Time for a blackout on watches. Not a second too soon, the black watch has taken over. Just as we were about to reach the overdone timer on gold watches and gold and steel, the strong, sleek look of the black watch struck here.

It is no surprise. The Porsche watch, introduced several years ago, started the race against time that was set in the standards -- gold or silver. Diving watches in black caught a lot of attention, too.

Then, recently all fashion -- faced with a gloomy economy -- took cover in black. Watches, too. That makes the black watch right on time. CAPTION: Picture, Pulsar quartz watch with bilingual day/date ($79.50) at Woodward & Lothrop. Man's black Concord mariner watch with steel bezel ($690) at Black Starr & Frost, Ltd., Tyson's Corner. Black anodized steel diver's watch by Heuer ($345) at Lynn Jewelers. Black-face tank watch ($650) by Les Must de Cartier at Boutique Les Must de Cartier. Timex black watch with sweep second hand ($17.55) at Rodman's Discount Drugs. Black round-face watch with leather strap by Emerich Meerson ($120) at Bloomingdale's. Accutron Swiss chromium on stainless steel quartz watch ($325) at Neiman-Marcus.