Watches are slowly dropping out of favour as we increasingly rely on gadgets – from the Blackberry to iPads – to tell us the time. But let us not underestimate the beauty and charm of a dress watch. Adding a touch of masculine glamour to any formal outfit, the dress watch is jewelry that it is perfectly acceptable for any man to wear. Whether you splash out on a Rolex or go for a more reasonable designer name – a watch can truly be an investment for a lifetime. And some great watches are more than just an investment, they are a piece of intricate art that you can carry around on your wrist. Wristwatches first came into favour during the 1920s as pocket watches became increasingly cumbersome to the demands of modern life. In the early days of the wristwatches, however, there was a stigma attached to the wristwatch as they were considered feminine and merely a passing fad.This all changed with the outbreak of WW1 whereby wristwatches were the only practical timekeeper for life on the battlefield.
After the end of the war, wristwatches became increasingly reliant on their aesthetic value. A beautiful wristwatch was the ultimate status symbol, and dress watches were an important facet of mid-century formalwear. Perhaps the most prominent name of the period, and a name still intrisically linked to watches now was the Cartier wristwatch that first went on sale in 1911. It is a name that still carries considerable weight, even now, proving that the timeless appeal of a great watch still holds relevance today.
With a dress watch, as with women and jewelry, it is very much about personal preference. There are infinite combinations of metals, straps and faces that make watches an accessory that must be tried on and considered. Although a metal strap is perfectly acceptable for formal events, a leather strap is generally considered more traditional – adding a subtle touch to your outfit. If shopping for a formal watch, go for a shiny leather to prevent it looking too day-to-day. If going for a metal strap, again go for something a little shinier. As for gold or silver – it really is up to you.
To make things a easier, TSK have compiled a list of some of our favourite watch designers – and some reccomendations about what to go for if you are heading to a formal event.
Tag Heuer is the perfect brand for those who want a traditional masculine watch. A little rugged, the Swiss brand’s watches are fairly large and substantial, but always have comfort in mind. They are showy without being too in-your-face. In terms of dress watches, try their Monaco collection. Based on the model worn on the wrist of Steve McQueen in Le Mans, this is an elegant watch with a leather strap that will go perfectly with any dinner suit. Brit brand Hackett also collaborated with the Swiss watchmakers – proving that the Tag Heuer fits perfectly with the charm of British formalwear.
No matter what you might think about Rolex watches, no discussion of fine watches can take place without mentioning the extraordinary Swiss brand. Normally, TSK advises exercising restraint when it comes to accessories, but if you can afford this ultimate status symbol, why not go all out? Team the glitzy Day-Date watch with a simple dinner suit to make an impression, or team more relaxed formalwear with the iconic Yacht-Master.
Completing our Swiss watch trio is the mighty Omega. Playing its part in a number of historical events – the first watch worn to the moon, the official watch of the Olympic Games and of course James Bond’s watch of choice, Omega oozes both sophistication and precision. Try their ‘Museum’ watch for the ultimate coming together of these two facets. These are watches that are truly built to tell the time – and look good whilst doing it.