This article is made possible by The Fifth Watches, timepieces that incorporate a timeless design with minimalist elements throughout. Gain exclusive access to their October 5th release.

In our overly-casual social world, we’re able to build a wardrobe based on flexibility, and own items that have multiple uses.

We cover a lot of ground by buying clothes that are in the middle of the formal–casual spectrum. If we play our cards right, we’re never too dressed up or too dressed down.

This, overall, is a good thing.

We can buy a navy sport coat knowing that it’s one of the most versatile pieces in our wardrobe.

We can buy brown wingtips and wear them with denim, or with a suit.

The lines between casual and formal are very blurred nowadays. Dressing just marginally better than those around you can elicit more attention and comments than you’d expect.

Work in a “business casual” office? Just throw on a nice dress shirt and a sport coat, and tell me you don’t get at least a few comments.

This drive to create the most versatile and functional wardrobe possible, for some reason, makes me long for beautiful things that serve only one specific purpose.

Take wristwatches, for instance.

In most cases, you can get by with an activity-specific watch, a fashion watch with steel band, or even a basic Timex you pick up from your local Target.

But what if you had an incredible timepiece you only wore on special occasions, like those times you had to don a full suit and tie, maybe during weddings, or only when meeting with important clients?

While it’s possible to get by with an all-purpose wristwatch in these instances, there’s something special about having one specifically for formal or special business occasions.

It’s an event when you put it on… a small deviation from your normal routine, but significant enough to make you sit up straight and notice: Today is special.

What’s a dress watch look like, anyway?

In Praise Of The Minimal Dress Watch

Here’s what I consider a dress watch:

First, the case should be (relatively) thin and made from steel or precious metal. The strap is usually leather or some type of exotic animal hide, sometimes metal.

The stick or roman dial is simple, classy, usually light-colored or neutral, and unadorned…not much more than the hands, markers, and (maybe) a date are present.

The movements in pricier models are usually mechanical, and the less expensive options, quartz.

That’s pretty much it. Simple, right?

Dress watches for all budgets

There are examples across all price points, and you don’t have to spend five figures to get something that fits the bill (although, you could, if you wanted to).

You want to spend: $

In Praise Of The Minimal Dress Watch

The Fifth Watches ($150)

Alternatives in this price range: Hand-me-downs ($0–Nothing wrong with a watch passed down from your pops!), Stuhrling Original 768.01 ($72), Bulova 98H51 ($95)

You want to spend: $$

In Praise Of The Minimal Dress Watch

Hamilton Valiant ($406)

Alternatives in this price range: Seiko SARB065 Cocktail Time ($375), Tissot Visodate ($430)

You want to spend: $$$

In Praise Of The Minimal Dress Watch

Raymond Weil Maestro (~$600)

Alternatives in this price range: Frederique Constant Slimline (~$900), Cartier Tank Solo Quartz (~$1800)

You want to spend: $$$$+

In Praise Of The Minimal Dress Watch

 IWC Portofino (~$9600)

Alternatives in this price range: Omega De Ville (~$2600), Patek Philippe Calatrava (~$20,000)

Special can be pricey (but it can also be affordable)

Now that you know you have options in every price range, hopefully you can see that cost isn’t the focus here.

It’s about having a special watch to wear for momentous events, or for the times you’re dressed to the nines and your Timex on a NATO won’t do.

So if you’re on a $100 budget or a $10,000 budget, there’s a dress watch in your price range.

If you’re on the lower end of that price spectrum, give The Fifth Watches a shot.

Their current New York collection contains five great dress watch styles, and alternative leather bands are included, in case you want a little variety.

In October, this same collection will be available to Waitlist subscribers and general public for the first time.

They release their products on the 5th of every month, for five days only. If you sign up on the VIP list, you’ll get early access. Check it out here and get more info.

Got a question? Hit me up!

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