There’s a common query amongst men when it comes to choosing a watch’s dial colour. Does one go black or white?
White dial watches have long been the go-to favourite amongst men looking for a luxury timepiece that’ll stand out from the ground. Not only do they let a watch’s most eye-catching details really shine, but white dial watches can also be paired quite easily with a wide variety of different outfits to satisfy both formal and casual events.
We’ve scoured the globe for the best white dial watches in the game, and these are the best white dial watches to add to your collection.
In this best white dial watches story…
Panerai Submersible QuarantaQuattro Bianco
Kicking off this list is the new Panerai Submersible QuarantaQuattro Bianco. There’s just something about a white dial Panerai that’s really striking, so this had to make this list. The Submersible is their most utilitarian and functional dive watch thanks to its uni-directional rotating bezel with metallic appliques filled with white Super-LumiNova – an indispensable feature for a diving instrument.
It also features Panerai’s locking crown mechanism – a signature of the brand – where a lever-actuated lock integrated into the large semi-circular crown guard keeps the crown from rotating (and therefore compromising the watch’s water-resistance or changing the time).
As the name implies, the Submersible QuarantaQuattro Bianco has a case diameter of 44mm: a real ‘Goldilocks’ size that’s characteristically Panerai (i.e. chunky) without being obnoxiously large.
Retail Price: AU$13,800
Rolex Explorer II ‘Polar’
The Rolex Explorer II ‘Polar’ is one of the iconic brand’s most distinctive watches – in no small part thanks to its stark white dial, an anomaly in Rolex’s range.
Like its more famous sibling, the GMT-Master II ‘Pepsi’, it’s a GMT watch, meaning it can tell the time in multiple time zones thanks to its additional, orange-tipped hours hand. Unlike the GMT-Master, the Explorer II has a fixed steel bezel, which lends it a distinctive and tougher appearance.
The unique combination of a white dial, orange and black accents and a fixed bezel make the Explorer II ‘Polar’ instantly recognisable. It’s one of the most underrated Rolexes in our opinion, and one of the best white dial watches on the market.
Retail Price: AU$13,300
Breitling Avenger Automatic GMT 43
Another handsome GMT watch with a white dial, the Breitling Avenger Automatic GMT 43 is a sporty and aggressive-looking piece perfect for men of action and desk jockeys alike.
Unlike the Explorer II above, this baby has a unidirectional bezel for quick on-the-fly timing and a subtle sloped inner bezel with 24-hour markers, which a bold red-tipped GMT hand points to. The crown is especially knurled so it can be used with gloves – perfect for budding pilots.
It’s also got 300m of water resistance and a hardy textile strap backed with Breitling’s signature yellow leather. What more could you want?
Retail Price: AU$5,990
Simplicity and reliability are hallmarks of Shinola’s Runwell collection – hence the name. The Detroit brand has quickly built up a reputation for good-looking watches for a fair price, and this white dial Runwell is no exception.
Featuring a highly legible train clock-style dial with a small seconds display, the Runwell oozes retro charm. We love the pumpkin crown and thick wire lugs. The stitched brown American leather strap is a nice touch, too.
Inside the case resides Shinola’s workhorse Argonite 1069 Quartz movement which is hand-assembled in Detroit from 46 Swiss and imported components. This is a great white dial watch that won’t hurt your wallet.
Retail Price: AU$960
NOMOS Glashütte Zürich Weltzeit
NOMOS Glashütte is a cool independent watchmaker from Germany that draws inspiration from the Bauhaus movement, one of Germany’s most profound contributions to the world of modern art. Their pieces might be hand-made in Glashütte but they’re designed in Berlin, and it’s easy to see that Berliner influence if you look at one of their watches: NOMOS pieces are clean, minimalist and refined with a consistent and modern aesthetic.
Destined for the global traveller, the Zürich Weltzeit is arguably NOMOS’ most impressive watch and is a truly unique world timer – as well as a stand-out white dial watch. The dial itself is absolutely stunning to look at and features all of the world’s major cities set on a recessed sub-dial. It’s a rather unique look.
A 40mm stainless steel case houses its innovative in-house DUW 5201 NOMOS calibre with automatic winding and a power reserve of 42 hours, which lets you check the time in multiple cities at the push of a button.
Retail Price: AU$8,270
Hamilton Khaki Field
Easily Hamilton’s most iconic timepiece, the Khaki Field is the go-to field watch for any watch aficionado. Rugged, utilitarian and versatile, the Khaki Field is available with in wide variety of sizes, dial finishes and either quartz or mechanical movements – we’ve opted for the latter as it’s more authentic.
White dial field watches like this Hamilton just look great, and this one is the cream of the crop as far as we’re concerned. Its sandblasted stainless steel case houses a manual-winding movement with a ‘weekend proof’ 80-hour power reserve, and comes mounted on a hardy textile NATO strap.
You can also get this one on a steel bracelet, but field watches and NATO straps just make sense together… As do field watches and white dials. It’s a no-brainer.
Retail Price: AU$950
Cartier Santos de Cartier
Cartier is the king of the white dial so we’d be remiss if we didn’t include one of their many fine watches. The natural choice? The Cartier Santos de Cartier, the first wristwatch ever made and an enduring favourite among well-heeled watch fans.
Created in 1904 at the request of enterprising Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont, the modern iteration is available in a wide variety of case materials, sizes and complications. The square, traditionally-styled dial really makes its similarly traditional blue hands pop.
The modern Santos de Cartier also features Cartier’s QuickSwitch system: an invisible mechanism that blends into the structure of the case and makes it a cinch to swap straps – say from a classic leather strap to the Santos’ integrated bracelet.
Retail Price: AU$16,000
Grand Seiko ‘White Birch’
And now for the coolest white dial watch on the market. The winner of the coveted Men’s Watch Prize at the 2021 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (the watch’s industry’s most important award ceremony) and a true fan favourite, the Grand Seiko ‘White Birch’ is one hell of a timepiece.
Grand Seiko do dials better than anyone in the business, and the White Birch’s is particularly special. It was inspired by the slender white birch tree forests that thrive in the north of Japan, such us those near the Grand Seiko Studio Shizukuishi where it and all Grand Seiko mechanical watches are made.
Also impressive is its movement: a automatic hi-beat calibre with a whopping 80-hour power reserve. As per usual for Grand Seiko, the case and indice finishing on this watch are immaculate, the latter really showing off the zaratsu polishing Grand Seiko is famous for.
Retail Price: AU$13,600