In our more casual times, the idea of a dress watch may seem old-fashioned. It is rare for suits to be put on, shoes to be polished, hair to be combed before a night out. However, there are still times when we want to put in a little effort.
We’ve picked seven situations where you might want to kick it up a notch – when steel bracelets aren’t appropriate and the Apple Watch definitely needs to stay on its charging pole. Moments when the countless modern iterations of a dress watch, from classic to iconoclastic, can boost your sartorial kudos.
Occasion: Black Tie
The choice: Vintage Piaget Automatic
Despite social situations being more relaxed lately, there will be a time in every man’s life when he must don a dinner suit and submit to an evening of starched tablecloths, filet mignon and formal dancing. For that you have to pull out the horological big guns – and no one dresses like Piaget.
This gorgeous sleek piece of seventies cool is perfect. Nit-pickers would argue that a date window has no place on proper dress (traditionally three-handed with no other dial distraction), but other than that it’s a minimalist but slightly decadent timepiece that will add a touch of flair to any tuxedo.
Occasion: Business Formal
The choice: Nomos Glashutte Metro
Maybe it’s a boardroom meeting or a lunch with important clients, but the idea is to make an impression without coming across as flash. This Nomos is ideal. It’s not an instantly recognizable brand, so there’s a very small chance that someone will immediately know how much you paid for it. It also exudes a calm confidence.
The dial – with its contrasting color power reserve, pastel dots at 12, 3 and 9, and elongated date font – has a Bauhaus modernism. The decision to indicate the minutes instead of the hours is unusual, but doesn’t feel overdone, and the timepiece is manually wound, adding a charming retro feel.
It also has the advantage of going with everything your wardrobe can imagine.
Occasion: Relaxing Drinks
The Choice: Jaeger LeCoultre Master Control Date
We’re talking the kind of house party where most of the guys are in slim-fit black turtlenecks, the women have their fancy dresses paired with Grenson hiking boots and everyone is blasting through the vinyl as a DJ. A sports watch is too casual, but you still want that vibe.
Jaeger LeCoultre’s Master collection manages to combine sporty and sophisticated to create a style with a seedy sensibility. The stainless steel case contrasts with the leather strap, while the retro numerals give the dial a historic aesthetic. The cover is also clipped enough not to stretch your cuff.
Occasion: Country Formal
The choice: fear Brunswick salmon
This is the kind of event where you would put on a sports jacket and brogues. Think Henley regatta or Goodwood. For this you need a watch that winks at tradition but also has fun with it. That’s exactly what British watchmaker Fears does. Originally founded in Bristol by Edwin Fear in 1846, the name has recently been revived by his great-great-grandson Nicholas Bowman-Scargill, who designed watches that combine modern design with details from the brand’s past.
This beautiful salmon-coloured timepiece is inspired by an archival piece from 1924, with the manual winding movement adding to its retro appeal.
Occasion: Downtown Restaurant
The choice: Seiko Presage Sharp-Edged Series
It’s dinner time, so you want something more than your cool steel bracelet, but it’s not a situation for a vintage slimline. This Seiko more than takes up the challenge.
The gold-plated stainless steel case is a refined counterpart to the rich chocolate dial; at 39.5mm, it doesn’t take up too much wrist real estate; and is powered by the Seiko 6R35, a powerful caliber with a 70-hour power reserve. And when the conversation falls silent, you can tell everyone that the unusual pattern on the dial is inspired by the artistic way of displaying hemp, which has been seen on Japanese objects since the Heian period (from 794-1185). is. That should get things back on track.
The choice: Chopard LUC XPS
Weddings come in all shapes and dress codes, but for the sake of argument, this is your typical English Four Weddings-esque bash. And for that you need a timepiece that has all the traditional aesthetic features.
This demanding Chopard is wonderfully refined. The ethically sourced rose gold case is a more urban choice than yellow gold and complements the warm brown alligator strap beautifully. The dial is minimalistic with just a small seconds at six o’clock to add interest and at just 7.2mm it slips elegantly under a cuff, with just enough peeking out to grab attention.
Occasion: Red Carpet
The choice: Glashutte Original Sixties
Chances are you won’t receive an invite to the Oscars, but you may find yourself in an event situation with a step-and-repeat board, the cast of a scripted reality show, and some cameras. In that case, you want a watch that grabs the camera’s attention. This orange twisted Glashutte Original certainly does.
Since 2018, Glashutte has been producing an annual edition of a timepiece the brand produced in the 1960s, each with interestingly colored dials. This year it went green. The degraded dial is mottled, enhancing the impact of its vibrant hue, at 42mm it’s a big statement, and it’s powered by Glashutte’s internal automatic. It’s a bold timepiece, so keep the rest of your outfit on the monochromatic side.