The last eighteen months have seen a seismic shift in men’s fashion.
While the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic saw us ditch suits for tracksuits, now that things are looking up (well, in some countries at least), we’ve seen men get more experimental with the sorts of colours they wear. We’ve been cooped up, and now we want to have fun – and our outfits have reflected that.
It seems that we’re now seeing the same thing happen with watches. Traditionally, the most popular colour for men’s watch dials has been black – with blue and green dials experiencing a real spike in popularity over the last two years. Indeed, back in February, we boldly proclaimed 2021 to be the year of the green dial.
But 2021 has seen another trend start to rear its head: pastel-coloured watches. And it could be just the thing the watch world needs right now. Like a big ol’ scoop of ice cream on a hot day.
One brand that has really got the ball rolling on the trend has been Hublot. The youthful Swiss brand surprised and delighted watch fans last year with their Big Bang ‘Millennial Pink’, a collaboration with Garage Italia’s Lapo Elkann. Choosing such a characteristically feminine, pastel colour for such a tech-focused, masculine watch was a masterstroke and was perhaps the first sign that this trend could really have legs.
Off the back of that, Hublot has just unveiled another new pastel-coloured limited edition: the Big Bang Unico ‘Summer’, which features an appropriately balmy pastel turquoise colour scheme, reminiscent of the turquoise Rolex Datejust ‘Tiffany Dial’ that made such a splash last year.
Hublot has demonstrated a real willingness to experiment with colour recently – just take the eye-catching Big Bang Unico ‘Yellow Magic’ they unveiled during Watches & Wonders earlier this year – and this summery chronograph is yet another win. The way they’re choosing to release it is rather experimental, too.
Just 200 of these unisex pieces are being released, initially only available on their online boutique and in-person at their Mediterranean boutiques in Capri, Forte dei Marmi, Mykonos, Ibiza, Bodrum, Saint-Tropez and Monaco. These are all classic European summer destinations, so it’s highly fitting that they’ve been chosen as the exclusive homes of such a summery watch.
Speaking of ‘unisex’, another brand that’s pushing pastels is Breitling, who recently unveiled their Superocean Heritage ’57 Pastel Paradise Capsule Collection. This similarly tropical collection sees the iconic retro dive watch decked out in a variety of rather culinary hues that immediately evoke sweet treats during a day at the beach.
While it’s technically a women’s timepiece, its rather large size for a women’s watch (38mm) as well as its classically handsome design makes it more than suitable for more masculine watch fans. Pastels aren’t just for women, you know.
Even Richard Mille – a rather masculine brand known for its technical and material wizardry – has got on-board the pastel trend with their latest watch family, the RM 07-01 ‘Automatic Winding Coloured Ceramics’.
As the name implies, the TPT or precious metals that normally constitute their watch’s cases has been abandoned in favour of vividly coloured ceramic cases – in blue, pink or lavender – paired with intentionally colour mismatched rubber straps and abstract art-like dials.
Of course, this wouldn’t be the first time Richard Mille has played with pastels. Back in 2019, they shocked the watch world with their ‘Bonbon’ collection, which juxtaposes their signature ultra-technical materials with deliberately child-like motifs of sweets and cakes. Indeed, the RM 07-01s revive the cupcake-shaped crowns from the Bonbon collection. Cakes, gelato, iced lattes… Talk about a sugar high.
Maybe that’s why pastels are becoming so big: they’re inherently playful as well as a somewhat unexpected choice for a luxury watch. It’s disruptive; it’s innovative; it’s refreshing, especially in a period of human history that’s otherwise so sobering.
In any case, we’re absolutely here for it.