The devil is in the detail, in this selection of classic round watches that would bring distinction to any executive wrist
For understatement mixed with serious horological firepower, this is formidable choice. Blancpain is one of the oldest names in Swiss watchmaking, and produces some of the most finely crafted watches to be found anywhere, though it’s rare to find one of its top-end, pristine Villeret models in steel, and with a sophisticated complication to boot. As an annual calendar, the date functions – day, date and month – only need adjusting once a year, at the end of February; the minimalist date windows play things down rather beautifully though.
Despite its somewhat gauche moniker, the rectangular Boy.Friend watch from Chanel is one of the most assured and stylish designs to have appeared in women’s watches in recent years, and this black dial version is our pick. The dial keeps things to a minimum, but the interplay of geometric shapes and textured surfaces makes for a handsome and ineffably sophisticated ticker.
For the busy executive, this whimsical beauty has a typically Hermés twist on the diary reminder. Set the timer at the bottom right of the dial to an appointed moment, and the retrograde hand on the left will count down the count down the prior 60 minutes, before emitting a sonorous “ding” as the moment arrives. According to Hermés, that’s to allow you to enjoy the anticipation of an important event as the event itself. You can also enjoy the polished gorgeousness of the Slim d’Hermés design and some scintillating in-house watchmaking inside.
Power statements don’t come more stylish or steeped in watchmaking cred than in the latest women’s version of Patek Philippe’s all-time classic, the Nautilus: a 1970s oddity that has become a benchmark of modern luxury and dynamic watch design. The polished steel ‘porthole’ design of the Nautilus is here given a lift by the gentle wave formation of the opaline dial, while power comes from a pitch-perfect in-house automatic movement. Watchmaking at its finest and most chic.
Parmigiani is something of a sleeper brand in Swiss watchmaking, though should you step inside its Mount Street shop, you’ll find all manner of horological wonders on display. Founded 20 years ago, the brand does almost everything in-house, and though its designs can tend towards the extravagant, it’s toned things down nicely in this slice of executive perfection, which features a gorgeous opaline dial, coin-edge bezel and stand-out date window.
The Patek Philippe Calatrava is in many ways the quintessential round wristwatch – introduced in the 1930s and born of a Bauhaus-influenced design approach that has barely changed. However, Ref. 6006, with its black dial, off-set seconds and profusion of numerals and marks, is the more expressive and eccentric entrant in the Calatrava range, and all the better for it. Understatement tends to be the defining Calatrava characteristic, but this reference is all about distinctiveness and style.
Rolex may not be best known for its Cellini dress watches, but its latest moonphase Cellini is as pure and refined a piece of watchmaking as The Crown has produced in many years. The magic, as ever, is in the details: an Art Deco dial in white lacquer that includes a date display around the edge, with a blue enameled disc for the lunar display. The moon itself is, meanwhile, is made of textured meteorite applied onto the surface of the blue disc. Oh, and in case you wondered, that display will follow the lunar cycle accurately and without adjustment for the next 122 years.
It’s only recently that IWC, once the classic maker of manly tool watches, has got into the women’s segment, but it’s doing so with aplomb, as illustrated by this elegant moon phase number in the its handsome Da Vinci line. At 36mm this is a relatively bold watch for a female wrist, but the articulated lugs and curving design lend it considerable elegance.