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Dress watches - Hail to the slim watch

Dress watches Hail to the slim watch

Just a few years ago, watches were often expected to be bigger than a tuna can. Thankfully, this tendency seems to be a thing of the past, with major brands such as Piaget, Patek Philippe, Girard-Perregaux and A. Lange & Söhne boldly affirming the timeless elegance of slimmer, trimmer models.

Remember back in 2006-07 when your neighbour felt that his second car should be a Hummer and you yourself had a large jacuzzi built in the garden? Well, do you also remember when the bank called, asking you to pay back the loan – and preferably yesterday?

The financial crisis caught us all out. We tightened our spending budgets. The Louis Vuitton tote was exchanged for a plastic bag from the local supermarket, the jacuzzi sat empty in the garden and showing off was frowned upon. Thankfully times have once again changed, the future is looking better and we are once again treating ourselves to a little bit of luxury, although on a more modest scale, at least literally speaking.

Suits are slim, shirts no longer reveal expanses of chest and ties are back – also slim and with a discreet knot. The overall look is definitely subtler and this also applies to the watches we wear.

40-42 millimetres seems to be the preferred diameter, rather than 45-50 millimetres as was frequently the case back in the days when the let’s-pretend-our-home-is-worth-millions attitude drove many a spontaneous watch purchase.

Big watches can of course still found at retailers, but slim watches seem to take up more shelf space these days. To the untrained eye, these classic and slim watches may seem a tad boring, but making a slim watch is as difficult as doing a tourbillon, as the parts are wafer thin and extremely fragile to work with. Probably only the wearer and the watchmaker who will in due course service the slim watch will appreciate this fact. Price-wise they are as expensive as an oversized diamond-studded gold watch – but with a way more positive attitude.

 

Piaget Altiplano Ultra Thin Skeleton © Piaget

 

Piaget Altiplano Ultra Thin Skeleton is the slimmest automatic watch on the market at just 5.34 millimetres thin due to the ultra-slim calibre 1205S that measures only 2.4 millimetres. No matter the size of the shirt cuff, this watch will play hide and seek all day long.

 

Patek Philippe Calatrava © Patek Philippe

 

Patek Philippe Calatrava is probably the best-known classic dress watch. Originally introduced in 1932, the Calatrava oozes discreet elegance and luxurious craftsmanship in a small package. The white gold ref. 5196 will not disappoint the owner, while probably fooling the layman who does not understand fine watchmaking.

 

Girard-Perregaux 1966. © Girard-Perregaux

 

Girard-Perregaux 1966 is another great example of a classic watch design that works as well now as it did when originally introduced 47 years ago – albeit now appearing in a version slightly bigger than the original with which it continues to co-exist. The previously launched 38 mm model and the new 41 millimetre version are respectively 8 or 10 millimetres thin, while the former is fitted with GP03300 and the latter with Calibre GP4500. Discretion at its finest.

 

A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Ultra Thin © A. Lange & Söhne

 

A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Ultra Thin offers only hours and minutes. While these are admittedly merely the bare essentials of a watch, the sheer beauty of this model measuring 40 millimetres in diameter and 5.9 millimetres thin will leave lovers of elegant dress watches in awe.

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