Give Me Five! 5 Impressive Dress Watches From 2017

by Sabine Zwettler

 Martin Green recently shared some thoughts about the classic dress watch. His great in-depth feature — The Death Of The Dress Watch: Is It Time To Write Its Obituary? — even expressed his concern that someday soon he would have to write an obituary for this most basic watch type, generally defined as a classic three-hand timepiece with no frills that one would wear in business settings and on formal occasions.

Although I deeply appreciate his expertise and profound knowledge of watches in general and dress watches in particular, I disagree on this point.

I think that the dress watch genre saw the introduction of some awesome timepieces in 2017 — be it intriguing new takes on existing models or completely new ones. Quite simply, because this type of watch possesses a pure character, it more often than not conforms to an oft-quoted stereotype: they have a timeless aura that is capable of shining for decades.

On top of that, within the framework of crisis the watch industry is currently experiencing, to me it seems obvious that brands should go a more modest route instead of pushing the boundaries of extravagance even further.

And what could be more modest and honest than a “good old” or “good new” three-handed timepiece? The one your parents might have given you on the occasion of your high school or college graduation? The one you might have bought from your first paycheck? Or that, hopefully, your adult child will buy in celebration of his or her first real salary?

An affordable watch whose sober design perfectly complements you in a (pant)suit is an important matter (to some), whether you wear it to the opera or just to give you the pleasure of reading the time from your favorite dial.

The classic dress watch is a timepiece would never shame you if it slipped out from under your sleeve and exposed itself to the eyes of your conversation partner. It is a watch that gives you the same feeling that a good pair of perfectly fitting jeans (or suit pants) does.

For some of us, it might almost provide a sense of home.

To boil my reflections down to an essence: considering the great introductions in 2017 (and I’m very much looking forward to the many expected in 2018), I’ve no fear that Martin will have to write the obituary of the dress watch just yet.

Disagree? Then please look at why I think these five beautiful watches are dressed for success!

Breguet Classique Reference 7147

The noble timepieces of Breguet’s Classique collection prioritize precision and a minimalist aesthetic that celebrates frill-free beauty. Whether it’s an extra-slim model or a watch that includes a sophisticated horological complication, each model reflects this prestigious Swiss manufactory’s high expertise in technology and design.

Breguet Classique Reference 7147

Breguet Classique Reference 7147

This philosophy rings particularly true for the Classique Reference 7147 introduced at Baselworld 2017. The dial, a small masterpiece itself laboriously crafted in long-lasting high-fire enamel, skillfully recalls the minimalism of yesteryear’s pocket watches.

One exception to the vintage reference, though, is the small seconds subdial, which occupies a position at 5 o’clock instead of the conventional 6 or 9 o’clock placement. This little trick adds differentiated distinction. Not to be missed are, of course, the characteristic Breguet open-tipped hands in blued steel that go perfectly with the white background.

Breguet Caliber 502.3SD powers the Classique Reference 7147

Breguet Caliber 502.3SD powers the Classique Reference 7147

Refinement is also found underneath the elegant dial, where manufactory Caliber 502.3SD, only 2.4 mm in height and equipped with a forward-thinking silicon hairspring, sets the pace.

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Quick Facts Breguet Classique Reference 7147
Case: 40 x 6.47 mm, white gold
 Movement: automatic Caliber 502.3SD, 3Hz/21,600 vph frequency, power reserve 45 hours, inverted in-line lever escapement with silicon pallets, silicon balance spring
 Functions: hours, minutes, small seconds
 Price: $21,500 / €20,800

Chopard L.U.C XP

Finely crafted and manually assembled and decorated by hand, the timepieces christened “L.U.C” pay homage to Chopard’s founder and accordingly bear his initials. For connoisseurs, they are also a sign that these watches are powered by genuine Swiss-made movements that were completely developed and produced in the Chopard Manufacture workshops in Fleurier.

Chopard L.U.C XP

Chopard L.U.C XP

This two-hand timepiece was one of my favorite introductions at Baselworld 2017 because of its overall consistent style. It embodies contemporary elegance at its best!

First, we have this very thin case measuring a mere 7.3 mm in height. Second, the vertically brushed silver dial is very understated, presenting a fitting background for the four large, polished, blued numerals and the blued-steel Dauphine fusée-type hands typical of the XP line.

The blue color is repeated on a woven cashmere strap, adding a casual note to the watch’s sophisticated appearance.

Chopard Caliber 96.53-L

Chopard Caliber 96.53-L

All good things come in threes: this watch’s sophistication is also evident inside of the L.U.C XP in the form of beautifully finished Caliber 96.53-L. Only 3.3 mm thick it is equipped with an effective micro-rotor and Chopard’s patented double stacked barrel configuration that allows for a 58-hour power reserve. Despite its svelte height, this movement comprises 172 components.

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Quick Facts Chopard L.U.C XP
Case: 40 x 7.3 mm, stainless steel
 Movement: automatic manufacture Caliber 96.53-L, 4Hz/28,800 vph frequency, power reserve 58 hours
 Functions: hours, minutes
 Price: €8,100

Ulysse Nardin Classico Paul David Nardin

Earlier in 2017, the Swiss manufactory presented a new addition with a decidedly vintage take on the classic style of the aptly named Classico line: the Classico Paul Nardin. A tribute to Ulysse Nardin’s son, Paul David, who took control of the company after Ulysse’s death in 1876, this timepiece draws inspiration from a 1945 model.

Ulysse Nardin Classico Paul David Nardin

Ulysse Nardin Classico Paul David Nardin

Although it exudes the well-balanced elegance typical of this line, it also shines out with the aura of a timepiece from days gone by. Nostalgic settings like those found in the classic book All Creatures Great and Small spring to mind, and I can easily picture this watch being worn by a sophisticated gentleman from this period.

Its bezel, very thin as befits a dress watch, surrounds an understated silvery dial with distinctive Arabic numerals and very well proportioned small seconds subdial at 6 o’clock integrating a discreet date indication.

A close look at the dial details of the Ulysse Nardin Classico Paul David Nardin

A close look at the dial details of the Ulysse Nardin Classico Paul David Nardin

The overall appearance is complemented by a rugged brown leather strap.

The Classico Paul David Nardin is powered by a ticking classic, Ulysse Nardin’s in-house Caliber UN-320. The automatic movement with a power reserve of 48 hours is equipped with a silicon hairspring, escape wheel, and pallet fork; Ulysse Nardin is a pioneer in the use of this innovative material.

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Quick Facts Ulysse Nardin Classico Paul David Nardin
Case: 39 mm, stainless steel
 Movement: automatic Caliber UN-320, 4Hz/28,800 vph frequency, silicon hairspring, escape wheel and pallet fork, power reserve of 48 hours,
 Functions: hours, minutes, seconds, date
 Price: €9,500 / $9,500 / 9,500 Swiss francs

Hermès Cape Cod Double Tour

The Hermès Cape Cod is the only non-round dress watch here, and some might argue that it is not a dress watch in the classic sense of the term because of its shape and size. But since it is one of my favorite watches of 2017, I have decided it is not to be missed in this lineup.

Hermès Cape Cod GM Étoupe Double Tour

Hermès Cape Cod GM Cadran Maillon Chaîne d’Ancre Double Tour in blue

When we talk about this iconic collection first introduced in 1991 and designed by the brand’s then artistic director Henri d’Origny, it is important to note that the strap plays an important role, too, since it is most charming and expressive in the double wrap (which Hermès calls “double tour”) variation.

The Cape Cod Cadran Maillon Chaîne d’Ancre Large Model looks just fantastic with this double-wrap strap in Malta blue subtly corresponding to the hue of the dial, which also offers the signature Chaîne d’Ancre (“anchor chain”) motif for the first time.

Hermès Cape Cod GM Double Tour

Hermès Cape Cod GM Double Tour

You may also enjoy 2018 Hermès Cape Cod Collection Captures The Essential Spirit Of This Signature Nautically-Inspired Line for much more on this introduction.

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Quick Facts Cape Cod Cadran Maillon Chaîne d’Ancre Large Model — Double Tour
Case: 29 x 29 mm, stainless steel
 Movement: quartz
 Functions: hours, minutes
 Price: €3,450

Nomos Glashütte Metro neomatik 39 silvercut

Although it was launched only relatively recently in 2014, Nomos’ Metro line has already earned numerous awards for its understated and pure appearance. And rightfully so!

A brainchild of Berlin-based designer Mark Braun, its distinctive and minimalist style dominated by filigreed hands and a meticulously spaced minute circle around the dial’s circumference is even more expressive in the Metro neomatik 39 silvercut introduced in early fall as part of the At Work series comprising a total of 14 models.

Thanks to “neomatik” updates, this Metro’s stainless steel case with an enlarged diameter of 38.5 mm is very slim. Its in-house automatic Caliber DUW 3001 is a mere 3.2 mm high and fitted with the company’s proprietary Swing System escapement.

Aside from technical excellence, the movement offers attractive finishing with some highly sought-after decorative characteristics exclusive to the region, including Glashütte sunburst and ribbing.

But let’s return to the rhodium-plated watch dial whose minimalist character becomes even more refined in a new fashionable shade of silver-gray. For those who know Nomos Glashütte well, it comes to no surprise that the German manufactory with a penchant for fancy colors (and names of them!) adds a cool new hue to the composition: “lipstick red” for the hour indexes and the small seconds hand. I love it!

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Quick Facts Nomos Glashütte Metro neomatik 39 silvercut
Case: 38.5 x 8.35 mm, stainless steel
 Movement: automatic manufacture Caliber DUW 3001, 3Hz/21,600 vph frequency, power reserve of 42 hours, Nomos swing system, Glashütte three-quarter plate
 Functions: hours, minutes, seconds
 Price: $4,280 / €3,180

Originally published at Quill & Pad.