Buying Guide Summer is Over, Back at Work – The Best New and Elegant Watches for Business Use

It's time to go back to the office... And that can't be done without an elegant watch on the wrist.
calendar | ic_dehaze_black_24px By Brice Goulard | ic_query_builder_black_24px 6 minute read |

Yes, I know… The holiday season is over! Gone are the times of the mojito next to the pool. Gone are the warm, sunny days. Gone is your colourful dive watch too. Because I’m afraid guys, it’s time to go back to work. And that can’t be done with your beloved sports watch on the wrist. Business attire means elegant watch. So in order to keep that smile on your face when returning to the office, here are some of the best elegant watches introduced this year. Suit and tie, and elegance on the wrist.

Note: this selection is based on a consensus among the MONOCHROME team. It reflects our preferences but if there are other watches you’d love to mention, feel free to share these in the comment section at the end of this article.

Frederique Constant Slimline Power Reserve Manufacture

If there’s was one thing Frederique Constant is good at, it’s creating elegant watches with nice details and accessible prices. As we want to give an option for all budgets (look at the Seiko Presage collection too, it might suit you too), we think that what the brand has done with its Slimline Power Reserve, a new model introduced at Baselworld 2019, is really worth a closer look. Restrained, discreet, fitted with enough mechanical delicacies to tickle our interest (in-house movement, date and power reserve), it also has a slightly unorthodox display that gives some charm to this piece. At 40mm, it is modernly sized but has a low-key presence that suits business attire.

Quick facts: 40mm steel case, polished (also available in gold plate) – silvery-white dial, blued hands – FC-723 Manufacture calibre – automatic – 50-hour power reserve – hours, minutes, date by hand, power reserve – alligator strap with folding clasp – CHF 3,295frederiqueconstant.com

Rolex Datejust 36 ref. 126234

If there was one and only watch to choose for the rest of our lives… that would certainly be a Rolex Datejust. Simple: this watch is capable of anything. It will look good anywhere, anytime. The Datejust, especially in the classic 36mm version, is your perfect one-watch-collection, perfect for the week with a suit, as good for weekends too. Refreshed at Baselworld 2019, with a redesigned case, updated dials and new movement, the ref. 126234 combines the elegant and iconic fluted bezel to the equally elegant and iconic Jubilee bracelet, a nice black dial and a steel case. You can’t go wrong with this watch.

Rolex DateJust 36 Steel Rolesor 126234

Quick facts: 36mm steel case with white gold fluted bezel – black dial, white gold hands and indexes – calibre 3235, in-house – automatic – 72-hour power reserve – hours, minutes, seconds and date – steel Jubilee bracelet on folding clasp – CHF 7,800www.rolex.com

Grand Seiko Elegance Spring Drive SBGY003

This watch, besides being utterly elegant and superbly crafted, will require a more adventurous mind… because of what “ticks” inside its small 38.5mm Zaratsu-polished steel case. Indeed, Grand Seiko’s latest offering in the field of dress watches is powered by the company’s signature hybrid movement, the Spring Drive. Here, we have a slim, hand-wound version of the mechanical architecture with quartz regulator. So you’ll still have the pleasure of winding your watch, combined with a superb ± 1 second-per-day accuracy. The steel version, ref. SBGY003, features a sunray dial that looks great and dynamic. Elegance, the Japanese way.

Quick facts: 38.5mm steel case, polished – silver dial with sunray pattern – calibre 9R31, in-house – hand-wound with Spring Drive technology – 72h power reserve – hours, minutes, seconds and power reserve (back) – crocodile strap with three-fold clasp – EUR 8,200www.grand-seiko.com

Blancpain Villeret Extra-Plate 6605 Steel

Blancpain’s reputation in terms of elegant, discreet watches needs no introduction. The brand masters the dress watch, with dozens of offerings with or without complications. The latest addition to the Villeret collection is also the simplest and most affordable of the lot, an ultra-thin, hand-wound version with nothing more than the time on its dial. The Villeret Extra-Plate 6605 is presented in a 40mm case of only 7.39mm height and can be ordered in a below-10k steel version. Its movement is nicely decorated (but not very demonstrative) and features a power reserve indicator (with 95h of autonomy). Elegance and discretion by a top-tier brand, for a restrained price.

Blancpain Villeret Extra Plate 6605

Quick facts: 40mm steel case, polished – silver dial with applied Roman numerals – Calibre 11A4B, in-house – hand-wound – 95h power reserve – hours, minutes, power reserve (back) – alligator leather with pin buckle – CHF 9,500www.blancpain.com

Breguet Classique 5177 Grand Feu Blue Enamel

Breguet seems to slowly move towards more desirable pieces, with a less traditional look. Certainly, the silvered dials with guilloché patterns are superb, but maybe too classic for some collectors. The latest addition to the “Classique” collection changes that with a superb, deep-blue Grand Feu enamel dial, enlightened by silvered Breguet-shaped numerals. The rest remains identical to all 5177 versions: thin in-house automatic movement, Breguet hands, fluted caseband on the white gold case, great elegance and class. It is just more modern but still will look perfect at the office.

Breguet Classique 5177 Grand Feu Blue Enamel

Quick facts: 38mm 18k white gold case, polished – grand feu enamel dial in blue – Calibre 777Q, in-house – automatic – 55h power reserve – hours, minutes, seconds and date – blue alligator strap on pin buckle – CHF 23,100www.breguet.com

Chopard L.U.C Quattro Blue Dial

When it was introduced in 2000, the L.U.C Quattro (nothing to do with Audi’s AWD) proved that elegance did not stand in the way of power. Packed with four mainspring barrels for a colossal 9-day power reserve, the watch managed to maintain an ultra-thin profile. This is a great watch that can stand a full week without being wound, that can even be stored in your drawer during weekends and… it will still be running on Monday morning. The latest livery for the L.U.C Quattro is this handsome combination of a 43mm white gold case and a matte greyish-blue dial and a vertical satin-brushed finish. It is both modern and elegant, even though rather large.

Quick facts: 43mm 18k white gold case, polished and brushed – satin-brushed grey-blue dial with applied indexes – calibre L.U.C 98.01-L, in-house (Poinçon de Genève and COSC-certified) – hand-wound – 9-day/216-hour power reserve – hours, minutes, small seconds, date and power reserve indicator – alligator strap with white gold pin buckle – limited edition of 50 watches – EUR 23,700www.chopard.com

Patek Philippe Calatrava Weekly Calendar 5212A

Last but not least… The great Patek Philippe Calatrava Weekly Calendar 5212A. in fact, this piece could well be the most accurate watch in this business-oriented selection. Why, you ask? Because of its unusual, but purpose-built complication made with business executives in mind. Patek’s expertise in calendar watches is solid, and this new watch combines four calendar indications: day, date, month and the unusual week number (something used in various industries, such as the automobile sector, watchmaking, publishing and even finance). In terms of design, the watch is also superb, with vintage inspirations, a nice cream-coloured dial and the “handwritten” fonts. Mechanics (an updated version of the Calibre 324) are equally good. Last but not least, the Weekly Calendar 5212A comes in a steel case.

Quick facts: 40mm steel case, polished – cream-coloured dial with blackened hands and indexes – calibre 26-330 S C J SE, in-house, Patek Philippe Seal – automatic – 35h to 45h power reserve – hours, minutes, seconds, month, day and week number by hands, date – light brown calfskin strap on steel pin buckle – CHF 29,500www.patek.com

13 responses

  1. The Blancpain is my favourite of that bunch, although it’s really more of a proper dress watch.

    To add another couple to the list if I may – the Seiko Presage Arita porcelain dial, and the Czapek Cracovie Chronograph enamel panda dial. They’ve got a similar elegant look (although I wish Czapek would take that date window away – but still, it’s pretty).

  2. IF the Chopard were steel, it would be a nice alternative to the Datejust, but the Datejust is by far the most versatile. All the others are dress watches. Nice, to be sure, but if you wear them to the office, what do you have left for the opera?

  3. At these prices for these models I guess you are thinking about the CEO’s business use?

  4. @JAGOTW – at the opera you have the so-called « tuxedo » watches. Ultra-thin, gold watches such as the Altiplano and other smaller/thinner watches.

  5. Hhhmmm. I think only the most insecure, pedantic snob would object to any of these watches at the opera. The last time I went, there were people in jeans!

  6. The cheapest watch is still over 3,000. Over at HODINKEE the same thing. Are watch blogs shooting for the luxury market because that’s where the money is?

  7. @Brice, fair enough, but you also have articles on the new Seiko 5 and Doxa, so not offering anything affordable in this one is a tad tone deaf.

  8. Stefan, this phenomenon is shared by almost all watch sites and to be honest, almost all other niche websites and magazines. Hi-Fi, cars, computers, jewellery, shoes, even women’s handbags!
    99% of the population consider a Rolex very expensive, but I recently saw Rolex described as “mid-priced” on another watch site. Spend much time on forums and before you know it, you feel that if you don’t own a Datejust, you’re just not that into watches, if you didn’t have a Pink Triangle turntable back in the day, you don’t really like music, if you don’t have a collection of Louis Vuitton and Hermes handbags, you’re not stylish, if you don’t know what Goodyear Welted means, you have never owned a respectable pair of shoes. One editor (not on this site) seems to believe that only “young people” or “beginners” buy watches costing less than $2,000.

    If one were being unkind, one could easily react with anger and contempt towards this sort of arrogance but the more time you spend reading about these pieces and these articles, the more you realise that they are nothing more than self-referential nonsense. That only a tiny fraction of people have the resources to experience this theoretical world that editors of all types pretend to live in. I seem to remember a classic headline from the travel section of a national newspaper that read something like, “Are we ALL Tired of Tuscany?” We are indulging in voyeurism for our own amusement. Especially the editors.

  9. I am retired now but my work watch would probably be a Seiko 5 or a Sekonda or maybe a pocket watch some days (watches can get damaged when working with your hands). The Rolex or other “posh” watches were for weekends and holidays.

  10. Jeff, not everyone works in an office or wears a suit. But the article was geared towards those who do. What’s wrong with that?

  11. There are tens, if not hundreds of millions of people who work in offices who could never dream of buying any of these watches. More than 60% of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings. I think you know that.

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