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Black Is Back

When the 36th America’s Cup kicks off with World Series races in Sardinia next April, the crew of the Challenger of Record, Luna Rossa AC75, will be outfitted with Panerai’s new Luna Rossa Challenger Submersible ($21,600, top right). The watch reflects the high-tech design of the racing yacht with its lightweight, durable Carbotech case. That same composite material (formed by bonding thin sheets of carbon fiber with polyether ether ketone) makes up Luna Rossa’s mono-hull. Given the Submersible’s innovative construction and contemporary color palette, Panerai proves that black is anything but basic.

After a long period when retro classics were the style, watch designers are looking to the future with sleek, modern blacked-out watches, underscoring lightweight, robust materials that advance the horological dark arts.

The brawny 47-mm Luna Rossa diver (water resistant to 300 meters) is an automatic GMT with heightened antishock features. In another nautical nod to the vessel, the dial is covered in Luna Rossa sailcloth. Bell & Ross gave its skeleton BR-X1 chronograph the stealth treatment with a black PVD (physical vapor deposition) titanium and matte-black ceramic, 45-mm case with black rubber inserts. Limited to 250 pieces, the BR-X1 Phantom ($19,900, left) even has shade on the sapphire-crystal case back that reveals the calibre BR-CAL.313, an automatic chronograph movement with a signature X-shaped upper bridge. With so many dark layers, you may worry about legibility, but Super-LumiNova on the indices and skeletonized hands illuminate the time at night. Carl F. Bucherer has expanded its Patravi ScubaTec dive range with a new design benefitting the Manta Trust charity, which protects manta ray habitats. The 44.6-mm Manta Special Edition ($7,200, bottom right) has a case made of black titanium complemented by bronze-colored accents, including a sketch of the animals on the dial and contrast stitching on the strap which is made from recycled PET bottles. Water-resistant down to 500 meters and equipped with a helium escape valve, the COSC-certified diver performs equally well on land or sea. When it comes to the timeliest watch designs on the market today, black is the new black. Visit bellross.com, carl-f-bucherer.com, panerai.com

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