Colours come and go in and out of fashion when it comes to watches, just like, well, fashion.
Some colours will always be in fashion when it comes to watches: black, silver, gold… Blue watches are also a versatile and popular choice. Recently, green dials have become in vogue – a natural progression from blue, in a sense. But now it seems as if purple’s the next big thing.
On the face of it, purple seems like a strange colour to pick for a watch. It’s a niche colour that’s not often used in mainstream fashion, especially men’s fashion, as it’s hard to pair with other colours and garments.
Yet it makes a lot of sense. Mechanical watches are luxury goods and the colour purple has been associated with royalty, power and wealth for centuries – meaning it’s actually a highly appropriate hue for a luxury item like a watch.
Indeed, the fact that purple is so hard to pair with other colours almost heightens that luxury aspect to the watch. It’s eye-catching; a bit outrageous… And you have to be a real iconoclast (or really wealthy) to be able to splash out on such a niche colour for such an expensive purchase like a luxury watch.
In any case, it’s exciting to see that watchmakers and watch fans are getting more imaginative with watch colours, like purple. Anything that inspires innovation is something to be lauded.
Here are some of the coolest new purple watches on the market from a wide array of watchmakers. Some of these watches don’t just have purple dials, by the way: some also include cases and straps that are purple, too. If you’re gonna go purple, may as well go all the way, hey?
In this best purple watches article…
Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Selfwinding
Let’s start things off with the often-misunderstood Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet. First launched in 2019, the Code 11.59 has had a somewhat mixed reception among watch fans: while it’s good to see AP doing more than just Royal Oaks, the Code 11.59 has been criticised for being too simplistic in its design.
It’s an unfair criticism, as the Code 11.59 is actually deceptively complex. A clever ‘sandwiched’ case design with trick floating lugs; a subtly double-curved sapphire crystal; a design that mixes octagonal design codes from the Royal Oak with rounded elements… It’s a real watch fan’s watch.
The other freeing part about launching a new watch collection is that it’s allowed AP to take more risks – such as with colour. Case in point: this Code 11.59’s 18ct pink gold case is adorned with a smoked purple lacquered dial with sunburst effect and a matching rubber-coated fabric strap: a wild combination.
Retail Price: AU$46,100
TAG Heuer Monaco Purple Dial Limited Edition
This purple rendition of TAG Heuer’s famous chronograph is easily one of the highest-profile purple watch releases in recent memory, and one that’s got a whole bunch of watch fans thinking differently about purple.
Its unexpected dial colour is actually a subtle nod to the very early Heuer Monaco ref. 1113B and ref. 1533 Calibre 15 of the late ’60s and early 70s. As TAG Heuer explains, these Monacos used a metallic blue dial finish which, over time, has demonstrated a tendency to patinate from blue to a dégradé purple colour, sometimes slightly faded in the centre and darker around the edges.
Mounted on a black alligator strap, it’s beautifully retro and eclectic in all the right ways, oozing with big 70s vibes. This TAG Heuer Monaco is easily one of the best purple watches on the market.
Retail Price: AU$10,400
NOMOS Glashütte Club Campus Blue Purple
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.
The Club Campus collection is one of NOMOS’ most affordable watch collections, as well as one of its most colourful. Featuring a no-nonsense, highly legible dial with small seconds counter at 6 o’clock, this Club Campus combines a subtle purple dial with blue Super-LumiNova for low-light conditions.
At 36mm in diameter, it’s perfectly suited to both men and women. Despite its modest price, it boasts an in-house, manually-wound movement which promises a 43-hour power reserve and 100m of water resistance. A great choice if you want a respectable purple watch without spending royal amounts of money.
Retail Price: AU$1,870
Hublot Big Bang Unico Summer Purple
The always-eclectic Hublot has never been afraid to experiment with combining bold colours with novel materials and movements, and this Big Bang Unico Summer Purple is a particularly good example of what the brand is capable of.
It features a lightweight aluminium case with an anodised, polished and satin finish in a distinctive pastel purple shade that not only looks amazing but actually protects the case from scratches and damage. Virtually every element (except the movement) of the watch is purple, from the chrono pushers and strap to the indices, hands and numerals.
Available on either a leather-backed fabric and Velcro strap or a solid rubber one with a titanium clasp (which can both be switched out easily thanks to the watch’s button-actuated quick-change system), it’s hard to find a more purple watch than this Hublot.
Retail Price: AU$30,700
Urwerk UR-100V Ultraviolet
If you thought that Hublot was high-tech, just check out this Urwerk. The UR-100V Ultraviolet takes the already eye-catching and space-age UR-100 and its astonishing planetary movement and dials the ridiculous up to 11 by dousing the watch’s case and movement in violet.
Essentially, each of the three hour-depicting ‘satellites’ work as retrograde minute hands as they make their way across the bottom of the dial. As one satellite makes its way past 60 minutes, the next satellite takes over minute duties. Then, once the 60th minute has been reached, the minutes hand vanishes and reappears as a kilometre counter, illustrating the 555 kilometres travelled every 20 minutes by every inhabitant of planet Earth. Spacey stuff.
Urwerk explains that the colour choice was inspired by the outfits of superheroes and villains like Hawkeye, The Phantom and The Joker (funnily enough, Iron Man actor Robert Downey Jr. is one of Urwerk’s biggest fans). Indeed, this is exactly the sort of watch we’d imagine a superhero would wear – but you might need Batman money to afford it…
Retail Price: AU$82,590
anOrdain Model 1 Plum Fumé
From high-tech to artisinal: anOrdian is an independent Scottish watchmaker that’s become famed for their hand-made enamel dials. Outside of Switzerland and Japan, anOrdain are one of the only watchmakers in the world producing enamel dials in-house – a testament to these Glaswegian’s skills.
This Model 1 is particularly special as anOrdain are the first and only watchmakers to create a fumé dial realised in enamel. The richness of this model’s purple dial is particularly special; like a rich wine or a precious garnet, this is one purple watch that’s totally mesmerising to look at.
You might think this all means it’ll set you back a pretty penny, yet it’s not outrageously expensive. If you’re looking for a watch that’s different from all the rest, we can’t think of a better candidate.
Retail Price: AU$4,165
Swatch x Dragon Ball Z ‘Gohan’
For something a bit different yet still very purple, check out the new Swatch x Dragon Ball Z ‘Gohan’. Part of a collaborative capsule between the famous watch brand and the legendary anime series, each watch in the collection references one of the most popular characters from the long-running show – in this case, Gohan, the son of the main character Goku.
Each watch in the collection features its own aesthetic touches, but Gohan’s might have the coolest feature of them all. Not only is the watch decked out in purple (in reference to Gohan’s purple gi) but the lightning motifs on the strap are glow-in-the-dark. Additionally, the hands are shaped like purple lightning bolts and the dial’s acrylic crystal references the famous ‘Kamehameha’ attack used by heroes in the show.
If you’re looking for a dose of wearable nostalgia – or just want a fun purple watch that won’t break the bank – we can’t think of a better option.
Retail Price: AU$150
King Seiko Gradient Purple
Capping off this list of the best purple watches to buy, we’ve got the King Seiko Gradient Purple. King Seiko is an interesting brand, and one that was dormant for many years until it was revived earlier this year, to the delight of watch fans.
King Seiko fits in between Seiko and Grand Seiko in terms of quality and price (although it’s much closer to the former than the latter in that sense). Made in Japan and featuring a distinct 60s aesthetic, the modern King Seikos are for aficionados and iconoclasts.
This model’s mauve dial only adds to the retro appeal. Light and refined, it’s quintessentially Japanese and offers a playful contrast to the business-like and angular case of this reference.
Retail Price: AU$2,900