Charlotte's Top 5 Dress Watches under £2,000 in 2023
 

Charlotte's Top 5 Dress Watches under £2,000 in 2023

5 min read
Charlotte Harris

Categories

Watch Buying Guide

Charlotte Harris

Categories

Watch Buying Guide

Most of us have a timepiece we turn to when life gets “formal”. Those occasions where it’s a suit or heels day, maybe a wedding or a funeral, a business meeting or simply taking the other half out for a nice dinner. These watches are what we call “dress watches” and they are easily one of the most popular styles of wristwear on the market.

While tool watches like the classic pilot’s or diver’s appeal to smaller demographics with specific tastes and hobbies, dress watches will inevitably be required for everyone at some point in their life. They are the go-to watches for looking smart and put together, offering simple and elegant stylings and slender cases that fit perfectly under a shirt cuff. In fact, they’re so effortless to wear that dress watches are for many, that “everyday” watch they throw on for a typical 9-5 day. Because of this, they’re also one of the few genres of watches that can very easily turn a regular watch-wearing gentleman into an avid collector.

What Defines a Dress Watch?

For us, there are four key traits every dress watch should have. The first is a slim profile. This is particularly essential in a men’s dress watch since no one wants their perfectly fitted suit jacket to be bunching up at the sleeves because of a thick-cased tool watch. Typically, dress watches want to be less than 15mm tall so they can slide neatly under your shirt cuff. In a similar sense, dress watches also need to be of a modest diameter. Again, no one wants to interrupt a formal outfit with an over imposing timepiece. This time, width dimensions should be anywhere below the 41mm mark.

Another key feature of a dress watch is a simple and timeless design. This is where form over function is essential. Your dress watch should have a clean, understated dial with minimal complications, all done in a classic colour that will easily go with most outfits. This isn’t to say that your dress watch needs to be boring but timeless elegance is the goal here. Finally, a dress watch should have a comfortable strap. Truthfully, most of the best dress watches have a high quality leather strap so that the case can sit close to the wrist for a neat and comfortable finish, but as you’ll now find out, that’s not always the case.

Charlotte's Top Five Dress Watches

No5 - Tissot Gentlemen Powermatic 80

Tissot Powermatic 80

Tissot Powermatic 80 - Credit Tissot

Swiss watchmaker Tissot is one of those brand’s we recommend to many newbies of the watch world as they offer a wide number of affordable dress watches for the everyday. Their Tissot Gentlemen Powermatic 80 is our personal favourite, measuring 40mm in diameter and only 11.6mm tall with elegant brushed and polished stainless steel cases and clean dials in traditional green, black or navy colours. The Gentleman is one of only a few dress watches that we recommend with a three-row link bracelet, although they are available with leather straps. The real selling point however is the Powermatic 80 movement inside. It’s not often you’ll find a Swiss made movement with an 80-hour power reserve and an anti-magnetic silicon balance spring for less than £800.

No4 - Junghans Max Bill Automatic

Junghans Max Bill Automatic

Junghans Max Bill Automatic - Credit Junghans

German watchmaker Junghans has the super slim dress watch nailed. Their entire portfolio of Bauhaus-inspired timepieces is worthy of the dress watch genre, but their Max Bill Automatic model is an easy first choice for us. Everything here screams minimalistic elegance; the unisex-sized 38mm cases are engineered from stainless steel, some left bare and other treated to a yellow gold plating, sitting only 10mm tall meaning you’ll never have a problem wearing them with a tight shirt sleeve. The dials are simple and uncluttered, electing time-only functionality with super slender hands and neat Arabic or baton indexes. Inside is the self-winding movement calibre J800.1 with a 38 hours power reserve which is typically protected by a closed case back with a 50 metre water resistant rating.

Junghans Max Bill Automatic

Junghans Max Bill Automatic - Credit Junghans

No3 - Longines DolceVita Sector Dial

Longines DolceVita £1,850

Longines DolceVita £1,850. Stockist: www.longines.co.ukLive link to buy: LONGINES DOLCEVITA Watch L5.255.5.75.7

The Longines DolceVita watch collection isn’t typically our go-to for luxury watches these days, but their distinctive Longines DolceVita Sector Dial model mixes things up nicely by delivering the 1920’s rectangular-shaped case with a vintage-inspired sector dial. Giving us serious Cartier Tank vibes but at half the price, the DolceVita Sector Dial watch showcases a stunning flinqué display with simple Arabic numerals spread evenly across the dial with a guilloché-like pattern at the centre. As you can probably tell, it’s largely the dial here that makes this watch so pleasant to wear. That being said, the case is still elegantly executed with a 28mm by 47mm size, polished finishing and a comfortable selection of leather straps to choose from.

No2 - NOMOS Glashutte Orion 38

A close contender for first place, but just missing out for the higher price point, the NOMOS Glashutte Orion 38 watch ticks all the boxes of a dress watch.

NOMOS Glashuette Orion 38

NOMOS Glahuette Orion 38 - Credit NOMOS Glashuette

This is one of those rare watches you barely feel you’re wearing, but it’s unmissable by sight. The stainless steel case has a 38mm diameter and an almost invisible height of 7.8mm which feels even thinner thanks to the slim, tapering lugs. The time-only, small seconds-adorned display is powered by the German watchmaker’s in-house Alpha movement which offers up a 43 hour power reserve and even more good looks through the exhibition case back. There’s also plenty of clean, minimalistic dial colours up for grabs but our personal pick would be the classic white dial with blue hands.

NOMOS Glashuette Orion 38

NOMOS Glahuette Orion 38 - Credit NOMOS Glashuette

No1 - Seiko Presage Cocktail Time

Taking up the first place spot is none other than the Seiko Presage Cocktail Time watch. When it comes to looks, performance and price point, there’s very little room for error when it comes to Seiko’s Presage family. These watches are typically below £400 a piece and are beautifully simple without being boring. Those with the deeply accented sunburst dials are our personal favourites, particularly reference SRPD37 which elects a gorgeous emerald green dial with sharp, faceted hour markers and a contrasting yellow gold seconds hand. It also has a 40.5mm stainless steel case with a height of 11.8mm, a deep brown leather strap and their in-house Calibre 4R35 automatic winding movement with a 41 hour power reserve. The Seiko Presage Cocktail Time is a pure personification of timeless elegance and that price point is just the cherry on top.

Seiko Presage Cocktail Time

Seiko Presage Cocktail Time - Credit WatchGecko 

That concludes the fourth feature of our Top 5 Series, do you agree with our opinions or would you have chosen a different model for your number one spot?

Let us know in the comments below!

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Charlotte Harris

About the Author: Charlotte Harris

Writing and watches are two of my biggest passions in life so being able to unite them on a daily basis is a wonderful thing. I hope through my writing that I can bring a fresh, feminine perspective on the watch space and encourage more men and women to get excited about all that’s happening.

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