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. 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 about how to choose a watch strap colour, it’s best to stick with the classic black, brown or navy colours for formal occasions and experiment with fun colours for a casual night out.

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

Perhaps the biggest is its 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 streetwear adds luxury to the cool factor. A fine dress 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


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.

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 Vacheron Constantin's 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 downside 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. 

Our Traditum Series Dress watches are currently sold out and retired. But do not worry, we are working on a new dress watch. If you want to be in the loop and be notified when it launches, click here and sign up for our newsletter.



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  • Great post! I’ve always been curious about what sets a dress watch apart from other types of watches, and you’ve done an excellent job breaking it down. I completely agree that a dress watch should be understated and elegant, with a slim profile and a clean, uncluttered dial. I also appreciate the emphasis you’ve placed on the importance of the movement – a quality movement can really elevate a dress watch and make it something special. Overall, this post has given me a much better understanding of what to look for in a dress watch, and I’ll definitely be keeping your tips in mind when I’m shopping for one in the future. Thanks for sharing your expertise!

    Sophia en
  • Muchas gracias. ?Como puedo iniciar sesion?

    cmzoitgnrz en

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