A manual winding dress watch sets itself apart from its self winding counterparts mainly due to its relative thinness. While there are some ultra thin automatic movements out there, a manual winding dress watch deserves a spot in any collection for what it represents. Simplicity, history and elegance.
Throwback Sundays: Six Recommendations for a manual winding dress watch
A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 – The Large Date
Debuting in 1994 with three other models, the Lange 1 became a watchmaking icon thanks to its signature asymmetric off-centre dial and big date display.
Mathematically speaking, the Lange 1 uses a golden ratio and “Rule of Third” in its dial subdial layout. This ensures that each individual element is placed strategically, allowing the different elements to look well-balanced when the timepiece is rotated 90° clockwise.
The attention to detail, as well as the skills demonstrated by the craftsmen, ensure that the movement is decorated to the highest standards. As a brand, Lange’s perfectionist attitude put Saxony watchmaking on the map comparable, if not outright surpassing, the Swiss at their own game. The newest 38.5mm Lange 1 retails at US$39,900 in pink gold.
Seiko Credor Eichi II – The Porcelain Dial
Credor Eichi II in platinum is a masterpiece in dial and movement artistry. Created by the Micro Artist Studio in Japan, the Credor Eichi II sits among the best hand winding dress watches today.
The Eichi II is another simple timepiece, but this is Seiko’s way of letting the finishing shine. The Eichi II features an impeccable porcelain dial, which was produced by the artisans back at Seiko’s Micro Artisan Studio. But the pièce de résistance lies in its Calibre 7R14 movement. The contemporary-looking movement is finished to the highest quality – which includes convex bevelling, anglage, and linear brush finishing. It also features a 60-hour power reserve indicator, as well as Seiko’s proprietary Spring Drive mechanism.
Sized at 39mm, the Eichi II is an excellent dress watch for numerous occasions. It is subtle, simple, but yet very elegant at all angles. The porcelain dial is an unusual touch, and its intriguing appearance certainly makes it a conversational timepiece. The Eichi II is available in many variations, with the platinum version pricing at ¥4,300,000 (approximately S$55,697).
Cartier Tank Cintrée – The elongated case
First launched in 1921, the new Tank Cintrée remains faithful to its roots. The highlight of the watch certainly lies in its design. The elongated curved case is simple and elegant on the wrist. It also features a beautifully crafted dial, with contrasting colour schemes to bring out the looks of it. The watch, in addition, is fitted with a JLC-based hand-winding movement.
The retail price of the watch is S$28,300 for the gold versions, and S$32,600 for the platinum variant. The Tank Cintrée, in our opinion, is certainly a beautiful work of art. It might be a simple two-hand watch, but it is one that has a unique appearance indeed.
Lang & Heyne Georg – The unusual movement
Perhaps the most uncommon modern movement in the list, the Lang & Heyne Georg makes the list for its understated craftsmanship. From the dial to the hands and case, every part of the watch is made to exquisite levels of artistry.
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.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Small Seconds Green – The ‘Sporty’ dress watch
Possibly the most iconic design created by Jaeger-LeCoultre, the Reverso was first created in 1931. It was birthed from a practical need by British officers, to have a wristwatch that could survive the harrowing effects of a game of polo. The latest iteration in 2021, the 90th anniversary of the Reverso, comes in a green dial, set to the simple sub-seconds time only wrist watch.
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.
Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref. 6119R-001 – The Classic
The new 39mm Calatrava is a stunning dress watch, featuring the famous “Clous de Paris” motif on the bezel with a classic petite-seconde layout.
Powering the watch is the Caliber 30-255PS, which is a new movement by the maison. The movement boasts a power reserve of 65 hours, as well as a stop seconds hacking mechanism. Finishing-wise, the Caliber 30-255PS is superb with all the haute horlogerie elements addressed well. After all, it is stamped with the Geneva Seal – which is undoubtedly a testament to the quality of the timepiece.
Priced at S$39,000, the Calatrava might have a slight premium over its competitors. However, given its quality and provenance, the watch is certainly a compelling option – and one that sets the benchmark for the rest of the high-end dress watches in the scene.
From the classic to the most unexpected, every dress watch mentioned in this article was thoughtfully selected for the discerning watch collector. They represent some of the best in watchmaking, and display all that one actually needs, basic time telling. While handwinding watches will require some additional attention than its self winding counterparts, the slimness of the watches and beauty of their movements make handwinding dress watches an essential piece in any collection.