Dress / Dressy Watches
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  1. #1
    Member TheWalrus's Avatar
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    Mar 2009
    Vancouver Island / California (depending on the citizenship I use)

    Dress / Dressy Watches

    A few new (and very big) life changes are occuring, and I'm thinking I need to commemorate them with a watch purchase.

    Despite loving watches - looking at them, reading about them, learning as much as possible - I rarely... and I mean rarely buy them. The last watch I purchased for myself was back in 2008, to celebrate my Bar Call. It was a Hamilton Khaki. Since then I've been gifted a Doxa, and purchased two watches as gifts for others.

    Long story short - over the next 6 months I'll be getting married, and starting a new job.

    This new job is more formal. I'm currently a lawyer working on mega-litigation. This means that my average day is spent in an office reading and writing. I can get away with wearing an orange faced Doxa to work and no one blinks twice. This new job, however, involves much more in-court work, and much more client interaction. To my mind this, as well as my impending wedding, justifies the purchase of my dressiest watch yet.

    I have around $2000 to spend. I could go more, I could go less. It doesn't need to be 100% formal, but it should be slim, elegant, simple and subtle.

    My thoughts (and the front runners) so far.

    Nomos. Obviously. I particularly like the Ludwig - though both the Orion and the Tangente are beautiful in their own right.

    RGM. Limited by price. But the entry level Aviators (107 - 151) look great, and are dressy enough - especially if I get a white / silver dial. Stretching a FAR way (but not theoretically too far), the 250 really appeals to me.

    Frederic Constant. I love their dress watches. Especially the manufacture models. Slim, elegant, beautiful. There is, however, something about their aesthetic that doesn't appeal to me personally. I'm not sure what it is, I may simply need to view them / try them on in person before I can rule it out. So much is distorted online, afterall.

    Grand Seiko. Probably have to limit myself to the quartz models - which isn't a problem. Still, I'd rather a mechanical, and I'm not sure I can justify the jump to the price ranges that GS mechanicals command. That said, from what I've heard, GS's quartz models are works of art just the same as their automatics and their hand winds.

    I've also looked at models from Zenith (Their Hand Wind Elite models), Omega (quartz), preowned Rolex (Especially the Air King, mabe even in vintage fair - I worry that at 33 mm it might be too small), and Montblanc.

    What am I missing? Thoughts? Feelings? Personal experiences with watches I'm thinking, or should be thinking, about?
    ayhc likes this.
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  2. #2
    Moderator Public Forum GlennO's Avatar
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    Jan 2010

    Re: Dress / Dressy Watches

    Well, you've got a very big field to choose from and I like all of the options you've listed so far. Rather than add to the list, I'll just relate my own experience with a GS quartz. I work in an office setting and for a couple of years now my AT auto has been my usual 5 day a week work watch, with the occasional different watch, but the AT has been my long term favourite. Last year I started looking for a nice quartz, mainly for the convenience factor, for those times like on a Monday morning when I'm running late and can't be bothered re-setting an auto.

    So anyway I bought a used GS. I have a preference for mechanicals so I thought it wouldn't be a regular wearer, but I have found that I enjoy it just as much as my AT and it's been getting even more wrist time. The level of detail up close is indeed very special, and the fact that it is a quartz doesn't bother me, probably because I know it isn't just any old $20 quartz movement, but one of the finest examples of quartz technology available. I like it so much I'm trying to justify getting another. As a bonus there's also the minimal long term costs. Just a battery change every few years and occasional replacement seals. So I think it's an option that definitely should stay on your short list. Congrats on the upcoming wedding and the job!

  3. #3
    Member mpalmer's Avatar
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    Dec 2011
    Middle of the Middle West

    Re: Dress / Dressy Watches

    I think a Nomos would be a superb choice. It is beautiful, a wonderful dressy timepiece, in-house movement, but it is also understated and will not attractive negative attention or appear like you are trying to impress someone when working with clients.
    "The stuff that dreams are made of…" - RGM ‘801 EE Motor Barrel’

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  5. #4
    Member mleok's Avatar
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    Feb 2010
    La Jolla, CA

    Re: Dress / Dressy Watches

    I love the look of the Nomos Ludwig and Tangente, and either of these would be my knee jerk reaction to someone asking about a dress watch in the $2K price range. While I think RGM is an amazing watch company, I don't really feel the Aviator showcases the kind of things that RGM is particularly famous for --- their guilloche dials and their inhouse movements. As for Frederique Constant, their manufacture movements are very nice, but I'm not so keen about the date subdial, as it just makes the dial a bit too busy for my taste. Grand Seikos are amazing, and if you don't mind quartz, then the 9F62 thermocompensated high-accuracy quartz movement is about the best quartz movement money can buy.

    Patek Philippe Calatrava 5119J; Vacheron Constantin Overseas; Jaeger-LeCoultre Grande Reverso Duo; Rolex Submariner 114060; Omega Seamaster 300; Montblanc Heritage Dual Time; Tudor Black Bay.

    Armida A12; Borealis Estoril; Bulova Accutron II Alpha, Moonwatch; Casio GMW-B5000D, GW-5000, GST-W310; Certina DS-2; Coach Fulton; Hamilton Khaki Field; Helson Skindiver; Orient 60th Anniversary; Seagull Tourbillon, 1963 Air Force; Seiko SNA089P, SUN025P1; Steinhart OVM; Swatch Body and Soul, Heracles, Sistem51, Uncle Charly; Victorinox Alliance, Infantry Vintage.

  6. #5
    Member HermesBlessMe's Avatar
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    Aug 2011

    Re: Dress / Dressy Watches

    Not sure , Baume & Mercier is in your criteria or not

    Follow my own time

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2006

    Re: Dress / Dressy Watches

    Ludwig on calfskin.

  8. #7
    Member ayhc's Avatar
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    May 2012
    New York

    Re: Dress / Dressy Watches

    A vintage Grand Seiko? Even the 36000bph models should be within your budget.

  9. #8
    Member geoffbot's Avatar
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    Mar 2011
    Brighton, UK

    Re: Dress / Dressy Watches

    I'll back the Freddie c and of course, Nomos.

    Congrats on the new job and impending nuptials!
    Last edited by geoffbot; March 21st, 2013 at 10:57.

  10. #9
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    Mar 2013

    Re: Dress / Dressy Watches

    I am looking for one to be my daily watch.

  11. #10
    Member ljb187's Avatar
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    Nov 2009

    Re: Dress / Dressy Watches

    Maybe a used Citizen Chronomaster? Between the most-accurate-of-them-all movement, manageable size, great looking, almost retro Chronomaster scrip and the boldly functional date window it's practically the perfect business watch. For better or for worse the features on the Chronomaster are more substantial (size/geometry wise) than the GS quartz. I like that since it gives the watch a real "edifice on the wrist" look. They usually come in under 2K used when you can find them:

    Attachment 1016694

    Some models have lume, some don't. I'm coming around to the newer eco-drive version with the power reserve indicator, but would hate to give up that Chronomaster script which I think perfectly captures the watch's personality. The new design seems more technical. To me it's the like the difference between architect and builder:

    Attachment 1016693

    You can usually find the older, 37mm version of Ulysse Nardin's groovy GMT +/- Big Date watch for less than $2,500 (sometimes less than 2K). The next newer 40mm models start in the high 2K range:

    Attachment 1016692
    Last edited by ljb187; March 21st, 2013 at 20:12.

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