Just when watches were at their biggest risk of becoming obsolete, they have made their strongest comeback ever. There may be a myriad of different devices that can provide us with immediate information regarding the time, but none manage to do so with the elegance and maturity provided by a traditional watch.
Practical, yet rarely utilitarian, watches are meant to display our personal style or round off a professional outfit. We should never forget either that watches are small wonders of engineering; the tiny pieces moving in perfect synchronicity are a marvel of modernity, and were one of the flagpoles of modernity. Now, high-tech blends of inorganic materials have provided a new edge of precision for these beautiful objects.
This season, both old-time manufacturers and new startups have launched a series of superb models for these 8 best ceramic watches.
Hublot Big Bang Ceramic Blue
Watchmaking house Hublot is considered one of Switzerland’s “prodigy babies.” Established in 1980, they are a very young brand in a region where traditions are usually measured by centuries. Nevertheless, they have managed to establish a well-deserved reputation in the luxury niche, thanks to its elegant models and very precise technology.
The Hublot Big Bang Ceramic Blue is a great way to learn exactly what makes Hublot great. Absurdly accurate and unapologetically glamourous, this model shows a lot but has a reason behind everything. Even its signature “night sky blue” shade has a purpose: it covers the ceramic powder and the binding, protecting it from UV ray and keeping your watch’s colors and figures safe from fading.
The Big Bang does not stop there, however. An anti-reflective coated crystal and a Calibre HUB41000 mechanism are wrapped in an automatic case, with 42 hours’ worth of power reverse. In addition, this blue dial watch is water-resistant up to 100 meters, so feel free to take it for a quick swim.
Burberry Large Ceramic Chronograph
Few brands manage to evoke the chased-after London elegance such as Blueberry. Whether it’s through a pair of shoes or a precise scarf, Burberry deserves the loyal following it has acquired.
However, their brand is not limited to just clothes: their large ceramic chronograph watch is also a marvelous way to tell time – and at a price that is decidedly “budget-friendly” in the luxury watch world.
Completely black and discreetly polished, this watch combines a black ceramic case with an equally sleek bracelet. The black dial looks stunning with the silver-tone hands. The typography used for the minute markers, located on the outer rim, has been carefully selected to be unobtrusive. In addition, it is equipped with 3-hand movement and is certified water-resistant for up to 5 ATM or 50 meters.
Longines is a well-established luxury watch brand that has managed to maintain its identity and commitment to quality, despite their recent corporate transitions.
As a model, the Conquest was created to represent the highest forms of efficiency available for watch lovers. The V.H.P. (very high precision) movement is powered by a dual-oscillator Caliber 276.2 mechanism, which allows it to lose less than 10 seconds per year. In addition, the long-term reliability of this watch is further protected by thermo-compensating materials.
The design is also worthy of a close examination. Beyond the basic stainless steel case, there is a subdued intention to celebrate simple lines and quality lines. The numbers are easy to read and view without much effort, and yet they are not too large or garish. There is just a hint of futuristic esthetics lying behind the shape and color scheme. Once you add the calendar window and certified 5 ATM water resistance, you get tremendous value for the price.
Rado Diamaster Ceramos Thinline Automatic
Rado has a very long tradition of expanding the limits of watchmaking. They were the first to take advantage of ceramics in watch technology back in 1962. It’s natural that they also offer the best ceramic watches.
They have accomplished this while still maintaining an eagerness to experiment with shape and color as well. Their designs are often divisive and bold, but they are never boring.
The Rado Diamaster is a rose gold watch made from a mixture of 90% high-tech ceramic and metal alloys, specially engineered to ensure more lasting, rust-resistant materials. The movement is automatic, and the top crystal has a special anti-reflective coating. When it comes to esthetics, they have foregone calendar windows and luminous dials for the sharp contrast offered by a deep blue background and rose gold details.
When we think of ceramics, our first associations are usually quaint tiles and home pottery, not zirconium dioxide. However, as an inorganic, non-metallic solid created from highly compressed heat, zirconium dioxide falls right in the scientific definition of ceramic. And yet, it offers a completely new level of technology and accuracy – and Panerai has a couple of things to say about both.
This Italian manufacturer of luxury goods is a mainstay of yacht parties. It has devoted over a century to carving itself a niche among the effortlessly elegant, despite the immense hours of labor that go behind each one of their products.
The shiny black materials provide the backdrop for handsomely designed matte numerals and markers. The calendar window, located at the 3 o’ clock position, is protected by a smoked see-through sapphire crystal. The linear power reserve is accurate and is discreetly hidden somewhere it won’t interrupt you or the watch’s beauty. The resilient strap is gorgeous but not as impressive as its 10 ATM water resistance. This GMT travel watch is a one-in-a-lifetime investment and is sure to last even longer.
Bell & Ross BR03-92
There is amazing watchmaking happening on all parts of the world, not just near the Alps. American manufacturer Bell & Ross has created many iconic fashion statements with a precise, utilitarian purpose, most notably the infamous “bomber jacket” made famous back in 1958.
The BR03-92 draws back to the brand’s military roots thanks to its aviator-style design. The rounded edges of its unusual squared shape make it immediately noticeable among glam lovers and horology experts alike. In addition, the impression of ruggedness and resilience is further compounded by its polished, matte surface. The bright, large numbers are easy to watch and elegant under daylight but hide a discreet luminosity the second the lights go down. A round calendar window and a gripped side insert round off a beautiful, yet incredibly masculine design.
Finally, the buckle uses a coated steel with a “Gunmetal” finish.
For more similar timepieces, be sure to check out our guide to the best pilot watches.
IWC Pilot’s Watch “Mojave Desert” Chronograph, Top Gun Edition
It’s not just the color that sets the “Mojave Desert” apart. American watchmaker IWC has always been fond of redefining its designs while simultaneously drawing from pop culture, its country’s rich history, and the values that unify all horologist around the world.
Despite starting out with a German-trained watchmaker, IWC has been chasing excellence on this side of the Atlantic for over 150 years. The sand-colored ceramic case pays perfect homage to the desert it is named after: a desolate, yet beautiful landscape that brings about the best and most stubborn of post-apocalyptic scenarios. The screw-in crown is meant to last for ages, as does the chronograph and smooth, independent seconds dial.
Efficiency is further chased by including two separate calendar windows in a remarkably small space and yet ensuring the overall package does not look too crowded. The self-winding, ultra-precise movement is made in Switzerland by IWC’s own certified experts. The power reserve offers up to 46 hours of continuous operation, and the pressure settings keep your gears safe at depths of up to 6 ATMs.
Our guide to the top bronze watches features more cool options like this. Check them out.
Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon
The masses may only dream of ever owning a certified Omega watch, but for those who can afford it, it is an unavoidable sign of adulthood. The Apollo 8 watch, nicknamed “the Dark Side of the Moon” is a superb model from an already remarkable brand, so if you could sell your soul for one ceramic watch, it should probably be this one.
They have not gone small on any aspect of this chronograph aviator watch. The skeletonized dial and the bright white and yellow details are meant to stand out not just at the runway but also on your eyes. Created to provide safety and functionality for anyone operating the biggest flying machines known to man, this watch aims for the sky; laser-ablated mechanic pieces, a branded dial and side switch, and a resilient carbon-based strap stand in to certify this,
If you are willing to look closer, you are likely to find even more to amaze you: the dial hides both the near side and the far side of the moon in a very literal way. It’s partially covered by a delicate metal cap with a delicately engraved landscape full of craters.
You may only be able to get one Omega Speedmaster, but it will be the only one you ever need.