Dressed to thrill

If form is temporary, then style is permanent — well, certainly in the world of watchmaking, says expert Norman Burns.

The dress watch is the modern descendant of the fob or pocket watch, and has been a mainstay of the industry for more than 100 years. Who can resist a classic, elegant and understated timepiece that’s also the perfect accessory for any outfit? And with such hot competition in the market today, you can have wrist wear that looks a million bucks without the price tag to match.

Bell & Ross BR 123 Original Black

Fashion and French flair go hand-in-hand, so no surprises that this little number from French-Swiss watchmakers Bell & Ross ticks all the style boxes. Its 41mm steel case is a good size, running an in-house automatic mechanical movement protected by a domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating. A small seconds dial, date display at six o’clock and a luscious black leather strap finish it off nicely.

$3,600 lionbrandsaustralia.com.au

Claude Bernard Classic Gents Chronograph

Sure it sports a chronograph movement rather than a mechanical one, but this hand-assembled watch delivers a lot of bang for your buck. The dark blue dial is sweetly framed by the 316L stainless steel case, with a gold Physical Vapor Deposition coating for extra durability. With separate chronograph sub-dials and a date display, the Classic Gents Chronograph is a classy package.

$640 lionbrandsaustralia.com.au

Raymond Weil Tango

Family owned Swiss watchmaker Raymond Weil has given its Tango range some serious water-resistance cred without compromising on looks. The 41mm men’s watch is water-resistant to 300m, while the daintier women’s variants are water-resistant to 100m. Both the men’s and women’s are powered by quartz movements, and the men’s range has no fewer than nine variants to match whatever you’re wearing. Functional style at its best.

From $1,795 avstev.com.au

Longines Flagship Heritage 60th Anniversary

This commemorative model is the perfect synergy of 1950’s retro-cool and 21st century engineering smarts. The combination of arabic numerals and hour markers, plus the elegant “Dauphine” hands and subtle seconds sub-dial is striking. The 38mm model is also water-resistant to 30m and, fully wound, has a 42-hour power reserve. A beautiful timepiece that oozes sophistication and style.

From $2,650 longines.com

Bruno Soehnle Stuttgart Mechanic

I love the minimalist “Bauhaus” style of this 42mm piece from Bruno Soehnle, based in the heart of Germany’s Glashuette watchmaking region. This is a lean, clean time machine with an automatic mechanical movement, and the rose gold hands and indices offset against a striking white dial give it a real sophisticated air. A subtle date window at three o’clock and leather band top it off with style.

$1,330 definewatches.com.au

Frederique Constant Smartwatch

Switzerland’s Frederique Constant incorporates smart technology in this elegant, affordable piece. Via a Bluetooth connection for either iOS or Android systems you can receive message and call alerts, monitor sleep patterns and (for frequent flyers) never have to set the time again as the watch will automatically reset to local time. It also stores all data independently for 30 days and has a Cloud back-up feature.

From $1395 avstev.com.au