A graded dial adds an effect of three-dimensionality to the watch, giving a flat dial a domed effect, or enhancing a dial that is already profiled. I would have thought that there would be more, but in actual fact there are not so many graded dial watches on the market. Here is a selection in ascending price order.
1. Seiko Presage Cocktail Time – about €600
The Presage Cocktail Time series is based on a partnership with Tokyo mixologist Shinobu Ishigaki, and it comprises 40mm three-hand watches, some with an extra complication, a power reserve indicator. It is powered by the mechanical Seiko 4R57 movement, self-winding, 3 Hertz, with 41 hours power reserve. The Seiko Presage Cocktail Time Manhattan shown below has a particularly attractive colour. Price about €600. Read more here.
2. Glycine Airman 46 Automatic GMT – €1,490
The Airman 46 Automatic 46 is different with respect to most degrade dial watches because the grading is not radial, but from top to bottom, evoking the effect of a night sky. This large piece is a classic aviator watch with a 24-hour rotating bezel and another 24-hour scale on the dial, so that a pilot can see local time, GMT reference time and another time zone at a glance. The watch is powered by a Sellita self-winding movement. List price €1,490. Read more here.
3. Mühle-Glashütte Lunova Datum – €1,750
The Lunova Datum by Mühle-Glashütte combines sports performance – the watch has a 100 metre water resistance – a pilot’s watch appearance, and a touch of classicism with its slim case and graded dial. The watch has a Sellita self-winding movement that has been extensively modified by the brand. Price €1,750. Read more here.
4. Glashütte Original Sixties and Sixties Panorama Date – €6,300
Glashütte Original have their own dial-making factory in Pforzheim, which produces the dials for the Sixties collection that features dégradé dials. This particular version also has a dewdrop effect which completely changes the appearance. The stylized numerals are based on versions of the Spezimatic made by the brand as it was in the 1960s, a state-controlled company named VEB Glashütter Uhrenbetriebe or simply GUB. This new piece is compact, 39 mm in diameter, slim at 9.4 mm, and it is powered by the self-winding in-house 39-47 movement. Price €6,300. Read more here.
5. Zenith Elite Chronograph Classic – €6,900
The Zenith Elite Chronograph Classic was first introduced in 2015 as the El Primero Chronograph Classic, and it was relaunched as the Zenith Elite Chronograph Classic in 2016 with a graded blue dial. Last year, this piece was introduced, with a graded brownish hue. It is a beautiful minimalist chronograph, 42 mm in diameter and slim at 11.8 mm, with subtle pushers, all characteristics that give it a dress watch feel. It has a sapphire caseback displaying the movement, which is still the original El Primero movement launched I 1970, but without date or hour counter. It runs at 5 Hertz, 36,000 vibrations per hour, and provides a 50-hour power reserve. All in all this is an exceptional 1950s style, a rarity amongst chronographs (slim, no date, dress watch appearance) with a legendary movement. The version shown in the photo is in pink gold, but it is also available in steel at €6,900. More at the Zenith website.
6. H. Moser & Cie Pioneer Centre Seconds Cosmic Green – €11,350
H. Moser is a brand that has made dégradé dials an important part of its identity. The Pioneer Centre Seconds has now acquired a new colour, cosmic green, and it is a sports watch, with a 120-metre water resistance, a screw-down crown and a textile strap. It has an in-house movement, HMC 200,which is self-winding and has a 72 hour power reserve. Price €11,350. Read more here.
7. Rolex Oyster Perpetual Deepsea – €11,700
One of the new Rolex watches presented in 20118, the Oyster Perpetual Deepsea is a professional diver’s watch, and it evokes the depths of the ocean with its dégradé dial shaded from midnight blue to black. It has a water resistance of 3,900 metres, and a helium escape valve. It is powered by the Perpetual 3235 movement, which incorporates Rolex’s impressive in-house technology to give it exceptional precision, stability, reliability and anti-magnetic properties. Price €11,700. Read more on the Rolex website.
8. Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Day Date 70s – €12,000
The brownish graded dial and the distressed leather strap gives the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Day Date 70s a vintage look based on a model introduced in that decade. It is a large watch, 43 mm in diameter and 14.25 mm thick, with diving-watch water resistance, 300 metres. The 1315DD calibre can be seen through the display caseback. The watch is a limited edition of 500 pieces, available from August 2018, price €12,000. Read more here.
9. Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph 5990/1A – €49,160
In addition to the graded dial, the Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph by Patek Philippe packs a lot of functionality into its 40.5-millimetre case. With a water resistance of 120 metres, it is the perfect sport watch. The chronograph has the central sweep second hand and a 60-minute counter at 6 o’clock, and a subdial for the date at 12 o’clock. A dual time zone function indicates local and home time, with a skeletonized home time hand that is hidden under the luminous local time hour hand when the user decides not to use the GMT function, and day/night indicators for both local and home times. Pushers on the case at 8 and 10 o’clock can be used to adjust the local time hand in either direction, in one-hour steps. The watch is powered by Calibre CH 28-520 C FUS, whose column-wheel architecture enables the chronograph to be left running indefinitely in order to use the chronograph seconds hand as an ordinary seconds hand. Price €49,160. Read more on the Patek Philippe website.