The year coming to a close frequently signals holiday gatherings among co-workers, friends, and family. For these holiday parties, we suggest leaving the excessive watch complications for new year vacations and instead, sporting one of these dress watches to make a powerful year-end statement.
Dress watches are characteristically smaller in diameter, frequently round in shape, exceptionally thin and slim in terms of the number of complications (other than a date window). Dress watches are constructed with supreme attention to detail and quality.
While small and thin is historically appropriate for dress watches, it is not essential to great style. We will break a few rules today with our soiree worthy list, but we will maintain quality as an ultimate factor in our choices. Dress watches should be your version of simple, however, never take simplicity as an excuse for carelessness in terms of craft or execution.
Here are five of our favorites for your holiday consideration.
The Patrimony collection by Vacheron Constantin is as true a horological tradition as exists in watchmaking. The collection is an indelible piece of the Vacheron genetic makeup. The round case denotes classic styling which has endured through generations and delivers on the heritage of the brand. Elegance is innate in the Patrimony collection and is derived from centuries of expertise - accompanied today by the investiture of the Geneva hallmark.
While many pieces of the Patrimony collection embrace the past, the Patrimony Contemporaine firmly grips the present day. Available in rose gold, white gold, or platinum, the case of the Contemporaine has a diameter of 40mm (which registers on the high-end of average case size). Going slightly bigger, however, does not mean sacrificing the aesthetic of the Contemporaine. There are no additional complications adorning the dial, which is available in either slate grey or white. The timepiece also features a power reserve of 40 hours and a manual wind Caliber 1400 movement. Completed with an Alligator Mississippiensis strap and ardillon buckle, the Patrimony Contemporaine by Vacheron Constantin is a statement of modern sophistication and a perfect choice for your holiday party timepiece.
While we broke the rules for dress watch size with the Vacheron, with Nomos Glashütte we break the rule on shape. “Tetra” is Greek for four, and in this instance, it refers to the number of sides on the watch case. The Tetra is square (and we all know it's hip to be square). While most people prefer round cases over square or rectangular, the Tetra is actually part of a long history of tetrahedron shaped watches. In fact, many of the first wristwatches made were square, rectangular, or tonneau shaped, to more easily distinguish them from their pocket watch counterparts.
The Nomos Tetra features the Alpha Caliber self-winding movement which measures a scant 3.1mm in height. The Tetra is available in stainless steel and has a case diameter of 29.5mm, which is on the smaller side, but the diagonal width of 41mm means the timepiece wears substantially larger. Available in a white or blue dial with Arabic numerals, the Tetra features a 43-hour power reserve. A second’s sub-dial complication is the single complication addition to the classic style of the Tetra, which is completed by a black Horween Genuine Shell Cordovan strap.
Photo Credit: www.deployant.com
Jaeger-LeCoultre could break as many of the “rules” for dress watches as they want, and yet, with the Master Control Date they have followed all the rules and crafted a superb dress timepiece. The most affordable men’s wristwatch produced by Jaeger-LeCoultre, the stainless-steel case is classical in design with a focus on function. Attractive rose gold or stainless steel 39mm cases contain the Caliber 899 in-house movement. The same movement is found in the Geophysic limited edition at a substantially higher price point.
A movement of this quality on the Master Control Date is only possible because Jaeger-LeCoultre is one of the most established makers of movements in Switzerland, with the ability to combine large-scale production and high caliber horology seamlessly. The Master Control Date features a sunray brushed silver dial and a date window with sweep second hand is the only complication. It also boasts a 38-hour power reserve and is finished to perfection with a black Alligator strap with deployment buckle.
The Saxonia was introduced by A. Lange and Sohne in 1994 as one of four models in the initial collection. It has had a permanent place in the collection of the watchmaker since that date. The Boutique Edition is part of the Saxonia family and is available only at the sixteen A. Lange and Sohne boutiques around the world. The Saxonia family has elegant two or three-hand watches and models with refined calendar and chronograph functions, like the iconic Datograph.
The Boutique Edition is available in white gold with a stunning grey dial. The case measures 37mm in diameter and while larger than the non-boutique edition, it is still on the smaller side of average case sizes. A subsidiary seconds dial with stop-seconds mechanism is the only complication. The Saxonia Boutique Edition is powered by a hand-finished, manually wound, L941-1 caliber movement. The timepiece also features a hand-engraved balance cock, making each movement truly one of a kind. Including a 45-hour power reserve, the Saxonia Boutique Edition is finished with a sapphire case back and hand stitched black alligator leather strap.
Last but certainly not least, the Patek Philippe Calatrava is the essential men’s dress watch. We've recommended it before but this time with a slight twist. Instead of the classic white dial and brown strap, we prefer the black dial, Calatrava. In the world of luxury dress wristwatches, Patek Philippe has become synonymous with understated elegance and perfection. Waiting until 1932 to introduce their flagship timepiece, Patek Philippe wanted to be certain that all previous designs had culminated in a timepiece worthy of their customer’s attention.
The name Calatrava is derived from the cross used as the official emblem of the watchmaker. The black lacquered dial is available with a white gold case. The date aperture is the one complication, while the face is complemented by a sweep seconds hand and white gold applied hour markers. Measuring at 39mm in diameter, the case is on the larger end of average (but don't let that scare you, it makes a great first impression). The Patek Philippe Calatrava with black dial features an Alligator strap with prong buckle.
What is your watch of choice to celebrate this holiday season? Let us know in the comments below.