Unless you’re lucky enough to live in the Philippines where time is always approximate, vague and flexible, you need a watch for work. In Britain, as in most of Europe and America, nine o’ clock actually means nine o’clock. Clients and bosses will give you five minutes grace, but after that, in many cases, you’re late. In fact that’s the terse phrase they most often hurl at you when you arrive breathless and sweaty into the Monday morning meeting – ‘You’re late!’ Minus several brownie points, apologies, traffic jams, leaves on the line, the language of eternal tardiness.
Of course a watch is only partly about telling the time. It’s also about where you stand in the pecking order of life. A rare few might save or thrash a credit card to buy a watch well above their means for purposes of one-up-manship, but most of us plump for the watch we can comfortably afford and which we feel reflects a certain level of taste and status.
So here’s our guide from junior toe rag all the way up to revered tycoon .
Marks & Spencer is still one of the main ‘go to’ stores for work wear, and their range extends to watches too. Their Autograph watches come in a variety of tasteful, elegant three handers which look sober and yet contemporary. This watch comes with a black dial and oversized numerals at 3, 6, 9 and 12 o’clock. The date is at 3 o’clock. For just £90.00 you have a watch which will co-ordinate perfectly with your new grey suit.
If you want to make rather more of a statement, this offering from Italian brand Breil could be an interesting choice. The wooden framing of the dial is supposed to resemble a boat hull, and you can opt for Sapelli wood inserts. It looks expensive, but in reality it’s only £200.00, and so is still a good option for those early years when the hours are long and the pay is short.
88 Rue de Rhone Chrono
This fresh new brand was founded by the Bernheim brothers, sons of Olivier Bernheim, CEO of Raymond Weil. When the brothers founded 88 Rue de Rhone they sensibly opted for watches with plenty of appeal to the middle income earner who will balk at the cost of many of the leading luxury Swiss brands. 88 Rue du Rhone is named after one of the most prestigious streets in Geneva, Switzerland; the Rue Du Rhone and is parallel to the river which shares its name and home to the city’s most luxury shops. The number 88 is the only number missing from the street, instead at this location you can see a view of the Rhone River coming from Lake Geneva where the Swiss watchmaking industry began five centuries ago.
As for the watch, it’s a 42mm gold PVD steel case with logo engraved on case-side and crown. Swiss made quartz chronograph movement with a soft rose dial including an 88 signature logo central dial, gold index markers, chronograph sub-dials controlled by push-buttons, date display and the 88 signature logo at 12 o’clock. The watch has an 8 engraved at each hour on the case-back. £465.00
Maurice Lacroix Classiques
Take it from me, because Maurice Lacroix was one of my clients in my advertising days, this brand knows its market – and that market is the ambitious status concerned middle income earner who wants a quality Swiss watch that punches above its weight. This Les Classiques men’s watch features a silver dial with a date display at 6 o’clock, gold detailing set within a steel case with a gold top bezel with domed sapphire crystal. This classic timepiece is Swiss made with an automatic movement and 40 hours power reserve. The watch comes on a brown crocodile effect leather strap. £915.00.
Frederique Constant Classics
Frederique Constant was founded in 1988 in Geneva, and focuses on the sector known as accessible luxury. This Frederique Constant watch from the Classics Manufacture collection features a silver dial with a date display sub-dial set within a 42mm polished steel case with scratch resistant sapphire crystal. Swiss made automatic watch secured with a black alligator strap with deployment clasp. Water resistant to 50 metres. 2 year manufacturer’s warranty. £1,850.00
When the board gives you the nod and you’re sent to run a key European region, you need a watch that unmistakeably says ‘boss’. The Blancpain Villeret will give you all the authority you need. This ultra-slim watch at just 9.2mm thick comes with a quality automatic movement with a date display at 3 o’clock. With a 100 hour power reserve this elegant and supremely assured watch from a 200 year old brand reflects the pure lines of traditional Swiss watchmaking. £5,520.00
BRM B45 Bomber Automatic Chronograph
There’s a parallel universe in the world of work known as the creative industries. Creative types include TV Producers, ad agency Art Directors and Creative Directors, Graphic Designers and yes, even hairdressing salon owners. For them a classic watch is too sober, they need something that is expensive but still conveys their unique sense of style and design. The watch choice must be carefully calculated to impress. French brand BRM offer the B45 Bomber, a limited edition watch which is a tribute to the classic US WWII bombers.
The watch features an automatic movement with bold chronograph push pieces and a large crown for easy grip. The black dial has aviation inspired sub-dials and an eye catching 1940s style bomber girl graphic at 12 o’clock. The 12-hour chronograph counter at 6 o’clock doubles up as a compass with N, E, S, W markings. £4,850.00
IWC Constant Force Ingenieur Tourbillon
When you’re the ‘towkay’, the big boss, the chauffeur limousined master of all you survey, you need a watch that instantly denotes your rank. At this level any of the leading Swiss brands are available to you, indeed brands will try to woo you to wear their watches. You probably want to avoid anything as obvious as a Rolex, or even a Patek Philippe, excellent though they are. The IWC Ingenieur Tourbillon could be an impressive addition to your collection. Released in January of this year, for the new Ingenieur Constant-Force Tourbillon, IWC has integrated a patented constant-force mechanism into a tourbillon. It ensures that the amplitude of the balance – and thus the watch’s accuracy – remain absolutely constant, initially by disconnecting the escapement from the direct flow of energy generated by the gear train. A complex and stunningly designed watch for a demanding and multi-facted job. £205,000.
Louis Vuitton Tambour Regatta Piece Unique
Some demand a watch that no one else can possibly own. If you’re prepared to dig as deep as it takes, then you should check out Only Watch 2013. Only Watch invites some of the world’s finest watchmakers to donate a unique watch for charity. The event is overseen by Prince Albert of Monaco. Watches are sold by auction, you just keep bidding until you win it. Louis Vuitton, one of the world’s most idolised luxury brands, overseen by one of the world’s wealthiest men, has created the Tambour Regatta watch. The watch features a blue sunray effect dial set with 18K gold applied indexes and numerals and with a hand-engraved 18K gold boat, designed by Paul Pettavino (the sail & flag are made of 18K white gold hand covered with white enamel with a blue and red LV logo, the hull is made of pink gold hand painted with Paul’s name in red. Prepare to blow some serious dough.