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Out of the blue: The return of cobalt is taking watch faces by storm

City A.M. Thursday, 7 December 2017
Out of the blue: The return of cobalt is taking watch faces by stormWhether it’s navy, cobalt, midnight or sky, blue watch dials will always be the most flattering and versatile – but a particularly sartorial sheen is being added to the mix just in time for party season, ripe for pairing with a satin-trimmed velvet tuxedo

*Panerai Radiomir 1940 Automatic Bucherer Blue Edition*

*£19,600, bucherer.co.uk*
One of London’s top luxury-watch retailers, The Watch Gallery has now been acquired by Europe’s biggest, Bucherer – 130 years old, 29 boutiques and counting. With the rebrand now complete, our capital’s collectors can finally get their hands on the group’s exclusive-to-Bucherer ‘Blue Editions’ of their biggest stocked brands, either in Selfridges’ Wonder Room, Westfield London, Covent Garden or online. And the latest is a doozy, with an azure dial that’s particularly appropriate to Panerai, given its murky origins as watchmaker to the Italian navy’s elite frogmen. This rose-gold number looks far better with a lounge suit than a wetsuit, though.

*Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Réserve de Marche*

*£7,300, jaeger-lecoultre.com*
A sunray-brushed, deep-azurite dial treatment was applied to a brace of slender ‘Masters’ this year, but while the time-only edition may be the more obvious dress watch, this model with a veritable dashboard of power-reserve and date indications is given such a new lease of life, it is the irresistible choice. A gold case might always be preferable when you’re in your penguin suit, but no one’s going to notice the stainless-steel case when there’s such beautifully balanced busy-ness to scrutinise.

*Rado True Thinline Colours*

*£1,585, rado.com*
Like so many watchmakers, Rado is getting funky with colour this year – no bad thing for a brand that borders on monochromatic. But what’s impressive here is that said monochrome has usually been down to the restrictions of Rado’s signature material, ceramic. But now, thanks to an alchemical deployment of temperature and pressure, four new hues – inky blue, forest green, lunar grey, or chocolate brown – can be infused into the ceramic itself. Our favourite, fairly obviously, is this one.

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With a mighty ‘crack!’, instead of the usual ‘snip!’ of a ribbon, Seiko’s new Knightsbridge boutique store was officially opened in August with the ceremonial breaking-open of a sake barrel. TV host Jonathan Ross – a passionate student of Japanese culture – assisted with the honours, alongside Japan’s ambassador to the UK His Excellency Koji Tsuruoka.

A dedicated London presence for the Japanese watchmaker has been long overdue, finally offering a window into its high-end, luxury timepieces that have suffered lack of awareness and availability outside of Japan. Situated over two floors, Seiko’s minimalist space plays host to a comprehensive selection, most crucially the full international collection of Grand Seiko, the brand’s prestigious arm, whose mechanical chronometers and chronographs are up there with the Rolexes and Omega’s of this world. *seiko.co.uk*
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