Monochrome Watches
An online magazine dedicated to fine watches
Buying Guide

Five Stylish Dress Watches Fit For A Red Carpet Event

Sometimes less with a little extra touch is actually much more.

| By Robin Nooy | 5 min read |
Rolex Perpetual 1908 reference 52508 Yellow Gold Review

A good design will never go out of style; the same goes for a good watch design. Some watches are more classical and elegant than others, yet none have the class of a good dress watch. Although some regard the quintessential dress watch to indicate only hours and minutes, a touch of additional refinement would fit a red-carpet event just as well. With that in mind, today’s Buying Guide has donned a suit and tie and has grouped together five elegant dress watches, all with a little extra twist for good measure.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Small Seconds

First introduced in 1931, the Reverso by Jaeger-LeCoultre is one of the most iconic watch designs ever created. Designed as a way to protect delicate crystals when playing polo, the swivelling construction of the rectangular case has morphed into much more than just a watch. It’s a statement of taste, refinement and elegance, especially in this slender Tribute Small Seconds execution. At just 7.56mm in total height, it’s a subtle companion for a fancy get-together and one that offers something to play with when bored. Priced at CHF 22,200, it is available with silver, burgundy or black dial and several different strap options.

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Quick Facts – 45.6mm x 27.4mm x 7.56mm – 18k pink gold case, reversible – 30m water-resistant – sunray-brushed dial in silver, black or burgundy – applied faceted hour markers – faceted Dauphine hour and minute hands – small seconds sub-dial – JLC calibre 822, shaped manually wound movement – 108 parts – 21,600vph – 45h power reserve – hours, minutes, small seconds – Casa Fagliano calfskin and canvas or black alligator leather straps – CHF 22,200

Grand Seiko Elegance Hana-Ikada SBGY026

In terms of style and wrist presence, Grand Seiko has a few very fine tricks up its sleeve. A personal favourite for this year is the gorgeous Grand Seiko Elegance Spring-Drive Hana-Ikada SBGY026. The slender rose gold Omiwatare case hosts one of the most beautiful dials GS has ever created, the soft pink “Shunbun-style” dial. The soft tone paired with a very fine texture gives the Hana-Ikada enormous character and wouldn’t be out of place at a gala dinner or the boulevard of a city on the French Riviera, for that matter. Limited to 100 pieces, the Hana-Ikada retails for EUR 28,900.

Grand Seiko Elegance Hana-Ikada SBGY026 Pink Shunbun Dial

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Quick Facts – 38mm x 10.2mm – 18k rose gold case – sapphire crystal front and back – 30m water-resistant – “Shunbun” Cherry Blossom soft pink textured dial – diamond-cut and faceted gold hands and indices – calibre 9R31, spring drive quartz-automatic hybrid – dual spring barrel mechanism for 72h power reserve – ±15 seconds per month – hours, minutes, seconds, power reserve on the back – alligator leather strap with rose gold folding clasp – limited to 100 pieces – EUR 28,900

Rolex Perpetual 1908

Rolex surprised us with a lot of things at this year’s Watches & Wonders fair, but one that really stood out was the new Perpetual 1908 collection. This spiritual successor to the Cellini has a lovely 39mm by 9.50mm case in white or yellow gold. The fluted bezel and crown give it a touch of character, as do the mix of indices and numerals and the distinctly shaped hands. A sapphire crystal caseback, not often found on Rolex watches, gives way to the all-new calibre 7140, finished with Rolex’s own take on the classic Côtes de Genève. Worn on an alligator leather strap with a double folding clasp, it retails for EUR 21,850.

Rolex Perpetual 1908 reference 52508 Yellow Gold Review

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Quick Facts – 39mm x 9.50mm – 18k white or yellow gold case – fluted bezel – sapphire crystal front & back – 50m water-resistant – intense white or matte black dial – applied yellow gold indices & numerals – yellow gold hands – black minute track & small seconds sub-dial – calibre 7140, in-house automatic – 28,800vph – 66h power reserve – hours, minutes, small seconds – alligator leather strap with double folding clasp – Ref. 52507 & 52509 – EUR 21,850

Omega De Ville Prestige co-axial master chronometer Small Seconds 41mm

Late last year, Omega presented the third generation of the stylish De Ville Prestige collection in an array of different styles, sizes and movements. Singling out the yellow gold small seconds variant might rub purists of the hours-and-minutes-only dress watch the wrong way, but it has boatloads of charm. The mix of applied dotted indices and Roman numerals, crosshair small seconds sub-dial and the date just works. Around the back, the calibre 8802 automatic can be seen working away diligently. Worn on a brown alligator leather strap, this De Ville Prestige will set you back EUR 14,600.

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Quick Facts – 41mm diameter – 18k yellow gold case, polished – sapphire crystal front & back – 30m water-resistant – silver dial with applied yellow gold indices – yellow gold hands – crosshair small seconds subdial – bevelled date window – calibre 8802, automatic – Master Chronometer certified movement – co-axial escapement – 25,200vph – 55h power reserve – hours, minutes, small seconds, date – brown alligator leather strap – EUR 14,600

Chopard L.U.C. 1860 Salmon

After this quartet of gold dress watches, let’s shake things up a bit with one in steel. More specifically, a watch in Lucent Steel A223, a special steel alloy with a brighter shine that’s used for the gorgeous Chopard L.U.C. 1860 Salmon. This compact watch is pure class, with a 36.5mm diameter and 8.2mm height, a salmon dial with guilloché decoration, and the splendid calibre L.U.C. 96.40-L in-house micro-rotor movement. Thankfully, this beauty is part of the permanent collection and is worn on an anthracite calfskin leather strap. Retailing for CHF 22,700, it’s quite pricey but ticks a lot of our ‘most-wanted’ boxes.

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Quick Facts – 36.5mm x 8.2mm – Lucent Steel A223 case, polished & brushed – notched crown with L.U.C. logo – sapphire crystal front & back – 30m water-resistant – gold salmon-coloured dial with guilloché centre – white gold indices & hands – recessed small seconds subdial – calibre 96.40-L, micro-rotor automatic – 28,800vph – 65h power reserve from twin barrels – Poinçon de Genève – anthracite calfskin leather strap – CHF 22,700

10 responses

  1. I d not think the Omega Prestige small seconds fits the brief of a dress watch as it might be gold but it has a date complication when none of the other choices have a date at all. It might be the “new Omega on the block” but the Omega Tresor Small Seconds from 2021 or the gold Tresor Centre Seconds from 2019 (without the date complication) would be much better choices as dress watches than the Prestige which is really an entry level Omega everyday watch rather than a dress watch.

  2. (At least for me) the 1908 is very disappointing. It has absolutely nothing appealing to me. Compared to e.g. the GS Hana it lacks light years behind. With regards to other dress watches I would have considered other candidates… e.g. Piaget Altiplano (e.g. Meteorite) and of course the A.L. Saxonia thin with the copper blue dial…

  3. The Grand Seiko SBGY026 Hana Ikada is my favorite release of the year. An absolute stunner.. but that price..

  4. Ooh! Aw oh! Expect to hear from rolex because you didn’t list them and their watch first at the top of your listings, as they demand that of any list that includes them and their watches. I urge you not to give in to such strong arm, manipulative and controlling tactics, as they try to wield power in influencing editorial control over the placing of content, while continuing to make their products unavailable to those who won’t succumb to the arm bending, unfair practice of having to buy watches not wanted in order to be considered for one that is wanted. What a racket!

  5. The omega is not my cup of tea, the others all look beautiful.

  6. Leave the hype at the door.Save your money.There are good dress watches out there for under one 1k.

  7. I am more than amazed you did not include a Breguet Classique, either the off-set small seconds version, or the two hander in rose gold with the off-set rotor on the rear, with the guilloché dials.

    Hell, even the Grand Feu enamel from Breguet would fit the bill, and all of those between 19.000 – 24.000 Swiss francs.

    Why is Breguet not getting more love when they make such stunning watches? The mid-case on the models I mentioned is fantastically beautiful, and the dials are nothing short of wonderful.

  8. The Chopard L.U.C 1860 blows all other watches in this list out of the water. The Rolex is such a faker with fake gold chatons.


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