So you want to buy a new blue dial luxury watch, but there's just so many options out there right now. Should you buy a Cartier, Omega, Rolex, IWC, Grand Seiko, Zenith? I faced this exact same dilemma a few months ago and now that the holidays are rolling around I figured I share the exact same position I was in except with charts and comparisons to help you narrow down your choices. Oh and if blue dials aren't your thing, you can easily swap out the color dial for other colors like white, black, grey etc and use this guide as loose advice. I chose blue simply because I found it easy from boardroom to beach attire. I included a chart at the bottom of the list so you can get a full overview of each watch with comparisons and differences to make it easy.
First off, let me explain the parameters I'm using to narrow down what our options are. Since this is the best "everyday" blue dial watch, my requirements for this list will be that at the most minimum...
1) Watch must have a blue dial
2) Watch must be automatic winding
3) Watch must not have more than the date function / complication
4) Not Limited Edition
5) Price must be between $5,000 and $10,000
6) The balance between a "sports" watch or a "dress" watch
Now that that is out of the way, lets get to our contenders!
Santos de Cartier Midnight Blue $7,450 WSSA0013
First up on this list is the Santos de Cartier Midnight Blue. In 2018, Cartier revived the Santos collection by introducing new improvements on the classic design such as the easy link changing & bracelet swapping without tools that Cartier names the "QuickSwitch", the addition of complimentary calf straps, the inhouse Caliber 1847 MC features 42 hour power reserve and design changes to the bezel such as curving it closer to the lugs. The Santos is by all means an icon for Cartier as it was the first wristwatch created originally to allow time telling while flying a plane. While primarily a silver dial, this year Cartier introduced this awesome Midnight blue edition to the line up.
The watch measures 39.8mm and has a case thickness of 9.08mm. It is also water resistance up to 10 bar, however the crown does not screw in. I love how the bracelet integrates seamlessly into the case and has the iconic screws and that stainless steel bracelet does a mighty fine job of speaking on its own even without the watch. Another nice thing is that it comes with a complimentary blue calf strap that like mentioned before you can swap out without using tools, making it super easy if you were traveling and wanted to change up the look of the watch.
The blue calf strap also comes with a stainless steel folding clasp. Even without decorating the watch with diamonds or precious metals, the high polished bezel sparkles in the light. The dial itself is a graduated blue so in different lighting the blue can resemble anything from steel blue to a deep ocean blue. Warranty wise, this has the longest duration because at the time of purchase you will get 2 years of international warranty and then once you register your timepiece with Cartier you get an additional 6 years making a total of 8 YEARS of International Warranty. Iconic watch, blue dial, great design, covered for 8 years all CHECK! Only downfall is that currently its only offered in the Large model because I know a handful of us would love to wear the Medium model with no date.
Pros - Strong design, bracelet integration, QuickSwitch system, Cartier 1847 MC in house, comes with strap options and longest warranty period on this list of 8 years.
Cons - Only in large model, only 42 hour power reserve (when compared to some of these other watches), no screw in crown, can only use Cartier straps.
Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 38mm / 41mm $5,700
Next up is the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra. I believe this is one of the strongest entries on this list. First off you have 2 sizes - 38mm or 41mm, it has a screw in crown with a water resistance of 150m and it boasts Omega's Master Chronometer anti-magnetic movement that's accurate to 0 to +5 seconds per day. The worst thing that can happen to your watch is that it runs slow meaning if you're solely relying on it for timing, you may show up late. With the Master Chronometer movement, Omega says that this movement can only run quick up to +5 seconds per day, which the saying "better earlier than later" comes in. Omega makes a huge impact on the list with its movement being one of the most technologically forward thinking and while our world gets more intertwined with technology, having a full anti-magnetic watch is becoming more important.
Here I'm wearing the 38mm and it sits low on the wrist with a suit jacket on. On the 38mm the Aqua Terra uses the Caliber Omega 8800 which has a 55 power reserve. The new Aqua Terra design is a bit softer and features the Teak pattern going horizontal. The date window is placed at 6 o'clock which is perfectly symmetrical and each of the markers and hands are coated in blue Super-Luminova.
Here I'm sporting the 41mm Aqua Terra. It works great for an everyday watch because it can truly be a boardroom to beach watch that looks great in pretty much all outfits. On the 41mm, the Aqua Terra uses the Caliber Omega 8900 with 60 hours power reserve and there's also the jumping hour function which makes it nifty for travel watch without having to stop the seconds hand when changing dates or time zones. Both watches are also offered on rubber and leather straps that you can order it on, but I think the bracelet is the most versatile and you can always purchase the straps afterwards. Also, all Omega watches come with 5 years warranty.
Pros - 38mm (22.214.171.124.03.001) and 41mm (126.96.36.199.03.004) size options, full Anti-Magnetic movement, great water resistance with screw in crown, blue SuperLuminova for low light conditions, comes on different strap models, 5 years warranty.
Cons - Offering wise, there is no disadvantage, I believe if you're not choosing this watch it's probably due to its design or how it looks on the wrist.
Grand Seiko USA SBGH273 or SBGA375
Of course I couldn't forget about my beloved Grand Seikos. I have two options here due to the fact that the SBGH273 is a USA Edition which may be difficult for some people to obtain.
Grand Seiko SBGH273 Hi-Beat $6,300
Let's start with the SBGH273 aka the Grand Seiko USA Autumn "Shubun" Edition. 2 words - Hi-BEAT! This is a Grand Seiko Hi-Beat movement, one of the twin peaks for Grand Seiko's calibers. The SBGH273 uses the 9S85 Hi-Beat caliber that's accurate to -3 to +5 seconds per day, which is slightly more accurate than standard COSC at -4 to +6 seconds per day. The watch's movement runs at 36,000 vph and has a 55 hour power reserve. The higher beat allows the movement to be highly accurate and resist more shocks.
The 40mm 62GS case design features no bezel (meaning no bezel scratches!) and the case was originally created as Grand Seiko's first full automatic watch (originally having a crown at 4 o'clock). The SBGH273 features a deep blue dial representing the cool evenings in Autumn in Japan with a gold seconds hand representing the moonlight striking through the land. You can see that all the markers are all Zaratsu polished meaning that is contains no distortion and reflects a mirror-like quality. Lume is not needed with Grand Seiko since their Zaratsu polished markers can reflect light in low lighting conditions. In this entire list, Grand Seiko definitely wins when it comes to workmanship of their polishing. When it comes to the details, Grand Seiko even has the date window Zaratsu polished. The SBGH273 also has a screw-in crown for 100m water resistance and there are convenient drilled lug holes for swapping out straps. On the SBGH273 it also has a tapered bracelet which is a nice touch.
Grand Seiko SBGA375 Spring Drive $5,200
Two words - SPRING DRIVE! This is the most accurate mechanical movement on this list with a 72 hour power reserve. If you haven't heard, the SBGA375 uses its Spring Drive Caliber 9R65 which has a rated accuracy of -/+1 second per day and first debuted in 1999. The case used here is the 44GS case and measures 40mm. It pretty much has all the same benefits as the SBGH273 such as Zaratsu Polishing, screw in crown, drilled lug holes and the only difference is in the dial, movement and case. The dial features a deep midnight blue that almost looks black. There is a small indicator for the 72 hour power reserve between 7 and 8 o'clock. All Grand Seiko watches come with 3-Years International Warranty.
Pros- Grand Seiko's highly accurate Hi-Beat or Spring Drive, amazing Zaratsu polishing, easy for strap changes with drilled lug holes, 3 Years International Warranty, screw in crown with 100m water resistance.
Cons - Limited sizes (both 40mm)
IWC Ingenieur / Pilot's Watch
I chose 2 different IWC models because there's really two pieces in mind that can make the list for an everyday watch from IWC with different designs. First we'll review the Ingenieur.
IWC Ingenieur Automatic $5,500 IW357002
Okay so I know I said it has to be a blue dial, but at the moment IWC only produces the Ingenieur in black, silver or grey dial in the time and date version, but I didn't want to miss out on such a good contender that is the Ingenier Automatic in 40mm.
The original Ingenieur Automatic was created as a simple three-hand with date window watch measuring 40mm. It was IWC's answer to combat magnetism and originally was equipped with a Pellaton winding system and the movement was shielded by a soft iron cage from magnetism. Its also been touched by the gods himself, namely Gerald Genta who developed the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. Today's modern version removes the screws from the bezel design, and slims down the case design.
The Ingenieur uses the 35111 Caliber with a 42 hour power reserve and while it doesn’t currently have a blue dial in the simple time and date version, I’m sure we will see it in the future.
IWC Pilot’s Watch Le Petit Prince Edition IW327016 $5,150
Now to stay with the theme of blue dials, the IWC Pilot’s watch also fits the specs perfectly. The midnight blue dial here is a reference to the famous “The Little Prince” story and is a sunburst design. Since it is originally a Pilot’s watch style, it should be easy to read in a short duration of time, hence the usage of large Arabic numeral markers. This Pilot’s watch uses the same movement as the Ingenieur above and both have a water resistance of 6 bar. Another nice thing is that all IWC watches now have 8 years warranty!
Pros - IW357002 history and heritage of Ingenieur, IW327016 beautiful Pilot’s style design, 8 years warranty on all IWC watches, luminescence on markers and hands, screw in crown, magnetic protection, 36mm size available, strap and bracelet options available.
Cons - Lowest Power Reserve at 42 hours, wearable versatility is not as flexible for the Pilot’s style (much sportier).
Zenith Defy Classic 41mm $6,900
Finally we’ve arrived at Zenith. The new Defy Classic in 41 mm is a great intro to the everyday blue dial watch. Its lightweight, has a great brushed titanium case design and a stunning sunburst blue dial. The hands and markers have blue luminescence for low light conditions and the watch is water-resistant to 100 meters which is more than enough if you’re jumping in the pool or on vacation. The Defy Classic collection utilizes Zenith’s Elite 670 SK Automatic movement with a silicone escape-wheel and lever for magnetic resistance and a power reserve of 50 hours. The movement is beautiful and you can view it through the sapphire crystal on the case back. You also get the date window at the 3 o’clock position. On this list. Zenith has the best integrated tapered bracelet with its seamless connection from case to bracelet to clasp. If you’re new to Titanium material, I’d still give this Zenith Defy Classic a try because the design is spectacular. Zenith 3 Years International Warranty.
Pros - Best integrated tapered bracelet on the list, blue luminescence, great option for sport steel watch style, 100m water resistance, 50 hours power reserve, also offered in skeleton dials.
Cons - Only offered in titanium material.
Link to Chart
That’s our choices for our top everyday watches in the $5,000 to $10,000 range thats offered in our shop. There’s really no wrong answer as even with all the pros and cons the watch still comes down to personal preference and wearability which I recommend to all our readers to try before you buy. Hope this guide was helpful and if you have any questions or comments we’d love to hear your thoughts!