From Issue Seven of Gear Patrol Magazine.
In an era of casual business attire and smartphones, the dress watch could very well have diminished in importance —- if anything, however, it has become more important than ever. The rare occasions on which we dress to the nines deserve a higher level of refinement, and a handsome wristwatch is an essential part of that equation. Many die-hard enthusiasts advocate for expensive dress watches —- those that are thin in stature, mechanical in nature and exquisitely finished. Many watches fitting that description retail in the five figures, but a handful of watchmakers have your bases covered at a much more stomachable cost.
Defakto Vektor Silbermatt
Defakto is an indie German watchmaker that molds its modestly priced watches in the Bauhaus design aesthetic. The Vektor takes on a charming, minimalist look with a stark white-and-black dial, an automatic movement, a razor-thin bezel and a profile that’s under 10mm thick, including the domed crystal.
Hamilton Jazzmaster Thinline Auto
Hamilton’s Jazzmaster Thinline is minimal in its construction, but it features small, tasteful flourishes that echo the styling of mid-century dress watches: a champagne sunray dial; sharp, sculpted lugs; multifaceted applied hour markers. All this, plus an automatic movement, fit inside a scant 8.5mm case.
Seiko Presage SPB047J1
The radiant sheen and creamy texture of a real enamel dial is something commonly reserved for five-figure watches, but Seiko’s Presage lineup, which features enamel, fired by the brand’s own enamel expert, is priced at only $1,000. Were that not enough, the watch boasts an expertly polished case and an in-house automatic movement, making this one of the best values in timekeeping, period.
Oris Artelier Date
Oris is best known for its rugged and accessibly priced tool watches, but the Artelier is proof that the independent Swiss watchmaker knows its way around a dress watch. The Artelier Date features a svelte 40mm case and an automatic movement, but the standout feature is, without doubt, the silver dial with its stunning and intricate guilloche pattern.
If the Flagship looks like it was plucked straight from a mid-century catalog, that’s because, in a way, it was. The watch was a ubiquitous timepiece back in the ’50s and ’60s, and Longines has brought it back with an accurate reissue. The creamy dial texture, old-school logos, gold indices and smaller 38mm case are all hallmarks of the dress watches of the era, which is to say they’re timelessly handsome.
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