Summary List Placement
A watch is as much a part of a well-dressed man’s attire as his shoes or tie. It should complete the ensemble without drawing attention to itself: always in style, with any choice of formal or casual wear, suffering none of the vagaries of fashion. It should look as appropriate now as it would have 20 years ago or two decades from now.
Not surprisingly, the style and design codes of the dress watch haven’t been altered to any great extent over the last few decades — or for that matter, the last century.
I should note that in this ever-increasing informal age, the list below is very much a personal choice: I favor a clean and parsimonious approach to the dial, with only hours, minutes, and perhaps seconds, so the time of day can easily be read. The watch should slip easily below the shirt cuffs of your favorite formal shirts, but also look equally good with your less formal wear.
In short, the ideal dress watch should be timeless. And while it’s not a requirement for it to be mechanical, the five selected below all are.
1. Patek Philippe Calatrava, $22,680 recommended retail price
The Patek Philippe Calatrava (reference 5196) is arguably the quintessential dress watch. The original Calatrava, the reference or “model number” 96, was created in 1932 when the Stern family, long-time dialmakers, acquired the business. The reference 96 and its current direct descendent were always intended to be simple and elegant, right for any occasion.
Over the decades, Patek has introduced an array of Calatrava models remaining true to the same design codes since inception. It could be argued that its style is the ultimate expression of a dress watch. From its first 1930s earnest elegant form, through the teardrop lug (the term of the case element connecting the watch to the strap) and modern expression cases of the 1940s and 1950s to the futuristic ergonomics of the following two decades, the Patek Calatrava kept simple, balanced, and legible dials where you could tell the time at a glance.
The current model represents the sublimation of all its previous iterations: a slim, erudite case design, a clear and legible dial with baton markers representing the time (for the gold-cased versions), and Breguet numerals (a font named after the famed watchmaker, see below) for the platinum case. The Calatrava fulfills everything you would want to see in a dress watch.
2. Cartier Tank, $9,750 recommended retail price
First among equals would be the Cartier Tank — as avant garde today as it was a century ago. Although the design has been around for almost as long as the wristwatch itself, the number of watches actually produced has always been small, making the use of the Tank as a dress watch relatively rare.
Using the new instrument of destruction in WWI, the tank, as his muse, Louis Cartier integrated lugs and the near ideal dimensions of the rectangular case. That, coupled with the history of one of horology’s most long-lasting and celebrated designs, …read more
Source:: Business Insider