Monochrome Watches
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Buying Guide

5 Elegant and High-End Dress Watches of 2020

The perfect watches to look classy and tasteful.

| By Xavier Markl | 4 min read |

The dress watch, an accessory that every man needs is the simplest but most elegant type of watch. Refined, discreet, visually simple but mechanically satisfying, they are all about exclusive materials and finishing, balanced proportions and luxurious but not ostentatious appeal. As 2020 comes to an end, here’s a selection of five of our favourite high-end dress watches of the year.

A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Thin Honeygold

Part of a trilogy of watches presented to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the Saxon brand, A. Lange & Söhne introduces the 1815 Thin Honeygold “Homage to F.A. Lange”, which is a brand new model in this collection – its movement has only been used in the Saxonia collection so far. This elegant ultra-thin 38mm dress watch comes in a limited edition of 175 pieces in Lange’s exclusive Honeygold alloy, with a glossy white enamel dial – something rare at ALS, especially for time-only watches – and special finishes on its hand-wound movement, with its German silver bridges showing matte surfaces. Superbly refined, both inside and out!

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Quick facts: 38mm diameter x 6.3mm height 18k Honeygold case – white enamel dial – hand-wound calibre L093.1 in-house – alligator leather strap on Honeygold pin buckle – limited to 188 pieces – EUR 33,000

Girard-Perregaux 1966 Infinity

With its Infinity collection, Girard-Perregaux has presented several of its most iconic watches dressed in pitch-black, glossy onyx. Among these is a 40mm steel Girard-Perregaux 1966. Its pure lines and graceful elegance paired with the deep black dial capture the elegance of a black-tie soirée. Turning the watch over, the exhibition caseback reveals the automatic calibre GP3300 fitted with a pink gold rotor. 

Quick facts: 40mm diameter x 8.90mm height – stainless steel case – black onyx dial with pink gold indices – automatic calibre GP03300-1402 in-house – black alligator strap with folding steel buckle – limited to 188 pieces – CHF 9,100

Laurent Ferrier Classic Origin

With the Classic Origin, Laurent Ferrier celebrates its tenth anniversary with a dress watch showcasing the pared-down elegance you have come to expect from the brand. At 40mm in diameter, its soft case is made of polished grade 5 titanium. This time-only model with small seconds at 6 o’clock comes with an elegant dash of sportiness, with touches of burgundy and grey on its silver opaline dial. Inside is the superbly finished hand-wound Calibre LF 116.01, with its signature long-blade spring and frosted, dark-coated bridges. Also available with a sportier dark green dial.

Laurent Ferrier Classic Origin Opaline Titanium

Quick facts: 40mm diameter x 10.70mm height – grade 5 titanium case – white silver opaline dial – hand-wound calibre LF 116.01 in-house – calfskin strap with titanium pin buckle – CHF 28,500

Piaget Altiplano 38mm Hand-Wound Blue

If there’s one model that perfectly defines the concept of an elegant, ultra-thin dress watch, it is the Piaget Altiplano. Refined, discreet, mechanically interesting and visually understated, this icon created in 1957 has stood the test of time to become an unmistakable reference. This year, the brand added a new 18k pink gold and blue dial version to its collection of Altiplano 38mm, giving this usually toned-down model a more striking appearance. Without surprise, the watch is powered by the paper-thin Calibre 430P, the signature engine of ultra-thin Piaget models.

2020 Piaget Altiplano 38mm Hand-Wound blue dial pink gold G0A45050

Quick facts: 38mm diameter x 6mm height – 18k pink gold case – blue lacquered dial with sunray-brushed pattern – hand-wound calibre 430P – alligator strap with gold pin buckle – limited to 188 pieces – EUR 18,600

Schwarz Etienne Roma Synergy by Kari Voutilainen

Schwarz Etienne enlisted the talent of Kari Voutilainen to create an elegant time-only watch showcasing some of the rare and remarkable crafts by the Finnish watchmaker. The superb hand-guilloché dial is manufactured in his facilities. Turning the watch over, the micro-rotor Schwarz-Etienne Calibre ASE 200.00 appears in a new light, also decorated in collaboration with Voutilainen. Presented in a 39mm stainless steel case, the watch is released in two limited editions of 50 pieces each.

Schwarz Etienne Roma Synergy by Kari Voutilainen

Quick facts: 39mm diameter x 11mm height – stainless steel case – hand-guilloché dial, made by Les Ateliers Kari Voutilainen – automatic micro-rotor calibre ASE 200.00 – leather strap with steel folding buckle – 2 limited editions of 50 pieces – CHF 27,400

6 responses

  1. The Ferrier for me please. I’ve totally changed my opinion of his watches over the past couple of years – used to dislike most of them, now find them gorgeous. I think I’ve arrived at a ‘maturity of taste’.

  2. @GAV
    I think you have just have seen much high praise on the watch blogs over the last 2 years and hearing stories of good sales to “discerning collectors” it effects your mind.It happens to best of us in all matters of taste. Look at Jackson Pollack phenomenon ,(I I spelled his name right? He made a mess and that’s how people saw it,”collectors” put money in them,they became a “Cause Célèbre” and bingo,”people” now think that those pos, are high art. Like I said,what the tribal leaders do we acquire a “taste” for. Some physiology major can chime in and say it better. Just what I am observing and have observed. Have a Happy New Year you fellow watch lover you !

  3. Interesting observation, Ray. At the end of the day that’s what P/R is all about; influencing the minds of potential customers, including the individuals who never perceived themselves as potential customers. Notwithstanding the above, I find the Schwarz Etienne outlined in the article a stunning piece! Whether it justifies its price-tag is another debate. L’art pour l’art?

  4. @Ray
    Oh, I totally understand what you’re saying (and I’m a psychology major for my sins), but I’m the sort who reacts badly to too much praise – the ‘oversaturisation effect’ I think they call it. I find the praise for him has died down now, and it’s recognised that the value of his watches drop like lead on the pre-owned market (which is where I intend to get one).
    I think essentially it might be something quite mundane that draws me towards them: I’ve built up a modest collection which has left only very few contenders which could not only fit harmoniously beside them in the display box, but be something I could wear with ease, that would have little-to-no novelty effect that would wear off (which is something that I fear may happen with a Journe).

    But, saying that, if there were no praise for him at all, would I be interested? Probably not.

  5. I have never felt the need for a “dress” watch. Completely unmoved by any of them.

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