by Dana Li
If you’ve had a conversation with me about watches, I’ve probably mentioned my love for purple and how I’m waiting for it to have a bigger presence in the watch world. A powerful color that’s historically been associated with royalty, purple has been long prized for its vibrancy and, for a time, its rarity since it was extremely difficult to produce. There’s an alluring, mysterious feel that purple evokes, making it a perfect choice for watch brands to incorporate into their designs. Even though Pantone recognized ultraviolet as the color of the year back in 2018, the color hasn’t been as widely used in the last few years; however, that’s starting to change.
With purple making an appearance on the fashion runways in the last few months, I’m hoping this is a sign that the vivid hue will be making its way into the watch world this year. As watch brands continue to experiment with brighter and bolder colors in their modern collections, purple is a great way to introduce a new look into a watch. The color can be paired with a variety of metals from rose gold to platinum and can be an eye-catching accent on sub-dials, hour markers, and even artwork on the dial itself. Not only can purple easily fit into many existing designs, but there are also many shades of it that can complement different materials. While an intense ultraviolet dial with a rose gold case makes for an amazing statement piece, a deep mauve or soft lilac with white gold creates a more wearable look for those who may want something more subtle.
As purple continues to make appearances on the Spring/Summer 2023 collections of high fashion brands like Versace and Lanvin, it will likely become a more prominent color in the watch world. Similar to how green dominated during both seasons in the 2021 fashion trends, watch brands responded by using various shades of green into their collections from 2021 to early 2022. In the last year, we’ve already seen a number of brands gravitate towards purple in some of their releases. I hope we’ll only see more to come later this year with more brands incorporating the color into their lineups (perhaps at Watches and Wonders?).
Here are some of brands that have previously made purple watches before this year:
Source: FP Journe. From left to right, Tourbillon Souverain, Chronomètre Optimum, Élégante 40
Made to commemorate the partnership between FP Journe and non-profit organization Action Innocence, the Tourbillon Souverain, Chronomètre Optimum, and Elegante 40 unique pieces were made in Action Innocence’s purple color. The watches were auctioned off to raise money for the foundation in 2015 and 2017. An Action Innocence Octa Automatique will be auctioned by Phillips today as well.
To commemorate Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee, British watch brand Fears released a special edition of their Brunswick watch in royal purple, a nod to the color’s historical association with royalty. It comes with an equally striking matching royal purple strap made by Britain’s oldest vegetable tannery, Thomas Ware & Sons of Bristol.
Source: Laine Watches Instagram (@laine_watches). From left to right, GG3 and V38
A Swiss watch brand beloved among collectors for its beautiful custom guilloche pieces, Laine Watches has created a number of purple variations for its GG3 and V38 models.
King Seiko: SPB291
Released as a special edition last year, the King Seiko SPB291 honors the original reference that was released in 1961. The soft lilac purple was inspired by the wisteria flowers from the Kameido Tenjin Shrine in Kameido, Japan.
Omega: Seamaster Aqua Terra in 34mm
As a part of the colorful lineup of Aqua Terra pieces released last year, Omega included a version of the Seamaster Aqua Terra in 34mm with a subtle, mauve-y lavender dial.