You can say a lot of things about Roxette - a lot of bad things, truth be told - but what you can't deny is that the Swedish pop duo had a knack for writing annoyingly catchy tunes. This week I'm writing about dress watches, so of course, for inspiration I had to listen to that paean to sartorial power, Dressed for Success, a few times. Fitting soundtrack or not, though, if you're really looking for success, we wouldn't commend Roxette's actual wardrobe choices. No, successfully dressing for success, if you're a man, means a nice tailor-made suit, or at the very least a jacket. Absolutely no shorts. And a dress watch is a must.
A dress watch is a watch that is subtle, simple and classic in design. It should always complement the suit or outfit rather than overpower it and become the focus. The Cartier Tank MC (far right), with its iconic case design and classical dial, epitomises the elements of a dress watch incredibly well and it really didn't need Andy Lau Tak-wah to tell us how great it is in the ad campaign. The case on this iteration is made of 18-carat pink gold, measures 34.3mm by 44mm and is only 9.5mm thick, so it's the perfect size to allow your shirt cuff to glide over it while still being large and distinctive enough to make an impact. The dial features the by-now legendary Tank arrangement of Roman numerals elongated at the corners of the dial. Features are kept simple, with a small seconds counter at the six o'clock position and a date window at the three o'clock position. The strap is brown alligator leather - an elegant complement to the pink gold. The Tank MC is a beautiful watch, but what makes it a must-have is the 1904 MC automatic movement inside, a signal of Cartier's growing confidence in making its own movements. Indeed, Cartier is so keen to show off the 1904 MC that it has made the case-back transparent. The Cartier Tank MC is priced at HK$156,000.
Next, we go from an obvious choice, in Cartier, to a more left-field one, with the Ball Watch Trainmaster First Flight. Ball is a watch company with a rather curious and unique history - its origins can be traced to the expansion of the railways across America in the 19th century. Nowadays, Ball makes its watches in Switzerland but still gives a nod to the past with timepieces such as the Trainmaster First Flight (below left), a limited-edition release of 600 and priced at HK$24,780. The case measures a reasonable 41mm and is made of stainless steel, which plays well with the black leather strap and black dial. Inside ticks a Ball 651 automatic movement that powers the features - hours, minutes and a handy second time zone at the six o'clock position. The overall design of a dress watch should be simple and its features kept to a minimum and not overly complicated - both of which the Trainmaster First Flight manages exceptionally well, but the kicker is the inclusion of Ball's famous micro gas tubes, on the hour markers and hands, that glow in the dark.
Finally, we have the Carl F. Bucherer Manero Moonphase watch (above left). It comes with the added feature of a moon-phase complication but the design is subtle enough to make this a dress watch with a nice twist. The case is a classically sized 38mm and is made of 18-carat red gold, which again is complemented by the brown alligator strap. The eye is drawn to the dial, with the moon phase located at the six o'clock position and wonderful balance found in the arrangement of day, date and month indications. The wedge-shaped hour markers and hands are also a design treat. The Carl F. Bucherer Manero Moonphase is priced at HK$118,000.