Two-Tone Watches That Leave the Past Behind

Clockwise from left: Breitling Chronomat B01 42, $14,260,; Tag Heuer Aquaracer, $3,250,; and Bell & Ross BR 05 Black Steel & Gold, $10,900,…Photograph by Jennifer Livingston. Styled by Beth Pakradooni

It might seem hard to bring the two-tone watch back into fashion when its most famous model is Patrick Bateman, the titular “American Psycho” of Bret Easton Ellis’s 1991 novel. In Mary Harron’s darkly comic 2000 film adaptation, the serial killer and investment banker, played by Christian Bale, treasures and flaunts his dual metal timepiece — another detail in the twisted satirical portrayal of 1980s yuppie culture. The film perhaps clinched the association between the two-tone wristwatch and the decadence and materialism of the era — Richard Gere also wore one to play a corporate raider in “Pretty Woman” (1990) — but now, decades on, the accessory has re-emerged with designs that are a reminder of the style’s playful and subtle possibilities. The Tag Heuer Aquaracer, pictured above, employs different lusters: The lush steel case sets off the brilliant glow of its yellow-gold bezel, and the sun-brushed watch face catches light in fine blue shades. The Bell & Ross BR 05, shown here in black steel and gold, has the brand’s signature silhouette — a circular dial on a rounded square — but in this iteration, the contrast between the charcoal, rose and silver sheens grants it a bold sophistication. The Breitling Chronomat B01 42 is more muted in its mix of materials but no less impactful: The red gold on the bezel is also used for the crown and pushers and neatly adorn the strap, giving small flashes of color as it moves — a flourish that can elevate any outfit.

Digital tech: Maria Herron. Stylist’s assistant: John Carchietta

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