Best Dress Watches | Image: Man of Many

23 Best Dress Watches for Every Budget

The wristwatch has evolved from a simple timekeeping device into a symbol of style and status. Nowhere is that more apparent than with the best dress watches. Often worn with formal dress, at work, and where elegance is favoured, this type of watch is often conservatively and classically styled. At the same time, modern fashion has widened the choice of dress watch designs, and with that in mind, we’ve put together a list of the best dress watches on the market.

In this list, we’ve favoured traditional dress watch styles but that doesn’t mean we haven’t snuck in a few unexpected gems. And of course, we’ve been mindful of the differing needs of buyers and have included watches for a variety of budgets, style preferences, and tastes.

Best Dress Watches at a Glance

Our list of the best dress watches goes like this.

RELATED: Want to learn more about watches? Check out our complete guide to the best watches for men, covering everything from styles and price-points to movements and brands.

Best dress watches rolex 1908
Rolex 1908 | Image: Supplied

1. Rolex 1908

Let’s start with one of the icons of horology, Rolex. Their new 1908 model was unveiled at Watches and Wonders 2023 and is an elegant watch from the renowned Swiss watchmakers that takes inspiration from an Oyster Perpetual model dating back to the 30s. We love the gorgeous sleek profile that will slide perfectly under a dress shirt, while the dial is beautifully minimalist with clear numerals at 12, 3 and 9, and a sub-second dial at 6 o’clock. Rolex’s designers went as far as creating the new calibre 7140 movement for this model and it’s visible through the exhibition case back.

Reference no: M52509-0006

Diameter: Ø 39.00 mm
Movement: Rolex Calibre 7140
Case material: 18-carat White Gold
Water resistance: 50M
Price: from $31,100 AUD

Shop at Rolex Shop at Watches of Switzerland Shop at Kennedy

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Best dress watches seiko
Seiko Presage Craftsmanship Series ref. SPB293 | Image: Supplied

2. Seiko Presage Craftsmanship Series

If your budget doesn’t stretch to a Rolex, then take a closer look at Seiko. This piece from its Presage Craftsmanship Series provides great value for money and boasts a distinctive Arita porcelain dial that looks more Grand Seiko than mainline in the flesh. The crisp white dial is contrasted with blue hands and numerals and like all Seiko watches it features Seiko’s own reliable in-house movement. Everything on this watch is well proportioned, from the links to the crown and overall size of 40.5mm in diameter.

Reference no: SPB293

Diameter: Ø 40.50 mm
Movement: Seiko 6R31 Automatic
Case material: Stainless Steel
Water resistance: 100M
Price: $2,700 AUD

Shop at Seiko Watches Shop at David Jones Shop at Wamada Jewellery

Best dress watches cartier tank must extra large
Cartier Tank Must Extra-Large ref. WSTA0040 | Image: Supplied

3. Cartier Tank Must Extra-Large

With a lineage stretching back over a century, the Cartier Tank is now a legend in the world of watches. This latest iteration – with its larger 31mm case – showcases the unique design at its best. It’s a sophisticated watch that complements formal dress and we’re pleased to note it is also one of the brand’s more affordable mechanical models. If you’re looking for a classic dress watch that will last you a lifetime while offering a good amount of ‘street cred’ amongst the nerdiest watch lovers, check out the Cartier Tank Must.

Reference no: WSTA0040

Diameter: Ø 31.00 mm
Movement: Cartier 1847 MC Automatic
Case material: Stainless Steel
Water resistance: 30M
Price: $7,000 AUD

Shop at Cartier Shop at Kennedy Watches

Best dress watches timex marlin
Timex Marlin Sub-Dial Automatic ref. TW2V61900ZV | Image: Supplied

4. Timex Marlin Sub-Dial Automatic

This budget beauty from Timex captures the mod chic of the 60s and features the era’s characteristic red, white and blue colour palette. It’s a mid-sized piece with a stainless steel cushion case and a boatload of vintage charm. If your dress sense gives a nod to the 60s then this is the ideal mechanical companion. It’s also one of the most affordable dress watches on our list, priced under $300 USD. The Timex ‘Marlin’ series has a number of different references with different styles, bracelets, and dials, check out the link below to find your favourite.

Reference no: TW2V61900ZV

Diameter: Ø 39.00 mm
Movement: Japanese Automatic
Case material: Stainless Steel
Water resistance: 50M
Price: $279 USD

Shop at Timex

Best dress watches longines flagship heritage
Longines Flagship Heritage ref. L4.795.4.78.2 | Image: Supplied

5. Longines Flagship Heritage

Longines‘ Flagship Heritage is another watch with a proud history and a legion of fans. It’s a restrained piece that succeeds due to the subtle styling that sees the silver dial paired with gilt hands and matching markers. The borderless sub-second hand is a nice touch and the 6 o’clock date window maintains a pleasing symmetry. We had a chance to check out the brand’s new Heritage Classic models – also some of our favourite dress watches – at their new Sydney flagship boutique opening. It’s safe to say we have a soft spot for these heritage models, particularly the Longines Heritage Military 1938.

Reference no: L4.795.4.78.2

Diameter: Ø 38.50 mm
Movement: Longines Caliber L615
Case material: Stainless Steel
Water resistance: 30M
Price: $2,800 AUD

Shop at Longines Shop at Hardy Brothers Shop at Watches of Mayfair

Best dress watches iwc portugieser chronograph
IWC Portugieser Chronograph ref. IW371617 | Image: Supplied

6. IWC Portugieser Chronograph

The Portugieser is IWC’s emblematic chronograph, and like the Longines, has been a staple of the brand’s line-up for decades. In keeping with IWC’s aviation heritage the Portugieser plays with the pilot’s watch aesthetic. But, with its slim bezel and colourful hands it is still firmly established as a dress piece in our books. We absolutely love the 41mm diameter that makes use of every inch of the case with a very thin bezel. Pushers, crown, and details on the links themselves really seal the deal as a great dress watch.

Reference no: IW371617

Diameter: Ø 41.00 mm
Movement: IWC 69355 Calibre
Case material: Stainless Steel
Water resistance: 30M
Price: from $14,000 AUD

Shop at IWC Shop at Kennedy Watches Shop at Watches of Mayfair

Best dress watches hamilton american classic valiant
Hamilton American Classic Valiant ref. H39515754 | Image: Supplied

7. Hamilton American Classic Valiant

With a background in building watches for the American military, it’s no surprise that this dress model from Hamilton is understated and pared down. And while the brand makes some of our favourite military watches on the market, it also makes our list of the best dress watches with this elegant reference. The simple two-tone colourway with Roman numerals and minimal dial text makes this conservative and no-nonsense automatic an ideal entry-level Swiss watch.

Reference no: H39515754

Diameter: Ø 40.00 mm
Movement: H-10 Automatic
Case material: Stainless Steel
Water resistance: 50M
Price: $1,050 AUD

Shop at Hamilton Shop at Watches of Mayfair

Best dress watches jaegar lecoultre
Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Chronograph ref. Q389848J | Image: Supplied

8. Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Chronograph

At the opposite end of the dress watch spectrum is this stunning creation from JLC. It’s anything but pared down and features a complex mechanical chronograph movement. Like other sought-after Reverso models, the Reverso Tribute allows you to choose which watch face to view. The front is a classic dress watch (as pictured), but turn it around and you have an exquisite open-worked chronograph dial. Measuring under 30mm wide, the watch looks more like a piece of jewellery than any other timepiece on this list.

Reference no: Q389848J

Diameter: Ø 29.90 mm
Movement: Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 860
Case material: Stainless Steel
Water resistance: 30M
Price: $34,800 AUD

Shop at Jaeger LeCoultre

Best dress watches vacheron
Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Self-Winding ref. 85180/000G-9230 | Image: Supplied

9. Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Self-Winding

When we think of Vacheron Constantin, one of the big three of high horology, we think of outlandish complications. While this hand-winding Patrimony model is outwardly a simple watch, with clean lines and an uncomplicated dial, the case is forged from white gold and the movement is of exceptional quality. This is definitely one for the watch aficionados; if you know, you know.

Reference no: 85180/000G-9230

Diameter: Ø 40.00 mm
Movement: Vacheron Constantin 2450 Q6/3
Case material: White Gold
Price: $45,600 AUD

Shop at Vacheron Constantin Shop at Watches of Switzerland Shop at Watches of Mayfair

Best dress watches montblanc
Montblanc Star Legacy Automatic Date ref. MB126107 | Image: Supplied

10. Montblanc Star Legacy Automatic Date

Having previously teamed up with Minerva, a small Swiss watchmaker, Montblanc has been given the chance to rework its most successful designs. This Star Legacy model updates that vintage look for a modern audience and beefs up the case to 43mm. It’s a tasteful piece with a distinctive anthracite dial and black rhodium-coated Roman numerals. The links on the bracelet are standard issue but the crown is a lovely oval shape with chauffeured edges.

Reference no: MB126107

Diameter: Ø 43.00 mm
Movement: MB 24.17 Automatic
Case material: Stainless Steel
Water resistance: 50M
Price: $5,680 AUD

Shop at Montblanc

Best dress watches chopard
Chopard L.U.C. 1937 ref. 68558-3002 | Image: Supplied

11. Chopard L.U.C. 1937

This impressive piece from Chopard is a Swiss-made watch that ticks a lot of the same boxes as the Montblanc albeit at an elevated level with attention to detail throughout the piece. It’s another classically styled watch, this time with a porcelain dial and a date window repositioned to 6 o’clock. The in-house movement is COSC certified and is visible through the exhibition back. Maybe the highlight of the whole piece for us is the sharp edges of the hands themselves. Really a standout dress watch as far as details are concerned.

Reference no: 68558-3002

Diameter: Ø 42.00 mm
Movement: L.U.C 01.01-L Automatic
Case material: Stainless Steel
Water resistance: 100M
Price: from $11,700 AUD

Shop at Chopard Watches of Mayfair

Best dress watches orient
Orient Style 38 ref. RA-AC0M02B | Image: Supplied

12. Orient Style 38

Japanese brand Orient is famed for its bang for the buck and the Style 38 is one of the brand’s biggest sellers because it offers exceptional value for money. Part of the famous Bambino line, this new iteration acknowledges the trend for smaller watches. Now in a compact 38mm case and with a utilitarian dial, this watch is well-sized for smaller wrists. It’s a great choice if you want versatility on a tighter budget.

Reference no: RA-AC0M02B

Diameter: Ø 38.40 mm
Movement: Orient Calibre Calibre F6724
Case material: Stainless Steel
Water resistance: 30M

Shop at Orient

Best dress watches tissot
Tissot Le Locle Powermatic 80 ref. T006.407.16.033.00 | Image: Supplied

13. Tissot Le Locle Powermatic 80

Tissot sits alongside Hamilton as an entry-level Swiss brand but the Le Locle offers a more ornate look than Hamilton’s American Classic. The eye-catching dial boasts a textured surface bordered by Roman numerals and a neat minute track. It’s a slim watch despite being powered by a Powermatic 80 automatic movement so it’s perfect for wearing with a suit. If this doesn’t suit your tastes, check out some of our favourite pieces from Tissot’s 2023 Collection on the wrist here.

Reference no: T006.407.16.033.00

Diameter: Ø 39.30 mm
Movement: Powermatic 80.111
Case material: Stainless Steel
Water resistance: 30M
Price: $950.00 AUD

Shop at Tissot Shop at Myer

Best dress watches frederique constant
Frederique Constant Classic Index Automatic ref. FC-303MR5B6 | Image: Supplied

14. Frederique Constant Classic Index Automatic

The Classic Index from Frederique Constant forgoes the Roman numerals of many vintage-inspired models and opts for classic lumed markers. The date window is also in the conventional position, giving the watch an instantly recognisable style. It’s all about executing the basics well, with the blue second-hand providing the only flash of colour. It’s another subtle piece that compliments formal attire.

Reference no: FC-303MR5B6

Diameter: Ø 40.00 mm
Movement: Automatic Sellita SW200-1
Case material: Stainless Steel
Water resistance: 50M
Price: from $1,295 AUD

Shop at Frederique Constant

Best dress watches omega
Omega Constellation Globemaster Chronometer ref. | Image: Supplied

15. Omega Constellation Globemaster Chronometer

No best-of-watch list at Man of Many would be complete without an entry from Swiss legends Omega. Our pick of its dress watches is the Globemaster Chronometer, a watch that includes Master Chronometer certification and is anti-magnetic up to 15,000 gauss. This is a dress watch that can function as a rugged tool watch when required. The dial, with its pie-pan effect, is memorable and the fluted bezel is similar to that of Rolex’s Datejust. It’s a watch that looks dressy while offering a high degree of performance.

Reference no:

Diameter: Ø 39.00 mm
Movement: Co-Axial Master Chronometer Calibre 8900
Case material: Stainless Steel
Water resistance: 100M
Price: $11,750 AUD

Shop at Omega Shop at Watches of Mayfair

Best dress watches zenith
Zenith Defy Skyline ref. 03.9300.3620/51.I001 | Image: Supplied

16. Zenith Defy Skyline

We’re never going to get enough of steel sports watches, be it Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet or this stunner from Zenith. It utilizes an established design, with a 12-sided bezel, an integrated bracelet and a sumptuously textured dial. This look works just as well in the office as in the field and the DEFY Skyline is an ideal all-rounder.

Reference no: 03.9300.3620/51.I001

Diameter: Ø 41.00 mm
Movement: El Primero 3620 Automatic
Case material: Stainless Steel
Water resistance: 100M
Price: $13,400 AUD

Shop at Zenith Shop at Zenith

Best dress watches mido
MIDO Baroncelli Heritage Gent ref. M027.407.16.010.00 | Image: Supplied

17. MIDO Baroncelli Heritage Gent

This super slim automatic watch from Mido takes its design cues from the Baroncelli Chapel in Italy. It’s an elegant piece that sticks to the tried and tested formula we’ve already seen that includes a white dial, plain indexes and a blue second hand. Built to be lightweight and unobtrusive, the Baroncelli Heritage has the ability to slip easily under a shirt cuff.

Reference no: M027.407.16.010.00

Diameter: Ø 39.00 mm
Movement: Mido 1192 Automatic
Case material: Stainless Steel
Water resistance: 30M
Price: from $1,625 AUD

Shop at Mido Shop at Watches of Mayfair

Best dress watches breguet
Breguet Classique Extra-Thin 5157 ref. 5157BB/11/9V6 | Image: Supplied

18. Breguet Classique Extra-Thin 5157

The Classique Extra-Thin from Breguet presents a striking dial as its standout feature. The centre has a hand-engraved hobnail guilloché pattern and an outer ring for the numerals. There’s a touch of colour, with the Breguet-style hands – first created by and now named after the brand – catching the eye. It’s an impressive watch that revels in its ornate aesthetic.

Reference no: 5157BB/11/9V6

Diameter: Ø 38.00 mm
Movement: Breguet Manufacture Caliber 502.3
Case material: 18-carat White Gold
Water resistance: 30M
Price: from $27,000 AUD

Shop at Breguet Shop at Watches of Mayfair

Best dress watches f p journe
F.P. Journe Chronomètre Bleu | Image: Supplied

19. F.P. Journe Chronomètre Bleu

If you’re unfamiliar with the metal used to create this masterpiece you’re not alone. Tantalum is rarely used in watchmaking but works well here. Its dark grey colour has blue overtones that are an ideal match to the blue chrome dial of the Chronomètre Bleu. In keeping with the watch’s unusual ethos it sports a sub-dial at 7.30 and distinctive hands, making it a visually stunning watch.

Diameter: Ø 39.00 mm
Movement: Calibre 1304
Case material: Tantalum

Shop at F. P. Journe

Best dress watches patek
Patek Philippe Calatrava 6119R | Image: Supplied

20. Patek Philippe Calatrava 6119R

Patek Philippe sits at the peak of the watchmaking world and the Calatrava is another outstanding watch. Fashioned from Rose Gold, and with a hand-winding Caliber 30‑255 PS movement, this is a watch of exceptional quality. The styling is timeless and features gold-applied markers, dauphine-style hands and a hobnail bezel.

Diameter: Ø 39.00 mm
Movement: Caliber 30‑255 PS
Case material: Rose Gold
Water resistance: 30M
Price: $46,650 AUD

Shop at Patek Philippe Shop at The Hour Glass

Best dress watches lange
A. Lange & Sohne Saxonia Thin ref. 205.086 | Image: Supplied

21. A. Lange & Sohne Saxonia Thin

This dazzling watch from Germany’s premier watchmaker, A. Lange & Sohne, is the manufacturer’s slimmest watch to date. With a mid-sized white gold case and a straightforward time-only movement, the Saxonia Thin is an elegant watch that introduces an unusual dial reminiscent of the sky at night.

Reference no: 205.086

Diameter: Ø 39.00 mm
Movement: L093.1
Case material: 18-carat White Gold
Water resistance: 30M
Price: from $31,990 AUD

Shop at A. Lange & Sohne Shop at Watches of Mayfair

Best dress watches bremont supernova
Bremont Supernova H1 Generation | Image: Supplied

22. Bremont Supernova

This is another dress watch that flirts with the steel sports look and is Bremont’s first watch equipped with an integrated bracelet. There are hints of aviation-influenced design that acknowledge the British brand’s early inspiration and the overall package presents a masculine edge. It’s an ideal watch to wear with a smart casual outfit. Powered by Bremont’s ENG375 movement and, like the Omega, crafted for performance when required, this really is the best of British.

Diameter: Ø 40.00 mm
Movement: Bremont Manufactured ENG375
Case material: Stainless Steel
Water resistance: 100M
Price: AUD $12,995

Shop at Bremont Shop at Hardy Brothers

Best dress watches gp
Girard-Perregaux Laureato 42mm ref. 81010-11-431-11A | Image: Supplied

23. Girard-Perregaux Laureato 42mm

The final watch on our list of best dress watches is a bold piece from Girard-Perregaux that’s also equipped with an integrated bracelet. The octagonal bezel grabs your attention and draws you to the rich blue Clous de Paris dial. At 42mm wide and with a full steel construction the Laureato – first debuted in 1975 – is a sharp contrast to some of the more unobtrusive models on this list. If you’d like your watch to be a conversation starter this watch will tick the box.

Reference no: 81010-11-431-11A

Diameter: Ø 42.00 mm
Movement: Calibre GP01800 Automatic
Case material: Stainless Steel
Water resistance: 100M
Price: from $17,000 AUD

Shop at Girard-Perregaux Shop at Watches of Mayfair

How Man of Many Chose the Best Dress Watches

When it comes to choosing our list of the best dress watches money can buy, we turned to our watch expert Lee Smith and our fashion editors to choose their favourites. Man of Many has had the chance to get hands-on with the majority of watches on this list (often thanks to their friends in the industry, but one look at our coverage from Watches & Wonders could tell you that). Man of Many’s lists takes into account three major perspectives to determine the overall rating, quality, price point, and availability. As one of the best watch blogs on the internet they have the knowledge to determine what makes a good dress watch, but in addition to their own opinions, they’ve also taken into account reviews via industry leaders such as Time and TideHODINKEE, and Worn and Wound.

Dress Watch FAQs

Can you wear a dress watch every day?

Although a dress watch implies that you’d wear it when dressing up, often formally, a good dress watch doesn’t have to have that limitation. For many watch fans, a great allrounder can be worn in a variety of scenarios. GADA watches (Go Anywhere, Do Anything) are designed specifically to wear every day and there’s no reason that this type of watch can’t be a dressy model.

What’s the best dress watch to wear to work?

Depending on your work there is a great selection of versatile dress watches to choose from, assuming that your job doesn’t put your watch under extreme pressure. A robust well-made dress watch should do the trick for most 9-5 roles. Watches like Omega’s Constellation Globemaster offer a dress watch aesthetic along with excellent functionality meaning you can wear it in the boardroom and then in the gym an hour later.

Does Rolex make a dress watch?

Rolex makes more than one dress watch with the Rolex Datejust and Rolex Oyster Perpetual being its most well-known formal models.

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Lee Smith

Lee Smith

Lee Smith lives in Tynemouth, England. Having graduated with a BA(Hons) from Sheffield University (1996) he spent several years at a FTSE 100 software company. He left to pursue his love of literature and opened a bookstore. As well as exhibiting books at events around the UK, he also became manager of the annual Alnwick Bookfair. In 2016 Lee switched to his other passion - watches. He began retailing niche brands and launched his own microbrand. He then used his extensive knowledge of watches to write a popular blog. Since 2020 he's written about watches full time.