The Analog:Shift Guide to Colorful Watches

The Analog:Shift Guide to Colorful Watches

| 03.25.24

Let’s get one thing out of the way: Watchmaking can be a stuffy industry.

With its hundreds of years of tradition and its Swiss precision, watch companies are reluctant to change their practices, their designs, and their attitudes. However, this doesn’t mean a complete lack of fun and whimsy in horology. Au contraire: There are plenty of timepieces that integrate color — from subtle pops to full-on, semi-precious stone dials — in order to up the interest quotient. Best of all, these pieces truly run the gamut with respect to both design remit and price: You can buy a colorful watch for a few hundred bucks, or you can mortgage your home. The world’s your oyster!

Here, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite colorful watches from Analog:Shift’s inventory. From vintage, double-signed pieces to collaboration watches to brands that are famous specifically for their use of color — we’re looking at you, Doxa! — these watches are sure to bring a smile to your face. As always, reach out to us if you’re looking for something specific, and we’d be happy to help you try and source it. 

Vulcain 'Teamsters' ($1,850)

Vulcain 'Teamsters' - IN THE SHOP

This manually-wound, cushion-cased time-and-date watch probably isn’t what comes to mind when one thinks of Vulcain, maker of the famed Cricket alarm watch. But the Swiss brand produced many compelling timepieces — and continues to do so under fresh ownership. Measuring 36mm, this piece is special by virtue of the Teamsters logo on the dial, which turns a fairly ordinary blue watch into a piece of wearable art with turquoise and yellow accents. 

Bamford X seconde/seconde/ 'Bad Form' GMT Limited Edition ($2,600)

Bamford X Seconde/Seconde/ 'Bad Form' GMT Limited Edition - IN THE SHOP

This playful take on Bamford Watch Department’s already-playful GMT couldn’t possibly be more British in inspiration or feel. Housed in a 40mm stainless steel cushion case, it features a green dial whose hands sprout from what is either the ‘V for Victory’ symbol — or the ‘Up your bum’ symbol, depending upon your interpretation! Powered by an automatic Swiss ‘flyer’ movement and paired to a green Cordura strap, it’s simply a fun watch. 

DOXA Sub 300 Carbon 'Divingstar' ($3,200)

DOXA Sub 300 Carbon 'Divingstar' - IN THE SHOP

One can always count on Doxa for a colorful watch, and this Sub 300 Carbon ‘Divingstar’ is no exception. Its 42.5mm black carbon case is offset by a positively outrageous, bright yellow dial with black and white accents, which is surrounded by a bezel with a decompression scale in yellow. With its matching yellow rubber strap, this is a watch you couldn’t misplace even if you tried, and that will be visible underwater long after other colors have turned to mush.

Alain Silberstein Cyclope ($3,400) 

Alain Silberstein Cyclope - IN THE SHOP

Color is at the very center of French designer Alain Silberstein’s entire philosophy — his avant-garde watches are unabashedly bright and fun. This Cyclope is unique for both its use of color and its design: The wavy yellow seconds hand is joined by a floating red hour indicator hand with a jump hour indicator beneath. A subtle convergence of color and complication, it’s powered by an automatic Swiss movement and is eminently wearable at 38mm. 

Franck Muller Infinity Color Dreams 25th Anniversary ($4,800)

Franck Muller Infinity Color Dreams 25th Anniversary - IN THE SHOP

Back in the early 2000s, Franck Muller’s colorful timepieces were absolutely everywhere — and we think they should be everywhere again! Measuring 36mm in stainless steel, this Infinity Color Dreams 25th Anniversary may be quartz-powered, but its silver guilloché dial’s Roman numerals feature such a wild riot of color that we can overlook its less compelling innards. Paired to a signed, purple alligator leather strap, it’s an undeniably cool piece that mixes elegance and fun.

Kurono Hajime Asaoka Seiji ($5,950)

Kurono Hajime Asaoka Seiji - IN THE SHOP

Japanese watchmaker Hajime Asaoka is known for his stunning handmade (and highly expensive) creations — which is why his independent brand Kurono Tokyo, with its more affordable pieces, is a welcome addition to his oeuvre. This automatic Asaoka Seiji watch in stainless steel features a bright and playful turquoise blue dial with a black ‘railroad’ minute track, applied indices, a modified ‘syringe’ handset, and little else. Pretty cool!

Breitling Chronomat Automatic 36 'South Sea' ($7,500)

Breitling Chronomat Automatic 36 'South Sea' - IN THE SHOP

With its integrated bracelet and thin, automatic movement, this Chronomat recalls luxury sports legends such as the Royal Oak and Nautilus. This version, however, ups the ante with a gem-set bezel, rose gold and diamond indices, and a matching rose gold handset. With its luminous, lacquered blue dial, it makes for the perfect vacation watch, but its tough build quality also means that you don’t have to baby it. Plus, at 36mm, it’s just right for both men and women.

Piaget White Gold 'Malachite' Dress Watch ($17,990)

Piaget White Gold 'Malachite' Dress Watch - IN THE SHOP

In addition to its expertise with ultra-thin watchmaking, Piaget also crafted some of the funkiest watches of the 1970s by combining precious metals, unconventional shapes, and semi-precious stones. Take this white gold timepiece, for example — its deep green malachite dial positively pops against the beautifully crafted case and bracelet with its textured ‘bark’ finish. Powered by the manually-wound Calibre 9P, it’s a truly stunning, subtly colorful masterwork.

Abercrombie & Fitch Seafarer 'MKII' ($24,900)

Abercrombie & Fitch Seafarer 'MKII'- IN THE SHOP

Commissioned by Abercrombie & Fitch in the 1950s, the Seafarer used solunar theory to predict the best times for fishing and hunting, displaying them via a unique subdial at 9 o’clock. These days, these rare watches are the stuff of collector’s dreams, with their bright colors and eye-catching design driving their popularity and price. This 38mm ref. 2443 ‘Mk. II’ retains much of its original luster but adds an awesome patina. Who could resist such a special object?

Patek Philippe World Time Grand Feu Cloisonné (Inquire) 

Patek Philippe World Time Grand Feu Cloisonné - IN THE SHOP

Since the 1930s, Patek Philippe has led the charge in high-end world timer watches. This Ref. 5231J-001, however, is something special, indeed: Housed in a 39.5mm yellow gold case, it features a stunning, colorful cloisonné enamel dial depicting the globe, turning a strictly utilitarian complication into a work of art. Powered by the Calibre 240 HU micro-rotor movement, this is as classy as a “colorful” watch can get.