By its very nature, fads come and go and the watch industry is has seen its fair share of them. However, the two-tone watch is one that has transcended trend-status to become a bona fide classic style. From old-world heritage brands to cutting-edge niche brands, just about every watchmaker has dipped their toes into the two-tone look—and sometimes in surprising ways. Here are four examples of current luxury watches taking on the classic two-tone colorway.
Zenith Defy Classic Two-Tone
Zenith welcomed its first two-tone Defy Classic this year, pairing 18k rose gold and brushed titanium. Like all other editions in the collection, the Zenith Defy Classic Two-Tone sports a 41mm case. This particular version includes a rose gold bezel topped titanium case, which houses a skeletonized dial. The integrated bracelet carries on the bi-metal construction with a titanium base punctuated with rose gold center links. The open-worked dial and sapphire caseback provide a view of the in-house Zenith Elite 670 SK automatic movement driving the time and date with a 50-hour power reserve.
De Bethune DB28 Yellow Tones
At first glance, the De Bethune DB28 Yellow Tones may look like a gold watch; but it is not. Those familiar with the independent watch manufacture founded by Denis Flageollet will know that De Bethune specializes in heat-treating titanium to alter the metal’s color. While De Bethune has produced many striking blue watches using this technique, this time around the fire oxidized titanium case has been manipulated to produce a gradient of golden tones. It may be slightly unfair to label this a two-tone watch since several shades span across the 42.6mm case, floating lugs, and time/moonphase dial; however, there is a distinct contrast between the white and yellowed metal parts that echo the sentiment of traditional two-tone timepieces.
Santos De Cartier Skeleton
In 1978, Cartier presented its very first two-tone watch with the introduction of the modern Santos, complete with a yellow gold square bezel on top of a steel case and gold screws running down a steel bracelet. Fast-forward four decades, the French Maison unveiled the revamped Santos lineup in 2018 including this contemporary two-tone Santos de Cartier Skeleton. One look at the dial it is apparent that this is not a traditional skeleton movement and dial configuration. Cartier cleverly designed the manual-wound Caliber 9611 MC so that the skeletonized baseplate serves as the oversized Roman numerals. The steel and yellow gold case measures 28 mm x 28 mm and the “QuickSwitch” system means you can swap out the bi-colored metal bracelet for a leather strap as you please.
Ulysse Nardin Executive Skeleton X Carbonium Gold
While the architecture of the new open-worked Ulysse Nardin Caliber UN-371 manual-movement is impressive to see through the dial of the Executive Skeleton X Carbonium Gold, the material used to create the 43mm case housing it is as intriguing. Carbonium is an ultra-lightweight and sustainable material favored by the aeronautics industry. Ulysse Nardin takes it a step further by fusing the high-performance carbon composite with gold to create a unique two-tone wavy surface, which emphasizes the contrast between the rose gold and black details on the dial.