Top 8 dress watches this spring/summer
The dress watch is the staple of every man’s wardrobe. Whether you’re a business man in formal attire everyday needed a daily rotation of dress watches, or just an average joe who wants something a bit smarter and prettier looking to spruce up his outfit. You can’t do without a dress watch. That said, with so many in the market to choose from, it can be hard to find the right one for you, which is why we’ve taken the liberty of narrowing down 8 distinctive and fantastic dress watches, perfect for the spring/summer that deserves a spot in every collection. Without further ado, let’s take a look, shall we?
CITIZEN KUROSHIO '64 NK0008-85L MEN'S LIMITED-EDITION WATCH
Starting off the list today is one of my favourite dress watches from Citizen the Kuroshio 64’; Possibly one of the finest and most unexpected Japanese dress watches released last year. Today, we’ll be taking a look at the limited edition NK0008-85L in blue. The Kuroshio 64 line is named after a collaboration project between Citizen, the Japanese Maritime Defense Force, and the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology to study the flow of the currents along the sea surrounding Japan.
Citizen created Japan’s first water resistant watch, the Parawater, and saw this project as a great way to test as well as market their brand-new watch. It’s a rather endearing tale that I shan’t get too much into, but what we’ve ended up with in today’s reissue is a faithful representation of the original but with modern touches; such as a 41mm case, automatic caliber and of course a beautifully patterned dial meant to mimic the patterns of the sea.
But despite all of these updates, the Kuroshio 64 NK0008-85L is still a very nicely vintage styled timepiece, with applied arrow shaped indexes, dauphine hands, a box shaped crystal and a slim brushed case. It gives an incredibly traditional wearing experience of a three-handed dress watch. The stainless-steel bracelet certainly adds more versatility to the otherwise dressy piece, and the inclusion of lume pips along the markers and hands harks back nicely to the watch’s rather nautical origins.
Overall, if you’re looking for something with a little bit more history and heritage, with excellent finishing, attention to detail and pedigree, you’ll be hard-pressed to find something better than the Kuroshio 64, especially at this price point.
EMPORIO ARMANI AR60011 MEN'S WATCH
This rather striking piece from Emporio Armani serves as a reminder that creativity and style really does go a long way to why some of us still wear a traditional wrist watch in this day and age. With an otherwise conventional rounded case shape and simple swooping lugs, it’s certainly not a brash or particularly ostentatious watch. But it is the dial that really makes this piece truly special. Featuring a pair of rotating discs displaying the subsidiary seconds and 24 hours, paired with bold semi skeletonized hands for the hours and minutes attached beneath a blue ring. Telling the time is an otherwise simple affair but at first glance, it really doesn’t seem so. And that’s exactly why we love this piece, it houses a simple traditional and reliable Miyota automatic movement, but for a moment, at first glance it almost looks magical in the way you’re meant to tell the time And, don’t worry, it’s not one of those ‘you’re kidding yourself moments’ because there’s still plenty of details that this watch offers that really sets it apart too (besides the already unconventional ringed ‘handset’). The repeating diamond like pattern on the inner ring of the dial that sectors into a nice deep blue grained pattern along the edges really adds more depth to the already 3-dimensional nature of this watch’s aesthetics. All in all, if you’re looking for a striking and reliable every day dress watch that really doesn’t look like anything else out there, it’s certainly hard to do better than the AR60011.
SEIKO SPB121J1 MEN'S WATCH
Now, I know what you’re thinking: Why and how did we end up with a Prospex watch in a list looking at the best dress watches for men? Well, simply because, this particular Prospex: The Green Alpinist (Reissue) is the perfect do all and be all watch.
When Seiko announced a reissue of the Alpinist with 3 new models that sat nicely in the Prospex Line, what Seiko has done essentially, is taken everything that made the Alpinist great and made them better. The old Alpinist was powered by the Caliber 6R15, the new one is powered by the 6R35, giving it a whopping 70 hours of power reserve.
The sapphire crystal has been given a cyclops lens (controversial to some, I know) and an anti-reflective coating on the inner surface. On top of that, there is an exhibition case-back for you to enjoy the 6R35 caliber in greater detail. However, not much has changed visually on the new Alpinist SPB121J1, aside from the Seiko Prospex “X” branding on the dial. It’s a small touch that shows everyone that this watch is more than just a pretty face, it means serious business.
The watch hailed from a line originally intended for Japanese mountaineers back in 1961-1964, called the Laurel Alpinist. It wasn’t until 2006 did Seiko unveil the horological phenomenon which is the Alpinist, we all know and love today. And now they’re back once again, and the wait was certainly worth it. The Alpinist was a watch that struck a chord with the watch community, even under the shadow of the divers like the Sumo, Turtle, Monster and Tuna. And for good reason, the watch is a serious tool watch, with 200m of water resistance, bright luminescent on the hands and 12 markers, as well as an internal rotating bezel which functions as a compass. Yet with all of this, the watch, thanks to its 39mm diameter and proportions, was incredibly versatile. It could be worn hiking, or to a gala dinner with a suit, or even just as an everyday beater and it would still sit comfortably at home on your wrist.
SEIKO PRESAGE SSA395J1 MEN’S WATCH
The Seiko Presage line has always been known fondly as the ‘Baby Grand Seiko’ and for good reason. Similar to what its big brother has done for the luxury watch market, the line provides unparalleled quality and finishing for a relatively reasonable price. The Seiko Presage line is the closest thing we can ever get to ‘affordable luxury’, a term that is an oxymoron in itself considering that what makes luxury is a certain level of inaccessibility, but this watch is an exception to the rule.
And this is the exception--the Seiko Presage SSA395J1 Zen Garden. The Japanese watch, keeping to its namesake, with its stark white textured dial set against satin-brushed and polished indexes gives it a minimalist and, well, Zen vibe to its overall design. The dial captures the magic of the bright light on a clear winter’s day, with its bright white and textured dial set against dark accents.
The watch is powered by Seiko’s in-house caliber 4R57a movement, featuring a centrally-mounted power reserve indicator (which can be read along the periphery of the dial), a date sub-dial and of course the time, together with a 42-hour power reserve and a smooth 21,600VPH (3Hz) frequency. But it is unquestionably the dial that is the watch’s party piece, with beautifully finished and applied diamond shaped hour markers set on the stark white snow-like dial with Grand Seiko-esque lance-shaped hands sweeping gracefully across, albeit not with the same execution (as the difference in price obliges).
For under a thousand dollars, this might easily be the best luxury watch you can get, and is probably the best representation of what the Seiko Presage line stands for.
MASERATI POTENZA R8821108026 AUTOMATIC WATCH
Certainly, one of the boldest and most recognizable designs in the Maserati line-up of watches, the Potenza is the watch you’ll think of when someone mentions Maserati watches after you’ve seen it. Featuring a rounded, angular case with angled lugs and integrated straps, the watch certainly harks back to the 70s sports-watches like the Royal Oak or the Nautilus. But with a sense of Italian style, the design is much bolder than its Swiss counterparts. Featuring two ‘claw-like’ protrusions on the side of the case and bezel, the pair at the top finished in a smooth polished whereas the bottom pair are ridged, the lines extending through the dial as well which is meant to represent the famed wide Maserati grille. The leather strap also features stitching in red, white and green, a subtle but noticeable hint of the company’s heritage with the colours of the Italian flag going through the length of the strap. Power comes from a reliable Japanese Miyota caliber which is great news for watch lovers and petrol heads alike. A watch with Italian style and Japanese reliability sounds like the perfect timepiece for everyone.
Tissot Le Locle Regulateur T0064283605802
The next contender we have is the Tissot Le Locle Regulateur, which is the antithesis of the traditional dress watch that we know and love. Where watches often give us the time and date on a dial and a window, the Regulateur gives you all that information in 4 separate apertures.
It might sound like an illegible mess but Tissot has managed to make it work, keeping to its namesake and paying homage to the highly precise regulator clocks of old, with a single dial assigned for a single piece of information.
Powered by an ETA 2825.2 which already features subsidiary seconds, with variable axes, allowing the indicators to be moved around the dial. The Regulateur features 2 subsidiary dials (at 12 and 6 O’clock) with the minutes being read on the main dial, hours on the 12 O’clock sub-dial and subsidiary seconds at 6 O’clock.
Regulators were meant to make telling the time easier, and though it might take some time to get used to, this layout really does make a lot of sense once you’ve gotten the hang of it. I shan’t get too pedantic here but simply put, with different information displayed separately, it makes it a lot easier and clearer to absorb at a glance. Coming in at a hair over 39mm in diameter, the Regulateur is in every way a proper homage to the vintage regulator timepieces in terms of style and proportions alike.
TISSOT LE LOCLE POWERMATIC 80 T0064071603300 MEN'S WATCH
The next watch we’re looking at is one of the first few watches that sparked my love for mechanical watches. The Tissot Le Locle Powermatic 80. When I first saw this many, many years ago, I wanted it, it was the first-ever proper watch that I actually wanted and strived for.
It is, a traditional, swiss made 3 handed dress watch. And it is the very essence of what the traditional dress watch stands for, and this Tissot Le Locle Powermatic 80 brings that tradition to us in an incredibly affordable and gorgeous package. Being innovators in tradition, the Le Locle Powermatic 80 is a vintage styled dress watch, designed for the modern world featuring a central machine Guilloche dial surrounded by a bead-blasted minute track adorned with applied Roman numerals indices.
Though it looks like it belongs in a time long before ours (and that’s not even necessarily a bad thing) it is powered by Tissot’s very modern and reliable Powermatic 80 automatic movement, giving it as its name implies a healthy 80 hours of power-reserve, twice of what you get from mechanical watches in this price range. And it’s the on the rear where the vintage charms of this watch truly shine, with a medallion like case-back decorated with Tissot’s signature housing a very contemporary and innovative movement within.
It’s a great watch, to have for well under a thousand dollars, with such a rich history and heritage that packs plenty of modern innovations and manufacturing techniques. Its unarguably one of the best modern affordable Swiss dress watches you can get right now without having to break the bank.
ARMAND NICOLET J09-3 GMT A663AAA-NR-MA4660AA MEN'S WATCH
The last watch on our list today is certainly one of the most intriguing, and my personal favourite: The Armand Nicolet J09-3 GMT in blue. Now, the J09-3 series is the brand’s take on a modern stainless-steel sports watch. Much like the Royal Oak or Nautilus style luxury sports watches, but the J09-3 isn’t exactly a blatant copy or homage, it’s a unique watch with its own individual style and characteristics. With 3 different variants to choose from, a classic 3-hander with a date, a chronograph, and a GMT, the GMT in our opinion, feels the most mature and dressy out of the lot.
Despite its dressy nature, its really an all-purpose watch, coming on either a stainless-steel bracelet or a leather strap, the watch gives off plenty Genta-esque design vibes the more you look at it. With a bold squarish angular case, integrated bracelet and of course, the unmistakable bezel that really channels the design of the Nautilus, it’s a properly serious looking watch. The dial is lovely too, a deep sunburst blue featuring 2 layers of finishes; wide striping along the center and brushed along the periphery, with a 2-tone 24-hour GMT ring as well. The hands are rather special too, almost sword-shaped but with short prongs at the end, I’ve never seen anything quite like them before. The overall finishing of the case is pretty solid too, its mostly brushed on the surface with some polished edges giving off a nice jewelry like shine to it. Coming in at 41mm, it sits a bit larger than its size would suggest due to the extended lugs, but it’s still a nicely elegant and distinct piece to look at.
If you’re looking for an entry-level luxury Swiss sports watch in stainless-steel to spruce up your suit or daily outfit, then the Armand Nicolet J09-3 GMT is certainly the watch for you.
A true staple of a man’s wardrobe
And there you have it, 8 of the best dress watches to have this spring/summer. Whether you’re looking for an affordable yet stunning entry piece from the Japanese, or a properly striking and luxurious piece from the Swiss, there’s certainly a dress watch for everybody here. And if you’d like to see more, then feel free to check out our full range of timepieces in our collection here.