Variety!

It never ceases to amaze me the sheer variety of watches and watch designs that are out there.  From the incredibly good to the mind numbingly bad and yet somebody somewhere, will love the look of whatever it is and then buy it.  Whether its the color, the sheer extravagance or whatever, there truly seems to be a watch model for everyone.

Watches for everyone!

Watches for everyone!

This is just a quick selection and for reference and I’ve listed the models below as one of them could just be the little gem you’ve been waiting for! – you never know!

In no particular order – All prices are UK.

  • Stuhrling Original 204A.33 Sports Fleet Street, Day/Date, Yellow, Quartz – approx £140
  • Shhors Rubber LCD LED092 Ladies, Day/Date – £10.49 (I call this the “Lego” watch! – the bracelet can be altered to change color sequence)
  • Shark Day/Date,24hr, Mens Yellow SH091 – £30 approx.
  • Seiko 5 Sports Navy Blue Day/Date Automatic self winder SRP351 – £113.00
  • Harley Davidson (aka Bulova) Gents model 78C103 – £248
  • Invicta multifunction IP Day/Date Model 43658-004 – £113
  • Cavena Noni Big Da/Date, Alarm Dual Time, Quartz, CVN019 – £23
  • Giulio Romano GR-3000-13-001 Piemonte, Luminous, IP plated, Dual Time, Day/Date – £140
  • Lancaster OLAO461SLYGNR Yellow, Gold IP Day/Date – £170

All the above are Day and Date models and just a fraction of the sheer variety of models, that without the power of the internet, you would simply never get a chance to see, let alone buy.  Such is the fascination of this watch business, that in the time it took to post this, there are literally hundreds and hundreds of new designs, new models already being offered and amazingly new ideas of presenting the time on your wrist!  I have not included the weird form of interpretation of time, with lights and codes etc. as these are just not my thing at all!  These I find far too complicated as what I prefer is to be able to read and understand the time at a glance.  Not that some of this first collection can also be tricky, but there is for me a limit.

And would I buy any of the above?  Well for me personally no, but I know somebody will.   Yet I do find some of the ideas and presentation quite fascinating.  I love, for example, the Ladies Shhors “lego” building brick bracelet watch, just for the sheer fun of it and the fact that from a fashion point of view, to be able to mix around the segments of the bracelet blocks to give a different look, is fun.

And I had forgotten that particular Seiko 5 model, the Sports Cal 4R36, 24 jewel automatic, with it’s wonderful Day/Date window @3, broad luminous hands with a great center seconds arrow hand, a Hardlex crystal and 100m Water Resistance.  As one of my pals used to say – “it’s an absolute belter!” and he’d be right as it is indeed a very stylish watch.  Too easy to forget that Seiko make an enormous number of mechanical automatic models, most of which we never see here in the UK, which is a great shame as they represent excellent value for money.

The Cavena Noni Big Date/day ana-digi is also quite a striking watch and one I’d personally never heard of before.  A low cost model it may be, but design-wise it looks pretty good to me.  And the others more or less picked at random from the almost limitless selection available, again simply show the fantastic variety and so much so that I’ll probably have another trawl around and see what turns up.

Variety!  It never ceases to astound me.

True elegance

Whilst over the years I’ve liked the multifunction models, it’s a fact that my favorite style is probably still the conventional “Dress” watch.  The one overriding word that says it all for me is “elegance” and my choice would always be for a slim cased model that can in turn show off a truly “elegance” with simplicity of dial and case, in fact an “ensemble” of complimentary features that simply work.  And I do not mean “minimalist” even thought this seems to be the modern way of expressing this, I tend to find those offerings both bland and unexciting, certainly not elegant.

Frederique Constant Automatic Slim case

Frederique Constant Automatic Slim case

So having had a look round at the currently available slim and elegant models this is the first of a few that caught my eye.  The Frederique Constant of Geneve Automatic slim cased model above.  A nice sized 40mm diameter case at only 9mm thick, with a sapphire crystal, 30m Water Resistance, FC-306 25 jewel Automatic movement, in a Yellow Gold plated case.  I think this dial face though simple also has an elegance (note it is slightly bowed, not flat), nice gold applied stick hour markers, beautifully shaped gold hands and a neat sized date window @3.  The onion crown is a nice touch and perfectly sized and overall a classic dress watch I’d say and mid priced too for this class of watch.

As you can see for a dress function there is absolutely no need for an overly “busy” face with sub-dials and extraneous features.  It’s about elegance.

It’s also interesting to note that to find a Quartz watch that can be described as truly elegant is not easy.  I show the same maker here as an example – this is the Frederique Constant Quartz version of an almost but not quite similar model.

Frederique Constant Quartz slim Gents.

Frederique Constant Quartz slim Gents.

Now it looks fine of course, but that “elegance” of the previous version is, for me at any rate, just not there.  This model is slightly smaller at 37mm diameter and is actually thinner, being an ultra-thin 5mm with a sunray silver dial, stick hands, and sapphire crystal.  The case has that double stepped bezel top that for me doesn’t have the style of the first.  The gold hands are not “quite” as well shaped and the marker @3 is chopped almost in half, plus that “bowed” look to the dial just isn’t the same.  All that said of course, it is still a very nice watch (and perhaps the image does it an injustice) but the first one is my personal and more expensive choice (£1750 to £750 for the quartz).
However an interesting point about models without seconds hands, is that it’s not easy to see at a glance if the watch is mechanical or quartz.  So if you are with friends that are mechanical nuts, then you might just get away with it. 😉

Rotary Originals Quartz

Rotary Originals Quartz

Another quartz offering is this model from The Originals collection from Rotary – and not a bad looking watch it is too.  PVD Gold plated case is very slim at 5.7mm and a diameter of 43mm including crown and a nicely patterned champagne dial face plus neat contrasting black stick hands and printed numerals.  Crystal is Sapphirite (a sapphire coated mineral glass).  Simple case design with the “bar” lugs from another age and a quality leather strap.  A pretty good dress watch and at a low/mid price of around £150 – £220.  I understand the “Originals” series feature Swiss Quartz movements.  Overall it seems a pretty decent dress watch for the money.

For me the above Rotary whilst a nice dress watch loses out on the elegance stakes for various reasons.  The black stick hands in this context are just that, pointers, and the printed numeral here are rather bland.  The whole comes across as more plain than elegant, though in reality as opposed to the image, it does look a class watch.  At the price of course it has to be worth a look.

Stuhrling Original Ascot Quartz

Stuhrling Original Ascot Quartz

Another stick hands dress watch comes from the Stuhrling stable.  The Stuhrling Original Ascot Quartz, which is an even lower priced model than the Rotary at around £56.00.  This is 38mm diameter and only 5,5mm depth, so is a very thin watch indeed, with a Krysterna Crystal, white face, printed hour batons, 10M Water Resistance and a Swiss movement, represents very good value.  However in looks it comes across as just simple or even minimalist and with no hint of any elegance at all, so falls short as a dress watch for me personally.  Nice enough watch, but not for me.

Skagen UltraSlim 858xlgld

Skagen UltraSlim 858xlgld

I mentioned minimalist at the start and this is such a model.  The Skagen 858xlgld – whilst a dress watch I suppose it has this Danish design minimal look which frankly does absolutely nothing for me.  Flat gold hands are positively inelegant and the flat featureless dial and printed hour batons just add to that barren look.  The case at 39mm diameter and only 5mm depth is fine, but I find this a non starter in the elegance stakes, though for a cheap dress watch at £50 – can’t be bad.

Dugena Classic

Dugena Classic

This watch from Dugena Classic range is a better affair than the above and even though it has stick hands, it does have a certain elegance about it overall.  It has a two tiered dial face and applied gold numeral batons, nicely shaped gold case at 38mm diameter and just 6mm depth, so is slim too.  Mineral glass crystal.  It also has a very good quality quartz movement of Swiss/German origin and a price point well below it’s quality (around £70.00).  An excellent dress watch and with a touch of elegance perhaps.

Piaget Alto Plano

Piaget Alto Plano

Well here’s a watch that’s close to home for me as I actually own two of this maker.  One vintage and one modern.  And now we have to be talking elegance.  This is the Piaget Alto Plano ultra slim model (current) and although this model has a sub dial for seconds @10 (mine is at@4) it is one of the few dress watches with a seconds feature that looks both different and yet retains a certain elegance too.  Stick hands here don’t look wrong in this setting and neither do the printed baton markers.  They blend together very well indeed as I mentioned at the start – the “ensemble” or combination of elements is superb.  Again you have, as the Frederique Constant Auto mode,l this slightly bowed dial face that just looks right. This particular model is 38mm diameter and just 4.1mm depth is incredibly thin, an 18ct pink gold and subtly shaped elegant case (even the automatic is only 5.25mm depth), though as you can guess this is not a cheap model but pretty expensive at around $13,00o.  You better believe it, this sort of elegance costs!

Of course there are many, many more dress style watches out there and if I look long enough I’d probably find quite a few more, that would suit my own particular requirements and opinion.  But suffice to say, there are literally dozens around.  And this is very encouraging, especially in this modern day obsession for big, sometimes clumsy, over featured, extravagant models that seem to proliferate now.  The fact that the “classic” dress watch is still available, says to me that with a bit of luck others may enjoy the feeling of wearing such wonderful watches, well into the future – and that has to be good.

But a word of caution – I’ve found over the years and confirmed it yet again – that true elegance = expensive!

Isn’t that the way of it . .

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