Summer may be the best season to show off your watch collection. Typically sports models are favored for this time of the year, which mostly compete for attention with showy face design and huge size. But the downside of this trend are those mutant, even monstrous eye-catcher models that totally ignore design balance and minimum legibility as a watch. When topped with a false vanity, a glance of the watch would give you a pain in the eyes.

HUBLOT -2014 

I actually think perfect season to wear a watch is autumn. A glimpse of a refined dress watch peeking out the shirt or jacket sleeve sometimes tells us more about the owner than the watch itself. Ironically, this kind of thoughtful simplicity radiates charismatic aura more powerfully than those sports watches obsessed with show-off. 

That is why most of the high-end watchmakers put dress watches in their core line-up. Many believe that the history of modern dress watch began in the mid-1950's by Patek Phillipe. It was Patek Phillipe who established the all-time 'golden ratio' of dress watch by encasing automatic movement inside a 36mm gold case. 

PATEK-PHILIPPE Ref.2526 1956 

In the photo below is Vacheron Constantin's dress watch Ref. 6394, practically the only worthy rival of Patek Phillipe's back in the 1960's. Ref. 6394 carried K1071 movement based on Jaeger Lecoultre's automatic caliber, which was cased in a 36mm white gold case with screw-back to ensure water-proofness. But it is the watch's demure look that stands out over such technical specs. 

Vacheron Constantin Ref.6394 1963

The watch boldly took out all unneccesary features and adhered to the very basic function of a watch - timekeeping. With its dimly-glittering silver dial, Dauphine type hands, and the abstinence of 3 hands-only composition, Ref 6394 left nothing more to be desired as a high-end dress watch. The simple dial may look boring from the contemporary point of view, but it successfuly highlighted the beauty of empty space. 

Last but not least, let me share with you some tips to choose the right dress watch:

  • It needs to be thin enough to be covered under your shirt's sleeve.
  • Its case should not be larger than 36mm.
  • Gold case has more 'prestigious' look than silver one.
  • Less expression means better impression : even date window can be 'too much'.
  • Try to match the color of watch strap with the belt you are wearing.
  • Even better if you match the color of watch case with the belt buckle.