The two hand watch: We make six recommendations for the essence of a dress watch

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Last week, we covered six dressier watches that only have three-hands. Today, we will be pushing ourselves further, by looking only at two-hand watches instead.

There is something alluring about these watches. While they may not be as spectacular as some other pieces with complicated movements, the beauty and appeal certainly lies more in the more subtle bits. That, in our opinion, is definitely worth our interest. In fact, it might be even tougher for watchmakers and designers to execute an excellent timepiece, considering the limited realms that they can explore.

Throwback Sunday: six recommendations for the essential two hand dress watch

So, what are some of the two-hand watches that have caught our eyes? Let us find out!

Cartier Santos-Dumont XL

The first watch that we have is a classic from Cartier: The Santos-Dumont.

Launched in 2019, the Santos-Dumont is perhaps what we want in a modern dress watch – classy, slim, but yet with a slight interesting touch. It is also important to point out that Cartier has sound watchmaking pedigree as well, and it certainly shows in the Santos-Dumont.

Powering the Santos-Dumont is the Caliber 430 MC, which is based on the Piaget Caliber 430P. Overall, the equation works pretty well, especially with its relatively decent price point. The base XL model, with the manual-winding movement, is priced at S$8,400. This 46.6mm x 33.9mm watch ticks all the right boxes, and it is surely an icon that will seamlessly fit into any collector’s watch collection.

Breguet Classique 5157

Breguet is a brand that is well-known by many for its complications and significant contributions to the horological world. But the Breguet that we are featuring today is something that is slightly different; it is a simple, but very clean, two-hand dress watch. Cue the Classique 5157.

The Classique 5157 is what we consider a textbook “dress watch”. Sized at 38mm, the watch also features an ultra-thin case profile at 5.4mm – which allows it to slip under shirt cuffs easily. This watch is one that focuses on the subtle details – from the guilloche dial, machine tooled borders on the peripheral of the chapter ring, and the coin-edge motif at the side of the case. These elements, although minute, add up to the beauty of the piece.

The watch has a retail price of S$27,000. This is an example of a perfect dress watch for the gentleman, and it proves that you do not need to be superfluous to design a great timepiece.

H. Moser & Cie Venturer XL Concept Dubai Edition

There are controversial watchmakers, and then there is H. Moser & Cie. Often known for its interesting concepts, the 43mm Venturer XL Concept Dubai Edition was another interesting timepiece that takes minimalism to an entirely whole new level.

The Concept Series, which was first launched in 2015, is an interesting take on brand identity and the idea of telling time. The idea is to strip the watches to its bare minimum – that means no branding, no logos, and even indices. It is pretty much to go back to the basics, which is for the watch to tell time in the simplest form. This is a bold move, considering that many people purchase high-end luxury watches as a status symbol.

Beyond the philosophical aspect, this also allows Moser to shine the spotlight on the two main selling points of its watches – the dial and movement. This is especially true for its signature fumé dial, in which the collector is able to enjoy the brilliance of the dial in its full glory.

This particular edition, produced in collaboration with luxury retailer Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, is limited to a run of 9 pieces. It was priced at CHF 18,000 (approximately S$26,330), and we do like how the brand continues to push boundaries and explore interesting concepts as such.

A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Thin in Copper Blue

Watches from A. Lange & Söhne are always a special treat. But the Saxonia Thin in Copper Blue is one that certainly blew many away.

The Saxonia Thin is an impressive piece by itself, with its clean aesthetics and stunning movement. This version takes that up a notch, with a brilliant dial that is made with goldstone. The effect is one that resembles a night full of shimmering stars, and that is pretty magical in our opinion.

The 39mm piece is priced at S$34,800. That is certainly a huge premium over the standard variant, but this particular watch is pretty much unlike others. This is a sublime piece for sure, and one that will certainly look good in any watch collection.

Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse Ref. 5738R

When it comes to Patek Philippe, the likes of Nautiluses and Grand Complications are perhaps the first few collections that will come to mind.

One of the lesser-known, but equally important collection, is the Golden Ellipse. Second only to the Calatrava in terms of age, the Golden Ellipse is an interesting watch that features an uncommon elliptical case with dimensions that respect the golden ratio. This particular edition, which was produced to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the collection, features a larger case that measures 34.5mm x 39.5mm.

While the watch might be simple, the executions are pretty much perfect. From the rich ebony black sunburst dial to the onyx cabochon on the crown, Patek Philippe managed to do the simple things right. The same can also be said for the legendary Calibre 240, which is unfortunately hidden behind a solid caseback. We have no doubts about the quality of the finishing on the movements itself, given that it is Patek Philippe.

Priced at S$40,700 for the rose gold model, this timepiece is also paired with a matching set of cufflinks to complete the package. The Golden Ellipse is another interesting piece, and we do think it certainly deserves much more recognition than what it is currently receiving.

Laurent Ferrier Bridge One

Finally, we have the Laurent Ferrier Bridge One.

The Bridge One is a fascinating piece, named after the famous Passerelle de l’Ile in Geneva. What we like is how Laurent Ferrier had chosen to create a timepiece with a slightly unusual rectangular case shape, and included sensuous curves to make it so captivating and alluring. The shape also makes this watch a challenge to manufacture, which includes the sapphire crystal which has to be cut from a spherical glass globe.

Case aside, the grand feu enamel dial (as pictured) and the Caliber LF107.1 are stunning accompaniments as well. Overall, the execution is near flawless; it is literally akin to wearing a sculpture on the wrist. This masterpiece is priced at CHF 37,000 (approximately S$54,120), and it is perhaps one of the nicest watches that we have seen in a while.

Concluding Thoughts

It is not easy to execute a great two-hand watch. As we have mentioned, there are only so few elements that can be tweaked. But having said that, there are brands that have gone above and beyond – the Laurent Ferrier Bridge One is the perfect example of manufacturers breaking boundaries to do something really different. For that, it surely deserves our respect.

Having said that, we should also applaud the other watch manufacturers for their attention to detail. The Breguet Classique and Lange Saxonia are two watches that encapsulate the idea with stunning touches to make these seemingly simple watches so extraordinary. The same can be said for the remaining three timepieces as well.

We hope that you have enjoyed this week’s selections. While these watches are not as fanciful, we do hope that we have broadened your horizons when it comes to design and finishing (beyond the more obvious ones that we see in a movement). As always, do feel free to share with us your thoughts in the comments section below. Till the next article, ciao!


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  1. Y’know, I never noticed the Ferrier Bridge One was a two-hander! Very unusual and quite a pretty watch, was glad he made a classical piece with similar design to the Arpal One he collaborated with Urwerk on.

    Big thumbs up for the rest, although I think the appeal of the Ellipse has faded in recent years. Another to add to the list probably comes closest, IMO, to the essence of a dress watch – Vacheron’s Historiques Ultra-Fine 1955 in pink gold. That, and the Lange Saxonia Thin in pink gold, are my idea of two-hand perfection.