Best modern dress watches to own in 2021
Dress watches are on the rise
If you’re an avid watch collector, you’ll be more than familiar with the rise of the tool watch, sparked by the need for functionality, reliability and performance during war times.
It was not until after the first world war, however, that the desire for something more classic and elegant for the wrist became a recognised thing. In the past, wristwatches were considered a luxurious statement and were only ever really worn on female wrists as a classy and upmarket accessory. Nevertheless, dress watches have since become a popular staple to add to a man’s watch collection too. Renowned for their spacious dials, their clarity and their timelessness, dress watches are often characterised by two or three-handed models – some with a date function –others without – some with complications – others with none. Here’s a list of top men’s dress watches to own in 2021.
Seiko Green watch ref: SUR449P1
If there’s one dial colour that’s on trend this year, it’s green. This Seiko SUR449P1 model is a straightforward and stylish dress watch fitted on a comfortable brown leather strap and equipped with a useful day-date feature at 3 o’clock on the display. The 40.2mm stainless steel dress watch can be enjoyed for dinner in the evenings but also pairs well with more formal attire. Its gold-coloured central hands and shard-like indexes around the hour track add a touch of luxury to the design and are treated with Lumibrite to assist with timekeeping in the dark. This Seiko dress watch for men is powered by a quartz movement and fastens with a traditional pin buckle around the wrist.
Tissot T-Classic Powermatic 80 ref: T1274071605100
The Tissot T-Classic Powermatic 80 watch is a dress watch with added technique built into its ergonomically formed profile. If you’re opting for something more complex than a quartz watch, this Tissot watch’s beating heart is that of the Powermatic 80 calibre, which offers a power reserve of 80 hours during occasions away from the wrist. You can take the watch off on a Friday evening and come back to it first thing on a Monday to find it has kept perfect time for you. But then again – why would you want to go without it? The Tissot T-Classic Powermatic 80 watch promises everything you need in a daily beater. Its movement is also equipped with a silicium hairspring for improved performance and resistance to damage caused by magnetic fields. The stainless steel men’s dress watch measures 40mm in diameter, features a date window at 3 o’clock, and comes on a black leather band.
Baume & Mercier Classima Quartz ref: M0A10607
Watch dials don’t come more spacious and uncluttered than this Baume & Mercier Classima watch with a striking green dial and traditional polished Roman numeral hour markers. The watch is slightly larger, measuring a 42mm diameter, yet despite this, still feels relatively compact on the wrist. Adding a pop of colour to smart or elegant attire, the watch sits at a very discreet 6.1mm depth, making this Baume & Mercier Classima model a particularly appealing option for those who like their dress watch to sit close and unimposingly against the wrist. The 50-meter water-resistant time and date watch houses a quartz movement and comes complete on a brown leather strap.
Bering Classic Unisex ref: 15739-404
If minimalist dials are your thing, this resolutely modern dress watch from Bering is both a no-frills and affordable option for pairing with formal or professional attire. The Bering Classic Unisex model is compact, measuring just 39mm in diameter, making it a perfect option for the slender wrist size. The dress watch features a white dial with baton indexes and dainty markers for each hour location. These are combined with a minute track and the Bering lettering across the top of the dial. The contemporary dress watch boasts a touch of retro styling and an almost Bauhaus-inspired energy, despite being a fraction of the price of some alternative luxury German watches.
Junghans Max Bill Automatic ref: 027/4007.02
Speaking of Bauhaus-style wristwatches, German watch brand Junghans offers the Max Bill Automatic watch in various formats. This dress watch is both a balance of minimalist and retro styling and features a white dial with an Arabic numeral hour track, an external minute scale and a date window at 3 o’clock. The understated men’s dress watch is powered by the calibre J800.1 automatic movement, which sits inside a 38mm stainless steel case adorned with a grey PVD finish. Two of the most fetching features of this Junghans dress watch for men is its luminous hands which glow richly in the dark and a soft grey leather strap that secures with a matching grey PVD-coated stainless steel pin buckle.
Victorinox Swiss Army FieldForce GMT ref:241931
If you’re in search of something a little more “technical-looking” in a dress watch, the Victorinox Swiss Army Fieldforce GMT watch may be just the watch for you. The 42mm timepiece, crafted from stainless steel, offers an additional time zone feature for keeping track of home time whilst on the go. Whether you like to holiday frequently or whether you spend a lot of time travelling on business - the Victorinox Swiss Army Fieldforce watch is not only robust enough for plenty of outdoor exploration but it also promises the fundamentals of a dress watch. The watch features large Arabic numeral hour markers, luminous central hour and minute hands, an inner dark blue 24-hour scale, a triple-coated anti-reflective sapphire crystal glass front, and is powered by a Swiss-made quartz movement for uncompromised reliability.
Omega De Ville Tresor ref: 4188.8.131.52.03.001
No dress watch collection is complete until you’ve added an Omega watch to it. Omega watches may be some of the most high-end watches on the market, but what they guarantee is quintessential watchmaking excellence. Forged from the highest quality materials and fitted with expertly built movements, dress watches like this Omega De Ville Tresor are the ultimate statement piece to own. This classic-looking dress watch for men is powered by a Co-Axial chronometer-certified movement that provides a 70-hour power reserve whilst encased inside a 30-meter water-resistant case. Beautiful rhodium-plated finishes and Geneva waves in arabesque can be admired upon the surface of this movement through a sapphire crystal glass caseback, whilst on the dial side of the Omega De Ville Tresor watch, a rich blue backdrop to 18ct white gold hands and stick markers celebrates the heritage of the legendary Tresor watch collection that began back in 1949.
Cartier Santos Dumont watch
The Cartier Santos Dumont watch is the ultimate dress watch for luxury watch connoisseurs. The mechanically powered watch measures dimensions of 46.6 mm x 33.9 mm and promises a water resistance of 30 meters. A beaded steel crown set with a blue cabochon is a signature design element of a Cartier watch, enhanced, of course, by traditional Roman numeral hour markers in a crisp black hue against a silver satin-finished sunray display. To coordinate with the elegant blue shots of colour that run throughout this opulent Cartier dress watch for men, the model is fitted on a deep blue alligator leather strap and secures with a stainless steel ardillon buckle for enhanced wearer comfort.
Vacheron Constantin Patrimony ref: 85180/000R-9166
This Vacheron Constantin Patrimony watch is crafted from 18ct rose gold and features a slate grey dial adorned with matching rose gold hour markers and slenderly carved central hands. Straightforward and simple, the hands of the dial and the white date aperture at 6 o’clock are powered by the self-winding 2450 Q6, which puts its stunning 22k gold oscillating weight on show through a sapphire-backed case. The Vacheron Constantin Patrimony timepiece is a dress watch for purists. Its elegant design is completed on a black Mississippiensis alligator leather strap, enclosing with an 18ct rose gold ardillon buckle.
A. Lange & Sohne Lange 1 ref: 191.032
Not all dress watches have to be simple. This A. Lange & Sohne Lange 1 watch is the perfect example of a watch that retains an elegant and sophisticated aesthetic whilst offering something a little more technical on its display. The 18ct rose gold dress watch is powered by an incredibly meticulous self-winding movement that comprises a total of 368 parts. It beats at 21,600 vibrations per hour and delivers a 72-hour power reserve once fully wound. Its silver argente dial is home to several rose gold accents. These can be admired in the central hands of the main dial, positioned off-centre, as well as the grand date feature at 1 o’clock. There’s also a small second sub-dial located at 5 o’clock and a power reserve indicator to show the remaining energy of the movement at 3 o’clock. Completing a very classic dress watch look, the A. Lange & Sohne Lange 1 watch secures around the wrist with a brown leather strap and a matching 18ct rose gold buckle.
Elgance for weddings, parties and business meetings.
Whether looking for a budget-friendly or high-end timepiece, the current market for dress watches is incredibly diverse and offers plenty of choices when it comes to materials, sizes and features. Some of the best dress watches to own this year are those that have been in their manufacture’s catalogues for some years now. Others are new and more fashionable, encompassing elements that are deemed on-trend in the watch world right now. One guarantee with any dress watch, however, is its ability to add an understated and professional flourish to any smart or elegant attire. Perfect for weddings, parties, meetings, evening dinners, formal occasions and office wear, dress watches will always be one step away from a regular watch and will instantly elevate an outfit with an indisputable touch of finesse.
For more watch-guides helping you to find your next or first watch take a look at our buying guides selection where we cover from brand specific guides to helping you decide which Cartier watch you should buy if you want them to hold value or for those who love sports we have the dive watches guides.