While the modern-day watch industry presents an infinite number of styles and functions, its key to remember that the best luxury watches began as the ultimate wardrobe accessory. First worn on the wrists of affluent individuals during exclusive occasions, the formal dress watch has since become readily available to the vast population of avid watch collectors. Being part of the community of passionate watch lovers, we gravitate towards the very best examples as the aspirational ‘Grail’ pieces that represent success and status.
For those in search of buying a first or new formal watch, we have compiled a list of the best luxury dress watches featuring some incredible pieces that may catch your eye. Shop any of the luxury timepieces featured in this duPont REGISTRY special by clicking the links below. Check back into duPont REGISTRY for more upcoming luxury watch news and releases.
Arnold & Son Luna Magna Gold
Luna Magna features Arnold & Son’s first three-dimensional moon. With this original luxury dress watch, the Swiss watchmaker with English roots aims to make a lasting impression by presenting the largest rotating moon ever created in relief for a wristwatch. Beneath an off-centered dial at 12 o’clock, which constitutes one of the house’s aesthetic signatures, Arnold & Son has placed a rotating sphere that accurately represents the appearance of the quarters of the moon against a starry backdrop that is more dazzling than a midsummer night sky.
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Breitling Premier B25 Datora
Paying homage to three generations of inventors – Léon, Gaston & Willy Breitling – the Premier Datora is the most refined Breitling dress watch with its complete calendar and moon-phase. As Willy Breitling said, the Premier is an “unmistakable stamp of impeccable taste”. This latest generation of Premier chronographs brings its timeless elegance back to life, and showcases Breitling’s highest level of watchmaking thanks to a range of iconic Premier complications: the Chronograph, the Duograph and the Datora.
The Santos dress watch was conceived by Louis Cartier in 1904 to help aviators tell time mid-flight. Since then, this pioneering wristwatch has become an icon, defined by its geometric dial, harmoniously curved horns and signature exposed screws. Santos-Dumont watch, large model, high autonomy quartz movement (~ 6 years). 18K rose gold (750/1000) case, beaded crown set with a cabochon-shaped sapphire, satin-brushed silver dial with sunray effect, Roman numerals, blued-steel sword-shaped hands, sapphire crystal.
H.Moser Endeavour Centre Seconds Concept Lime
In a 40 mm steel case with an automatic movement, the Endeavour Centre Seconds Concept Lime Green combines the classic elegance of a 3-hand dress watch with a perfectly balanced aesthetic and striking charisma. At the heart of the 40 mm steel case beats the HMC 200 automatic calibre. This movement, entirely designed, developed and produced in-house, is equipped with a regulating organ manufactured by H. Moser & Cie.’s sister company, Precision Engineering AG, and comprises a double hairspring, instantly identifiable thanks to the purple seconds hand and to the blue balance bridge.
IWC Schaffhausen Portofino Chronograph 39
The Portofino Chronograph 39 combines the characteristic Portofino design with a touch of sportiness in a compact case size of 39 millimeters. Since it was first presented in 1984, the Portofino line has established itself as one of IWC Schaffhausen’s most loved dress watch collections. The secret of its sustained success lies in the reduced, classically elegant design. It can be identified by its minimalist round case with straight lugs, appliquéd indices and Roman numerals, and slender feuille hands.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute
The Reverso Tribute revives the codes of the first Reverso born in 1931. Continually reinvented without compromising its identity, the trapezoidal applied indexes echo the form of the Dauphine hands, creating a modern interpretation of the original dress watch. The Reverso Tribute houses an outstanding range of complications: from simple to the most complex, displayed from one side and beyond.
MB&F Legacy Machine LM Split Escapement
In 2019, MB&F introduced a new limited edition of 33 pieces in grade 5 titanium, with a spectacular green CVD-treated dial. The sun-ray dial finish catches the light from alternating angles, constantly changing between blue and green hues – adding a more contemporary edition to the series of dress watches.
NOMOS Glashütte Rose Gold Neomatik 39
A large watch for those with big ideas: The NOMOS bestseller Metro in a case of 18 karat gold, equipped with the automatic NOMOS caliber DUW 3001. This keeps the dress watch beautifully slender and guarantees the highest precision. The maximum in style and elegance for the wrist, designed by Mark Braun.
Patek Philippe 5205R
Annual Calendar Reference 5205, with its day/date/month apertures arranged along the arc of a circle, was launched in 2010 as two white gold versions. In 2022, Patek Philippe revisits this model in an original and contemporary color. The case is distinguished by its concave bezel, its hollowed flanks and its skeletonized lugs. This refined dress watch is entirely hand-polished by the artisans of the Manufacture. The olive green dial is enlivened by a sunburst motif and by a black gradient around the rim. The day/date/month apertures in the upper part ensure perfect readability of the Annual Calendar indications, with a rose gold frame at 12 o’clock accentuating the most important item of information, the date.
Vacheron Constantin FiftySix Self-Winding
A name and a date evoking an iconic model by Vacheron Constantin dating from 1956. This modern, elegant and relaxed dress watch collection with its resolutely cosmopolitan style expresses its personality through the contrast between the classic dial and the daring case. The latter is notably inspired by the Maltese cross-shaped emblem of the Maison that is also picked up on the openworked pink gold oscillating weight.