Dress watches have been a staple in horological fashion since the early 20th century and have remained a must have in every watch lovers collection. The dress watch has a surprising beginning, developed in the latter part of the 1900’s and derives it’s design from military field and pilot watches at the time. World War 1 saw the need for a new design as pocket watches were becoming increasingly impractical. Soldiers needed timepieces to be simple, utilitarian and easily accessible, something pocket watches at the time could not provide. This brought about the creation of the first pilot wristwatch in 1908. The pilot and field watches featured sturdy leather straps, a large easy to read dial, chronographs and other functions necessary for combat.
At the end of the war, returning soldiers brought back their new timepieces with them. The more convenient and comfortable design saw a rise in demand for wristwatches. With all the added functions – no longer necessary post war, watches became simplified and more about style than utility, and thus the modern dress watch was created. Since the 1920’s it has added that extra bit of elegance to any well tailored suit. Choosing the right timepiece can bring the right amount of sophistication to any look so here are some of our recommendations if you’re looking for something stylish yet classic.
If you’re looking for your first dress watch, this all black Calvin Klein piece is a fantastic introduction to the style. The black leather strap and the metallic finish black dial give this watch a sleek and modern feel, while the stainless steel case compliments the white markers on the dial and bezel. The dial is clean and simple, making this a great watch for any formal occasion.
The Longines La Grande Classique is a watch that’s hard to forget once you’ve seen it. This watch exudes subtle elegance. This classic silhouette is achieved by pairing the gold finish case with the white dial with roman numerals, creating a look with a nod to pocket watches. The genuine alligator leather strap however adds a touch of modernity, while keeping the overall look of sophistication.
Classic doesn’t have to mean old fashioned. The Wenger Urban Classic offers a subtle break from tradition while keeping the spirit of the traditional dress watch alive. The strap is made of light brown leather, differing from the usually much darker colours worn in this style. The date window on the dial is another added feature which you would not find on a typical dress watch, however it does not compromise the design. The black dial and case offer a modern approach to the otherwise classic shape, and act as a great contrast to the strap making the entire piece, and you, stand out.
If on the other hand you are looking for something with a nod to the history of the dress watch, we would like to suggest the Rotary Men’s Cambridge model. The square shape of its case is reminiscent of one of the first dress watches created in 1919 inspired by World War I tanks. The White dial with black roman hour-markers show the vintage inspiration behind this classic design. The black textured leather strap however brings this timepieces into 2020, maintaining an ageless effect.
MeisterSinger‘s No 01 is the quintessential dress watch. The large stainless steel case, cream dial and dark brown leather strap bring a classy and timeless quality to the design. What makes this watch standout however is the sleek black pointed hand and the reptile design of the leather strap. No 01’s tasteful style will surely enhance the sense of refinement in any occasion.
What are your thoughts on our recommendations for classic men’s dress watches 2020? Let us know in the comments below!