A good dress timepiece on the wrist is the perfect way to add elegance to any formal outfit. Whether dressed up for work or attending a special occasion, wearing a quality dress watch will make you stand out. The dress watch category has grown a lot in the last couple of years because of watchmakers’ new inventions and designs worldwide.
With so many dress watches on the market, selecting the right one might be difficult. For this reason, I’ve compiled a guide for you on dress watches, along with 35 of the best dress timepieces across all brands, from affordable to luxury.
About Dress Watches
Throwing a suit on is a luxury reserved for special occasions only. However, the most exciting part of dressing up is finally being able to wear your dress pieces as well. I love the elegance and exquisite feeling I get from wearing a dress timepiece; it gives you a special feeling you can’t experience often.
For centuries, watchmakers have continuously leveled up the designs and sophistication of dress watches as they are associated with a high level of formality and elegance. They were the only type of timepieces in the past, and they used to be the only type of watch that could be worn on corporate outfits. Dress timepieces have become much more versatile now; some can be worn in formal and casual outfits.
Men and women wear dress watches. They are used mainly by professionals like bankers, lawyers, accountants, and other positions that demand corporate outfits. They are also used for civil or ecclesiastical occasions like weddings, dates, galas, office dinners, and other formal gatherings.
History of Dress Watches
Dress watches were the first ever type of timepiece ever made, and they were considered an item of luxury for royalties and elites. Originally, they were made with precious metals like silver and gold and were designed with different jewels.
Dress watches became more popular in the 19th century because they were made with cheaper materials, and more people could now afford them. The 20th century came, and the popularity spread very wide due to the adoption of business suits and other formal attires, so it became a much-needed accessory for men.
Almost every man now has a dress watch because they blended together with corporate attire over the years. For that to happen, the low-end watch market had to elevate and offer enough supply for the newfound demand. A dress timepiece adds so much elegance to any formal outfit.
What to Look For in a Dress Watch
For you to select the right dress watch, there are a couple of things you need to consider. This is a list of some things to look for in a dress timepiece before you make the purchase.
Before choosing a dress watch, the design is one thing you must consider. The watch case and strap, the shape and color of the dial, the markers, and the hands should all be elegant and simple to complement your corporate or formal outfit.
If you need a dress watch that can be worn on any formal outfit, choosing one with a white dial would be a great option because of the easy readability and versatility. Some dress watches have other dial colors, like black, blue, and many others; these watches are usually limited to a particular outfit style.
Case Materials & Finishing
Precious metals like gold and silver are primarily used in making dress watches. Other materials like stainless steel, titanium, and ceramic can be found in modern ones, especially cheaper ones. Either way, they are always well-finished and polished to perfection. So you have to look for the one with the material of your choice or one that matches your budget.
Early dress watches mostly had leather straps, and this was because of their versatility. More recent ones now come in various materials with different designs also. You have many options, so ensure the watch strap compliments your outfit perfectly.
How do you like your watches to look on your wrist? Some dress watches can be very obvious on your wrist, while some slip perfectly under the cuffs of your suit or shirt. So your style should be seriously considered to select the right dress timepiece to enjoy for a long time.
For a couple of hundred bucks, you can get some dress watches, while some cost millions of dollars, depending on the type of materials used in the production, the design of the timepiece, and the heritage it holds. So you have to do deep research about the best in the category of your budget to get top quality and value for your money’s worth.
The Best Dress Watches
After considering all these, you should be well-equipped with the proper knowledge and ready to get that dress watch. So this is a list of 35 of the best dress timepieces across all brands, from some of the cheapest to the most expensive.
Timex Marlin Hand-Wound 34mm Black Dial (ref. TW2T18200)
This Timex Marlin has all the hallmarks of the perfect dress timepiece; a shiny black dial, a simple and elegant look, and a hand-wound movement to crown it all. It’s a timeless classic for men that love a watch with a vintage look.
Its stainless steel case measures a modest 34mm, that’s decent for most wrists. It comes in a black or silver dial with silver hands, Arabic numerals, and markers. Its strap is made of black leather with a stainless steel buckle. The Timex Marlin is controlled by a hand-wound mechanical movement with a water resistance of 30 meters. The elegant classic design makes it an excellent watch for stylish men and offers good quality for around $210.
Orient Bambino Version 7 (ref. RA-AC0M03S10B)
Regarding cheap dress watches, the Orient Bambino has to be the best on this list as it offers so much quality and class for its price of $270. Its white vintage dial stands out and will blend perfectly with any corporate outfit. Its 38mm case is stainless steel with a slim profile that complements the dial.
Inside is the Orient F6724 automatic movement with 40 hours of power reserve and water resistance of 30 meters. The Orient Bambino Version 7 comes in different dial colors, so there’s a variety for you to choose from if the white dial does not suit you. It is an excellent timepiece for men looking for a highly durable dress watch.
The Seiko Cocktail Time is an excellent watch for any formal occasion, and its 40.5mm case makes it fit for people with medium and large-sized wrists. Its case is made of stainless steel with a brushed silver dial, silver markers, and hands.
The Caliber 4R35 automatic movement powers it with a 41-hour power reserve and a water resistance of 50 meters. Its strap is made of leather with a deployant clasp. It is a great dress timepiece but also has the quality of a daily beater. The Seiko Presage Cocktail Time currently sells for $425.
Frederique Constant Classics Slimline Gents Small Seconds (ref. FC-245M5S6)
If you love a vintage watch with a sprinkle of modern technology, this Swiss timepiece is for you. The stainless steel case offers a moderate 39mm in diameter and 5mm in thickness with a dial designed with a Guillochè pattern that makes a profound statement. The dial features a small second subdial at 6 o’clock with Roman numerals and beautiful vintage hands.
Inside is the caliber FC-245 quartz movement with a 30 meters water resistance. The strap is made of calfskin with a crocodile design and a pin buckle. The Frédérique Constant Classic Slimline Gents Small Second currently sells for around $900.
Bulova Frank Sinatra Summer Wind Gray Dial (ref. 97B206)
Just like the man himself, this Bulova exudes so much style and class. The Frank Sinatra Summer Wind is a great timepiece for your collection. At $850, it offers excellent quality and value. It features a stainless steel case with a rose gold tone and a 40mm case diameter. Its gray dial is simple with elegant rose gold hands and markers with a date feature at 3 o’clock.
The 21-jewel automatic movement powers it with 42 hours of power reserve and a water resistance of 30 meters. The dark gray leather strap and double press deployant buckle add to its elegance and style. It’s an excellent timepiece for formal and casual wear.
Zodiac Dress Olympos Automatic (ref. ZO9700)
The timeless design of the Zodiac Dress Olympos Automatic makes it one of my favorite Zodiac dress watches. It features a 37mm stainless steel case and a black dial with silver hands and markers.
It is controlled by an automatic movement with 50m of water resistance. It has a rugged black leather strap with a pin buckle. It’s a sturdy watch that can last a lifetime, so if you are looking for a dress watch that can take a beating, the Zodiac Dress Olympos Automatic is a great choice. It retails at $895.
Tissot Chemin de Tourelles (ref. T099.407.36.038.00)
Elegance and a timeless design are appropriate terms to describe Tissot watches, and the Chemin de Tourelles is a perfect example. The timepiece is an excellent display of the company’s craftsmanship. It carries the Powermatic 80 movement, which is famous for its accuracy.
It has a case measurement of 42mm in diameter and 10.9mm in case thickness. It features a silver dial with rose gold indexes and hands. Its strap is made of alligator leather with a butterfly clasp. It has a power reserve of 80 hours which makes it fit for outdoor activities. It is a stylish timepiece that is perfect for any formal occasion, and it will also turn heads if styled on casual wear. It offers good quality for around $900.
Hamilton Jazzmaster Day Date Auto (ref. H32505751)
If you are a fan of the X-men, you must have seen this masterpiece on the beast’s wrist, played by Nicholas Hoult in the Days of Future Past. The Hamilton Jazzmaster is a dress watch that balances a sturdy build with sophistication.
It carries the Caliber H-40 automatic movement with a long power reserve of 80 hours and 50 meters of water resistance. Its stainless steel case measures 40mm in diameter and 11.52mm in thickness. It’s the perfect daily beater with tough calf leather and pin buckle. This timepiece is the actual definition of a tough guy watch, and for $875, it offers excellent quality.
Mido Baroncelli Chronometer Silicon Gent (ref. M027.408.16.061.00)
Aside from its aesthetically pleasing look and vintage design, the Baroncelli Chronometer Silicon Gent offers more. The silicon balance spring inside the Mido automatic ETA-based movement gives it enhanced accuracy with a power reserve of 80 hours. It features a stainless steel case measuring 40mm in diameter and 9.4mm case thickness. It has an anthracite dial with applied indexes.
Its strap is made of leather with a folding clasp. Its see-through case back gives you a clear view of the movement. If you love watches with beautiful aesthetics and sophistication, the Baroncelli Chronometer Silicon Gent is your timepiece. It offers excellent quality at around $1,200.
Rado Coupole Classic Automatic (ref. R22860075)
This Swiss-made watch is a display of Rado’s timeless craftsmanship. It has a unique white dial with a power reserve indicator at 9 o’clock and a date window at 3 o’clock. Its case measures 37.7mm in diameter and 10.2mm in thickness. Besides its good looks, the Rado Caliber 03.763.532 automatic movement controls it with a power reserve of 80 hours. You can pick up this Rado dress watch for around $1,200.
I’ve loved Junghans watches for years now, and it’s because of the minimalist designs of their watches. The Max Bill Automatic timepiece has a straightforward dial with a creative display of the numerals and markers. The tiny touch of green on the hands is a style I’m yet to see on any dress watch.
It features a 38mm case that’s made of steel with a black leather strap. Inside is the Caliber J800.1 automatic movement with a power reserve of 38 hours and 50 meters of water resistance. It is the perfect watch for men who like simple timepieces with understated designs. The Max Bill Automatic is sold for around $1,100.
NOMOS Glashütte Tangente (ref. 101)
NOMOS is well known for its subtle designs, and the Glashütte Tangente is an excellent representation. The 35mm stainless steel case makes it perfect for men and women. The NOMOS Alpha manual winding movement powers it.
The combination of a vintage design and modern engineering adds to its uniqueness. It features a silver-white dial with blue hands and black markers. It also has a small second subdial at 6 o’clock. The Glashütte Tangente is a stylish dress watch that is timeless. It retails at $1,900.
Longines Flagship Heritage (ref. L4.718.104.22.168)
The Flagship Heritage is a very sturdy dress watch from Longines. It is fit for any event, stylish enough to be worn formally, and suitable with shorts and a shirt at the barbecue. It features a 38.5mm case, a black dial with brown hands, and markers.
It is powered by an automatic movement with 50 hours of power reserve and 30 meters of water resistance. It features a second subdial and a screw-down crown. If you’re looking for a dress watch that can also be styled casually, the Longines Flagship Heritage timepiece is yours for $1,900.
Tutima Sky Automatic (ref. 6105-26)
The Tutima Sky Automatic is the first non-leather dress watch on this list, and this one comes with a Milanese bracelet. It features a red dégrade dial with silver markers, hands, and a day/date function at 3’ o clock.
The Tutima Caliber 330 powers it with 38 hours of power reserve and a water resistance of up to 100 meters. It is a very accurate timepiece with a COSC certification. The bracelet and dial colors make the Sky Automatic the perfect dress watch. It sells for around $1,700.
The Tudor 1926 is the first Tudor on this list, and what makes it unique is its versatility. The Tudor 1926 has all the elements of a great dress timepiece, like the brown leather strap and a white dial with Roman numerals.
But it also has a touch of modernity with an automatic movement and sapphire crystals. It features a 41mm steel case with a polished finish. Inside it is the Caliber T601 automatic movement. It has a power reserve of 38 hours and a water resistance of 100 meters. It’s a watch that can be dressed on any outfit, and it currently retails at $2,000.
Oris Artelier Complication (ref. 01 781 7729 4031-07 5 21 65FC)
This Oris Timepiece is feature-rich and comes with a classic simple design. Inside is the Sellita SW200-1 movement, which features unique functions like a second timezone, day of the week and date functions, and a moon phase window. It has a power reserve of 38 hours.
Its case measures 40mm and features a silver dial with a guilloché pattern. It features a dark brown leather strap with a folding clasp, and you can also choose the stainless steel bracelet with yours. If you are a fan of sophisticated timepieces, for around $2,500, you can lay your hands on the Oris Artelier Complication.
Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic (ref. 10436)
A feature-packed watch for a gentleman, the Clifton Baumatic is controlled by the in-house Baumatic automatic movement, which is COSC-certified. It has a power reserve of 120 hours with 50 meters of water resistance.
Its case measures 40mm in diameter and 10.5mm in thickness. It features a white dial with silver hands and markers. And it comes in different colors and straps, so you can easily pick the one that fits your needs. The Clifton Baumatic 10436 offers good quality at around $3,000.
The second Seiko on the list, although Seiko uses the Caliber 9S64 hand-wound movement, the SBGW283G still has the qualities of the perfect modern dress watch. It has a case diameter of 37.3mm with a case thickness of 11.7mm.
It has a power reserve of 72 hours and a magnetic resistance of up to 4,800 A/m. The Japanese watch features a light blue dial with silver hands and markers. It’s a dress watch with a simple design and a sturdy build. The Seiko Elegance SBGW283G retails at $4,800.
IWC Portofino Automatic (ref. IW356502)
If I were trying to look like the main character in a crime-solving drama, the Portofino Automatic would be my go-to timepiece. Its case measures 40mm with a height of 9.2mm.
The Caliber 35111 automatic movement powers it with a power reserve of 50 hours and a 30 meters water resistance. Its strap is made of crocodile leather with a pin buckle. It’s a dress watch for confident men that want to express their confidence through their timepieces. The IWC Portofino Automatic currently sells for $5,050.
Omega De Ville Prestige (ref. 422.214.171.124.10.001)
I’m not a big fan of bright colors on my watches, but there is something about the shade of pink and how it is used on the dial of the De Ville Prestige. It features a case that measures 41mm in diameter and 10.8mm in thickness.
The Omega Caliber 8810 automatic movement powers it with a 55 hours power reserve and 30 meters of water resistance. It features a black alligator leather strap with a pin buckle. It’s a dress watch for men with a taste for very stylish timepieces, and it offers good style and value for around $5,500.
Zenith Elite Moonphase (ref. 03.3100.692/03.C923)
Wear a watch like the Elite Moonphase on a tuxedo, and you might be causing a traffic jam. Lucky for you, it can also be styled down, so you don’t have to worry about getting another for casual outfits. It’s the perfect blend of sophistication in function and simplicity in design.
It features a 40mm case with a sunray patterned gray dial. Inside is the Elite 692 automatic movement, which has been part of Zenith’s watches for over two decades and has a power reserve of 50 hours. Its strap is made of gray alligator leather with a pin buckle.
It features a seconds subdial at 9 o’clock and the moonphase window at 6 o’clock. It’s the perfect watch for anyone that wants a dress watch he can wear for many years to come. It retails for $7,000.
Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Quantième Matte Black (ref. J007020349)
A watch that can’t be overlooked, the Seconde Quantieme is the type of timepiece that will have you constantly asked about what you have on your wrist. The way every detail on the dial is placed in the middle is a unique dial design.
Its 41mm case is made of stainless steel and features a deep black dial with a small offset hour and minute dial at 12 o’clock and a slightly bigger seconds subdial at 6 o’clock. It’s powered by the JD 2660Q2 automatic movement with a power reserve of 68 hours.
It features a matching black calfskin strap and a deployant buckle. For around $7,600, you can turn heads on any outfit with the Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Quantieme Matte Black.
Blancpain Villeret Ultraplate (ref. 6651 1127 55B)
An iconic timepiece from Blancpain, the Villeret Ultraplate is a handsome classic. This dress watch features a case measuring 40mm in diameter and a case thickness of 8.7mm. Its dial is painted plain white with silver Roman numerals and hands with a date window at 3 o’clock. The simplicity of this Swiss timepiece will captivate any watch lover.
It is controlled by the Blancpain Caliber 1151 automatic movement with a 50 hours power reserve and a water resistance of 30 meters. It features an alligator leather strap with a folding clasp. The Villeret Ultraplate is a vintage-themed watch that can be styled up and down. It currently sells for $10,400.
Cartier Tank Louis (ref. W1529856)
Finally! A Cartier timepiece, and it’s none other than the Tank Louis W1529856, worn by renowned people like Steve McQueen and Cary Grant. This rectangular timepiece is the perfect heirloom. It features an 18-carat yellow gold case measuring 29.5mm x 22mm. It has a white dial with bold black Roman numerals.
It features a vintage thick brown alligator strap with an ardillon buckle. This iconic timepiece from Cartier features a quartz movement. If you are ready to drop $10,200 on a vintage watch that has held its value for decades, you should grab a Cartier Tank Louis.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Duoface Calendar (ref. Q3918420)
Regarding rectangular watches, Jaeger-LeCoultre has some of the most iconic ones you will see on the market today, and the Tribute Duoface Calendar is one of them. It’s a manual winding watch with functions like a moonphase, second timezone, and day & night indicator. It features a case with a 49.4 x 29.9mm measurement.
Its white dial features silver hands and markers. It comes with a blue leather strap and an extra black strap with a double folding buckle. The Reverso Tribute Duoface Calendar offers good value for a retail price of $16,700.
H. Moser & Cie. Pioneer Centre Seconds Midnight Blue (ref. 3200-0903)
The Pioneer Center Seconds Midnight Blue is an embodiment of style and functionality. It’s a limited edition timepiece, the first with a rubber strap on this list. It features a red Gold titanium case that measures 43mm in diameter. Its dial is midnight blue with red gold hands and markers.
Inside is the Caliber HMC 200 center seconds automatic with a 72 hours power reserve and a water resistance of 120 meters. It’s a unique timepiece for you if you love a functional dress watch, and you can get it for around $21,000.
Chopard L.U.C 1860 (ref. 168860-3003)
The L.U.C 1860 is a unique timepiece with colors rarely used on dress watches. Its 36.5mm case size would sit perfectly on a medium-sized wrist. It features a salmon-colored dial patterned in a guilloché design with small seconds subdial at 6 o’clock.
Inside it is the L.U.C 96.40-L movement with a 65 hours power reserve. It has a see-through case back that gives you a clear view of the intricacies of the timepiece. Its gray calfskin strap is hand sewn with a stainless steel pin buckle. It is a COSC-certified watch with 59 meters of water resistance. The Chopard L.U.C. is a unique timepiece and sells for around $22,000.
Breguet Classique 7147 (ref. 7147BB/29/9WU)
The Breguet Classique 7147 features an outstanding No-nonsense dial found primarily on vintage watches. It has an 18-carat white gold case that measures 40mm, and it features a white dial with Arabic numerals and blue hands. It has a sweeping second window at 5 o’clock.
The caliber 502.3SD movement powers it with 45 hours of power reserve. It has a thick leather alligator strap with a pin buckle. The Breguet Classique also comes in a refined rose gold version that can be styled casually. And it also comes in a silver dial version. It sells for around $24,000.
Glashütte Original PanoMaticLunar (ref. 1-90-02-11-35-61)
This Glashütte timepiece is beautifully made, and it’s feature-rich. The Caliber 90-02 automatic movement inside has a Moon Phase function, Panorama date, and small seconds subdial. Its 18-carat red gold case has a measurement of 40mm with 42 hours of power reserve and a water resistance of 50 meters.
It has a dark blue dial with red gold hands and markers. Its strap is made of blue alligator leather. It comes in different colors of dial and strap. It is sold for around $17,000.
Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Automatic (ref. G0A43120)
The Altiplano Ultimate Automatic is one of the thinnest automatic timepieces in the world. For a watch packed with top-notch qualities and a world-class movement like the Piaget 910P automatic movement, making it fit into such a thin case must have needed some magic hands.
It features a 41mm rose gold case with a 4.3mm in case thickness. Its dial is skeletonized, with the hour and minute hands at the top left corner of the watch. It features a black alligator leather strap and has an extra bracelet. It’s a timepiece for people that like a sleek, sophisticated timepiece, and it sells for around $27,500.
Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Manual-Winding (ref. 81530/000G-9681)
The Patrimony manual winding is a smooth merge of tradition and innovation. It has a plain white dial with silver hands and markers. Its white gold case measures 36mm in diameter and 6.72mm in case thickness. It is a relatively small timepiece that can slip perfectly under the cuffs of your suit.
The Caliber 1400 manual movement controls it with a power reserve of 40 hours. It features a deep blue strap and an ardillon buckle. It’s a simple timepiece that can be styled up or down and retails for $27,000.
Patek Philippe Calatrava Yellow Gold (ref. 5227J)
This vintage-themed Calatrava timepiece has a timeless design and build that could be passed on for generations. It is powered by the caliber 26-330 S C automatic movement with a 45 hours power reserve and a 30 meters water resistance. It features an 18-carat yellow gold case with a case size of 39mm in diameter.
It has an ivory lacquered dial with yellow-gold hands and markers. Its strap is made of shiny brown alligator leather with a prong buckle. If you love a dress watch with a vintage theme, the Patek Philippe Calatrava Yellow Gold is the watch for you, and it retails for around $40,000.
Rolex Perpetual 1908 Yellow Gold Black Dial (ref. 52508-0002)
Styling your formal outfit with a Rolex is already a statement, then having the Perpetual 1908 on your wrist tells everyone to focus on you in any gathering. This unique Rolex watch features a 39mm yellow gold case with a white dial or matte black dial. It gives you the option to pick between a more vintage look or a modern look.
Inside is the caliber 7140 Rolex automatic movement with seconds subdial at 6 o’clock. It has a power reserve of 66 hours with a 50 meters water resistance. The Rolex Perpetual 1908 is a classic timepiece that can turn heads in any formal attire. It currently sells for $22,000.
Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Selfwinding (ref. 15210OR.OO.A002KB.01)
The Code 11.59 dress timepiece from Audemars Piguet is a true jewel for luxury watches. It features an 18-carat pink gold case that measures 41mm in diameter and 10.7mm in case thickness.
It has a deep black dial with pink gold hands and markers with the AP logo boldly written in pink gold also at 12 o’clock. It is powered by the Caliber 3129 AP automatic movement with a power reserve of 70 hours and a water resistance of 30 meters. Its strap is coated in black rubber with a pink gold pin buckle. It’s the perfect dress timepiece for a tuxedo, and it sells for around $31,000.
A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar (ref. 421.025FE)
From a brand like A. Lange & Söhne, seeing a dress watch like the 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar was an absolute shocker. Inside it are three of the most exciting complications in any timepiece.
It features a moon phase display, a perpetual Calendar, and a Rattrapante Chronograph; all of these are placed on the silver dial of this watch.
It has a platinum case that measures 41.9mm in diameter and 14.7mm in case thickness. The Caliber L101.1 manual movement with a power reserve of 42 hours powers it. It features a black alligator leather strap with a platinum buckle. The Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar is a timepiece for the elite and men that enjoy luxury and functionality. It sells for around $170,000.
All in all, for a timepiece to be considered dressy, it must portray a high level of class and elegance, and that’s one common feature of all the watches on this list. So if you’re looking for the next dress watch to buy, save this list for yourself; you will surely find the right one that will meet your needs, whether in terms of functionality, look, or price.