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Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 15202BC Salmon
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Throwback Sundays: Six Watch Recommendations with a Salmon Dial, from Our Archives

Fishy business.
by Robin Lim on February 24, 2019
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The idea of the article came following the publishing of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 15202BC “Salmon” last night. The Salmon dial is an interesting dial variant – not often used by watch manufacturers for some reason, but it often turns out stunning when it is executed perfectly.

We feel that following the article, it will be nice to follow-up with a series of Salmon dial watches in this week’s Throwback Sundays column. It is pretty uncommon, and we think that it is the right opportunity to highlight such watches at this juncture.

So, what are some of the watches that we have selected? Let’s find out! As usual, links on titles of the watches will lead you to the original reviews.

NOMOS Tangente “Red Dot” 2018

NOMOS is an interesting watch manufacturer that is known for its well-priced timepieces, as well as its Bauhaus-inspired minimalist design. The Tangente “Red Dot” 2018 is one of such example.

Launched last year in collaboration with The Hour Glass, the “Red Dot” is cheekily termed to pay tribute to Singapore’s infamous nickname. The 38mm timepiece is available in two dial variants: Midnight Blue and Salmon. The latter is executed nicely, and its simple design meant that the bright dial colour is able to stand out from the rest of the elements on the watch itself.

Priced at S$3,200, the “Red Dot” is brilliant for a timepiece that features an in-house designed movement. The Salmon dial variant is certainly an interesting option, and we reckon that it might be interesting for someone who wants to pull off a slightly bolder look.

Czapek Faubourg de Cracovie

The Czapek Faubourg de Cracovie “Salmon Series” had an interesting provenance. The collection, which features a series of four watches with Salmon dial, was inspired by a collector who requested for a bespoke piece with a salmon guilloché dial and blue hands and numerals.

The guilloché pattern on the dial is one of the main highlights of this timepiece. The design is hand-engraved, and it is called “Résonance”. It was derived from the “Ricochet” pattern of the Quai des Bergues collection, and the concentric circles originating from the two sub-dials at 3 and 9 o’clock intersect and form bas-relief squares. It is quite a pretty sight to behold.

The 41.5mm watch is powered by the proprietary Czapek SXH3 calibre. The self-winding movement was built by Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier, which features an integrated column-wheel chronograph and delivers a power reserve of 65 hours. It is priced at CHF 24,000 (approximately S$32,414), and we do think that this is an interesting option for someone who is looking to enter into the realm of independent watchmaking.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 15202BC Salmon

The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak is a collection that is familiar with many. It is typically available in three main dial variants: Blue, Black, and White. The Salmon dial, launched in the recent SIHH 2019, is an equally compelling option as well.

The new model comes with an interesting combination. It is fitted on the ultra-thin case (Reference 15202BC), measuring 39mm by 8mm. The watch is cased in white gold, which contrasts nicely with the “Petite Tapisserie” dial in pink gold tone. It is also fitted with the legendary Calibre 2121 – an ultra-thin movement that was famously used by the holy trinity of Swiss watchmaking.

We reckon that despite its slight premium at US$55,400 (approximately S$74,856), this Royal Oak is going to be a highly collectable piece. This is owing its limited production run of 700 pieces, as well as its ultra rare combination of pink gold dial and white gold case. For any Royal Oak fans, this is certainly a must-have in one’s watch collection.

Grönefeld 1941 Remontoire

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Following the success of the GPHG Best Tourbillon in 2014 for the Parallax Tourbillon, the Grönefeld Brothers certainly had big shoes to fill to sustain their remarkable achievement. The 1941 Remontoire is one of the latest additions to the collection of excellent timepieces.

The remontoire is an interesting complication. Its roots can be traced back to tower clocks, in which it needs a long power reserve to reduce the frequency of winding. This means it requires a big power source, but it presents it own set of regularities. The remontoire hence comes into the picture, by indirectly providing constant force to the escapement through a small spring that rewinds and unwinds regularly.

Besides its dial and complication, the other highlight of the 1941 Remontoire is its movement. The finishing – done in collaboration with Andreas Strehler – is amazing to say the least. Our favourite bits are the bridges: The centre of the bridges are frosted, and a raised lip near the edge is polished and anglaged.  It is exceptional.

The watch is available in two options – red gold and white gold. They are priced at €49,500 (approximately S$75,857) and €50,850 (approximately S$77,925) respectively. This is certainly a piece of art in its own right.

Patek Philippe 10 Day Tourbillon (Ref. 5101P)

Patek Philippe Ref 5101 in platinum with salmon dial

When it comes to Patek Philippe, the Nautilus and Grand Complications (think Annual Calendar and Perpetual Calendar Chronograph) are some of the pieces that will first come to mind.

The 10 Day Tourbillon Art Deco style is a timepiece that is relatively under the radar. The watch, featuring the “Gondolo” rectangular case, is a rather understated but delightful piece. For the uninitiated, the watch comes with a tourbillon and also boasts a 10-day power reserve. The tourbillon is only visible via the exhibition case back, hence making it very discreet. The finishing is magnificent too; we expect nothing less from Patek Philippe.

Now discontinued, the Ref. 5101 can be occasionally found at second-hand dealer sites with an estimated price of US$170,000 (approximately S$229,704) onwards. This particular Patek Philippe is extravagant due to its rarity – but those who, will certainly know its worth.

A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon with Pink Gold Dial

We round up the column with the A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon, with an stunning pink gold dial. Full hands on review will be published next week! In the meantime, the title link goes to the Press Release, and this link is to our Live SIHH report on Lange.

The Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon, first introduced at SIHH 2016, is one of most sophisticated watch of the Datograph collection. It is the top of the range model, featuring a perpetual calendar mechanism and a tourbillon on top of its base chronograph movement. This year, the watch had undergone some cosmetic changes – in the form of a new dial. The pink gold dial is the first of its kind for the Glashütte-based manufacturer, and its pairing with black fonts and blued chronograph hands is certainly magical.

The 41.5mm timepiece is superlative, but it certainly comes at a price. The watch retails at €285,000 (approximately S$436,753), and it is definitely priced out of reach for mere mortals like most of us. However, if one has some spare change lying around, the Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon is perhaps something that is closest to the definition of perfection.

Concluding Thoughts

Pink gold dials, or “Salmon dials” as they are more affectionately known, are a rarity in the past. However, in the past few years, we are seeing more watch manufacturers incorporating such dial variant into their watches.

One interesting observation is that while there are increasingly more watches with pink gold dials, it is still predominantly kept within the high-end category. We reckon that while many of such watches are executed nicely, it is not something that many watch manufacturers can pull off easily. In addition, we also feel that there is a shortage of demand for pink gold dials amongst the mass consumers – which is where most of the revenues are generated from. Another plausible reason might be the fact that manufacturers want to keep this dial exclusive as well.

What are thoughts on this? Is the salmon dial an appealing option, or is it just another fad? Let us know in the comments section below!

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