Watches: Best All-Black Timepieces of 2013

By Thierry Ané on November 27, 2013

As discussed in a previous article, blue is a popular watch-colour trend this year (see Top 5 Blue Dial Watches of 2013Watches: Top 5 Blue Dial Watches of 2013). However, the interest for black-on-black watches goes beyond the simple fad. It is not a trend because it is simply always here. It is true for fashion and it is also true for watches: nothing beats black. Black is, has always been, and always will be the next black!

All-black models are very versatile. They usually go well with a pair of jeans during the weekend and are equally admissible with a suit for a working day. Black does not mean dreary: shiny or matte, polished or brushed, we never have enough of its gloomy side.

Let us thus review some of the best options this year for anyone in search of the stealthy black-on-black look.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore 44mm Black Ceramic

Who does not like a nice Royal Oak Offshore? This year Audemars Piguet introduced an all-black version of their 44 mm model in black ceramic with a black rubber strap. The dial features the iconic "Méga Tapisserie" pattern in black. I really prefer the 44 mm case relative to the “old” 42 mm one and the use of ceramic is a nice surprise. Nothing new on the movement: the watch still relies on the 3126/3840 calibre. What is new, however, compared to the 42 mm versions is that one can now admire the movement and its finish from the sapphire case back.

Find out more about the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore 44mm Black Ceramic

Bremont ALT1-B2 GMT Chronograph Black DLC Steel

With the ALT1-B2 GMT Chronograph in black PVD steel, Bremont brings us a model directly inspired by another watch produced exclusively and delivered to the elite B2 Stealth Bomber aircrew in 2012. There is also a version with a black PVD steel bracelet available but I prefer the model with a black calfskin leather with white stitches presented here: it looks more “military” to me. The automatic BE-54AE calibre offers a chronograph and a second time zone by central hand in addition to the time and date functions. At 43 mm the watch looks really great on the wrist. I also really like the view from the case back and more particularly the rotor that has also been blackened.

Find out more about the Bremont ALT1-B2 GMT Chronograph Black DLC Steel

Hublot Shawn Carter Classic Fusion Black Ceramic

This year Hublot partnered with Shawn “Jay Z” Carter to create the “Shawn Carter by Hublot” collection. Shawn Carter has been an avid watch aficionado since the onset of his career and has made frequent references to the brand in his lyrics. Their first creation is a Classic Fusion model in black ceramic or king gold. The starburst emblem on the dial is the official logo of the Shawn Carter collection. It allows a partial view from the dial side of the manually-wound HUB 1300 calibre that can be fully admired from the exhibition case back. The watch is fitted with Hublot’s amazing gummy alligator. A great Hublot watch, with a little twist.

Find out more about the Hublot Shawn Carter Classic Fusion Black Ceramic

Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Automatic Ceramica

Panerai introduced a few watches in ceramic this year: the Radiomir 1940 3 Days Paneristi Forever, the Luminor 1950 Lo Scienzato Tourbillon GMT and the Pocket Watch Tourbillon GMT. But the Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Automatic is the only model of the year with this stealth all-black look we are talking about. The 47 mm case and the iconic crown-protection device are in black ceramic. I really like the beige SuperLuminova on the hour markers and the hands. It works perfectly with the vintage looking black leather strap with beige stitches. With 1,000 pieces produced, this watch should not be the most difficult Panerai to find.

Find out more about the Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Automatic Ceramica

Peter Speake-Marin Spirit Mk II Black DLC Steel

British watchmaker Peter Speake-Marin is already well-known among collectors and connoisseurs of fine watchmaking. On this model, the immediately recognisable “Picadilly” case is 42 mm in diameter and has a sandblasted, frosted finish. The huge Roman numerals and the hour markers covered with white SuperLuminova stand out on the matte black dial. Inside the watch ticks the calibre TT738, a powerful automatically-wound movement with a 5-day power reserve and the superlative finishing this watchmaker is known for. Once again, Peter Speake-Marin released a watch that stays far away from the competition in terms of design: a very interesting piece…

Find out more about the Speake-Marin Spirit Mk2 DLC Black DLC Steel

Zenith Pilot Aeronef Type 20 GMT Baron Rouge Black DLC Titanium

I presented another timepiece of the Aeronef Type 20 collection in my article on this year’s best annual calendar modelsWatches: This year’s best Annual Calendar timepieces. The Baron Rouge is the only watch of this new collection this year that is actually limited. Only 500 pieces will be produced. The 48 mm black DLC titanium case houses the Elite 693 calibre that powers the central hours and minutes, the off-centred sweeping seconds as well as the second time zone indicated by the central hand with a red head. The white Arabic numerals create a strong contrast with the black dial making this pilot’s watch extremely easy to read. I also like the huge black DLC titanium pin buckle that holds the thick black calfskin leather. Look no further if you are into pilot’s watches: this is the perfect model for you!

Find out more about the Zenith Pilot Aeronef Type 20 GMT Baron Rouge Black DLC Titanium

Ah, the appeal of black! What is great with the watches presented here is that you can practically wear them in any situation. Although almost all of them are sporty by nature, the black colour brings this formal touch that makes these watches so multipurpose.