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LESSIS MORE

WHEN YOU DON'T NEED THE COMPLICATIONS, A CLASSIC DRESS

WATCH TELLS THE TIME WITH ELEGANT SIMPLICITY WORDS SIMON DE BURTON

Chronographs that will time down to 100th of a

second, dive watches that can safely be sunk to

12,000ft and pilot's watches that are moon-shot

ready are all well and good, but what do you wear

if you just want to look chic and sophisticated and

occasionally be able to tell the time?

The answer is a classic dress watch - a slim, subtle two or

three-handed timepiece that will nestle discreetly beneath the

cu of your dinner jacket without weighing your arm down or

giving the impression that you're an o -duty man of action

who might be called out on a mission at any second.

Dress watches are the epitome of understated elegance,

usually with the plainest of dials adorned with two, or at most

three, hands. Yet they often require greater technical mastery

to execute than their bulkier cousins, because their mechanical

movements must be as thin as possible in order to ‚ t the svelte

dimensions of their cases. Here are six of the best.

ROLEX CELLINI

Cellini dress watches are named after the 16th-century goldsmith

Benvenuto Cellini and became part of the Rolex range during the

1960s. The last signi  cant addition to the line was the rectangular

Cellini Prince, introduced in 2005, but this year's Baselworld show

saw the unveiling of some elegant round-cased Cellinis, such as

this beautifully simple Cellini Time model in white gold.

£10,150; rolex.com

VACHERON CONSTANTIN PATRIMONY TRADITIONELLE

If you're looking for the de  nitive dress watch, Vacheron's delectable

Patrimony Traditionelle might just be it. Famed for its wafer-thin

timepieces, the brand has used its hand-wound Caliber 4400

movement inside a 38mm white gold case to create a watch with

a power reserve of 65 hours but which measures just 7.7mm thick.

The exquisitely decorated mechanism can be seen through the

sapphire crystal back. £15,750; vacheron-constantin.com

FREDERIQUE CONSTANT SLIMLINE MOONPHASE

Frederique Constant regularly astounds with nicely made, great value

watches, such as the delightfully understated Slimline Moonphase.

For a sensible sum of money, you get an in-house manufactured

movement with date and moonphase in an ultra-thin, 42mm

stainless steel case. Or, if you're feeling ’ ush, go for the pricier rose

gold version. Choose from black or white dial   nishes, and have your

watch delivered with a genuine alligator skin strap in what Frederique

Constant describes, with characteristic modesty, as 'a nice wooden gift

box'. From £2,530 (steel), £9,220 (rose gold); frederique-constant.com

PATEK PHILIPPE REFERENCE 5078

E• ortless superiority is Patek Philippe's trademark, and this particular

watch displays it to perfection. At   rst glance it appears to be a simple,

time-only dress watch, but the discreet slide at the side of the case

activates a minute repeater mechanism that announces the time on

demand using a system of tiny, mechanical gongs. Previously available

only in platinum, this new, rose gold version is a little more 'a• ordable'

- but not much. £263,900; patek.com

PARMIGIANI POMELLATO

High-end, low-volume watchmaker Parmigiani Fleurier has teamed up

with legendary Milanese jewellery house Pomellato to create a truly

eye-catching range of dress and cocktail watches based on its 39mm,

pink gold Tonda model. Choose from black or white dials or, best of all,

the model inspired by Pomellato's 'Capri' collection, which features a

disc of vibrant turquoise. From £14,500-20,900; parmigiani.com

LONGINES CONQUEST HERITAGE

To mark 60 years since it registered the 'Conquest' name, Longines has

introduced a limited edition of the elegant but rugged dress watch it

launched in 1954. At 35mm in diameter, the cases have the Longines

quality seal embedded in the back, just like the 1950s model. There

will be 600 steel anniversary Heritage watches made, and 60 each in

yellow and rose gold. £1,030 (steel); £3,300 (gold); longines.com

1 Patek Philippe Reference 5078 2 Frederique Constant Slimline Moonphase 3 Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionelle

4 Parmigiani Pomellato 5 Longines Conquest Heritage 6 Rolex Cellini

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