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Best Dress Watches for Men: Full List (2019 Updated)

Men's dress watches are unlike other categories – the pilot, racing dive and military watches, which are more defined, the dress watch is a more subjective kind of timepiece. They have a specific set of characteristics that pertain to their functions while the dress watch is precisely the opposite. What makes a dress watch unique is not because of their lack of features, and instead, it focuses more on its aesthetics.

When you think about dressing up, fashion-wise, you might be thinking about lavish adornments and embellishments. This is not what a dress watch is. The best dress watches are anything but ornate. They are the most straightforward watch you will ever find. It only serves one purpose, and that is to tell time. A dress watch is a minimalist timepiece with no excessive bells and unnecessary whistles or any complications. What a classic dress watch has is a slim and sleek profile with a think bracelet or simple leather strap. The size is modest and has a classic design. 

The Best Dress Watch for Men

A luxury dress watch is a tasteful accessory that can radiate elegance, refinement and perfect for a suit. They can go well with every style and are in high demand as a building block for men’s accessories collection. 

When you look at the secret behind the best dress watches, it can be described in one short sentence. A luxury dress watch has combined timeless elegance with a simple design to exude an exceptional refinement. This is why a classic dress watch is an ideal accessory for special occasions.

Across all brands, all dress watches share common characteristics. They all have the traditional design with three hands for hours, the minutes and the seconds. A dress watch that has a date window can also be called a business watch because it has an additional function during business activities.

Most Elegant Watches

The beauty of a classic dress watch lies on its simplicity. Because of its versatility, you can combine it with almost every look. Hence, it has become a must-have in every stylish man's wardrobe. No matter what your style is, be it the traditional British gentleman, the dandy look or the young urban creative style, your dress watch is a permanent fixture with your wardrobe. It can also be paired with any suit whether it is pinstriped, glen plaid, double-breasted or made for city living or business, you can have a variety of dress watches to suit them.

Choosing the Best Dress Watches


Dial Design

The best dress watch follows the fashion mantra: “less is more.” Contemporary watch designs and the many retro styles are the most popular among the dress watches these days. Many are nods to the Art Deco designs of the 20s and the 30s; some are for postmodern 50s, a look back to the Swinging Sixties and the futuristic technology of the 70s.

Dials are simple too or with sunray decorations to create a multidimensional composition of light and shade. You can find matte dials that reduce the reflections of light for more readability. You can also see the baton hour markers that reflect understated elegance. Modern dress watches has Arabic numerals while a classic dress watch will have Roman numerals.


Sizes of Cases

Usually, the size of the dress watch’s case is about 37 millimeters. Since it is going for understatement, its size should not go over 42 millimeters or else it will be too bulky. Considering the size of the wearer’s wrist is essential. The general rule is the timepiece should cover about two-thirds of the wearer’s wrist. When you go for thin models, it will lie firmly against the skin. The rectangular cases can make the wrist appear narrower.

Precious Metals

Traditionally dress watches come in gold in either yellow or rose. If they are in high karat gold, it can be a good investment because they have high intrinsic value. It can also come in platinum, white gold or stainless steel, which also exudes elegance. Another point of consideration is the skin tone because it can determine which color of the metal suit them best.

Watch Strap

You cannot go wrong with a black leather strap. It is a classic strap that can match any outfit. For the trendsetter, a single color brown strap in leather is perfect with brown shoes and belt. A metal band is also appropriate when the occasion calls for it.  


Although the mechanical movements in dress watches can last longer than the quartz movements, the beauty of quartz technology is that it replicates the mechanical movement with accuracy. To replace the wound-up spring, it has a battery, and instead of vibrating spring, there is a tiny tuning fork that is carved from a quartz crystal. In replacement of a gear train, the electronic circuit converts the high-frequency oscillations of the tuning forks to the ticking of the watch. All this process make up the quartz movement that has no shortcomings of a regular watch. When you look into it, every facet of a quartz watch is an enhancement on its mechanical precursor.


Nice Dress Watches for Men


If there is one brand that should be on top of mind when it comes to nice dress watches. The Heritage 1959 with brown leather strap is a sharp timepiece ready for your dressy situations. 

The dial has a thickness of nine millimeters and measures forty millimeters in diameter. Just about the right size for the wearer’s wrist. This is encased in a polished rose gold. It has a unique face due to the concentric patterns, and it is covered by durable sapphire glass. A Miyota quartz movement powers this classic dress watch. To complete its look, a signature ‘A’ is placed on top to signify the brand, Ambassador.

The design of this classic men’s dress watch is a nod to the 1950s with the slim dashes as number markings, the baton hands, and the gold case. An additional feature unique to the brand is the shortened lugs and a small date window.  It used a brown leather strap, a design touch that is durable and crisp in its aesthetics. 

You can pair this watch with brown leather shoes and a belt. You can also pair with your best suit any time for that perfect look.

with Brown Leather Strap

Slim Dress Watch for Men


Only a few slim dress watches are as crisp and handsome as Heritage 1921. Just like other models from Ambassador, it measures nine millimeters in thickness and 40 millimeters in diameter. It has a fairly classic and conservative aesthetics. The texture of its dial is a Clous de Paris, which is a guilloche pattern of hollowed lines that intersect to form small shapes. The movement is of Japanese quartz movement with a silver baton hand that travels around the chic round face. This dial is encased in a flat sapphire case.

This silver dress watch is a homage to 1920s, and as a real dress watch, it does not have the ornateness of the era in its design. It is crafted to provide the essential functions of a quartz dress watch with the addition of broad spring lug and a full face. A simple but elegant black strap complement the overall look of this watch.

Although there is some merit in buying an expensive men’s slim dress watch, the Heritage 1921 is a purchase that is not complicated. It does compete with the best of the high-value dress watches concerning looks and design. It will work well with a white Oxford for the classic everyday style. This is a watch worth dressing up.

Black Dress Watches - Perfection


Ambassador has developed a legacy that combined functionality with sleek design and Heritage 1863 with black leather strap is no exception. The minimal 40-millimeter case diameter is a throwback to the dress watches from the 1860s.

This men’s black dress watch has the characteristic Roman numeral dial markings of classic dress watches along with the elongated hands and its traditional crown. Another distinct feature is the box-like and crisp look from the way the case and the crystal is designed as a counterpart of the conventional look of pocket watches. The lugs are also made longer to differentiate its design from the pocket watch. Wearing this black and gold watch will command attention.  

This is one of the best quartz dress watch using the Japanese Quartz movement, which has the precision in keeping the time at its best. Its contemporary size and the understated look is a perfect combination to have in a timepiece that reflects discrete luxury and elegance. This is dress watch is condensed into the essence of keeping time for those who enjoy low-key designs.


with Black Leather Strap

Gold Dress Watch


What else can you wear in a dressy occasion than gold and black dress watch from Ambassador, the Heritage 1863 with a gold mesh strap. Measuring just 9 millimeters in height, this unique rose gold and black dress watch will suit any occasion. 

It is second to none when it comes to craftsmanship. The dial of Heritage 1863 is nicely balanced and features. It is a good forty millimeters in diameters, a size that is not too large on the wrist and contemporary. With this watch, the modern features are combined with an understated look. What you have here is classic elegance and discrete luxury encased in durable sapphire glass. Its black face has an exquisite Sunray dial, the gold baton hands, Roman numerals for markings and the distinct engraving at the back of its case. 

This watch is inspired by the timepieces in the 1860s with influences from the design elements of pocket watches. Men’s gold dress watches signifies luxury, class, and bravery and what makes this timepiece unique is its bold color scheme. The rose gold is a personal touch to juxtapose the crisp black face. 

Heritage 1863 is undoubtedly a great dress watch for many reasons that include the beautiful black face with a rose gold case. It is lightweight and easy to wear when you need to focus on dressing well.

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Best Men’s Dress Watches

We have made dressing up much more relaxed and affordable with our list of best men’s dress watches. Although we love dressing up, we do not want any complications. When looking for the men’s dress watches, the lesser, the better. As far as top dress watches are concerned, it should have a simple dial that is uncluttered as this is one of the high qualities that we are looking for. When checking out top men’s dress watches, it should focus on the real purpose of the watch, that is, to tell time. 

A top dress watch should also be discreet and do not distract your attire. You can opt for a dress watch with a leather strap that can match your shoes and belt. Thickness is also another feature to look for in a classic dress watch so that it can slide easily under the shirt cuff with a subtle presence on your wrist. Here are the best affordable dress watches from Ambassador


Final Thoughts on Men's Dress Watches

While it is great to have a durable everyday watch, owning a classic dress watch is also essential. It will show style, refinement, and a must-have for big occasions and formal events. They are the go-to accessory when there is a special occasion or even a regular event that you feel like dressing up. 

Most of the widely known dress watches are the usual suspects that are investment-worthy, but you can also find a more attainable and worthy to be included in the best dress watches for men list.


The images in this post is courtesy of Dina Deykun.

Dina Deykun does commercial photography for companies, stunning product photography and also fashion photography. We definitely recommend checking her out!


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