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The 10 Best All-Black Watches

With dark cases and black dials, these stealthy tool watches fly under the radar.

best black watches
Gear Patrol

In 1972, Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, the grandson of Ferdinand Porsche and designer of the legendary 911, split from the carmaker to start his own design firm, Porsche Design. Soon after, he launched the Chronograph 1, a chronograph watch with a stainless steel case powder-coated in black. It is generally accepted as the first all-black watch design, with watchmakers like IWC and Heuer following up soon after with their own blacked-out watches.

The problem with these early black watches was that the powder-coated paint scratched very easily. The solution: using physical vapor deposition (PVD) to add a thin, hard coating of black material on the watch case that is nigh impossible to scratch, protecting both the finish and the stainless steel underneath. PVD has since become the de facto method for creating all-black watches, though in recent years, the use of other materials like carbon composites and black ceramic have become much more common practice when designing cases.

In either case, modern all-black watches lend themselves to a stealthy, tough-guy aesthetic and, as such, the all-black look is at its best when it’s paired with a purpose-built tool watch. And since all-black watches are far less blingy than polished steel or precious metal counterparts, they work exceptionally well with a pared-down wardrobe, perhaps why they’ve seen a surge in popularity in recent years. They can be found at pretty much any price, ranging from a couple hundred bucks to tens of thousands. These ten examples wear the look best.

Q Timex Reissue
skimresources.com
$179.00

With "Quartz" emblazoned on the dials, Timex's Q series resurrects watch styles from the days when brands proudly advertised quartz movements. They feel honest and charming, but they've also just got that unbeatable retro style. The colorways, however, give the underlying design a modern twist, and in this version it makes for the best all-black watch you can get for the money.

Movement: Quartz
Case Diameter: 38mm
Case Material: Steel with PVD coating
Water Resistance: 50m

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Braun BN0171
$450.00

Ceramic cases are usually reserved for the luxury level of the watch hierarchy, but that didn’t stop Braun from offering one in a sub-$500 package. The black case and bracelet are mated with a black dial with subtle gray hour markers, with the white and yellow hands providing the only contrast against a stunningly dark void.
Movement: Quartz
Case Diameter: 38mm
Case Material: Ceramic
Water Resistance: 30m

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Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical
skimresources.com
$545.00

We at Gear Patrol can't help but return regularly to the Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical as one of the best-value Swiss mechanical watches you can buy. Well, guess what: a black treatment only makes it cooler and fits right in with the military theme. The upgraded hand-wound movement now has 80 hours of power reserve and it comes in a slim, 38mm case with a PVD coating.
Movement: ETA 2801-2 Manual
Case Diameter: 38mm
Case Material: Steel PVD
Water Resistance: 50m

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Seiko Prospex SNJ028 “Arnie”
seikousa.com
$550.00

Seiko’s edgy "Arnie" diver is certainly a watch deserving of a serious-looking colorway. Here, the hulking case gets black ion-plating, the ana-digi dial is done up in black, and it’s mounted to a black rubber strap. The lume and gold accents add enough contrast to keep the dial legible.

Movement: Seiko H851 Solar Quartz
Case Diameter: 47.8mm
Case Material: Stainless steel with ion-plating
Water Resistance: 200m

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Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 Compression
zodiacwatches.com
$1,395.00

Zodiac's Super Sea Wolf is one of our favorite dive watch collections, offering history, a retro appeal, solid specs and a good value. The 53 Compression has a nicely sized 40mm case, a sapphire crystal and a Swiss automatic movement. While many Super Sea Wolf watches are on the colorful side, this version with a jet-black case and dial has a particularly stealthy look — all while retaining plenty of contrast and strong legibility.
Movement: STP 3-13 Automatic
Case Diameter: 40mm
Case Material: Steel PVD
Water Resistance: 200m

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Longines Legend Diver Black
longines.com
$2,700.00

Since its launch way back in 2007, the vintage-inspired Legend Diver has been an overwhelming fan-favorite in Longines’ lineup. Its gotten numerous tweaks over the years, but the all-black treatment (not to mention a revised movement with a 68-hour power reserve) makes it possibly the best version yet. All this lends the decidedly old-school diver a more modern look, and we can’t help but love the way the mint and tan indices intertwine with the black backdrop of its dial, bezel and case.
Movement: ETA A31.L01 automatic
Case Diameter: 42mm
Case Material: Stainless steel with PVD coating
Water Resistance: 300m

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Sinn 144 St Black Jubilaeum II Limited Edition
Sinn watchbuys.com
$3,540.00

It might not be "all-black" but it's hard to complain about some red highlights and contrasting "reverse panda" subdials when it looks this good. With a stainless steel case hardened through Sinn’s “Tegiment” process and given a black PVD coating, this watch has all the mean looks anyone seeking out a black watch could want. It's also got the design of Sinn's much loved 144 chronograph, tweaked slightly for this anniversary version, as well as more tough tech the German brand is known for.

Movement: Concepto C99001 automatic chronograph
Case Diameter: 41mm
Case Material: Stainless steel with PVD coating
Water Resistance: 200m

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Doxa Sub 300 Carbon Sharkhunter
doxawatches.com
$3,890.00

A perfect canvas for a sleek, tactical makeover, this version of the Doxa Sub 300 gets its blackness from a forged carbon case. Only the essential elements necessary for time-telling escaped the black treatment, and they contrast well in white lume and orange for strong legibility. It’s thoroughly badass, with a 44mm case, 300m of water-resistance, and a Swiss automatic movement inside.

Movement: ETA 2824-2
Case Diameter: 44mm
Case Material: Forged carbon
Water Resistance: 300m

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Tudor Black Bay Ceramic
tudorwatch.com
$4,725.00

Tudor seemingly has an endless supply of variants for its heritage-inspired Black Bay collection, but the Black Bay Ceramic feels like the dark horse in the lineup. Its tough-guy looks are crafted not from a coated steel case (like the Black Bay Dark) but from solid black ceramic. A typically striking value proposition, the exotic case material doesn't even bump the price up from that of the steel version exorbitantly.

Movement: Tudor MT5602 automatic
Case Diameter: 41mm
Case Material: Black ceramic
Water Resistance: 200m

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Panerai Submersible Marina Militare Carbotech
panerai.com
$19,400.00

This watch is made of Panerai's proprietary carbon composite material called Carbotech, but you might just consider it 47mm of pure testosterone. You not only get a military dive watch in a technical, lightweight material, but inside it's powered by one of Panerai's excellent in-house automatic movements. It might be monstrously sized, but its color will make it visually smaller and its material will make it light on the wrist — you just might be surprised at how easy-wearing it is.

Movement: Panerai P.9010 automatic
Case Diameter: 47mm
Case Material: Panerai Carbotech
Water Resistance: 300m

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