In a blink of an eye, we are already into April. Throughout the past months, we have seen an array of great releases from various brands making an appearance on our site, and frankly, we can’t wait for more. Watch manufacturers seem to know how to our hearts with their ever-growing catalog, from a plethora of stunning vintage-inspired timepieces to incredibly tough tool watches. Being able to share the love for watches in our monthly lookbook is undoubtedly a fun way to express our preferences and personal viewpoints of the watches we wear.
In this month’s lookbook, we explore a controversial category of watches that might seem rather tacky to some but classy as hell for the rest. From the late 1970s to the early ’80s, a particular watch rose in popularity, closely associated with the rich and the famous.
Two-tone watches with a mixture of two different metals, most commonly a combination of steel and gold, were desired mainly back then. It is no surprise when one wears a two-tone timepiece in the present day, it would be mistaken for an heirloom watch passed down from an earlier generation. Some may even say it’s old-fashioned. This is where I beg to differ. As watch manufacturing technologies advance, more brands are increasingly producing gorgeous two-tone watches with modern upgrades. Outdated or old-fashioned? I’d instead call it a timeless classic with a bit of nostalgia. Let’s look at some of my personal selection of fine two-tone watches that have played a part in my unceasing watch journey.
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Seiko 5 Sports “Sports Style” Rose Gold 40 Ref. SBSA048
First off the list comes a stunning piece from a brand the watch community is immensely familiar with. The Japanese watch industry giant Seiko has brought countless offerings at an irresistible price, delivering one of the best value propositions at its price range, incorporating superior Japanese craftsmanship and impressive specifications. With the revamp of Seiko 5 series in 2019, the collection has swarmed with an abundance of designs and color combinations. The SBSA048 certainly draws my attention as one of the most handsome looking two-tone models in the Seiko 5 Sports collection.
Versatility is perhaps the strongest suit of the SBSA048, coming in a sweet 40mm size with a slim case profile, fitting exceptionally well for almost all occasions. While gold may be an intense color, the warm rose gold treated accents present a toned-down appearance that finds a proper balance between understated elegance and a vibrant presence.
Not many two-tone watches in this price category effectively pull off a sporty look while exhibiting a dressy appeal. For this reason, the SBSA048 is an exciting entirely in-house mechanical two-tone offering, especially in this tempting price segment. Like many other Seikos, we get a fantastic value we know and love from the esteemed Japanese watch manufacturer.
Steinhart Ocean 1 Vintage Chronograph Two-tone
Next on the list, we look into a very close brand here at Gnomon. It’s no coincidence that Steinhart has grown to have such a huge following ever since its founding 20 years ago. Made with impeccable quality and high Swiss precision, the Steinhart Ocean 1 Vintage Chronograph Two-tone is my favorite pick for a two-tone chronograph. Having this piece on my wrist definitely makes me feel like a thrill-seeking race car driver from the ’70s, expressing a cool vintage swagger.
One of my favorite aspects of the Steinhart Ocean 1 Vintage Chronograph Two-tone is the exceptional design’s exceptional cohesiveness. Subtle details such as the beautifully guilt hands, gold-tone crown, and chronograph pushers, as well as the polished gold-tone surface just on the outer rim of the bezel that exhibits just the right amount of flair without being too overwhelming. Further highlighting the retro style, the highly domed sapphire crystal just looks phenomenal, creating attractive distortions when viewing the dial from different angles.
Admittedly, I have a soft spot for vintage-inspired chronographs. They are the embodiment of an iconic style from the golden age of watchmaking. Not only do they hold a timeless character, the mechanical chronograph movements such as the Swiss automatic Dubois Dépraz DD 2020 module movement in the Ocean 1 Vintage Chronograph Two-tone are also incredibly elaborate forms of mechanical movements. Given the fine craftsmanship of a Swiss watchmaker, these complex and well-decorated movements unequivocally elicit watch enthusiasts like us with an indescribable fascination feeling.
With Steinhart’s latest trio of two-tone Ocean 1 GMTs joining the game, I couldn’t help but throw in another Steinhart on the list. In contrast to the Steinhart Ocean 1 Vintage Chronograph, the Steinhart Ocean 1 GMT Two-tone Black/White Ceramic offers a charming modern appeal with a unique color combination that works astonishingly well. Although, for the most part, I gravitate towards black or darker dials for a tool/dive watch (yes, this is the only white dial appearing on this list), Steinhart spiced up this piece with plenty of finesse, and it is indeed growing on me, becoming one of my favorite of the bunch.
What sets the Ocean 1 GMT Two-tone Black/White Ceramic apart from the rest is unquestionably its black/white ceramic bezel. The bezel’s engraved markers are filled with a similar matching tone as the pink-gold coating on the case and bracelet; all the design aspects seamlessly blend with each other to create a remarkably classy yet novel appearance, ready to shine amongst the crowd.
Only a handful of 300m dive style tool watches with a GMT function manages to look this tasteful. Steinhart has impressed me time and time again, showing the world how a high-quality Swiss-made timepiece can be achieved in an affordable price range, especially with these premium specifications. Whether I’m dressing down for a casual Sunday afternoon lunch or suiting up for a fancy dinner party, it is almost certain that I would reach out to the Ocean 1 GMT Two-tone Black/White Ceramic to bring my outfit up a notch.
Simple, understated, and truly exquisite. The Oris Sixty-Five breathes a vintage charm that never fails to mesmerize me every time I pick it up. Perhaps this is why it has remained one of Oris’s most distinguishable dive watches to this day. As a fully-independent watch manufacturer from Hölstein, Switzerland, Oris prides themselves on their rich watchmaking heritage to craft mechanical watches that arguably have one of the best value in the Swiss watch industry. The Oris Sixty Five Bronze – Bracelet – 40mm – Ref. 01 733 7707 4354-07 8 20 18 presents an attractive 40mm case, possibly being a perfect size for a diver well-favored by watch enthusiasts.
Apart from its adequate size, the show’s clear star here is the integration of bronze on a stainless steel case. Stainless steel is an excellent material that flaunts exceptional durability while looking essentially pristine for almost forever. The bronze bezel provides a beautifully aged look when it develops a rustic patina over time – it is almost like having a new watch every day as the bronze slowly transforms, adding a unique character to the piece.
The Oris Sixty Five Bronze – Bracelet – 40mm – Ref. 01 733 7707 4354-07 8 20 18 combines a two-tone design that captures all the exemplary aspects. Despite being a simple 3-hand dive watch, the dial’s minimalist and symmetrical nature makes this my favorite pick for a daily driver. The warmth of the highly-domed sapphire crystal accompanied by the harmonious blend of metals certainly shows how much love Oris has put in to bring us this enticing piece.
Mido Ocean Star Captain 2-Tone Ref. M026.430.22.051.00
From a fully-independent brand, we move into a renowned Swiss brand under the eminent Swatch Group umbrella. Mido is a name that definitely deserves so much more attention from the masses, the Mido Ocean Star Captain 2-Tone Ref. M026.430.22.051.00 showcases Mido’s exceptional Swiss watchmaking capabilities and over a century of proud heritage in a splendid two-tone diver. The Ocean Star Captain 2-Tone caught my attention for its clean design that sits right between a delightful office desk-diving piece and a reliable Scuba diving companion. Regardless, I’d gladly have it on for either occasion.
As two-tone watches are making a comeback in recent years, the subtle rose-gold tone on the Ocean Star Captain 2-Tone Ref. M026.430.22.051.00 accurately demonstrates how a two-tone timepiece doesn’t have to be ostentatious to look ravishing, delivering a perfect amount of wrist presence. Among all the watches mentioned on this list, this one has the extended power reserve of a substantial 80 hours as a result of the Swiss automatic Cal. 80 movement, making it my pick for an excellent vacation watch, ready to switch up to my other watches without having to set the time when it’s back on my wrist a couple of days later.
All things considered, the Ocean Star Captain 2-Tone Ref. M026.430.22.051.00 offers a fit and finish comparable to watches even above its price range. As a brand, the wide variety and original designs from Mido make it a true hidden gem in the Swiss watch industry. As more two-tone watches continue to emerge, we are spoilt for choices, with many great watch brands stepping up their watch game in recent years.
Gnomon Watches first opened her doors for business online in early 2002, founded by bona fide horology suitors who share a profound passion for watchmaking and fine craftsmanship.