The color of the dial is one of the biggest deciding factors when buying a watch. Blue and black dials have always been sought after when it comes to luxury watches given their versatility. Currently, green dials are also making a splash on the market, but when it comes to the stark, clean, and incredibly legible white dials, you can’t go wrong.
If you want to buy a high-quality watch, then it’s worth considering white dials. White watches are classic, elegant, and luxurious looking. They’re perfect for any occasion and will never go out of style. Here are some of the best luxury watches that sport a classic white dial.
Rolex Explorer II ref 216570 a.k.a. Polar
When you’re talking about white dial watches, the Rolex Explorer II ‘Polar’ has to be the most recognized watch in this category. Rolex designed the watch specifically for spelunkers and cave explorers in 1971. In 1989, they introduced the white dial to the collection. Paired with high contrast markers, it makes reading time easy when you’ve been out of natural light for several days.
Rolex Explorer II ref 216570 “Polar”
The reference 216570, introduced in 2011, enhanced the legibility of the Explorer II even further. Aside from increasing the case size from 40mm to 42mm, Rolex added in larger hour markers and brought back the 24-hour orange hand as seen on the inaugural Rolex Explorer II ref 1655. The brilliant Chromalight luminescent paint, combined with the bright orange GMT hand, lends well to tracking time in low-light conditions like on polar expeditions.
The Rolex Explorer II is also one of the most robust watches made by Rolex to date. It needed to withstand some serious weather conditions and it can do that with the Oystersteel case and bracelet, and the Calibre 3285 automatic movement that was tested to extremes when it comes to performance. Rolex ensured that this contemporary iteration of the Explorer lived up to its name.
Tudor Black Bay Chronograph Panda Dial
The Tudor Black Bay Chronograph is a watch that’s both sophisticated and elegant. You simply can’t have a list of watches with white dials without including Tudor’s contemporary Panda dial. Collectors have dubbed this watch the ‘Baytona’ in a nod to the Rolex Daytona watch, which shares considerable similarities.
Introduced in 2021, it comes as a follow up to the Black Bay Chronograph of 2017 with an all-steel finish. From an ultra wide bezel, this edition features tapered lugs and strong flanks that recall racing watches from the 1960s.
Tudor Black Bay Chronograph Panda Dial Steel Mens Watch 79360
Photo at left from Tudor
What really makes this model a perfect mix of retro and modern is the Panda dial. The white on white finish of luminous markers against the white dial just provides stunning contrast against the black registers and tachymeter bezel.
The watch features chronograph functions such as a 45-minute counter at the 3 o’clock position and a continuous seconds counter at the 9 o’clock position. The large snowflake hands make sure nothing gets lost on this chronograph.
You will love wearing this timepiece whether it be casual or dressy occasion because its style goes well beyond just being stylish; rather something that makes heads turn when worn!
IWC Portugieser Chronograph
The IWC Portugieser Chronograph was first introduced in 1998, and has since become a mainstay of the IWC catalog. It’s not hard to see why – the elegant design, just-right 41mm case and dimensions, and relatively affordable price tag gives you a watch that can be worn in many situations.
IWC Portuguese Chronograph Automatic Steel Mens Watch IW371417
What makes it work so well is how unassuming it is. There are actually many elements on the dial, but each feature is so subtly designed, that they do not fight for attention. The creamy white dial, slim Feuille hands, and simple applied Arabic numerals make up the harmoniously designed dial.
While some luxury watch aficionados will tell you that dress watches are not to be sullied by complications, IWC broke this rule hard, fast, and well with the Portugieser Chronograph. The dress style was accomplished by keeping the dial large and unimpeded by a thick bezel. The thin bezel on this watch allows for an impressively large dial that isn’t overshadowed by the included chronograph dials, whose receding design makes for an easy read despite it being the same color as the rest of the dial.
The nautical theme shines with the soft white dial accented by blue sword-shaped hands and blue Arabic numerals.
The chronograph complication dials appear uniquely at 6 and 12 o’clock for not only symmetry but elegant lines leading to the blue alligator leather strap. IWC definitely mastered dress chronograph watches with this elegant model.
Zenith Chronomaster Sport
The Zenith Chronomaster Sport is a modern incarnation of the most famous El Primero watch, the Zenith ref A386. Tracing its roots back to 1969, the El Primero movement in this watch is nothing but extraordinary. This groundbreaking movement continues to thrive and improve with this particular watch boasting a 60-hour power reserve and an accuracy of 1/10th of a second by taking full advantage of the 36,000 vibrations per hour.
Zenith Chronomaster Sport 41mm Steel Mens Watch 03.3100.3600
While the movement inside is famously remarkable, the Zenith A386 also stood out at the time because of its unique aesthetics. The tri-color dials, which are also engine-turned, give the dial a “racing” character.
The contemporary Zenith Chronomaster Sport emphasizes this even more with a stark white dial, which is what this watch exactly needed to contrast with the complications on this master chronograph. The white hand with black details blends nicely and shows off the red seconds hand that works with your timer.
The three chronograph dials at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock flow in a wonderful gradient from steel-blue to a light metallic grey. The bezel-less case allows for a large white dial that doesn’t feel overcrowded by the other features.
This watch is a vintage holdover when it comes to design, but subtle changes on the outside, and incredible changes on the inside, bring it into the modern world of luxury sport watches.
The movement is what makes the watch though. The El Primero movement was one of the first automatic movements developed and Zenith is proud enough of this accomplishment to make the case back a crystal so you can watch and wonder at this new and improved El Primero 3600.
More white dials to tickle your fancy, featuring the iconic Panda Dial.
From left: IWC Rattrapante Chronograph, Tudor Black Bay Chronograph, Breitling Transocean, Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, and Omega Speedmaster
Panerai Luminor Base Logo 3 Days
Originally made for military use, Panerai watches always have a striking, legible dial. Often, it’s black with luminous markers, but once in a while, they surprise us with white dials that are equally stunning.
The Panerai Luminor Base Logo 3 Days is a classic watch that’s perfect for everyday use. It has a 44mm case with a white dial that steps outside that usual Panerai box, deviating from the classic black dial.
Panerai Luminor Base Logo Acciaio 44mm Steel Mens Watch PAM00630 (right)
The dial features the iconic Panerai logo as well as Arabic numerals with larger font at the 12, 3, 6, and 9 positions, which makes reading the time easier than ever before. The simplicity of a stark white dial surrounded by only simple black numerals and indexes appeals to many a crowd. Especially those that believe this is the definition of a dress watch, time, and time only.
The lume has a beige tone to it allowing the hands and the indexes to practically jump off the face.
The P.6000 movement is an in-house, manually wound, movement that still delivers an incredible 72 hours of power reserve (partly due to the space conserved by not adding in any complications). This in-house movement marks the end of an era when it comes to Panerai’s former use of ETA movements.
Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 41mm
The design of the Omega Aqua Terra was meant to bridge the gap between the classic feel of a dive watch (the nature of the original Seamaster) and something meant for daily wear. The stainless-steel case lends to this notion by making it equally functional on both land and at sea. Hence the name Aqua Terra, translated from Latin to sea and earth respectively.
Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Co-Axial Steel Mens Watch 184.108.40.206.02.001
Featuring their signature Teak pattern dial which is reminiscent of the wooden floors on yachts, Aqua Terra dials have a wide range of colors to choose from. Their white dial rendition, the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 41mm, is a stunning watch that sits right against the line between a dress watch and a sports watch.
The stark white shade of the dial is nicely contrasted by the outlined dagger hour markers, and central seconds hand, index markers, and Seamaster writing in bright orange. Wearers are given a choice among a metal bracelet, leather strap, or woven rubber strap, in shades that complement the dial colors nicely.
White Dial Luxury Watches: Final Thoughts
Despite the current trends of green dials and the historic trends favoring black and blue dials, white dials are timeless on a timepiece. With luxury watches providing you with a long-term investment that can rival the best in the financial world, why not own something that will remain classic no matter how long you decide to hold it at your wrist?
Explore nearly 40 of the world’s best luxury watch brands available at SwissWatchExpo. There’s a white dial waiting to find a home at your wrist.