The perfect dress watch, as with the most sartorial suit, should accent one’s style without detracting from the main attraction: oneself. That said, even a gentleman as distinguished as you may find he has met his match when it comes to outshining this selection of stunning timepieces.
If you must insist on making a statement, it’s impossible to overlook the new Rolex Cellini Moonphase. Brought into our orbit at 2017 Baselworld, this is the first time since the 1950’s that Rolex has offered a watch featuring a moon phase complication. The elegant 39mm watch is encased in 18kt Everose gold, and offers a mesmerising blue enamel lunar disc at 6 o’clock, accurate for the next 122. Within the blue disc, the full moon is depicted by a meteorite appliqué, while the new moon is represented by a silver ring. All of this is set against a white lacquer dial adorned with gold hands and hour markers. In a subtle homage to the vintage 6062 and 8171 references that preceded it, the Cellini Moonphase also indicates the date function on its peripheral track by the extra-thin blued hand with a crescent moon.
Let us begin by turning your attention to the superb Lange 1 Moon Phase from A. Lange & Söhne. Offered in a 38.5mm round case in your choice of platinum, white gold or pink gold, it is an impeccable all-round dress watch, whether you’re intent for the office or the opera. The definitive Lange 1 asymmetrical dial can be recognized by the off-centre hours and minutes display at 9 o’clock, the outsized Semper date display at 1 o’clock and the UP/DOWN power-reserve indicator at 3 o’clock. What really stands out, however, is the stunning moon-phase with integrated day/night indicator at 5 o’clock. Traditionally, the moon and sky of a moon-phase indicator have been fashioned on a single disc. In the Lange 1 Moonphase, however, there are two rotating discs. The higher one features two, tiny sculpted golden moons set in a figure-eight configuration displaying the phases of the moon. These moons sit on top of a second disc – the sky disc – which completes a full rotation once every 24 hours, from light azure blue to starry midnight blue, to provide the day/night indication. Astonishingly pragmatic, exceptionally elegant. It’s you.
Focussing on the principles of traditional watchmaking, Blancpain’s Villeret Jour Date showcases clean lines and refined design. Featuring a round steel case sized at 40mm with a pristine white dial and small silvered Roman numerals, this timepiece offers a subtle elegance that only Blancpain can create. A day and date window at 3 o’clock and a small seconds sub-dial above the 6 o’clock mark are the only additional embellishments on the dial; however, the marque has succeeded in keeping these elements as discreet as possible so as to not mar the clarity of the watch face. Inside is the calibre 1160DD, an automatic mechanical movement manufactured by Blancpain, which offers a 70-hour power reserve. Paired with a black alligator leather strap, to match your black Oxfords, this is as classic as a dress watch comes.
For a more formal watch with incredible finesse, look no further than the Breguet Classique 7147, which boasts an impeccably round case in 18k white gold sized at 40mm. With a fluted caseband and housing the beloved “Grand Feu” enamel dial, Breguet’s Arabic numerals in black stand out sharply against the white watch face. A small seconds sub-dial at 5 o’clock offers an additional adornment, however, with no features apart from the small blued-steel hand and a slight indentation in the dial, this indicator does not detract from the Classique’s clean design. Complementing the off-centre seconds hand, the central hour and minute hands appear in blued-steel and feature Breguet’s open-tipped style. Providing the power is Breguet’s extra-thin, self-winding movement, Cal. 502.3SD, measuring just 2.4mm thick. This is a cultured watch for a confident man.
Celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the Tank, Cartier has recently released a steel version of its popular Tank Américaine. Originally designed in 1917 and offered to General Pershing of the American Expeditionary Force, the Tank has spawned many variations over the years, with the Tank Américaine quickly becoming a favourite amongst connoisseurs following its launch in the late 1980’s thanks to its elongated rectangular case. Fans of this style and the robustness of stainless steel can now enjoy a model that has previously only been available in precious metals. Available in three sizes — Small, Medium, and Large — the watch boasts a silvered dial, exaggerated Roman numerals, and blued-steel sword-shaped hands. A timeless design, this is a great option for those in the market for a quintessentially chic piece.
Appealing to the businessman, sportsman and traveller in you, Jaeger-LeCoultre released three watches earlier this year to mark the 25th anniversary of the Master Control collection, paying homage to the original collection while exhibiting vintage-inspired traits thanks to subtle two-tone sector dials. Boasting a case in stainless steel paired with a deep blue leather strap, the Master Control Date, Chronograph, and Geographic all offer two-toned sector dials decorated with black markings and numerals and light blue accents. With the time-and-date model, the chronograph model, and the dual time zone model, there’s an option to suit just about each sector of you and your budget. The perfect choice for the modern gentleman who likes to keep an eye to the past.