A classic dress watch is an accessory that’s just as important as a tie or pocket square. It might not be an everyday timepiece, but it’ll lend plenty of sophistication to your ensemble. Whether you’re looking to add an investment piece to your collection, or want to look thoroughly dapper for that dinner party, here are the best dress watches for this festive season — and beyond.
Dress watches have been a fairly monochromatic and conservative affair, but Jaeger-LeCoultre proudly debunked that myth this year with its Reverso Tribute in burgundy. With its classic Art Deco-esque lines and perfectly-proportioned lines, this swiveling rectangular watch has always been a staple from the polo fields to black-tie events.
Inside, the JLC cal. 822/2 runs the show with a straightforward hand-wound movement that’s made in-house in Le Sentier. The classic movement brings life to the the hours, minutes, and sub-seconds on this richly colored dial with hand-applied markers and dauphine hands. In keeping with the watch’s equestrian roots, a matching Casa Fagliano strap comes as standard, each fashioned by Argentine bootmakers who are responsible for producing some of the finest leather boots in the world for polo and equestrian sports.
Designed to celebrate 10 years of partnership with one of the most revered theatres in the world — the Bolshoi Theatre — this limited edition Audemars Piguet Code 11:59 Self-winding timepiece takes on a stunning smoked blue “Grand Feu” enamel dial in place of the usual solid black or blue lacquered one.
Framed by an 18-karat white gold case and sealed with a glass that been’s double-curved for a unique optic experience, the contemporary timepiece is powered by the Calibre 4302. On the dial, sleek baton hands indicate the hour, minutes, and seconds, while the date is indicated by an aperture discreetly hidden between the four and five o’clock.
Tourbillons might be dime a dozen in the market today, but trust Carl F. Bucherer to make people sit up and notice again. Crafted to reflect the golden luster of the city of Lucerne in which the manufacture was founded, this limited edition watch sees a tourbillon that’s been designed to look like it’s floating without any mechanical coupling to the rest of the watch.
Besides an elaborately finished silvery dial, the watch’s movement also boasts an engraving of the picturesque Swiss city, which was home to the firm’s namesake founder. The caliber CFB T3000 is unsurprisingly also a COSC-certified chronometer. As a limited edition, this watch pays tribute to the year the manufacture was founded in 1888 with 88 pieces.
This might be the first update of the Patek Philippe 5235 since its debut eight years ago, but it didn’t stop the Reference 5235/50R from being the talk of the town when it launched at Baselworld this year. This watch retains several key features from the 17th century regulator pendulum clocks it was inspired by. Despite being rendered in a tone-on-tone graphite and ebony colourway, the watch remains to be highly legible with contrasting white lacquered hands.
Branding is kept to a discreet minimal; the brand’s storied name can only be seen in the right light and angle. A rose gold case with strategically polished lugs add dimension and refinement to the timepiece, making it a subdued option for those dinner parties.
Now one of the watchmaker’s signature complications, the retrograde date makes its refined presence known too on this Patrimony timepiece. Placed conspicuously on the top half of the dial, the intriguing complication indicates the date via a dedicated hand, which jumps back to the start after every last day of the month. The dial is kept otherwise simple, with a traditional moon phase at its six o’clock and applied “pearl” markers for the minute track.
The classic timepiece is available in white gold or rose gold, both of which are more than capable of taking you from the office to sundown activities with little fuss.