Whether you’re suiting up for black-tie event or you’re wanting something a touch more elegant to wear, a luxury dress watch is an integral part of your outfit. Able to fit under sleeve cuff, capable of impressing without drawing too much attention to itself, simplistic enough to complement your chosen outfit, a dress watch is the ideal accessory for any man wanting to add a bit of class to his ensemble.
We’ve put together a list of our top 13 favourite men’s dress watches to help you on your quest of creating a red-carpet worthy outfit. Slim, well proportioned, classical in design and flawlessly executed, each of these luxury dress watches have enough characteristics and charm to round off your dressy attire.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra-Thin Moon
As simple as the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra-Thin Moon looks, its execution is exemplary. The classically proportioned 39mm wide stainless-steel case features high grade mirror polishing, surrounding a beautiful silver sunray dial. A moonphase indicator and date sub-dial is located at 6 o’clock, with the running hour, minute and second hands featured in the centre. The Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra-Thin Moon is as intricate as it is discreet, with a clear emphasis on classicism and timelessness.
Montblanc Heritage Automatic
Endowed in a warm 18k rose-gold 40mm wide case and featuring a textured green dial, the Montblanc Heritage Automatic is a supremely beautiful watch is both classical in stature and in presence. A very capable timepiece and perhaps one that you would not have considered, especially reflecting on the other watches listed here, the Montblanc Heritage Automatic’s dial has a gorgeous look to it that will aged uniquely over time. The case itself will also develop a distinctive patina over the years, too. Something a little different to slip under your shirt cuff.
IWC Da Vinci
Perhaps IWC’s most dress-appropriate timepiece, the Da Vinci is as precise as it is restrained. The iconic lug architecture, soft silver-plated dial and rounded gold-plated hour numerals all make for a very dressy occasion. Measuring just over 40mm across and 10mm in thickness, the stainless-steel case has been mirror polished, finished in a high gleam that compliments the softness of the dial. Dressy, timeless and with a hint of vintage inspiration, the Da Vinci’s stature belies its versatility.
Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Excellence Platine
A definitive icon of dress watches, Vacheron Constantin’s Traditionnelle collection is second to none in terms of beauty, in terms of wearability and in terms of execution. The Traditionnelle Excellence Platine is at the top of the Traditionnelle tree, featuring a 38mm wide platinum case, textured matte platinum dial and contrasting blue seconds hand. Visually, the Traditionnelle Excellence Platine is flawless. Mechanically, not much else can be said. From the perspective of a traditional luxury dress watch, the Traditionnelle Excellence Platine is certainly one of our favourites.
Zenith Elite Ultra-Thin
Preparing for a black-tie event or heading to a wedding? Zenith’s Elite Ultra-Thin is your best friend. Super dressy, the Elite Ultra-Thin is a great combination of sleekness, style and classical details. The stainless-steel case measures 40mm across and 8.30mm in height, and while the dial is fairly simplistic, overall the look of the Elite Ultra-Thin is really in keeping with what you would want from a dress watch.
Measuring 40mm across and 6.36mm thick, Piaget’s Altiplano is the ideal dress watch, well versed for any formal occasion. The 18k rose-gold case and silvered dial matches the brown alligator strap, and the off-centre small-seconds register and discreet date window adds a visual edge to the Altiplano. The asymmetrical nature of the dial again adds another visceral element to the watch, and with its straight lines, clean edges and distinguished style, the Altiplano is one of this list’s highlights.
Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Perpetual Calendar
The most expensive watch on the list, and the most complicated, the Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Perpetual Calendar is the definition of a classical dress watch. Like the Traditionnelle Excellence Platine, the Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Perpetual Calendar is a highly competent timepiece that can elevate your dressy ensemble to new heights. The 41mm wide 18k pink-gold is magnificent and the silvered opaline dial is visually arresting. From the standpoint of a typical dress watch, the Traditionnelle Perpetual Calendar can do no wrong.
Breitling Premier Automatic
An odd choice perhaps but hear us out. Breitling’s Premier Automatic features a 40mm wide stainless-steel case, a silver dial and Breitling’s vintage ‘B’ emblem just below the 12 o’clock marker. The sub-dial at 6 o’clock and white minute track surrounding the dial is reminiscent of Breitling’s pieces from a few generations ago, and while this is a modern interpretation of Breitling’s chronometers of the past, there is a clear classical look to the Premier Automatic that does indeed render it suitable for dressier occasions.
Zenith Elite 6150
From its striking silver-toned sunray-patterned dial to the smooth 42mm wide stainless-steel case, everything about the Elite 6150 oozes class. The simplistic styling of the case and hands is offset by the dramatic dial, accentuated further by the slim rhodium-plated hour markers. The Elite 6150 is a sleek affair, providing an interesting contrast where the dial leads the theatrics, while the rest of the package maintains a degree of sophistication and luxury.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Classic Duoface
What dress watch list would be complete without a Reverso? Perhaps my favourite, the Reverso Classic Duoface features the typical Art Deco geometrical style that we’ve all come to love with Jaeger’s most iconic watch. The Reverso Classic Duoface has two dial faces, a silvered guilloché dial and a black Clous de Paris dial. Both are exquisite, and both add an element of duality to the Reverso Classic Duoface. Arbitrarily appropriate for any dress outfit, the Reverso Classic Duoface is the quintessential classic watch to slip under your shirt cuff.
Vacheron Constantin Patrimony
Clad in a very traditional 40mm wide white-gold case and featuring a silvered opaline dial and, the Vacheron Constantin Patrimony is an exercise in classical simplicity. Following this minimalistic approach, the Patrimony shows only the time and the date through a discreet aperture at 6 o’clock. The slim case, underside crown and sharp lugs pay tribute to an era where dress watches were simply designed. The Patrimony is a no-nonsense kind of dress watch, the perfect accompaniment to a tuxedo or dark suit. The supple black leather strap rounds off what is a very beautiful package, too.
Cartier Tank Louis Cartier
Like Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso, the Tank Louis Cartier from Cartier is a classic example of a dress watch from generations ago. Beautiful lines, a simple look and an astute attention to detail makes the Tank Louis Cartier one of the greatest luxury dress watches, period. The beaded crown and sapphire cabochon is an iconic in itself, and the way that the brown alligator strap sits flush against the 18k gold case is just exquisite.
Piaget Altiplano Ultimate
With a case measuring 38mm wide, just 3.65mm in thickness and made of 18k white-gold, the Altiplano Ultimate is not only the most contemporary watch on this list, but it’s also the slimmest. As polarising as this watch is with regards to its ability to fit the dress watch category, I think its position is solidified. The black and silver sun-brushed dial features part skeletonisation, dotted with purple balancing jewels and silver component parts. The thickened bezel, slim lugs and small crown balances out a striking package. Easy to dress up and down, the Altiplano Ultimate is easily the coolest dress watch on the list.