Between their unconventional aesthetics and top-shelf mechanics, the best cushion case watches are guaranteed to distinguish you from your presumably stylish peers. They come to us from brands like Panerai, Vacheron Constantin, and Patek Philippe, all of whom know a thing or two about distinction, to say the least. Meanwhile, you might be wondering: what’s the exact definition of a cushion case watch, anyway? We dive into that before listing out the 10 best cushion case watches. Prepare your wrist and wallet for some serious horological action, and proceed.
What is a Cushion Case Watch?
Emanating with masculine appeal, cushion case watches include a square-shaped case with softly rounded corners (sometimes described as a “squircle”). One of the earliest and most quintessential examples was the original Panerai Radiomir, which remains a true legend to this day. As with most types of watches, cushion case models are available in a variety of iterations, including diver’s watches and dress watches. Sometimes, the cushion case design is referred to as “tonneau,” but the two shapes are, in fact, slightly different.
10 Best Cushion Case Watches
TAG Heuer Link Calibre 5
Technically, the subtle case shape of the TAG Heuer Link Calibre 5 lies somewhere between round and cushion, but we’re not going to split hairs when it comes to this magnificent timepiece. That cushion base is joined by an overlaid ring on the understated bezel. In contrast to its predecessors, the 30th-anniversary timepiece touts a formidable diameter of 41mm. Meanwhile, its iconic bracelet with S-shaped links is completely integrated into the case, amounting to a symphony of steel. At the heart of the watch is Swiss-made Calibre 5 movement. Classic.
Vacheron Constantin Historique American 1921
As if its cushion case design wasn’t radical enough, the Vacheron Constantin Historique American 1921 gets downright avant-garde in terms of its dial layout. Specifically, the numerals and indices veer slightly to the right and come rendered in a style that might best be described as Dali-esque. Powering the watch is manual-winding Caliber 4400 AS movement, which delivers a power reserve of approximately 65 hours. Bearing the Hallmark of Geneva, this brilliant timepiece is synonymous with every conceivable type of excellence.
Piaget Polo S
Available in a variety of colours and styles, the Piaget Polo S duly capitalises on the built-in masculinity of cushion case designs. Each model in the collection measures 42mm in diameter, features a transparent case back, and runs on Manufacture Piaget 1160P self-winding movement. Ultimately, these watches strike the perfect balance between classic luxury and distinctive flourish.
Drive de Cartier (Ref. WSNM0004)
Located within the Drive de Cartier’s eye-catching 40mm cushion case of premium steel is a silvered flinqué dial with Roman numerals. Look closer and you’ll notice a blued-steel leaf-shaped second hand along with blued-steel sword-shaped hour and minute hands. Also featured is a calendar aperture at 3 o’clock and a small seconds counter at 6 o’clock. It all blends to harmonious effect, and comes powered by self-winding mechanical movement.
Glasshutte Original Seventies Chronograph Panorama Date
The lovely Original Seventies Chronograph Panorama Date from Glasshute delivers sporty character and a vintage touch. Waterproof to 10 bar, the watch features a screwed case back, a double G-logo on the crown, and a dial of galvanised silver with Super-LumiNova markers. Under the skin is automatic calibre 37-02 movement.
Patek Philippe 5940R Grand Complications
Patek Philippe makes outrageously gorgeous watches and the 5940R Grand Complications is certainly no exception. Everything about this self-winding automatic timepiece is exquisite, from the rose gold cushion case to the cream dial to the moon phase and perpetual calendar complications. Sealing the deal is a hand-stitched alligator strap. That it’s one of the best cushion case watches you can find basically goes without saying.
Ressence Type 1² Squared
Expanding upon the original Ressence collection by way of its premium cushion case and retractable lever, the Type 1² Squared is as revolutionary as it sounds. In lieu of physical hands, the mono-surface dial features discs, rings, and graphical lines. Because both the main dial and auxiliary dials are continuously rotating like planets in space, the entire dial face is in a constant state of flux. More than a watch, this is the essence of time itself in wearable form.
Panerai Luminor Marina 42mm
No list of the best cushion case watches is complete without the name Panerai, who consistently combines Italian design and Swiss technology to sheer perfection. Among the brand’s arsenal of masterpieces is the Luminor Marina 42mm, a cushion case diver’s watch of considerable power and exceptional beauty. Water resistant to 10 bar, it runs on Panerai’s own P.9010 automatic mechanical calibre, which oscillates at a frequency of 28,800 alternations per hour, and delivers a 3-day power reserve. Featured on the dial are robust Arabic numerals and hour markers, a date window at 3 o’clock, and a small seconds indicator at 9 o’clock. As this watch goes to show, Panerai continues to make good on the design legacy it helped establish in the first place.
Sinn 240 ST
Providing a streamlined take on previous models from the same brand, the Sinn 240 ST wraps its bead-blasted stainless steel cushion case around a pilot’s bezel and matte black dial. Additional features include luminous hands and markers, sapphire crystal with dual AR coating, day indication, and a Sinn crown with D3 locking system. Available with either a leather strap or steel bracelet, the classic watch is pressure resistant to 10 bar.
Laurent Ferrier Galet
Distinguishing the Laurent Ferrier Galet from your standard cushion case model is the inclusion of an off-centred Galet Micro-Rotor, which automatically winds the calibre movement. Tracing its DNA to the “natural” escapement invented by Abraham-Louis Breguet, this double direct-impulse escapement is fitted directly on the balance and equipped with a silicon lever. As a result, the rotor optimises energy management and reduces the mechanical force required to wind the mainspring. Oh, and did we mention that the cushion case watch itself looks unique and extraordinary in its own right? Well, it does.