Minutes & Seconds

Watch brands get creative with colour to appeal to younger customers

Customers can have their Jaeger-LeCoultre Atelier Reverso personalised with different dials, back dials and their own initials or design. They can also have a painting or picture engraved.
Customers can have their Jaeger-LeCoultre Atelier Reverso personalised with different dials, back dials and their own initials or design. They can also have a painting or picture engraved.PHOTOS: AUDEMARS PIGUET, CHOPARD, HERMES, JAEGER-LECOULTRE, ZENITH

Many luxury watch brands have brought out the paint palette, using colours to be more creative and reel in younger customers

If you do not know already, this year's colour is "greenery". The Pantone Color Institute has decreed that the zesty yellow-green hue - or, more specifically, Pantone 15-0343 - best represents the mood and attitude of 2017.

As has been the case since 2000, when the institute first declared a colour of the year, players in the design industry, from fashion to architecture, beavered away to inject this hue into what they do.

But even before the announcement in December last year, watchmakers have been playing with various shades of Kermit.

They include Swiss luxe jeweller de Grisogono, which gave its Allegra watch lime-green rubber straps; and Hublot, which did a green take with one of its Big Bang Tutti Frutti models. Rolex has a fabulous green Submariner, while Tag Heuer, in a collaboration with footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, rolled out the Formula 1 CR7 in a fetching shade of green too.

In fact, many high-end watch brands have, of late, ditched conservatism and brought out the paint palette.

Trying economic times call for more vibrant strategies and creative approaches, one of which is to marry horological smarts and street cred by taking a chance on colour.

Opening the paint box is also one way of reeling in younger buyers.

At the Baselworld watch and jewellery fair this year, many of the headturners came in an assortment of hues, from scarlet to turquoise.

Bulgari flaunted its vibrantly coloured Serpenti collection and launched an app that allows customers to pick their own dial, case and strap. Hublot also introduced a new collection, Spirit of Big Bang Moonphase, in colours including pink and purple.

If you are thinking of getting some colour on your wrist, here are some options.

HERMES CAPE COD TGM

Designed by the brand's artistic director, Henri d'Origny, nearly 30 years ago, the Hermes Cape Cod - with its square inside a rectangle motif - is another iconic timepiece.

With the distinctive "anchor" pattern of its wristband lugs, the watch's appeal lies not just in its classic good looks, but also its adaptability to updates and reinventions.

The Cape Cod TGM models have colourful dials, lacquered in graded shades of brown or red and complemented with straps made of Ebony Barenia calfskin and Hermes red calfskin.

The models in the TGM Bracelet de Force collection have alligator leather straps in different colours, including Veronese green.

The lacquered version retails at $4,750, while the Veronese green wristband version is priced at $5,850.

AUDEMARS PIGUET ROYAL OAK OFFSHORE DIVER

Last year, Audemars Piguet launched the Royal Oak Offshore Diver Chronograph, boasting dials in a glorious range of arresting colours.

The watchmaker has just done the same with the non-chronograph model. Besides white, the other dial colours in the collection are dark blue, acid yellow, lime green and bright orange with matching rubber straps.

The case is stainless steel with glare-proof sapphire crystal.

Water-resistant to 300m, it has a rotating inner bezel with diving scale.

The watch retails at $27,900.

JAEGER-LECOULTRE ATELIER REVERSO

A swivelling watch with its iconic Art Deco case, the Reverso is a highly coveted classic.

Jaeger-LeCoultre has made it even more so now by offering personalisation options. Besides the strap, customers can choose their own dial, which comes in a variety of colours including three new ones - electric blue, military marble and tiger's eye - for men. Women have even more options, with 49 dials and 800 straps in dizzying colour combinations.

Clients can have the monoface model personalised with their initials or design, or have a painting or picture engraved. Back dial personalisation is also available in three sizes.

Prices are around $14,300 for lacquered dial versions and about $16,100 for stone dial versions.

CHOPARD HAPPY OCEAN

Yet another chic and sporty addition to Chopard's Happy Sport collection, the Happy Ocean makes you think of sun and sea, yachts and waves, sand and beaches.

The 40mm steel-cased timepiece has a startlingly blue dial, with a unidirectional rotating bezel, that comes in a two-tone blue-turquoise or blue-raspberry combination.

It comes with a rubber strap, also in blue or raspberry, as well as a Nato - or military - strap.

There is a precious jewellery version, with an 18-karat white gold case, blue mother-of-pearl dial with a fixed bezel set with diamonds, sapphires and either rubies or topaz, and an alligator leather as well as Nato strap.

The steel version retails for $11,190 and the bejewelled version for between $70,270 and $77,910.

ZENITH PILOT TYPE 20 EXTRA SPECIAL 40MM

Zenith is giving vintage a whole new and colourful spin with the Pilot Type 20 Extra Special 20mm.

Among other features, it boasts a new 40mm aged steel case, oversized luminescent numerals and a grained dial, which comes in grey, khaki, blue or burgundy. The choice of oily nubuck strap is equally colourful and comes in mustard, khaki, blue or burgundy.

It is driven by the automatic Zenith Elite 679 calibre and boasts a 50-hour power reserve.

The watch retails for $9,000.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 24, 2017, with the headline 'Colourful times'. Print Edition | Subscribe