6 luxury ceramic watches that are turning up the dial in 2023

What makes this material so desirable?

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore’s 30th anniversary, Girard-Perregaux Laureato Green Ceramic Aston Martin and IWC Schaffhausen Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 Top Gun “Oceana”

Pixelated image

The future is here and to remind us, we have the J12 Cybernetic, which is considered the new frontier in Chanel’s watch collection. It is inspired by the intriguing worlds of science fiction, space and time travel. The matte white-varnished pixel theme, defined by a rich black-lacquered dial, lends the watch a futuristic appeal while the black, highly resistant ceramic bracelet and steel triple-folding buckle round off the watch nicely. The words “Limited edition” are inscribed on the sapphire crystal caseback to emphasise the timepiece’s exclusivity. The ultra-cool J12 is powered by the Calibre 12.1, a self-winding movement produced by the Swiss manufacture Kenissi and co-owned by the French fashion brand.


“I’ll be back”

Action heroes were the gods before the noughties came along. Audemars Piguet takes us back to the good old days by commemorating its Royal Oak Offshore’s 30th anniversary with a limited-edition (only 500 pieces!), new black ceramic version of the original, which debuted in 1999 in collaboration with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s movie End of Days. When it was launched at the 1930 Basel Fair, the timepiece made quite an impression with its unexpectedly large size and bold design. The Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph has been contemporarised with sleek yellow details on the tachymeter scale while the hour markers and blackened white gold hands have been enhanced with yellow luminescent coating.


Defying norms

Reintroduced in 2022 in a new avatar, the Zenith Defy Skyline collection in ceramic still stays true to the ethos of its predecessor from 1969. Crafted entirely in black ceramic, including a bracelet that fluidly follows the contours of the case, the Skeleton Ceramic’s open dial features a large central four-pointed star element, revealing the skeleton movement with black bridges and main plate. The visual depth in this distinctive skeleton watch with a 1/10th of a second indicator is further accentuated by the subtle contrast of dark tones. The faceted polished hands and applied indices filled with white Super-LumiNova enable effortless readability during the day or night.


Girard-Perregaux’s Laureato Green Ceramic Aston Martin watches are outstanding, to say the least. It may be the first time a Laureato has featured a green ceramic case and bracelet but it does so with flying colours. The hue apparently represents Britain’s racing legacy and is part of the carmaker’s history. During the early days of motor racing, nations raced in their flag colours but because racing was illegal in England, the English went racing in Ireland. The green became a sign of gratitude to Ireland’s emerald isle once the ban was lifted. Offered in a choice of two case sizes (42mm and 38mm), each reference is a limited edition “and thereby destined to remain a rare sight”, the watchmaker proudly claims.

Still a blue chip

IWC Schaffhausen is no stranger to injecting colour into its ceramic watches, as seen from the sand-coloured Mojave Desert Pilot’s Watch to 2022’s striking new shades, such as the IWC Lake Tahoe white and IWC Woodland green. This year, it introduced its first 41mm Pilot’s Chronographs in ceramic blue. Produced in partnership with Pantone, the newcomer’s casing is inspired by the colour of the US Navy’s working overalls. The Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 Top Gun “Oceana” comes with a blue luminous dial and a matching blue rubber band with a denim finish textile inlay. The etched caseback and pushers are constructed with lightweight titanium. IWC was a forerunner in the use of ceramic in watch casings. The Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph (Ref 3755) debuted in 1986 as the world’s first timepiece with a casing composed of black zirconium oxide ceramic.


Thin is in

The Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic watch in black sandblasted ceramic with extra-thin mechanical manufacture movement has been a long time coming. The Octo Finissimo watches have been crafted from a few different materials in the past but nothing beats the honour of having it fashioned in sophisticated ceramic. The super slender watch is a spectacular feat considering the impossible challenge of working on a hard and stiff material such as ceramic, in line with the brand’s approach to working on unconventional materials. It is equipped with automatic winding with platinum microrotor and BVL-138 calibre (at a mere 2.33mm), small seconds and transparent caseback to showcase the intricate movement.


This article first appeared on May 22, 2023 in The Edge Malaysia.


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