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Luxury watch brands spin the color wheel for 2014

Luxury watch brands spin the color wheel for 2014
2014 watches from Chopard, left, and Victorinox Swiss Army. (Adam Tschorn / Los Angeles Times)

It's time for color. That's one of the takeaways from the luxury timepieces being showcased at the JCK Swiss Watch and Couture Jewelry shows here, where pops of eye-catching color are cropping up on watch faces, hands and especially a range of NATO straps that add a sporty feel to the high-end horological confections.

(A NATO strap is watch terminology for the ribbed nylon pass-through strap that loops through the watch pins and passes under the watch case.)

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Among the brands spinning the 2014 color wheel are Chopard, Bell & Ross and Victorinox Swiss Army.

Chopard is debuting its first-ever NATO strap next week, putting it on a limited-edition number of its Grand Prix de Monaco chronographs ($7,640), where the yellow, racing-inspired stripes down the center of the nylon strap complement the yellow racing ring and watch hands (the brand has been the official timekeeper of the Grand Prix de Monaco since 2002).

Bell & Ross, which has long used orange as a signature accent color, straps a swath of ribbed orange canvas around the wrist as one band option for its limited-edition (as in just 500 pieces) BR03-94 Carbon Orange timepiece (the other option is a black rubber band). The 42-inch case is matte black as is the face (the numbers and hands are white) and the chronograph functions are rendered in orange (the pusher button is also orange). This apparently harks back to the color schemes of early aviation instrument panels. In stores now (local Bell & Ross accounts include Westime and Feldmar), the BR03-94 retails for $5,900.

The NATO strap is another place to tell a brand's back story (think of it as the repp stripe tie of the wrist) and no brand brought that home this year like Victorinox Swiss Army, which is offering its new Maverick Sport watch with either a bracelet or a NATO strap accented with stripes of blue, yellow and red -- an homage to the flag of the brand's home canton in Switzerland.

It's hard to be neutral about that!

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