The last time we did a Throwback Sunday for rectangular watches was way back in 2015. So we thought it will be good to update this list, 6 years on. So here is our recommendations for those seeking a watch with a rectangular case.
Throwback Sundays: Six recommendations for a watch in a rectangular case
Two of our picks remain from the same maisons as in the earlier list. Why? Because they are the icons. Flag carriers. Poster boys for the rectangular case. But included in this list are a further 4, which are perhaps also as iconic. Without further ado, here it goes…in no particular order. As usual, full review links in the description. The JLC and Cartier reviews to be published soon, as we have had hands-on sessions and done the photography.
JLC is our reference standard for a rectangular cased watch. And the Reverso is more than just a pretty oblong shape. As we all know, it features the magnificent mechanism to enable the case to swivel around. Iconic. And in our view, every watch enthusiast worth his/her salt must have one in his/her collection when he/she can afford it. There are numerous models to pick from. And our pick for this article is the latest one in the hot-for-2021 green dial. Full hands on review coming soon.
This is a base model Reverso, retailing for SGD 12,000 in a stainless steel case with a Fagliano strap and deployant buckle. The slim 8.5mm case houses the manually wound mechanical Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 822/2; a rectangular shaped movement with small seconds designed expressly for the Reverso, it offers a power reserve of 42 hours.
Yet another icon in design lingua franca is the Cartier Tank. Timeless. Pure. Self assured. After more than a century, it is now re-invented with the Tank Must. As 2021 is the year for the Tank, our pick comes from this year’s novelties – the Tank Must de Cartier. Full hands-on review coming soon!
We particularly love the guilloché dial with the inner rectangular railway track surrounded by the bold Roman numerals. Strikes us as particularly good taste. And set at a retail price of SGD 5,100 for the XL Tank Must with the automatic caliber 1847 MC, in a stainless steel case. A clear value for money proposition. Now also fitted with an easy change strap.
Perhaps not a classical icon, but an independent manufacturer in Germany. Originally setup by Marco Lang and Mirko Heyne, the duo split up with just Marco helming the brand till recently. The Georg was introduced during Marco’s time at the company. We are quietly confident of the company and brand name, now with new owners, and have employed Jens Schneider as the technical director. I have known Jens from his days as the master watchmaker at Lange, and later at Moritz Grossmann. Jens is a high skilled watchmaker who was part of the original team in Lange, and was involved in the development of many of their calibers, including the Zeitwerk.
The case design is a work of art. Roughly rectangular, it is slightly curved to hug the wrist. Attention to detail is outstanding. From the fluting on the case side, to the three lug arrangement for attaching the strap. Encased within the sapphire glass is a grand feu enamel dial. The movement is a wonder to behold. The in-house Caliber VIII has a unique architecture of multiple cocks across the movement. Each is made by hand in stainless steel and has a curved upper side which is meticulously polished to a high shine.
Priced at EUR 26,000 (Rose Gold), it is a testament to the workmanship of the Germans.
Bell & Ross BR 03
Yet another icon. Though this one considerably more recent than the previous two. Again, a whole collection of square…well the square is a subset of the rectangle…watches to choose from. Our pick, is also from the latest crop. The BR 03-93 GMT.
We love the two-tone 24 hour bezel. Borrowing soft drink nomenclature, the red and black bezel is nicknamed the coke bezel, is a more vibrant variant to the earlier BR 03-93 GMT (yes, same reference). Retail is SGD 5,700. The movement is the calibre BR-CAL.303, an automatic movement derived from the ETA 2893-2. Diving case in stainless steel rated to 100M.
Moser Swiss Alp
H. Moser & Cie made waves in the watch community when they announced the first Swiss Alp watch in 2016, as a poke at the Apple Watch with the introduction of a fully mechanical Swiss Made model. The design bears a striking resemblance to the Apple Watch and many termed it as the “Anti-Apple” watch given the similarities shared between them and the clear, cheeky attempt to mock Apple. The model is currently in its Final Edition with a Vantablack dial. But our pick is the original edition with the magnificent blue fume dial. Though the Minute Repeater Tourbillon also gets our hearts beating way faster than it should.
Back to the basic model, the design is ingenious, and our favourite version comes in a solid 18 carat white gold casing that measuring 38.2 x 44.0 mm. The timepiece comes in a rectangular casing with soft, rounded corners and is topped by sapphire crystal, just like the Apple watch. Retail was SGD 38,640. And by now, only available in the secondary market, as the model is sold out in the Moser catalog.
Patek Philippe Twenty-4
And eventually, we sneak in a ladies watch. The Patek Philippe Twenty-4 is an icon. Stainless steel, rectangular case, with bracelet, first released in 1999. It was an immediate hit, even in those days. The goal initially was to create a watch that could be worn all day and was versatile enough for business or evening wear. And thus the original Twenty~4 Manchette (cuff in French) – with its steel casing and bracelet, as well as its fuss-free quartz movement. The model was available in a slightly larger case with a mechanical movement, but only in precious metal cases. The steel models all had the in-house Patek quartz movements.
Our pick is the new (2020) Twenty~4 Manchette is a reinterpretation of the original medium-sized (25.1mm x 30mm) model. The model is available in two dial variants, both equipped with a quartz movement. Priced at SGD 19,400, the new Twenty~4 Manchette serves as an excellent timepiece for women to test the waters that is Patek Philippe. The design is very attractive, and well-rounded design, and is even rated up to 30 m of water resistance: good enough for swimming (if you’re brave enough).
And there we have it. Six rectangular watches. Updated from our last list of 2015. Perhaps a rather diverse crop. From classical icons like the JLC Reverso and the Cartier Tank, to the more modern and edgy designs from Bell & Ross and the Moser. We even have an independent from Dresden, and to round up, a quartz ladies watch from Patek Philippe. What would you have included differently?