Our watches are like us: they have a character, which depends mainly on their dial color and its combination with their accessories, such as bracelets and straps. Of course, each color has its meaning, but horologically speaking, specific colors are more suitable than others for certain occasions. So let's examine this bit of etiquette together! 

Which watch color is most versatile?

There was an old rule that related the dial color of a watch to the shirt worn by its wearer. And although times have changed, this still holds true. As a result, there are two dominant colors among watches: the first is white, and the second is black.

 White is traditionally used for elegant watches: not only is it the color of the enamel and natural porcelain, which were used in the dials of pocket watches from their origins, but it is also the color where there is more visibility for the hands and hour markers of the watch. Recall that in the category "white dials". more classic and traditional, we can equate all watches with light-colored dials, for example, metalized in silver, often with sunburst polishing effects.

In contrast, black is a recent achievement: the first watches with dark dials were created for use in military operations, where white would have been too conspicuous. In addition, black, with contrasting numerals or markers, is highly visible, especially in low light. This made it the color of choice for sports and diver watches.

In addition, the black dial has another valuable feature, especially for a field watch: if the glass gets scratched for some reason, the effect on dial legibility is less. This means that the most versatile watch face color is probably black.

What is the most popular watch color?

While until the 1970s, watches with white dials were definitely the most popular, from that date onward, the huge increase in popularity of luxury sports watches relegated white to a supporting role. Nowadays, many watches, often diver-type like the Rolex Submariner, have black dials.

But amid this yin-yang struggle, there is always a third option: the colored dial. Watches with colored dials are less common than their black and white counterparts, but they make up a widespread population of sometimes very unusual colors.

Blue watches, such as the famous Patek Philippe Nautilus and Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, traditionally take the lion's share. Still, there is no shortage of lovely references in other colors, such as the green Rolex Submariner "Hulk" or bright orange, the signature color of Doxa diver watches.

Let us also remember that there are watches with multicolored dials or decorated with geometric motifs such as guilloche effects or multicolor designs, such as the beautiful cloisonné dials of the great Maisons such as Patek Philippe, and others that even have no dial (the so-called skeletonized watches), so we conclude that the variety of proposals in the field of dials is certainly not what is lacking.

So, if you are now asking yourself the fatidic "what color watch should i get "question, and need some help choosing, fear not: we have prepared a handy watch buying guide for you to consult. 

What color watches should I get?

At the very least, it would be helpful to own at least two watches of different colors and types in your arsenal, to be able to face any social occasion with serenity: a dress watch with a white dial and a sports watch with a black dial. According to even the most conservative label rules, this lineup allows you to adequately address 99 percent of the social occasions you might have the good fortune to attend.

So, the best watch colors for a limited collection are two. We recommend a dress watch with a white dial, and possibly, gold case and details and a fine leather strap. On the other hand, a sports watch such as a diver or pilot with a black or otherwise very dark dial and a metal or rubber/silicone bracelet/wristband. Remember to choose watch straps carefully and change them as much as you like, profiting from the modern quick-release springbars.

How do you match watch to outfit?

As we said before, an elegant occasion would call for an elegant watch, but we have seen that this rule is scarcely respected now. A good timepiece with a stainless steel case, leather strap, and dark or light dial can easily be paired with any outfit, from jeans and a polo shirt to a suit and tie for a social occasion in the city. You need to evaluate not so much the color of the dial as the color of the strap, which should go well with your clothing and accessories, as there isn't any universal answer to the "what color watch band goes with everything" question.

Kevin O'Leary with two watches - Image from watchuseek.com

For example, if you are wearing a brown belt and shoes, a brown leather strap in a similar color will be perfectly appropriate. Or, you can always follow the example of popular Shark Tank host Kevin O'Leary, who exclusively wears watches with bright red straps that match other accessories in his outfit.

Also, do not forget watch size. While most modern watches have a large size, smaller, more dressy timepieces are coming back in style again. Smaller watches place more attention to the color of the strap. 

Black vs. White Face

The white face watch is traditionally the most readable, elegant, and formal, but that doesn't mean you can't wear a white face watch with jeans.

However, as we said, it is a type of combination that suffers the most if there are scratches on the glass: in that case, the refraction of sunlight would cause unsightly shadows to be cast on the dial, making it difficult to read. This is the main reason why most sports watches display dark-colored dials.

Does a black dial watch go with everything?

A watch with a black, or otherwise dark, dial is easily paired with many outfits precisely because in this type of timepiece, what attracts attention is not so much the dial as the case and the bracelet or strap.

Therefore, we can safely assert that black face watches easily match with many social occasions and are more versatile than those with a brighter-colored dial. Still, everything always depends on the event, the watch, and your personality.

Can you wear a blue watch every day?

Blue face watches are one of the most popular choices in wristwatches as blue sits, perception-wise, in a middle ground between white and black, with an extensive and flexible range of use. The world's most famous luxury sports watches were launched with a blue dial, and that is saying something.

However, always using a watch with a blue dial is limiting: true collectors like to range in both the shape and color of their timepieces and blue is but one of several colors available for watch dials. 

Is a black or white face watch better?

We cannot define something as "better" unless we refer to it as a relative term. And this seems to be the case for watches as well. We can say that white and black face watches have better readability than others. But to call them "better" in absolute terms is not something that does them justice.

So we can say that a watch with a white or black dial is a safe choice for all occasions: they are (more or less) watches that go with everything. Of course, it's hard to go wrong when wearing something classic, such as black or white - it's a rule that also applies to clothing.

But if you want to be memorable, choosing to lean toward a timepiece with a different color dial - or "creative" strap - could be the detail that makes all the difference in your outlook. Remember that straps are (usually) easily switchable, so you can use wristbands coming from third parties - but please, do not exaggerate!

Main Takeaways

One of the synonyms for the dial is, indeed, "face." And the face is one of the most noticeable aspects when the watch is worn. Wearing the right attire can mean the difference between making a great impression and being quickly forgotten, and the same applies to our watches as well.

Above all, we need to learn how to wear these different faces according to the occasion, so that those who meet us understand that that is our style: because a watch, and the great diversity of dials explains this very well, is much more than a tool for marking time.


The Davosa-USA.com website is NOT affiliated in any way with Audemars Piguet, Franck Muller USA, Inc. Richard Mille or Richemont Companies, Seiko, or any other brand which is not Davosa Swiss. Rolex is a registered trademark of Rolex USA. Davosa-USA website is not an authorized dealer, reseller, or distributor for Rolex and is in NO WAY affiliated with Rolex SA or Rolex USA or any other brand besides Davosa Swiss.
August 29, 2022 — Davosa Editor
Tags: Style

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