Giving your dress watch a dressing down – four winning options for casual wearJared Belson
I’m a big fan of dress watches. Much to my chagrin, they often come with the stigma that they can only be worn in certain situations. I stand firmly in the camp that dress watches can be enjoyed casually. Below are my picks for dress watches that look just as good dressed down as they do with starched collars.
Jaeger Le Coultre Reverso
Famous for its hinged, “reversing” case, the Reverso was actually created as a sports watch. Dreamed up by a British Army soldier in occupied India, the reversing case was meant to protect crystal and face of the watch from damage while playing polo. While they traditionally come on formal crocodile straps, Jaeger LeCoultre has started to market additional offerings with Casa Fagliano straps. Casa Fagliano, the famed Argentinian boot maker for polo players, using high-grade calfskin to create a more casual vibe. More recently, Casa Fagliano has been offering “Summer” blended calfskin/cloth straps to further enhance the wearability of this fantastic watch.
Grand Seiko SBGW259
Part of Grand Seiko’s Elegance collection, the SBGW259 is a stylistic re-creation of the original 1960 model. That said, Grand Seiko made sure to thoroughly modernise the design – the 38mm diameter, 45.8mm lug to lug, and 10.9mm make it eminently comfortable for any wrist. Further aiding day to day comfort is the case material: the company’s proprietary Brilliant Hard Titanium adapts a material most often seen in dive watches to a more formal design. While the standard crocodile strap is certainly on the dressy side, changing to a calfskin or horween leather strap is all that’s needed to transform the SBGW259 to a great daily wearer.
Longines Heritage Classic – Sector Dial
Taking cues from an original 1934 Longines design, the Art Deco inspiration would seemingly make a very obvious dress watch. Offered on a beads of rice bracelet as well as a vintage-style leather strap (black or brown, depending on dial colour), the designers were keen to include a thoroughly modern textured-blue strap with the original white dial model. If Longines themselves can see the potential to dress down this watch, surely other casual straps can be adapted with excellent results. Having seen it first-hand, the Heritage Classic even looks good on a standard NATO.
Cartier Tank Americaine
A personal favorite of mine, the Tank Americaine draws it’s inspiration from the curved-case Cartier Cintree. Offered in a variety of sizes to suit any wrist, the beefier case of the Tank Americaine provides a more casual appearance than the standard Tanks. While it looks great with a suit, a quick swap to something like a lighter colored strap (think taupe calfskin) softens its appearance. Though the Roman numerals will likely lend to a more preppy vibe, there’s no reason this Cartier can’t be enjoyed with a t-shirt and jeans.