Black is the new black. It’s a colour that never goes out of style – and looks particularly cool on a watch.
The first black watches were used by military operators in an effort to reduce the amount of light reflected by a soldier during night ops, and typically featured PVD (physical vapour deposition) coatings. These days, black watches come in a wide variety of materials, from black resins or ceramics to PVD or DLC (diamond-like carbon) finishes.
Be afraid of the dark no more. We’re taking you through some of the finest black watches you can score today.
In this best black watches article…
IWC Schaffhausen Big Pilot’s Watch 43 TOP GUN
Let’s kick things off with the IWC Schaffhausen Big Pilot’s Watch 43 TOP GUN. IWC has always been one of the leading producers of black watches – indeed, they were one of the first watchmakers to make watch cases in black ceramic. To this day, they remain a leading innovator and producer of ceramic watches.
This blackened version of their iconic Big Pilot honours the pilots of the United States Navy Fighter Weapons School (better known as TOP GUN), the best of the best in the air. Utilitarian, highly legible and oblique, it combines a black ceramic case with titanium hardware.
Retail Price: AU$15,400
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar
Legendary fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld arguably kicked off the black watch craze back in the 70s with his PVD-coated black Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. These days, AP make their iconic luxury sports watch in a wide variety of materials, including hand-finished black ceramic.
Unlike Lagerfeld’s time-only piece, this luxurious Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar features day, date, month, astronomical moon, and week of the year indicators. The leap year indication – pioneered by Audemars Piguet in 1955 – is also featured on the “Grande Tapisserie” decorated dial, integrated into the month display at 12 o’clock.
Retail Price: AU$137,490
TAG Heuer Monaco ‘Dark Lord’
A tribute to the coveted ref. 74033 from the 1970s, the TAG Heuer Monaco ‘Dark Lord’ is a devilish take on the distinctive square chronograph. Released in time for the 2022 Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix, its black case and dial are contrasted by rose gold and red highlights – this is one for the collectors.
Compared to the original Dark Lord, this 2022 iteration features a much more scratch-resistant black DLC coating which covers the entire case, crown, and pushers – which the original didn’t have. it’s also crafted from titanium instead of steel, which means despite its heavy metal appearance, this bad boy is pleasingly light on the wrist.
Retail Price: AU$11,850
Tudor Black Bay Ceramic
When the Tudor Black Bay Ceramic dropped in 2021, it immediately caused a stir. This murdered-out take on Tudor’s popular retro dive watch immediately ruffled feathers. Not only is it Tudor’s first-ever ceramic watch, it’s also the first METAS-certified watch that isn’t an OMEGA – Tudor and Rolex tend to chase COSC certification, so it’s another point of difference.
Mounted on a hybrid leather and rubber strap and aggressively monochromatic, the Tudor Black Bay Ceramic is a rather unusual beast and is easily one of the most exciting watches Tudor has ever made. It’s also one of the best black watches on the market.
Retail Price: AU$6,590
Seiko Prospex Black Series ‘Captain Willard’
Nicknamed ‘Captain Willard’ by fans for Martin Sheen’s character who wore it in Apocalypse Now, this 70s-era dive watch remains one the most popular and capable timepieces in Seiko’s extraordinarily large repertoire thanks to its unique chunky case with the crown mounted at 4 o’clock.
Stealthy let legible, this limited edition combines a black DLC case with orange highlights, green lume and a brown nylon strap. It also comes with an optional black rubber strap if you need more black in your life.
Retail Price: AU$1,995
OMEGA Seamaster Professional Diver 300M ‘Triple Black’
Continuing on our theme of blacked-out dive watches, we have this startling rendition of the 90s favourite, the OMEGA Seamaster Professional Diver 300M.
Its case, bezel, wave-pattern dial, crown and helium escape valve are all made from black ceramic. OMEGA has even used anthracite Super-LumiNova on the watch’s diving scale, the black PVD indexes, skeleton hands and dot at 12H for even more blacked-out goodness. It looks sick, but good luck reading this watch…
Retail Price: AU$13,200
Hublot Big Bang Integral Black Magic
The futuristic Hublot Big Bang can be found in a wide variety of colourful ceramics but for our money, this Big Bang Integral Black Magic is the pick of the litter.
Boasting an integrated ceramic bracelet and slick black and red colour scheme, this is one macho-looking timepiece. A rubberised crown and chrono pushers also in black add to its purposeful appearance.
Retail Price: AU$28,000
Baume & Mercier Riviera Baumatic ‘Smoky Dial’
One of the more underrated releases from Watches & Wonders 2022, the Baume & Mercier Riviera Baumatic ‘Smoky Dial’, as you may have guessed, features a cool smoky grey sapphire dial that subtly reveals the inner workings of its in-house Baumatic movement (which boasts an impressive 120hr power reserve).
Then, mount that dial in a black steel-ADLC dodecagonal case with a black rubber strap? You’ve got a winner on your hands, Baume. This is a great Swiss-made black luxury watch that won’t break the bank either.
Retail Price: AU$6,150
Panerai Submersible Marina Militare Carbotech
Rounding off our list we have the Panerai Submersible Marina Militare Carbotech, which unlike the other watches on this list, which are made from ceramic or DLC-coated metals, is made from Carbotech, a signature Panerai carbon fibre composite material that’s lighter than titanium, tougher than steel and completely scratch-resistant.
Named after and made in homage to the commandos of the Italian navy, this techy 47mm dive watch features an engraving of a frogman on its caseback along with a ‘Survival Instruments’ designation – testament to its toughness.
Retail Price: AU$28,300