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Watch reviews - Rectangular watches in vogue

Watch reviews Rectangular watches in vogue

There has been a small renaissance in the field of rectangular watches, with new avant-garde designs arriving on the market to complement the existing classic offerings.

Perhaps buoyed by the arrival of the Apple Watch, with its rectangular design by Marc Newson, a number of brands have presented new rectangular watches this year, notably with some interesting new interpretations on an otherwise classic theme.

The new avant-garde
Every year during Baselworld there are maybe only two or three watches that grab my attention. As someone who writes about watches daily, I obviously see hundreds, if not thousands, of watches every year. But I can count those on which I would actually spend my hard-earned cash (and apart from very rare exceptions when I have watches on test, I only ever wear watches that I have bought for myself) on the fingers of one hand.

One of these rare personal favourites this year is De Grisogono’s New Retro model. Not only did the designers of this watch opt for the unusual rectangular shape, they actually rotated it through 90 degrees so that the watch sits lengthways on the wrist, where its carefully weighted proportions ensure that it sits perfectly. But in all other respects the New Retro exudes the utmost classicism, with clean lines matched with an easy-to-read dial – something that is, surprisingly, almost as rare as its rectangular shape on today’s watch market

Tiffany’s approach with its new East-West model is not dissimilar to that of De Grisogono. The case has an unmistakable Art Deco look, yet the Arabic numerals on the dial have all been rotated through 90 degrees. Another example of form over function? Try the watch on, sit with your wrists splayed across your keyboard or gripping the steering wheel of your car and you will soon realize that the unusual design is cunningly practical. Driven by Swiss Made quartz movements, the Tiffany East-West collection also offers an affordable entrance to the world of avant-garde rectangular watches.

The classics
Rectangular watches are by no means a new phenomenon, of course, and classically-minded brands such as Patek Philippe and Girard-Perregaux have had them in their collections for decades. For Patek Philippe, the rectangular models in the Twenty-4 collection are entirely feminine in nature, serving as a straight platform that is ideally suited to different levels of diamond setting, right up to fully paved. More stylized rectangular shapes are found in the Gondolo collection, with convex sides for the men’s models and concave for the ladies. In Girard-Perregaux’s case, the Vintage 1945 collection offers both men’s and women’s watches covering the full spectrum of watch varieties and complications, including the brand’s signature tourbillon under three bridges.

The French Connection
A number of French brands dominate the field of rectangular watches, particularly for women. Bedat & Co. has its distinctive No. 7 collection, among other rectangular and tonneau offerings, while the unmistakable elongated grooved design of the Boucheron Reflet collection has even served as inspiration for other watches, notably the unlikely combination with Richard Mille. Rectangular watches are also a mainstay of the collections of Cartier (the legendary Tank collection), Hermès (where the capital letter “H” is artfully integrated into the design) and Chanel, whose Première collection for ladies offers a rare opportunity for women to acquire tourbillon complications with a perfectly feminine design.

Click on the image at the top of the page to see a slideshow on rectangular watches.

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