Purple has always been this much-misunderstood colour that few people would consider wearing. But things have definitely changed big time if the latest AW20 and Resort 2021 shows are any indication.
From Versace to Bottega Veneta, Maison Margiela to JW Anderson and more, this luscious hue returned to the runways is lighter, pastel tones. But think lilacs, lavenders and violets—nothing too heavy or dark.
Definitely not Barney-purple either—we’ll leave that to professionals like Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande, but of course you’re welcome to try. Zendaya, for one, looks absolutely stunning in Christopher John Rogers at the Emmys.
Not game? Here’s another easy way you could pull off purple other than with clothes: watches.
As more and more watch brands are tapping into this end of the rainbow for design inspiration, there are options aplenty for both men and women.
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In this arena, Audemars Piguet definitely leads the pack. Never one to shy away from crazy even shocking colours, it is one of the first brands to embrace purple with such fervour.
Key models such as the Royal Oak and Royal Oak Offshore are available in aubergine purple plus a matching rubber strap to boot. Especially dazzling is this Royal Oak Selfwinding 37mm set alight by diamonds and brilliant cut ombré sapphires.
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Along with other new colour tones, the Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 collection dressed in violet this season. Check out the smoky gradated effect on these dials that looks even more stunning in the metal.
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Shades of purple have also coloured Hublot’s timepieces. Especially endearing is the Big Bang One Click Sang Bleu, which although described as pink by the watchmaker, is really more of a lilac purple. Delivered on a matching strap with Sang Blue-embossing, this is a graphic designer’s dream watch.
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Then there’s Zenith who made a watch that’s purple inside as well as out. The Defy 21 Ultraviolet juxtaposes matte black with a bold aubergine purple in an all-round sporty package. If you’re into mechanical pyrotechnics, those purple-treated movement bridges and the ultra-high beat frequency will get your adrenaline pumping.
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Yet sometimes we just want something pretty in purple. For those moments, check out the Louis Vuitton Tambour Monogram Lilas 41.5 painted in sweet lavender with matching canvas strap.
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Apart from the dial and strap, purple stones are another way to enrobe your watch in this bold colour without neglecting the luxe factor. The expert in coloured gems, Bulgari shows us how it’s done with the Serpenti Incantati. Here it’s studded with fancy-shape and buff-cut amethysts, plus additional round and pavé diamonds for good measure.
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While it doesn’t sound like Patek Philippe’s usual milieu, purple watches do exist in this beautiful manufacture’s repertoire. Pro tip: you ever stumble upon the out-of-production Aquanaut Luce in purple either at auction or trustworthy preowned dealer, get it if you can. Otherwise, there is always the classic Calatrava Ultra-Thin in rose gold with an elegant purple alligator leather strap.
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Likewise, Vacheron Constantin typically works with a neutral palette although it is known to occasionally bring in a pop of colour. Particularly for ladies watches and indeed ladies complications, such as this Les Cabinotiers Regulator perpetual calendar jewellery in white gold. Its plum coloured dial features exquisite hand-guilloché, one of the many specialties of the House.
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Some of the dreamiest watches ever made for women come from Jaeger-LeCoultre, and the Rendez-Vous Sonatina is no exception. Armed with a chiming device, it’s probably the fanciest alarm watch you’ll ever wear.
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Meanwhile, the Rendez-Vous Celestial has also enthralled many a woman collector. See what’s probably the prettiest sky map made of lapis lazuli and hand-painted with tones of purple enamel, completed with sparkling round diamonds and ombré sapphires. It is all the wondrous beauty of the Northern Lights encapsulated in your timepiece.
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Over on the side of the independents, purple has made a number of cool appearances in watches by MB&F. We all fondly remember the amazing JWLRYMACHINE made in collaboration with French jewellery maison Boucheron. Sculpted generously with amethysts, it showcases MB&F’s fun side along with Boucheron’s incredible jewellery-crafting expertise.
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But let’s come back to the present. Here’s a small independent microbrand to know if you’re into up-and-coming watchmakers: Sartory Billard. Specialising in artisanal dials decorated with classical guilloché and flame heated to various shades of blue and purple, Sartory Billard offers handcrafted artisanship at an accessible price point.