Yesterday fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld died. Hodinkee (naturally) reported on his watch, a blacked-out Audemars Piguet Royal Oak made in 1972.
The watch was well-worn by Lagerfeld and seemed like a perfect extension of his personal style, which was sharp, bold and menacing. The photo of his watch shows what most watch collectors fear about ownership of an all-black watch, the coating has worn and the metallic colors of the bracelet and case are showing through.
After seeing this photo of Lagerfeld’s AP, I realized that a well-worn PVD/DLC’d watch looks pretty good, and the wear marks give it character and tell a story of where the watch has been.
Now would I commission a blacked out Rolex from a customizer like Bamford? While I do like the creativity that’s behind Bamford’s designs, I prefer, like many, my Rolexes natural, especially with the understated brilliance of 904L grade steel.
There are plenty of options for an all-black watch. Mine is Casio G-Shock GW-5000 with it’s DLC caseback. I get a lot out of mine and I’m not afraid to wear it during active pursuits.
The Tudor Black Bay Dark, with its red lume pip on bezel insert marker and red line of text (indicating the depth rating) on the dial, is an outstanding execution of the all-black watch. The Cartier Santos 100 ADLC (with in-house movement) is one of my favorite watches because the all-black look gives a very traditional esthetic a tasteful edge.
The Santos’ coating is reported to be ultra-resistant to scratches, but after seeing Lagerfeld’s AP, the idea of metal showing through a blacked-out watch doesn’t bother me at all.