A well-chosen dress watch is a thing of beauty, providing the perfect complement to your tailored suit and polished shoes.
Whether you’re dressing for the boardroom, a club gathering, a gala dinner or a classy night out with that special someone, a nice dress watch can really help you stand out from the crowd. With many options to choose from it’s important to keep in mind the elements that make a great dress watch when selecting the right one for you; clean, understated design, moderate case size (nothing larger than 42mm, please) and of course, a leather strap. To help you get started, we’ve put together a list of some of our favourite dress watches currently on the market, with options to suit all budgets. From a gorgeous hand-wound minimal piece to a stunning monochromatic automatic, you cannot go wrong with one of these models on your wrist.
Baume and Mercier Classima 10333
Baume and Mercier is well versed in making elegant and discreet watches, and its Classima 10333 is a great example of this.
A men’s watch with a classic round case in stainless steel and sized at a 42mm in diameter, this is a stylish piece for a range of looks from smart casual to more dressed up. The watch’s silvered case beautifully complements the touch of blue on the dial, from the dark blue minute track numerals to the cobalt blue hour, minute, and seconds hands. This pop of colour stands out against the clean, silvered dial that boasts a line guilloché embellishment at its centre, as well as silvered Roman numerals.
Powered by an automatic movement offering a 38-hour power reserve, a calendar function with a date window at 3 o’clock, and water resistance to 50 metres, this is a practical timepiece for daily wear. In keeping with the watch’s colour scheme, the Classima is paired with a dark blue alligator watchstrap fitted with a steel buckle. Retailing at $2,990 this is an affordable timepiece from a renowned Swiss watchmaker that exudes refinement.
Find out more about the Classima here.
IWC Portofino Automatic
Elegance is often about simplicity and few in the watch world understand this better than IWC. The Schaffhausen-based Manufacture’s Portofino Automatic collection, available in stainless steel or red gold, is all about restrained design.
Housed in a discreet and evenly rounded 40mm case with a silver-plated dial, the Portofino Automatic displays three elegant hands at its centre and surrounding baton-shaped hour markers, all of which match the watch’s case material. A subtle date window sits at 3 o’clock and is — along with the Roman numerals marking 12 and 6 o’clock — the only additional adornment to the clean watch face, making this a beautiful option to pair with a nice suit and tie.
Driven by the A35111 Calibre, this automatic movement with a 42-hour power reserve and Côtes de Genève is protected by a steel case back left bare, ideal for engraving. The red gold Portofino Automatic model is paired with a dark brown alligator leather strap, while the stainless steel version is available with a black alligator leather strap or a Milanese mesh stainless steel bracelet.
Spanning a range of price points from $6,300 to $16,000 these IWCs can accommodate a variety of budgets.
Find out more about the Portofino here.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Small Second
As the collection that stands for watchmaking purity, Jaeger‑LeCoultre’s Master series does away will all that is non-essential, concentrating only on the horology fundamentals.
Characterised by rounded shapes and refined details, the Master Ultra Thin Small Second is a watch of timeless design. Available in pink gold or stainless steel and sized at just 38.5mm in diameter and a mere 7.6mm thick, this watch sits comfortably and discreetly on the wrist. The timepiece’s case material determines the rest of the dial’s look, however, a monochromatic scheme is key — an egg-shell beige watch face is paired with the pink gold case, while a sunray silvered face is housed in the stainless steel version.
Powered by the Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 896, the automatic, self-winding movement offers simple hour and minute functionality while the small seconds hand that appears on the dial at 6 o'clock is not just a detail, but rather a fine example of watchmaking elegance that highlights the precision of this watch's ultra-thin automatic movement. reflected by the dial’s elegant Dauphine hands. Fitted with either a black or chocolate alligator leather strap, the Master Ultra Thin Small Second ranges in price from $10,100 to $18,900 depending on the case metal. A watch that requires no additional embellishment, this is the perfect partner for the confident gentleman (or lady) with discerning taste.
Find out more about the Ultra Thin here.
Cartier Drive de Cartier
Powerhouse creator of gorgeous jewellery and watches, Cartier intrinsically understands style and grace. If you need proof of this, look no further than its Drive de Cartier collection of men’s watches.
It is the quintessential expression of classic, elegant design. Boasting a cushion-shaped case sized at just 41mm wide and 11.25mm thick, this watch pairs exceptionally well with any sophisticated look. Whether encased in stainless steel or rose gold, the dial features a silvered satin-brushed finish with black Roman numerals and blued-steel sword-shaped hour and minute hands. A discreet inner minute track in black adds an additional touch of finesse to the timepiece’s overall design.
The inner mechanics of the watch are made up of the calibre 1904-PS MC an automatic winding in house manufacture movement. Presented on either a brown alligator leather strap for the rose gold version or a black alligator leather strap for the stainless steel iteration, the Drive de Cartier is a beautiful piece that will stand the test of time. The stainless steel version retails for $8,750, while the pink gold version retails for $27,100.
Find out more about the Drive here.
A. Lange and Söhne Saxonia Thin
The most unassuming watch on our list and yet somehow the most stunning is the A. Lange and Söhne Saxonia Thin.
A minimal masterpiece from the German watchmaker, this white gold timepiece — sized at just 40mm in diameter and only 5.9mm thick — is breath-taking in its simple perfection. A two-handed watch with a perfectly symmetrical design, it boasts a silver dial with a soft-grained white finish. Complementing the case material, the hour and minute hands and baton-shaped hour markers are in pink gold. Apart from these delicate silvered pieces, the only additional adornment on the watch face is the brand’s arched lettering between 10 and 2 o’clock and a minuscule “Made in Germany” below the 6 o’clock mark.
Powered by the hand-wound Manufacture calibre L093.1, this timepiece offers a generous 72-hour power reserve when fully wound. Fitted with a dark brown alligator leather watchstrap with matching pink gold buckle, the Saxonia Thin commands a considerable price at $27,900. For serious watch collectors, however, this gorgeous instrument is well worth it.
Find out more about A. Lange and Sohne here.