Bigger is better...that's what they say. A natural corollary of this is "more is better". While this was true for many years (and will still largely be true for a while yet), it goes without saying that the classics never die – fashion and tastes have always been cyclical. That being the case, it appears that we are now re-entering the period when men want dress watches, where they pick the simple, clean and elegant over the complicated and technical.
We were inspired to list our current favorites after reading A Simpler Time for Men's Watches in The Wall Street Journal which also features a charming addendum in favor of complexity. What do you think of our choices?
Revival of the Dress Watches
So what's the big deal in dress watches, you wonder? In a word...refinement. Nothing says elegance and refinement like a slim, simple dial watch with long, clean lines. And since these watches offer class as well as mechanical excellence, watch aficionados get the best of both worlds. Another reason for its growing popularity is that it is considerably more affordable than its complication-filled brethren. Given a choice between the clunky, complication-filled watch, and an aesthetically-pleasing subtle timepiece, aesthetics are now becoming the more popular choice.
This isn't to say, of course, that tastes have taken a giant trip back in time. It's more that vintage is being brought into the present era...gorgeous timepieces launched decades ago are being tweaked here and there and re-launched in the modern world.
For example, Patek Philippe's Calatrava model is inspired from a design in 1912 and Vacheron Constantin's Patrimony collection, launched in 2004, is a retooling of a design from 1955. Essentially, what we're seeing is the same elegant simplicity with modern tastes thrown in – larger bezels, assertive lugs and a new idea of "slim" arising out of larger diameters than before.
Choosing your Dress Watches
Complications aren't for everyone. If you're the kind of man who wants a timeless watch that you can pair to great effect with almost everything you own, then it's time you got yourself a dress watch.
To start you off, we've put together a few of our favorite pieces...perhaps they'll be your favorites too!
The Patrimony Traditionnelle is a 38mm rose gold-cased watch with a silver dial and a brown leather strap. Manually wound, the dial displays only the hours, minutes and seconds. Subtle elegance is built into every bit of this timepiece.
Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionnelle
A. Lange & Söhne's Saxonia Ultra Thin is the slimmest possible rendition of all things Lange. With a diameter of 40mm, it has a height of a mere 5.9mm, making it the slimmest of Lange's creations. This timepiece focuses on only the most basic of mechanical watch functions and tells only the hours and minutes. Whether in pink or white gold, less is more and simple is beautiful.
A. Lange & Sohne Saxonia Ultra Thin
The IWC Portofino Automatic is the personification of good taste. At a contemporary 40mm diameter, this watch with its three hands and discreet date window is a nod to simpler times when downplayed elegance was the way to go. Although available in an alligator leather strap with a red gold or stainless steel case, we're impressed with the milanese steel mesh bracelet.
IWC Portofino Automatic
The Breguet Classique Extra Thin Yellow Gold watch is a 40mm diameter example of just how slim a watch can get. Coming in at 2.4mm thick, this manually wound watch, with its oven-fired enamel dial and off-centred seconds hand, will redefine your understanding of "barely there".
Breguet Classique Extra Thin
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin watch is another example of a truly timeless design. With a 38.5mm diameter case and a height of 7.6mm, this watch has all the character inherent to a JLC timepiece. A must-have for any man looking to start his dress watch collection with style.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Watch
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to your options in dress watches. If you'd like to know more or need help choosing the right one for you, contact us or come by CJ Charles Jewelers in La Jolla, and we'll set you up with your perfect match.