Every year the fashion world seems obsessed with one question: What is the new black? Black confers understated style as well as sophistication on almost any wardrobe. The same is true for what you wear on your wrist. For watch dials, black is a perennial favorite that always looks good.

Consider the IWC Portuguese Hand-Wound ($8,300). In a 44 mm stainless steel case, this particular watch well expresses not only the roots and image of IWC, but also perhaps the current populist feel for a more simplified lifestyle following the fat years that led to the economic downturn. IWC perfectly captured this mood in this manually wound beauty with its vintage feel, both inside and out. No frills, just elegance and simplicity.

Carl F. Bucherer, a relative newcomer to high-end watchmaking, has made great leaps in catching up with its peers. One of the brand’s most interesting releases of the past year has been the Patravi EvoTec DayDate PowerReserve, which features an automatic in-house movement that utilizes an efficient and innovative winding system. Generally, a watch’s rotor (the mass that winds the watch) hides most of the movement in a watch with viewable works due to its size and positioning. Because the Patravi  has a peripheral rotor, which encircles the movement, the rest of the works may be easily seen in all their mechanical beauty. In a stainless steel case with molded rubber inlay around the bezel and on the crown measuring 43.75 mm x 44.5 mm, this timepiece retails for $15,900.

For many, Patek Philippe is the pinnacle of the watchmaker’s art. An inherently elegant brand, it has declared this year to be its year of the chronograph—and its most iconic model naturally also comes with an easy-to-read contrasting black dial. In addition to the time and date, this chronograph—essentially a stopwatch—displays elapsed times in seconds, minutes (up to 60) and hours (up to 12) in the subdial at six o’clock. Conventional chronographs generally show these totalized times in separate subdials, and this brand’s innovative display keeps the dial clean and legible. The automatic Patek Philippe Nautilus is one of the watch industry’s most enduring designs; at its introduction in the 1970s it was state-of-the art and today it still feels fresh. The Patek Philippe Nautilus Chronograph in a 40.5 mm 18-karat rose gold case is available for $49,700.

Visit www.carl-f-bucherer.com, www.iwc.com and www.patek.com.