Displayed here are what might be described as the broad sunlit uplands of watch making. These classic and effortlessly classy dress watches by some of Switzerland’s most reputable brands, will afford you instant credibility and kudos as a man who knows and understands his wrist wear. Last week we featured some low end watches which were amusingly summarized by one reader as ‘beyond ridiculous’. In total contrast, this selection is beyond reproach. Each of these watches comply with the classic rules of a dress watch. They are refined, pure, uncluttered and yet radiate authority and quiet confidence. There are several others that could be on here, but this collection serves as a good starting point.
Breguet Classique 5967
Widely recognized as one of the ultimate grail brands, Breguet has a pedigree that is richer than the price tags attached to its stunning watches. And this watch retails for somewhere north of $18,000. The brand was effectively rescued by the late Nicolas Hayek, founder of the Swatch Group, and given a state of the art workshop in which to make its high end watches. The beauty of this piece is in the details. It houses one of the most precision movements on the market and features crisp, elegant lines that accentuate its flowing elegance. It has been pointed out by a knowledgeable reader that this model is actually Breguet Classique 5967 and that the 4199 on the dial refers to the serial number.
IWC Da Vinci Automatic
In recent years watches have tended to be all about impressive proportions, 45mm +, but for those with smaller wrists a large watch can look overbearing. The Da Vinci Automatic is an attractive alternative for those watch lovers who prefer a smaller version of the Da Vinci collection. The tonneau-shaped case measures 35.6 × 42.5 millimetres, which makes the attractive large date display all the more clear and legible. The silver-plated dial, combined with the 18-carat rose gold case and brown alligator leather strap makes the watch easy on the eye.
Kevin Spacey, who plays brimming with confidence US President Frank Underwood in the Netflix original series House of Cards, is actually seen wearing one.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control
Taking its inspiration from the halcyon days of dress watches, the 1950’s, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control embodies luxury and style. It features a silver tone dial with Dauphine hands. With its 39mm case you can see its visual appeal straightaway. The watch is completed with a calibre 899 automatic movement. Other features include a 22 carat gold rotor which is highly visible and a case back made entirely from sapphire.
Laurent Ferrier Galet Classic Tourbillon Double Balance Spring
Master watchmaker Laurent Ferrier’s horological values are simplicity, precision and pure uncluttered beauty. The Galet Classic perfectly sums up this philosophy. An elegant and efficient timepiece, it’s equipped with an exclusive in-house movement developed, assembled and adjusted in the Laurent Ferrier workshops. With this watch, for the first time, the tourbillon device originally created by Abraham-Louis Breguet in 1801 is fitted with a double balance-spring. The balance-springs neutralize the lateral displacement of the balance axis, while the tourbillon compensates for the variations in rate in all vertical positions.
Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref 5711
Introduced in 1976, the Nautilus is widely considered the first luxury sports watch. It was designed by the late and legendary Gerald Genta, who also designed, among many others, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. According to Genta himself, he designed the Nautilus at Baselworld while sitting at lunch with some Patek Philippe executives. He designed the watch on the back of a napkin as they were talking. After lunch he showed them the design, and they were so impressed it went straight into production. The basic design has not changed in decades. The original reference is one of the most sought-after timepieces at auction. In the current collection the watch that most resembles the original is the Ref 5711/1A, and in fact it looks even better than the original.
Rolex Cellini Prince
Rolex are of course world famous for their supreme sports watches, but they can also turn their hand to some of the most elegant dress watches. Vintage Rolex Prince watches are some of the most sought after in the watch world. Rolex Prince design cues stem from its distinctive bold rectangular case. The watch has a decidedly art deco look about it because it pays tribute to a 1928 model also known as Prince. The watch was first designed in the art deco period. The Cellini Rolex Prince combines technology and style in the purest spirit of watchmaking.
Vacheron Constantin Harmony Dual Time
Part of the Harmony collection, this regal beauty was introduced by Vacheron Constantin last January at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie 2015. The watch offers a very useful complication with a second time zone sub-dial and day/night indication. Available in pink gold or white gold, the Dual Time houses a newly developed self-winding movement, the Calibre 2460DT beating at 28,800 vph with a power reserve of approximately 40 hours. The innovative construction of the movement enables all settings to be undertaken via the crown in both directions. A special stop seconds device ensures a more accurate time display.