connect with the hour glass
Once you start paying attention to dress watches, it becomes apparent that a man in a suit without a timepiece looks a bit naked. A good formal watch very much helps complete the man, especially when it comes to festive, or serious, attire. Depending on the occasion and your mood, distinctive watches will have appeal. However, unlike most other types of watches, choosing the appropriate dress watch for you can be a challenge.
The reason is that dress watches must conform to relatively strict rules of design and construction. They are usually thin, featuring dials that are legible and free of clutter, are mostly on leather straps instead of metal bracelets, and tend to have more uniform looks compared to say, sport watches, much like how a dinner jacket usually looks the similar for all men.
To be a bit more specific, consider that a dress watch must be visually simple, which means less complications and unadorned elements like the hands and markers. The case must be thin, not only to add to its elegant profile, but also to comfortably fit under the cuff, French or buttoned.
Given the uniformity of dress watches it is easy to choose something that ends up being nice but generic. This is exactly the same problem many people face when choosing a good suit. The challenge is to conform but also stand out. So going back to wristwatches, how does someone choose a dress watch that conforms to the theme, but allows the wearer to stand out?
Patek Philippe Calatrava
A great place to start is the hands. Bold hands not only make a watch more legible, but they are also the most visible part of a dial. Think of watch hands like the eyes on a face. They aren’t everything, but most of the personality comes from them. Better brands put extra attention in rendering their hands to not only be easy to see, but visually distinctive. Good examples of well-done hands can be found in watches such as the Patek Philippe Calatrava, and the Jules Audemars by Audemars Piguet.
Jules Audemars by Audemars Piguet
Case shape is also very important, but it is essential to keep it simple. Complicated cases tend to contrast with the smooth and elegant form of a suit or tuxedo. That doesn’t mean a little architectural interest isn’t welcome. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak is among the most distinctive luxury watch cases in the world with its octagonal bezel, as is the Hublot Classic Fusion, which adds a modern touch to the classic dress watch.
Hublot Classic Fusion
While gemstones don’t work for everyone, or all occasions, don’t fear a little bling. Diamonds may not be a man’s best friend, but they aren’t always out of place when celebrating or perhaps wanting to show off a bit. That isn’t to say the best idea is a watch covered with precious stones, but selective use of diamonds such as on the bezel or hour markers can be very effective.
Rolex produces diamond hour marker versions of its Cellini watches, as well as Datejust and Day-Date models, which are additional good example of this idea.
Rolex Cellini Time
If you really want your watch to help complete your outfit then people need to see it, at least once in a while. Sometimes it isn’t the watch but how you wear it. Hiding a timepiece under your sleeves is clearly the worst way to show off what you’ve got on.
Some people have been known to adjust one sleeve so that it is actually more narrow, precisely so that it rests up higher on the arm and thus does not cover a watch. This might be an extreme example, but it does help ensure you and your audience see your carefully chosen watch as clearly as possible.
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