Musician, rapper, producer, innovator, entrepreneur, silly-hat wearer, plonker. Pharrell Williams is many things. Not wanting to name-drop here, but yours truly had the “pleasure” of interviewing Mr Williams many years ago for this very publication.
If you will allow me to draw back the curtain a little, Williams was special in the way the uber-famous invariably are. He had a laughably large entourage, a coterie of impossibly attractive women wearing little black cocktail dresses hovering about (it was not long after noon, which made it doubly baller) and he was smashing McDonald’s fries into his mouth with the wanton abandon of a man who is in charge of his life. Anyway, Williams also spoke about his synaesthesia, a neurological condition that allows him to visualise colour from words or sounds.
That was an incredibly convoluted way of getting around to this week’s theme, which is colour, but I will admit Williams made me think about colour differently. The watch industry, similarly, has finally woken up to the idea of colour, or rather a greater palette of colours. Reds, blues, yellows, greens and outlandish metallics now abound even among the more traditional and conservative brands.
Breguet isn’t one for chancing it with hot pink or electric blue but the new Type XXI 3817 is a wonderful combination of slate-grey dial, strikingly yellow numerals and deep brown calfskin leather strap. From the sporty and rugged Type XX family, the XXI 3817 has that overt brutish masculinity, but the difference here is the artful horology, which can be seen with the transparent caseback. The steel case is sized at 42mm and the watch features a flyback chronograph and a date window. My absolute favourite thing is the bidirectional bezel, which makes the most satisfying clicking sound. Inside is a fancy-schmancy in-house movement, the 584Q/2, which has silicon parts and lots of other innovations. The XXI 3817 is priced at HK$110,300.
Oris has been spending a lot of time at the Pantone factory of late, judging by the vivid green of the Divers Sixty-Five Green Dial. Yes, it’s put “green” in the name for added emphasis, in case you missed it. The timepiece is a lovely shade, however, and very on-trend when it comes to fashion. Oris has also been smart enough to offer a choice of straps (leather, bracelet and Nato), but this watch is best paired with the Nato in green and navy. It’s an Oris dive watch so the features are all up to scratch, including a unidirectional bezel, superluminova hands and hour markers and, at 100 metres, decent water resistance. The Divers Sixty-Five Green Dial is priced at HK$15,200.
Finally, we have something that gets top marks for effort but won’t be to everyone’s taste, the Tudor Black Bay Bronze. The Black Bay range has been a real winner, attracting new fans and winning over sceptics, including me. The Bronze is Tudor flexing its design muscles and it really works, giving off a lovely retro patina as well as being striking, and we haven’t even talked about the lovely chocolate-brown dial. The 43mm case is made of an aluminium alloy and the timepiece is a dive watch, so, like the Oris, it ticks all the basic dive-watch boxes. Inside is an MT5601 movement that pumps out an impressive 70 hours of power reserve. The Tudor Black Bay Bronze is priced at HK$28,500.