Six of the most impressive dress watches for 2024

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This week, we take a look at the dress watches. And our focus is on those released to date in 2024. Here are our picks for the six most impressive.

We have done the dress watch themed listicle since 2015, with a new list annually, and even two in 2020, four in 2021. We pick up this theme for the first time this year, as a companion to the Office Wear Recommendation article published a couple of weeks ago.

Six of the most impressive dress watches for 2024

In today’s feature article, we take another stab at the watches released so far this year. This time taking the view of picking six watches which impressed us most in the dress watch category. For us, a dress watch must be aesthetically elegant. It is typically made of a precious metal, and only required to show the time, sometimes as a three hander watch, but more often as only a two hander. It is typically slim, modest case proportions. And must not call attention to itself. With this in mind, let’s go!

Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Manual-Winding

The Patrimony Manual-Winding is VC’s answer to the ultimate dress watch. A very clean design with only two hands on a superbly classical dial in a new 39mm case diameter in either white gold or pink gold. The watch carries off an elegance that few others even approach. The proportions are perfect. The touches which allow it this effortless sophistication with aplomb. This year’s novelty builds on this already magnificent watch. A new colour, dubbed ‘old-silver-tone’ by Vacheron Constantin, which indeed resembles that of tarnished silver. It is warm and rich, the antithesis of the sterility one might find in a white dial. The dial contrasts wonderfully in the white gold case and matches the olive-coloured leather strap to a tee, which is our pick. Though the pink gold case expectedly does not contrast but, rather, complements the old-silver-tone coloured dial.

The movement is the hand wound Cal. 1440, which boasts of the usual high level of finishing and attention to detail lavished on VC watches. Our only wish is for the movement to be a bit larger. At just 22mm in diameter, it looks like it needed the large movement ring to hold it in place, even for a watch with a 39mm case. Priced at SGD 36.3k, it strikes us as a rather good value, especially from a grand maison like Vacheron Constantin. The watch also makes it into Kunal’s Armchair Picks as the best from Watches & Wonders 2024.

Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse Ref. 5738/1R with gold bracelet

We have always have had a soft spot for the Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse. From its heady early days, we have always felt that this must be on the short list of any dress watch. The Golden Ellipse is a reference to the Golden Ratio, a measure of perfection. The first Golden Ellipse was release just before the decade-long Quartz Crisis reshaped fine watchmaking. Even then, Patek Philippe continued crafting watches like the Golden Ellipse in 1977. It was an ode to simple elegance, exemplified by the harmonious proportions and the dial’s elegant simplicity. The 2018 version is particularly enchanting. And this year, Patek upped the ante with a soldered bracelet version. The bracelet is hand-made, by non other than from the artisans at Wellendorf, a German jewellery maker well known for their intricate work. The chain-style bracelet is in full rose gold, and made from a total of 363 links, set in alternating rows and then aligned with a bar. This creates a very flexible and fully articulating bracelet that feels like a second skin on the wrist. Patek told us that they worked with Wellendorf for 15 years to develop the bracelet.

The movement is the legendary Cal. 240. This is a workhorse movement, done Patek style, which means that it still ticks all the boxes and guards the hallmark standards for excellent haute horlogerie finishing and aesthetics. The Golden Ellipse is one of Frank’s Top 3 Armchair picks from Watches & Wonders 2024.

Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Petite Seconde

From the grand old maisons, our next recommendation is from the 30 year old Parmigiani Fleurier. With such a short history, the maison has managed some pretty interesting and significant releases. The revamping of their Tonda PF collection began in earnest with the appointment of Guido Terrenti as CEO. And while each and every piece of the Tonda PF collection is a candidate for the search for a dress watch, the new Toric collection, released this year is the epitome. Released only in cases, dials and movements constructed in precious metal, it re-defines the dressiness. Our pick from the two launch lineups – the Petite Seconde and the Chronograph has to be the former. Its minimalistic, clean, simple lines and elegant classical aesthetics is beautiful.

The attention to detail is astounding. From the subtly textured dial which is a result of meticulous traditional graining techniques, resulting in a fine-textured matte surface. The finish is achieved by careful application of a unique paste composed of cream of tartar, crushed sea salt, silver, and demineralised water. Post-application, the dial is hand-brushed to achieve its soft look. In addition, the Toric dial is not flat but bevelled. Its edges drop to match the inner contour of the case, ultimately creating a desirable neo-vintage aesthetic that has become somewhat of a trend in recent times. 

The movement is superlatively impressive 27-jewel, 157-part Calibre PF780.. Constructed in gold, it is finished to the highest levels. And to top it all off, the diplomatic 40mm case diameter is sufficiently modest for the dressy feel.

IWC Portugieser Automatic

This is the year for IWC’s Portugieser. They revamped the entire collection from the basic time only automatic to the impressive Eternal Calendar. And for a dress watch, our pick is the base Portugieser Automatic.

The Portugieser Automatic is available in two sizes, viz in a classical 42mm and in a gender neutral 40mm case. The base blueprint of the beautiful aesthetics and high legibility of the Portugieser lineup is retained. The case is subtly redesigned, slimmer than ever before. The new box sapphire crystal is also larger than before and shows more dial. The case is now available in white gold, red gold, stainless steel for 42mm models, and in white or red gold for the 40mm variants. Various dial colours are also available. Our pick is the White Gold ref. IW358402, with a gorgeous Horizon Blue dial. Perfect as a dress watch. Only nit pick is that we wish that IWC will bring back the “International Watch Co.” in italic script of yesteryear, last seen on the 75th Anniversary model released in 2015. Or better still the 1993 Jubilee Edition Ref. IW5441 which bore the Cal. 9828.

The movement is the IWC-manufactured 52011 calibre, with the Pellaton winding system using zirconium oxide components providing a power reserve of 7 days from two barrels.

Hermès CUT

There is much buzz about the Hermès Duc Attelé, with the triple axis centrally mounted tourbillon and minute repeater. But for us, the real rizz is in the more down to earth CUT. Some might classify this as a luxury sports watch competing with the likes of the AP Royal Oaks et al. We don’t disagree. But we also think the CUT makes the cut (pun intended) as a dress watch. We find the watch to be very compelling. Starting off with the unique case shape which intrigues with its play on sharp angles and seductive smooth curves. Visually very simple and appealing.

The watch is powered by a Manufacture Hermès H1912, a basic mechanical self-winding calibre which display of hours, minutes and seconds. Finishing is par for the course at this pricing level.

 At a 36mm nominal case dimension, the Herme1s CUT is perhaps a tad on the smallish side by today’s measure. But Hermès intended the watch to be unisex, usable for both men and ladies.

Czapek Promenade

 A new line from Czapek. This novelty family is based on a new case design which is minimalist. No indices. Minimal branding on the asymmetrical dial layout with the seconds sub-dial located at 4:40. The case is a very wearable 38mm in diameter, and the height measures only 10.8mm in stainless steel. The Prominade Goutte d’eau from the two launch watches gets our nomination. It features a very abstract and mesmerising blue dial mimicking a drop of water spreading across a pond. The dial is made with grand feu enamel by Donzé Cadrans in a sapphire blue which is registered as proprietary to Czapek. The dial looks 3 dimensional, but is totally flat, and is made as an optical illusion creating by the radiating pattern from the seconds sub-dial. Quite a spectacle.

The movement is the calibre SXH5.1, which has proven to be a strong performer used in the Antarctique collection. This is now time tested and noted to be as reliable and robust movement. Movement finishing is excellent as the pricing point that the Prominade is pitches at, which is about CHF 18k.

Concluding thoughts

And here it is! Our picks for six impressive dress watches released this year. What are your picks?



  1. Kunal+Khemka on

    Great choices. I love the VC. But I wish VC had a movement large enough to be able to give this model a transparent caseback. Thanks for mentioning me in the VC section.

    I also love the Golden Ellipse.

  2. I’d take a Girard-Perregaux and a Moser over the IWC and the Hermes. All the other choices are great.

  3. Mine would be the Chopard L.U.C. Qualite Fleurier in Lucent Steel… just perfect!