It really should be the same case when it comes to watches. There's a place and time for your fancy Royal Oak Offshore or that busy-looking Navitimer, yet occasions such as a black-tie event or an important business meeting isn't one. In formal situations like these, you're strongly encouraged to pick your timepiece very wisely, preferably one that doesn't take people's attention away from you. A formal, subtle-looking yet well made dress watch serves as exactly that purpose. And today, we break down for your several factors that define a quality dress watch by taking a close look at, in our opinions, two top of the line, standard-bearing dress watches: a Lange Saxonia and a Patek Calatrava.
Let's check them out!
First Thing First, What IS a Dress Watch?
1. Cleanness: a dress watch should be a time-only watch, meaning it should display nothing other than the hour, minute and second (not even the date);
2. Nobleness: it should be cased in a precious metal such as yellow gold, pink gold, white gold etc;
3. Craftsmanship: it should contain a well finished, manual-winding movement;
4. Subtlety: it should come in a modest case size (usually sub-40mm) and be thin enough to hide under a shirt cuff.
To summarise, the idea behind wearing a proper dress watch to a formal setting, is about showing one's respect and acknowledgement of the importance of the occasion, by choosing a timepiece that's solemn, yet well-made. Reservedness is the name of the game here.
Now let's take a closer look at the Saxonia and Calatrava, compare them against the 4 rules aforementioned and we should be able to see why they make such great dress watches.
Rule #1: Cleanness
Decorations as seen on the dial are kept to a minimum. You can't really see any extra text other than the names of the manufacturers and numeral hour markers are very much optional too. In the case of the Saxonia, applied batons are used instead to indicate the hours whereas in the case of the Calatrava, elegant Roman numerals are used.
Rule #2: Nobleness
Rule #3: Craftsmanship
Rule #4: Subtlety
Until next time!
Note: Special thanks to Secoo for providing the timepieces for this article.