Staples, all good watch collections need to have staple pieces. A versatile daily beater, a rugged weekend warrior, a lauded grail watch and, of course, a great dress watch. But what are the characteristics of a great dress watch? Well, for a start it needs to be slim so it will fit under a cuff easily — there’s no greater sin than wearing a monolithic timepiece that awkwardly sits atop the cuff of a shirt or suit jacket. Another requisite is a leather band, as very, very few dress watches can successfully pull off a matching metal bracelet. And finally, a great timepiece to wear with a suit has to have a beautiful dial — it doesn’t need to be overtly complicated, nor should it be overtly OTT; it just has to be aesthetically pleasing. With all this in mind, we thought we’d share with you five of the best dress watches of 2019.
LONGINES MASTER COLLECTION
The appeal of a blue-dialled watch has much to do with the way it pairs with almost any outfit. But it’s also about how its softer aesthetic compares to the starkness of some black or white dials. The Longines Master Collection nails this appeal with its rich sunray blue dial that catches the light at any angle. Available on a matching blue alligator strap, it also offers a moonphase complication that seems to float against a night sky. A date display is a nod to pragmatism amongst the poetry.
Ref No: L2.918.104.22.168 / Case size: 42mm / Case material: Steel / Movement: L899 / Price: $3150
GRAND SEIKO SBGY002
Not only is this classically sized watch driven by the Spring Drive movement, but it also features one of the most artisanal, time-consuming dials ever created. Part of the Elegance Collection, reference SBGY002 gets its unique face from the Shinshu watch studio, where the celebrated “Snowflake” pattern was born. Unusually, this model does not feature a power reserve indicator, making the dial appear much more spacious.
Ref No: SBGY002 / Case size: 38.5mm / Case material: Yellow Gold / Movement: 9R31 / Price: $35,200
TISSOT GENTLEMAN AUTOMATIC
With much of the noise in watch marketing created by bold, brash and overwrought timepieces attempting to throttle your attention, there is something to be said for a quiet man’s watch that is content to sit calmly in the corner, smoking its pipe, and waiting for you to catch on, and come back to the classic. The assured Gentleman Automatic is another reminder why some time-honoured styles are more durable than others.
Ref No: T927.407.46.291.00 / Case size: 40mm / Case material: Steel / Movement: C07.811 / Price: $1775
The demand for classics like the Cartier Santos and its subsequent descendants — which occupy a very small pantheon among only the greatest watch designs — seems eternal. It confirms that no amount of clever marketing could sustain the attention won by a well-proportioned icon. This iteration of the Cartier Santos-Dumont is notable for its feminine and conical “cabochon” crown that adds a bit of flair to an otherwise austere case.
Ref No: WSSA0022 / Case size: 31.4mm / Case material: Steel / Movement: High Autonomy Quartz / Price: $5600
CHOPARD L.U.C XPS TWIST QUALITÉ FLEURIER (QF)
A simple twist of 15 degrees may not seem like a big deal, but this small movement is enough to give the watch a completely fresh personality. The blue dial is gorgeous, with fine radial brushing emanating from the seconds sub-dial. In fact, the Chopard L.U.C XPS Twist Qualité Fleurier is a secret star of the L.U.C collection. And the colour-matched date wheel is a nice touch.
Ref No: 161945-1001 / Case size: 40mm / Case material: White Gold / Movement: L.U.C. 96.26-L / Price: $26,900