WristReview’s Top 5 Simple Dress Watches

By Harlan Chapman-Green

The classic dress watch is often one of the most prized possessions by the man about the place these days. Although the sports watch market is probably still doing the best these days, there’s an air of auspiciousness and superiority that hangs around the dress watch market and simply refuses to leave. There’s so many out there that we had to make this list a little more restrictive for entry by saying that we only want simple, classic dress watches with three or even two hands and nothing more complex than the date. For this list we’ll keep it to centralised hands, so no Lange One’s will appear here, that’s a list for another day, now, let’s get started.

5. Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Ultra Thin Small Seconds

Let’s start this list in the right way with a JLC watch. Some people think that Jaeger-LeCoultre watches are overrated and are simply less common Rolex watches for people with more cash, oh how wrong could they be. A personal favourite all around the WristReview is the Master Grande Ultra Thin for its simplistic looks, timeless design and automatic JLC Calibre 896 which has passed the most rigorous test carried out in manufacturing today, the 1000 Hours Control. The 40mm case is a great size and the finesse of the case is matched only by the small seconds. jaegerlecoultre.com

4. Rolex Day-Date (President) 40

May I present the one and only, the President, or to give it the proper name, the Oyster Perpetual Day-Date which for this article is represented by the newest incarnation, the Day Date 40. The number in the name denotes the President’s revised size of 40mm in diameter which is now considered the man’s version while the lady is treated to the petite 36mm. The President has been seen on the wrist of pretty much every political leader, CEO and dictator since the beginning and can be had in Everose gold, white gold or platinum, but is best loved in that wonderful in-your-face yellow gold. rolex.com

3. Breguet Classique 5177BR/29/9V6

Classique 5177BR/29/9V6 face

If you’re one with a very fine taste in watches and you’re on the lookout for a no-nonsense dress watch that really doesn’t need any improvements out would have to be this one. The workmanship and attention to detail on this watch is absolutely out of this world. Some people I know think it doesn’t deserve to be here on the list but boy are they wrong. The art nouveau edge on this watch created by the beautiful coin edging and the very un-Breguet like enamel grand feu dial (Breguet is particularly known for its hand finished guilloché dials). If you turn over the watch the rose gold rotor on the automatic movement will hypnotise you. Stunning. breguet.com

2. Vacheron Constantin Patrimony 81180/000P

The simplest watch on this list doesn’t skimp out on horological punch when asked. The manual winding Calibre Reference 1400 movement has been awarded the coveted Seal of Geneva for its construction, something that most of Vacheron’s movements have these days, not that that’s a bad thing in any way. The movement is super slim, something else that Vacheron is very proficient at achieving, it’s only 2.6mm thick and the watch edges out the number 5 contender the Master Grande Ultra Thin by being 6.79mm thick, the thinnest watch on this list. The two platinum hands on the grey dial simply work in making this ultra simple watch ultra cool in all the right ways. vacheronconstantin.com

1. Patek Philippe Calatrava 5227G-001

The Calatrava is the epitome of simple dress watches, it’s the one everyone wants to be if not to beat. The mechanical self-winding movement inside this watch, the Calibre 324 S C is an automatic piece with a 22K gold winding rotor bearing Patek’s cross. It’s been obscured by a hunter style door that has a tiny weeny hidden hinge that locks in place in either the closed or open position. It’s a great addition that adds a little extra touch to it that you can show off and also adds some extra engraving space for a special message. In white gold, it’s super subtle and really looks the part. patek.com

Got an idea for a WristReview Top 5? Leave your ideas in the comments and we might just make them!



A keen bass guitar player, Harlan enjoys all the perks modern watchmaking technologies the industry has to offer. Although you might catch him sampling Omegas or the “odd” Rolex, Harlan loves all things Haute Horology, with his three favourite brands being Breguet, A.Lange & Söhne and Vacheron Constantin. He hopes to study timekeeping more in depth someday and will never be able to thank his father enough for introducing him to the industry. You can follow him on Instagram Read his articles here