3 min read ·

10 Best Watch Dial Options for the Money

Seiko Matcha Green Watch Dial

We may be settling into a modern golden era of watch dial making as many brands are offering bolder colors, more elaborate designs, and more interesting materials. This is happening from Kickstarter brands all the way to to the top of the watch industry food chain with not just individual brands, but entire luxury conglomerates making a more concerted effort to offer more interesting dial options. So here is a list - albeit far from exhaustive - of some of the best watch dials that you can get for the money.

Oris Big Crown Maroon Watch Dial

Oris Big Crown Pointer Date - Maroon Dial

The Big Crown Pointer Date is one of the more established and signature looks for the Oris brand and the recent debuts of some non-traditional colors have been very good. The dial that stands out from our perspective is the maroon dial, which is rich, warm and luxurious and provides a nice background for the off-white print and lumed cathedral hands. Maroon, or burgundy, is a color that has popped up in other brands, however the execution Oris has here is among the best we’ve seen and a color that is versatile enough to wear daily. 

References: 01 754 7741 4068-07 5 20 64

Specifications: Price: $1750-$1950, Case Size: 40 mm, Case Height: 11.8 mm, Lug to Lug: 48.2 mm, Strap Width: 20mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 50M, Movement: Auto Oris 754 (Sellita SW200)

Tissot Seastar 2000 Teal Blue Watch Dial

Tissot Seastar 2000 Powermatic 80 - Teal Dial

Blue and green dials are the most popular colors being offered on the market, particularly in sportier executions across all different price categories. One of the more interesting colors to come out of the blue green spectrum has been teal, which is the color choice for one of the Tissot Seastar 2000 Powermatic 80 variants. The Seastar 2000 is sharp in any of the three configurations, but this teal dial really stands out, particularly with the ocean wave dial treatment. The dial coloring is also sophisticated, with a vignette cast radially from the center, changing the dynamic of the color as it moves toward the edge of the dial creating a very pleasing aesthetic.

References: T1206071744100

Specifications: Price: $1025, Case Size: 46 mm, Case Height: 15.8 mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 600M, Movement: Auto Powermatic 80.111

Formex Essence 39 - Degrade Grey Dial

Not quite a household name yet, Formex has been flying under the radar for some time, while releasing some well-executed sports models through their Essence collection. Both the Essence 39 and 43 are executed with a hand-sprayed gradient “degrade” style in grey that ranges from gunmetal silver to nearly black depending on how light hits it. The dial also features milled horizontal lines, reminiscent of the Omega Aqua Terra, as well as nicely applied dial indices and balanced hands with plenty of lume when you need it. It’s the combination of machining, color, and design that make this a beautiful dial at a very good price. 

References: 0333.1.6624.722

Specifications: Price: $1280-1390, Case Size: 39 mm, Case Height: 10 mm, Lug to Lug: 45 mm, Strap Width: 20mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100M, Movement: Auto Sellita SW200-1 COSC Certified

NOMOS Siren Blue Watch Dial

NOMOS Club Neomatik - Siren Blue Dial

Focusing on form following function, Nomos is immersed in the Bauhaus principles that makes the brand both popular and somewhat polarizing. One area where Nomos has separated itself from the crowd besides the minimalist design is their use of adventurous dial color. A current highlight in the collection is the Siren Blue, which is found on a few different models where the best value proposition is with the Club Neomatik, a 37mm, three hand variant that features the DUW 3001 automatic in-house movement. The blue is bright neon and accented with orange and white dial elements - a really exciting combination. In a market saturated with blue - pardon the pun - the Siren Blue does stand out against its contemporaries.

References: 742

Specifications: Price: $3160-$3480, Case Size: 37 mm, Case Height: 9.3 mm, Lug Width: 28mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 200M, Movement: Auto DUW3001 

Seiko Presage SRPF41 - Matcha Green Dial

While we could pick a number of different Seiko models, for this list we are going to highlight the SRPF41, the limited edition Presage model with the matcha tea green dial. Beyond the incredibly good looking vignette style dark green color that is present on this piece, it’s the texture that takes it to a different level - something that Seiko does better than almost anyone else. This fine granular texture is an ode to the famous Japanese matcha tea powder - hence the color choice - that has been an important staple to the Japanese food culture and is now popularizing around the world. For the price, this is one of the most compelling dial concepts currently available. 

References: SRPF41

Specifications: Price: $480, Case Size: 38.5 mm, Case Height: 11.9 mm, Lug to Lug: 45 mm, Strap Width: 20mm, Crystal: Hardlex, Water Resistance: 50M, Movement: Auto 4R35.

Grand Seiko Birch White Watch Dial

Grand Seiko SLGH005 - Birch White Dial

This year, Grand Seiko released the SLGH005 with its white birch dial texture that represents the thriving forest located in Shizukuishi, Japan, just outside of the Grand Seiko headquarters. This dial is manufactured very much in the same spirit as the popular SBGA011 and SBGA211 Snowflake, where you have two kinds of textures: a larger texture that creates these prominent wavy bark-like features that articulate vertically across the dial as well as a much finer granular texture that adds incredible depth and character.  While this is one of the more expensive watches on the list with a retail price of $9,100 USD, again Grand Seiko is producing some of the best dials anywhere in the world, regardless of price point. 

References: SLGH005

Specifications: Price: $9,100, Case Size: 40 mm, Case Height: 11.7 mm, Movement: Auto 9SA5

Alpina Gyre Blue Watch Dial

Alpina Seastrong Diver Gyre - Reverse Vignette Blue Dial

Alpina’s limited edition Seastrong Diver Gyre Automatic’s reverse vignette configuration is a refreshing take on the ever popular blue dial. Instead of the dial getting darker as you move to the outside edge, this dial gets brighter the further out from the center you go. Starting with a deep navy blue center, the dial quickly transitions into a sky blue. Large white luminous dial elements add to the ocean inspired colorway we see here. Alpina puts together an interesting aesthetic with this Gyre limited edition. 

References: AL-525LNB4VG6

Specifications: Price: $1595, Case Size: 44 mm, Case Height: 12.15 mm, Strap Width: 22mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 300M, Movement: Auto AL-525.

Longines BigEye Blue Watch Dial

Longines Avigation BigEye - Blue Dial

As the winner of the 2017 GPHP Revival Price award, the Longines Avigation BigEye brought back the inspired looks of aviation chronographs from the 1930s. Originally released in a retro black dial to pay homage to the original vintage models, Longines added an exceptional fume blue dial (called Petroleum), that features black sub-registers, beige Super Luminova treated hands and hour markers as well as bold contrasting white print against the black of those sub-registers. The dial has a granular metallic finish and texture to it that darkens as it approaches the edge of the dial creating a “tropical” effect. The blue dial is the more popular of the two dial options and stands out from other similarly styled aviators.

References: L2.816.1.93.2

Specifications: Price: $3225, Case Size: 41 mm, Case Height: 14.5 mm, Lug to Lug: 45 mm, Strap Width: 20mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 30M, Movement: Auto L688

MeisterSinger Neo Bordeaux Watch Dial

MeisterSinger Neo - Bordeaux Degrade

Meistersinger offers a range of really compelling dial colors and configurations that give the brand a distinct aesthetic to stand out in a very crowded market of small watch startup types. The German Bauhaus styling is prevalent and, like it’s more famous stylistic contemporary Nomos, the use of color is helping define the brand. Recently, Meistersinger launched their Bordeaux Degrade (gradient) dials to add to the impressive arrays of colors already present. Deep purple and ruby red tones flood the sunburst dials with a dark gradient effect that we’ve seen grace this list more often than not. These rich, lush colors provide excellent contrast to the simplistic white elements of the large open dial. 

References: Neo Bordeaux Degrade

Specifications: Price: $3225, Case Size: 36 & 40mm, Case Height: 9.7 mm, Crystal: Acrylic, Water Resistance: 30M, Movement: Auto Sellita SW200

Rolex Datejust 36 Fluted Watch Dial

ROLEX DATEJUST 36 - Fluted Motif

The new fluted motif dial on the 2021 Datejust 36 isn’t just good looking and totally interesting, it’s also a future classic in the making. Of course, expect the oystersteel blue dial Rolesor variant to be in immediate short supply, but just perhaps the market will blink long enough on the two tone variants for some regular accessibility, as unlikely as that may be. Right now, Rolex is only making these dials for the 36 collection but it probably won’t be shocking to see these dials make their way into the Datejust 41 in coming years.

Reference: m126233-0039, m126233-0040, m126203-0040, m126234-0050, m126200-0022, m126200-0021

Specifications: Price: $7300-$18,900, Case Size: 36 mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100M, Movement: Auto Rolex 3235