What Makes a Dress Watch?

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What is a dress watch?

In the classical sense, a dress watch is an elegant watch that is typically worn with a formal suit or tuxedo. However, these days it can also be sported with casual attire like polo and jeans with which it pairs equally fabulously.

What makes a watch a Dress watch?

As the rules of dressing are being rewritten we’re witnessing a change in fashion that blends style and comfort.Suits now pair as acceptably with sneakers as they do with oxfords and high-end pieces mix with low without the batting of an eye. The same sentiment applies when it comes to timepieces. Wearing a dress watch now is not a result of sartorially-oppressive norms, it is a means of self-expression and freedom of choice. 

Therefore, in these modern times, you can wear a dress watch with jeans and you’ll find that it complements the casual look superbly and just as effortlessly. In fact, that’s what makes a dress watch - one that can instantly elevate the overall appeal, lending a modern but graceful appearance to any attire, be it business suits, sports jackets, or polo and jeans.

What should you wear with a dress watch?

Essentially, a dress watch is a timepiece designed to be worn with a suit or some other formal attire, though it can also be worn with semi-formal and even business casual attire depending on the outfits. Can you wear a dress watch casually with jeans and a t-shirt? Absolutely.

What watch band goes with a dress watch?

Traditionally speaking, dress watches are paired with cow or alligator fine leather straps and come with polished or dual polished cases.Truth be told, both of these straps tend to pair best with a dress watch, whether you’re going to an upscale or casual event. If you’re thinking how to choose watch strap color, it’s best to stick with the classic black, brown or navy colors for formal occasions and experiment with fun colors for a casual night out.

So, what are some of the hallmarks of a dress watch?

Perhaps the biggest is the simplicity of it. Most dress watches have no complications or have at most a second hand and a date window.Besides elegance, minimalism is what makes a dress watch.

What makes a dress watch still relevant today? A watch is still one of the most acceptable ways for men to wear jewelry. Then, there’s versatility: pairing a classic watch with the latest street wear adds luxury to the cool factor. A fine dress classic watch will anchor your otherwise of-the-moment look and you can wear it with anything from your Rag & Bone flannel shirt to a Tom Ford suit. 

Anatomy of a dress watch

Dress Watch with Hand Wound Swiss ETA 6498 Movement


A closeup of a dress watch in order to explain, "what is a dress watch?"


A dress watch is supposed to be elegant and modest.A watch that is minimalistic and adds a touch of style, flair, and sophistication, regardless of whether it is worn with formal, semi-formal, or casual attire, is a dress watch.

In terms of its making, in the traditional sense, a fine dress watch is encased in a precious metal exterior like gold or platinum. However, the definition of a dress watch has evolved over the years and now encompasses watches with dress casings constructed of other metals like stainless steel.

In fact, even luxury watchmakers these days present dress watches with casings of stainless steel. And why not? It looks just as elegant, if not more so!

How much does a good dress watch cost?

One of the most obvious examples of this is the Vacheron Constantin Patrimony. But that is a $20,000 watch. Not something everyone can afford. There are a handful of high-end Swiss brands that make good dress watches, but the down side is they drain your bank account, unless you can drop $3-$20K for a watch.

Two dress watches closeup in order to explain, "what is a dress watch?

However the good news is that contrary to popular or rather traditional perception, a good dress watch doesn’t have to be expensive.So, if you are in the market for a well Swiss Made dress watch for less than $1000, check out our Swiss Made Traditum Series – best dress watches under $1,000

Traditum Series:  A classic dress watch for gentlemen. A Limited Edition collection available in Hand Wound Swiss ETA 6498 Movements. 

You can also explore Ferro & Company's other collections and options of refurbished watches to create your look. Make sure to pair the right watch accessory with your time piece to keep it classy.

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