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Back in Black: Make a statement with these stylish, laid-back and all-black wristwatches

Timothy Barber
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Sometimes you need something with a bit more impact. In wristwatch terms, that doesn’t have to mean bringing the bling – it can simply mean going all-black. It’s less formal than a straight steel watch, and rarely works with a suit; but in an increasingly casual working world, a black watch can make a pretty suave statement. It’s a tricky game though: plenty of brands offer black-cased models, but only a few watches actually inhabit a murdered-out coating like they mean it.

Bulgari Octo Ultranero
£7,550, bulgari.com

It may be decked out in black, but there’s nothing understated or stealthy about the “Ultranero” version of Bulgari’s flagship watch, the Octo. The contrast of gold hour markers and hands against the glossy sheen of an inky-dark lacquer dial, a case coated in scratch-proof DLC (diamond like carbon) and a sporty rubber strap offers a modern, biker-jacketed version of Italian opulence. For the super-pimped look, there’s also a ferociously glam model where the bezel’s in rose gold, too.

Tudor Heritage Black Bay Dark
£3,050, tudor-watch.com

Last year Tudor brought out a black-bezel, steel-case version of its retro diving watch, which had the strongest aura yet of the vintage Rolex and Tudor Submariners that inspired it. That was called the Black Bay Black; confusingly, then, this year’s all-black version, which feels all the more contemporary, is simply called the “Dark”. The sportiest Black Bay yet, it features Tudor’s doughty in-house movement, and dial markings that glow a spectacularly bright shade of light blue in the dark.

Rado Ceramica
£1,390, rado.com

There are now numerous black watches whose cases are made of ceramic – ultra tough, scratch-proof and light – but it’s Rado that started the trend with its Ceramica, a late-80s classic beloved of polo-necked creative types ever since. It’s now been reconfigured by Berlin-based industrial designer Konstantin Grcic, who has turned it from a smooth, shiny wrist-band that tells the time, into something more organic and subtle, and with a surprisingly traditional dial design.

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WATCH THIS SPACE
Discover Craftsmanship at Wempe

Wempe has teamed up with master watch-maker A Lange & Söhne to create a wonderfully immersive new exhibition showcasing the craftsmanship and expertise that goes into every one of its exquisite timepieces. The exhibit will feature an interactive table that gives you insights into seven finishing techniques used to embellish the company’s movements, using both audio-visual and state-of-the-art haptic technology. Areas you can learn about include finish and engraving, chamfering and flat polishing, all of which combine beauty and utility that will last a lifetime. The exhibit will run at Wempe’s New Bond Street store from 25–29 October. Go to wempe.com and alange-soehne.com

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