As the end of the year draws nearer every day now, we’re in the midst of the festive season. Christmas parties, New Year’s Eve celebrations and whatnot dominate our agendas. The perfect time really, to whip out a high-class dress watch and pair it with your cocktail dress or smoking, or with a onesie and cosy slippers if that’s more your thing. Regardless of how you will ‘suit up’ we have gone through all the dress watches released this year and have voted on five which we think are the Best Dress Watches of 2023.
Even though chronographs and divers are amongst the most popular categories in watchmaking, the ‘less is more’ dress watch is still a staple of the community. A watch as simple as it can get, with just two or three hands to tell time, can still have a big impact. From well over 100 new watches we covered that fit the term ‘dress watch’ (and yes, to us that can include a seconds indication) we’ve narrowed it down to just five. Surely there will be other contenders on your lists, so do feel free to enlighten us with your choices in the comment section. That said, let’s get down to what watches made the list!
Chopard L.U.C. 1860 Salmon Dial
The Chopard L.U.C. line is one of the best-kept secrets in the industry, but Chopard has put it in the spotlight in recent years. Watches like the Strike One, for instance, really brought it to people’s attention in a big way. One of the most refined iterations of the time-only watch however is the Chopard L.U.C. 1860 Salmon. Salmon dials are a favourite among the MONOCHROME team and seeing it in gleaming Lucent Steel, applied white gold indices & hands and a beautiful guilloché decoration only made us fall in love with it all over again. Sized to perfection, at 36.5mm in diameter, and equipped with the fantastic in-house micro-rotor Calibre 1.96 make it a genuine show-stopper.
For more details on the exquisite Chopard L.U.C. 1860 in Salmon, please check out our hands-on review here.
Grand Seiko Elegance Hana-Ikada SBGY026
If there was one watch from Grand Seiko this year that made a lasting impression on all of us, it’s the Elegance Hana-Ikada SBGY026. It combines the brand’s expertise in making spectacular dials, with the luxurious appeal of a rose gold case and a Spring Drive movement. The Hana-Ikada has a gorgeous soft-pink Shunbun dial inspired by cherry blossom petals set in the elegant Omiwatari style case, a combination that works wonders. The exterior is not let down by the interior either, as the Calibre 9R31 combines the best attributes of mechanical and quartz watchmaking to achieve a precision of ±1 seconds of deviation per day. The sad reality, however, is that this 100-piece limited edition is long sold out. Nevertheless, it’s one of the finest dress watches released this year.
For more information on this gorgeous Grand Seiko Elegance Hana-Ikada SBGY026, please head over to our hands-on story here.
Moritz-Grossmann Tefnut Silver-Plated by Friction
A couple of years ago we wrote a story titled ‘Germans do it Better?‘, referring to the profound Saxony style of watchmaking found in the Glashütte region in east Germany. One of the most impressive brands from this area is Moritz Grossmann, known for its devotion to finishing and detail. The Tefnut Silver-Plated by Friction is one of the latest to emerge from the brand’s manufacture and is a stunner from top to bottom. The heat-annealed violet hands (taking a full day by a single craftsman to perfect!), the elegant rose gold case, the impeccably finished movement, but best of all; that dial! It’s crafted using a 19th-century technique by carefully brushing on a special paste made of silver powder, salt, cream of tartar and water to achieve a very fine grain. The dial is then carefully polished and fired in a kiln to achieve a stellar level of detail, including hand-engraved and lacquered Breguet-style numerals.
For more information on the Moritz Grossmann Tefnut Silver-Plated by Friction, please visit our hands-on review.
Nomos Tangente roségold Neomatik
We remain in the mountainous Glashütte region for our next selected watch, which is the Nomos Tangente Roségold Neomatik. Celebrating more than 175 years of watchmaking in Glashütte, this devilishly handsome Tangente, a genuine icon of design, brings back the coveted ‘Lange’ dial. This two-tone cream and rose gold Bauhaus-inspired dial takes its design after watches made in the early 1900s by A. Lange & Söhne and Stowa. Set in the refined Tangente case, for the occasion crafted in rose gold, the result is striking, to say the least. Details such as the fine hands, the burgundy-coloured numerals and indices and its slender profile give it a ton of flair. The in-house DUW 3001 movement measures only 3.2mm in height, which keeps the watch down to a total height of just 6.9mm. Simply lovely!
For more details on the superb Nomos Tangente Neomatik, please check out our hands-on review here (incl. video).
Rolex perpetual 1908
Last but certainly not least is the Perpetual 1908 by Rolex, launched during Watches & Wonders to replace the Cellini. Rolex is mostly known for its instrument watches such as the Explorer and Submariner, but knows a thing or two about elegance and refinement as well. The new Perpetual 1908 takes us back to the early days of the brand in terms of design but is every bit a present-day Rolex. The 39mm case is available in yellow or white gold only, with a white or black dial and an alligator leather strap. The Calibre 7141 can be seen through the caseback and is fitted with a Chronergy escapement, Syloxi (silicon) hairspring, variable inertia balance and so on. To make it stand out even more, it’s finished with the new Rolex Côtes de Genève, which has a small polished groove in between the Geneva stripes.
For more details on the surprisingly refined Rolex Perpetual 1908, please read our in-depth hands-on story here.