Recently unretired Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback and IWC ambassador Tom Brady has been a watch collector for about as long as he’s been an NFL quarterback (read: a very long time), which gives him plenty of perspective to see how the hobby’s changed in recent years. “I think watches are really having the time of their life right now, “ he told GQ. “This is a great time to be in the watch world.”
He’s not wrong. In 2022, it seems that watchmakers are having more fun than they’ve had in quite some time. Color is the first thing you notice when scanning the new glut of pieces coming out of Watches & Wonders, the annual watch trade show where brands debut a majority of their new pieces for the year. Syrupy purple sapphire was the main show at Hublot, blue and green sapphires made new Patek Phillipes shine, and Oris was all about pastels. Tiffany-blue dials continue to be the hottest thing in watch collecting. IWC, meanwhile, broke out the bolder colors this year with a pair of ceramic watches in green (“Woodland”) and Brady’s favorite, all-white (“Lake Tahoe”).
Like the watches mentioned above, the pair of new IWC watches is further proof that serious heavy-duty timepieces crammed with highly technical complications no longer need to be dull. Standout colors aren’t papering over an absence of substance—they’re working together now in pursuit of awesomeness. Ceramic watches were originally prized for their durability: these pieces are likely to win a fight with a desk or floor and come away unscathed. Now, IWC is finding a way to turn monochromatic matte ceramic into an aesthetic signature. These two watches follow the sandy Mojave released in 2021. The fact that Brady’s typically all-business IWCs now fit in an NFL locker room crowded with flash says it all. “It’s hard to compete in the locker room because guys are just buying the blingiest watches all the time,” Brady says. “I can wear [the “Lake Tahoe”] to work, and people are always going to really look at it and be drawn to it.” Also, he says, it can easily handle the morning chores: taking the dogs out, making breakfast, and getting the kids off for school. (“My wife usually does most all of that,” he says. “But she’s actually away this week.”)
To get the colors on these watches just right, IWC worked with Pantone to develop the shades. The partnership isn’t just about IWC stamping its name on some colors. The patented shades ensure that all the parts are made in the same, uniform tone, giving the watches their monochromatic look. Green may be the biggest thing in the watch world two years running, but what other brand can say it has its own shade?