Black is defined as the darkest color but in reality black is not a color. Black is achromatic or “without color” – black is defined as the absence of light or its complete absorption. We all have used black during our life whether in our clothes, accessories, gadgets, vehicles ... in one way or another black has been a small or big part of our life. Some use the black color to hide feelings, fears or insecurities (or weight) but many other use it to exude power, control or to intimidate. Black is the most versatile color and suits everybody. It is the color of the seven deadly sins (pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth) and this is the reason why it is the most used color! In fact, human being is attracted by the seven deadly sins and can’t stop ending up in either one or multiple of them. We might talk more about the concept of the appeal toward the seven deadly sins in another post but, for the time being, consider only that there are big companies that leverage this concept to create empires - think Sequoia Capital and one of their investment selection criteria or think the most successful movies and the fact that they have characters than represents in a more or less subtle way the seven sins.
The horology industry has not been immune to the black color phenomenon and over the years the use of black has been intensified. Thanks to the use of new manufacturing and decorating techniques as well as the introduction of new materials the use of black color on wristwatches has increased. The interest by some celebrities has then further enhanced the trend for black watches. From just being an accent, a detail in the watch, the black color is now being used across all elements with certain watches being exclusively in black.
This post is about the black color and about when and how the black has started being part of the horology industry. However, before jumping into the watches let’s see why black is the color of the seven deadly sins.
Seven Deadly Sins and Black!
The black color perfectly suits every one of the seven deadly sins – just look around you, watch movies and read books and you’ll notice how much the black color links to each of them:
Greed - Black radiates authority. Wealthy and successful people often leverage black as it gives an impression of elegance, sophistication and confidence. High end apparels or clothing for luxurious events are often designed in black - think about “the black tie event” or “the little black dress”.
Lust - Black is THE color of sexiness and seduction. Think about the most tempting sexy black lingerie and the air of secret and mystery that it creates. Black is also associated with submission to another (including a sexual partner).
Gluttony - The color black is loved by fashionists but even more by the people who want to hide their weight or shape - black makes you instantly slimmer so you can keep eating.
Pride - Pride is "the love of one's own excellence" - St. Augustine. What better color could be associated to pride if not black? Black exudes confidence … over self confidence! Color psychologists define it as decisive, powerful and confident and this is the feeling of people who love their own excellence.
Wrath - One might argue that red is the color of wrath but think about the extreme… black is intimidating, it is often used to portray something evil or scary (even death in the Western civilization) which is what wrath wants to ultimately generate.
Sloth - In color psychology, the color black isolates and protect against the external world. People feel hidden and unnoticed in the crowd. It is the perfect barrier to keep people comfortably in their own world of apathy.
In the design world black is a color that fits in almost anything. It adds contrast and makes the other colors stand out more. It is timeless and it keeps being used in more or less extensive way. In the horology industry the color black has gained appeal over time and every single year there are more and more people looking for black watches. Black is actually the most searched watch color on Google and it is also the one with the fastest growth. Some claim that black is the most gifted watch color and from the peaks in the Nov-Dec months Google search we tend to agree with that statement… or maybe those are the months we tend to sin the most? The point is that black is primal and essential even for the horology industry!