Horology, part 4 - The History of Dress Watches

Dress watches have existed since the first pocket watch was connected to a strap. Even though the way they look has changed over time, their main goal remains the same: to elegantly complement a man's social attire.

In my opinion, to achieve this objective a dress watch has to contain a few characteristics:

  • Slim profile and a case size that allows it to fit under a shirt cuff.

  • Strap made of leather.

  • Dial with a small number of elements.

The Historiques Ultra-Fine 1968 (left) and Historiques 1955 (right)

Since the beginning of the last century, several iconic dress watches became part of horological history, such as the Cartier Tank; the Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso; and the Patek Philippe Calatrava.

It is important to notice that a dress watch doesn't have to be expensive or luxurious. As long as the piece feels appropriated as part of a more social attire, the cost is irrelevant. One of the best examples of great cost-benefit in the category is the Orient Bambino:

Orient Bambino III