What Is A Dress Watch?

Has the dress watch been lost to time or is it just more complicated now?

A dress watch should be your most elegant and refined timepiece, but with the evolution of style and prevalence of streetwear the notion of a dress watch remains open. For most of us the term dress watch partners with black tie, dinner jackets and subtlety – with a watch serving its most simple purpose, to tell the time. However, horological giants (in every sense of the word) like Hublot and Audemars Piguet create contemporary and complicated dress watches that traditionalists would see as behemoths on the wrist.

Today’s youthful and modern watch wearers use formal occasions to proudly feature the investment concealed by their cuff. Why should there be limitations to what is considered ‘dressy’? Any watch geek will preach that it’s what’s on the inside that counts, a rotating bezel and bracelet can be equally as elegant as a leather strap and plain dial.  So what is a dress watch in 2017?

The original purpose of a dress watch was to avoid disturbing the cut of a suit and to champion the skills of a watchmaker for creating such a slim piece, think Cartier. But as watches have evolved so has fashion, not all gentlemen favour a close-fitting shirt cuff and a thicker watch can compliment a thicker wrist.

Shop our selection of dress watches and make a simple or complicated choice.


The most simple and iconic of dress watches the Cartier collection has been favoured by style icons JFK, Andy Warhol and Michelle Obama, remaining a timeless choice.

The Cartier Drive features a cushion case with distinctive Roman numeral markers; it is available with an automatic movement and luxurious moon phase dial.

Shop the Cartier collection here


Originally create d in 1931 the Reverso was designed to be stowed away during polo matches, where often the fragile crystal of the watch would be hit by a wooden mallet or knocked by a ball.

The Reverso has served as Jaeger’s most popular style and the latest edition has been updated with a small second’s indicator, Arabic numerals and regal blue hands – staying true to the Reverso’s original art-deco roots.

Shop the Jaeger-LeCoultre here

Frederique Constant

An effortless and polished Slimline timepiece from Frederique Constant, this silhouette encompasses all things ‘dress watch’.

Powered by an analogue quartz movement, this wrist watch is fastened with a brown leather strap and finished with a plain white dial – great for pairing with a range of evening attire.

Shop the Frederique Constant collection here

Montblanc Tradition

Having defined the art of writing for over 100 years, Montblanc have taken their sophisticated craftsmanship and applied it to watchmaking, producing innovative and modern timepieces for every occasion.

The Montblanc Tradition boasts an automatic movement with a distinctive Montblanc design, including the classic Montblanc straight horns, a domed sapphire glass case and stainless steel bracelet.

Shop the Montblanc collection here