.” He went on to say that the statistics will be greater.
The scene was similar at Harrods. Green watches sales have increased every year since 2018, according to Beth Hannaway, the London department store’s head of watches and jewels, and now account for about 15% of her division’s sales. “Green is more surprising but still fairly safe” as a fashionable choice for customers who already have watches with black, white, and blue dials but want to add to their collection, she says.
One of the year’s biggest watch stories even included a watch with a green dial.
Patek Philippe released a steel version of its highly coveted Ref. 5711 Nautilus with an olive green dial in April, priced at $34,893. In July, a pre-owned vehicle fetched $490,000 at auction. The family-owned Geneva business launched two additional green-dial watches last month. “Green has always been a hue that emphasises a sporting touch for Patek Philippe models,” the company’s CEO, Thierry Stern, noted in an email.
Historically, clocks featured black or white dials, but the watch landscape has been saturated with colour in recent decades. Blue has emerged as the primary option, with reds, browns, oranges, and a rainbow of other hues also making an appearance.
Rolex, for example, debuted a line of Oyster Perpetual models with dials in pink, coral red, yellow, turquoise — and green last year. All of them currently have lengthy waiting lists. “Color is the trend, and green is at the forefront,” Mr. Toulson added. “I believe it will be around for a long time.”
However, for certain businesses, the transition to colour has been more conventional. “Ten years ago, 90% of our collection had black dials and 10% had white dials,” said Alessandro Ficarelli, Panerai’s product director. “Today, approximately 50% is black, 30% is blue, and 20% is white.” He did, however, state that Green watches were mostly utilised for special editions and accounted for less than 1% of the brand’s sales.
According to colour specialists, the widespread usage of Green watches design comes as no surprise. “We started seeing a rising acceptance of greens in the 2010s,” said Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Color Institute in New Jersey, which includes over 500 greens in its Color Systems.
Greenery, a yellowish green hue, was even named the institute’s colour of the year in 2017. “We’d gotten more attached to our computers, and we’d lost the entire work-life balance,” Ms. Pressman explained. “Here was a colour that satiated a rising urge to revive and regenerate.” It represented the connectivity we were looking for with nature. It’s hardly surprising that we’re seeing this in watches.
Stéphanie Sivrière, head of Piaget’s design studio, said the epidemic has prompted nature to play an even bigger part in the production of the company’s timepieces, such as the Altiplano Ultimate Concept Edition “La Côte-aux-Fées,” which was unveiled this year. It is a green variant of Piaget’s ultrathin watch, named after the wooded area in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, where the company was founded in 1874.
“Over the last two years, I’ve been more inspired by nature,” Ms. Sivrière remarked. “I believe it’s a return to the source, inspired by Covid.” Green watches is also considered a lucky hue, especially in the Middle East and Asia, which are major markets for the luxury watch business.”
Jill Morton, a colour psychologist based in Hawaii and the CEO of the colour consultancy Colorcom, said it was difficult to attribute the hue’s newfound appeal to a single source since there are so many variations of the colour. “Green was originally regarded pretty geeky, but there aren’t any terrible colours any longer,” she explained. “A dark green is dignified and relaxing, but a brilliant grass green is stimulating and a light green is soothing.” A jade green may be more enticing.
“Green is the colour of our currency in the United States,” she explained, adding that “it’s also the colour of Islam.” It’s difficult to narrow down what green represents, because it’s always changing.”