Five Reasons To Consider A Brown Watch

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Five Reasons To Consider A Brown Watch

Words by Mr Chris Hall

13 February 2024

It’s the word “brown” that’s the problem. No wonder we have so many other words for this corner of the colour chart: chestnut, tan, sepia and maroon are all working hard. And that’s before we reach for the more evocative, opulent options such as mahogany, walnut, chocolate and coffee. We know the colour looks good – it’s a staple on everything from shoes to coats – we just have trouble with the b-word. So, let’s get straight past that and acknowledge that on a watch, the aforementioned colour can look absolutely wonderful. It pairs well with warm rose-gold cases, but also brings sophistication to a stainless-steel model. Here are five watches with brown dials that you need to know.

01. NOMOS Glashütte Club Sport Neomatik

We’ve seen the Club Sport in zestier colours, but the latest selection from NOMOS enjoys a more mature colour palette. This tobacco-dialled watch is one of three new references in the range – the others are dubbed “ember” and “smoke” – that bring an autumnal flavour to proceedings. They also plug a gap in NOMOS’ selection that will appeal to many, with 39mm cases that slot neatly between the pre-existing versions in 41mm and 37mm.

02. Gerald Charles Maestro 2.0 Ultra-Thin

The great thing about sunburst dials is the way they catch the light in different settings. This watch can appear auburn and rosy, helped along by the gold case, or almost entirely black depending on the lighting. This Maestro 2.0 Ultra-Thin prefers “chocolate” for the nomenclature – very Swiss, after all – and pairs the glossy dial and case with a more laid-back rubber strap, also in brown. The “clous de Paris” texture on the strap is a nod to the brand’s intent to mix traditional luxury with sportier materials.

03. Vacheron Constantin Fiftysix

The Fiftysix introduced a new case shape for modern-day Vacheron Constantin and with it, broadened the maison’s traditional aesthetic a little. It ushered in soft calf-leather straps instead of alligator, drew praise for its bolder dial designs – all sans serif numerals and railroad minute tracks – and of course, added some rich brown shades to the line-up. Like the Gerald Charles, the colour pairs well with the rose-gold case and is carried through to the strap.

04. Bell & Ross BR 03 Golden Heritage

It’s easy to talk about the versatility of the BR 03, but when the watch exists in everything from black ceramic and red sapphire to this steel and chestnut example, the point is proven. A stainless-steel case takes the edge off the warm gold and brown tones on the dial, as well as keeping the watch closer to its aeronautical roots (and more affordable price point). The 41mm case is water-resistant to 100m, but we’d swap out that pristine calf-leather strap before exploring any reefs.

05. IWC Schaffhausen Big Pilot’s Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

These days, IWC’s Pilot’s watches encompass everything from Formula 1 partnerships and Pantone-hued tributes to California’s desert landscapes. But not too long ago, your only shot at real visual variety came when the brand released pieces in its Antoine de Saint-Exupéry sub-collection, all of which were easily identified by their brown dials. The connection continues to this day, as shown by this Big Pilot’s 46mm model. It’s equipped with the brand’s in-house eight-day calibre, which fills out the caseback view with traditionally decorated bridges and plates.

Time for a change