It’s all Dior’s fault, as so many things are. It’s Dior, or rather Raf Simon’s, fault that I have too many swishy, dramatic skirts that just aren’t practical when you’re dealing with a seven-month old. I blame Dior for making me think that white broderie anglais-esque shorts are appropriate attire for a 37 year old (they’re not), and it is definitely Dior’s fault that I now look at my lovely blue-dialed Zenith and think it could do with jazzing up.
This change of heart stems from an appointment with the Maison at Baselworld. There, in a small windowless room, white-gloved hands presented me with the Dior Grand Soir Kaleidiorscope (pictured).
Eighteen months in the making, this watch had a dial rugged with precious stones forming a geometric pattern that had been created by refracting a sample of Mr Dior’s embroidery through a kaleidoscope. It was breathtaking. In pictures the pattern looks like a drawn-on design. In the flesh, it is all angles and dimensions; light ricocheting off stones and illuminating the colour play.
This is a watch that is all about the dial. No one’s really going to care that it contains a Zenith Elite movement with a 50-hour power reserve; you really are going to take this timepiece at face value.
It isn’t just Dior that’s going all-out on dial designs. Chaumet has long been an advocate of playing with that space. Its “Attrape-moi… si tu m’aimes”, which translates as “Catch me, if you love me” has one watch that tells the time through a dance between a spider and a bee against the backdrop of a mother-of-pearl and diamond web, while others feature a jungle of flora and fauna.
If floral isn’t your thing, or you just don’t have the sort of cash required for these budget breakers, then Gucci will come as a very welcome surprise. Launched this year under the watchful eye of its new creative director and fashion darling Alessandro Michele, its Le Marche des Merveilles has a large bee (Michele’s new power animal) stitched on to the dial, which certainly beats the usual double G motif Gucci has been touting for so long.
Also spicing up its dials is Omega, and this time it’s for a very good cause. To celebrate the brand’s ongoing partnership with Orbis International (an NGO dedicated to saving sight worldwide) and its Flying Eye Hospital, Omega has created three versions of its De Ville Prestige with a teddy-bear patterned dial as a nod to the teddy bear that Omega gives to each child undergoing surgery as a means of comfort during their life-changing treatment.
The Prestige Co-Axial 32.7mm version has a powder-blue dial populated by the teddy bear logo. It sounds twee, but in the flesh it looks stylish and money from the sale will go towards funding Orbis’s good works, so there’s some added altruism to your outlay.
All of which goes to illustrate that while plainness may be preferable in the long run, sometimes there’s nothing like a little bit of pattern to brighten up a dial.