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Which watch to wear with a suit

by Terence
25 July, 2011
2 Comments | Discuss this article

Donald Draper  wearing black suit with Rolex Oyster watch

Which watch to wear with… is a new Click Tempus series which explores and advises on some great watches for every aspect of your busy life from work, to dating, to going on vacation, this series will keep you up to date with the latest and coolest “and stylist” watches to fit the bill.

We start with: Which watch to wear with…a suit.

The Rat Pack never looked anything less than impeccable in them. Gianni Agnelli was every bit the authoritative Italian industrialist in his, as is his grandson, Lapo Elkann, who wears his suit with a tinge of au courant sartorial flair. Even rap moguls such as Jay Z and P. Diddy have cleaned up their wardrobe and now sport form-fitting suits, a far cry from the loud and baggy clothes that hip hop was best known for in the 1990s. Read our previous article on how to match your watch with your wardrobe.

Bringing the suit right up to date, advertising, womanising mogul Donald Draper from the mega hit series Mad Men, has managed to make the suit the hottest item for men simply by remaining resolutely retro.

But in the real world, as a suit tends to be the homogenous uniform of the office worker, the one thing that will surely set you apart from the regular Joe’s is a good dress watch.

Think Agnelli — he strapped his timepiece around his shirt cuff, and sometimes even his suit sleeve. How’s that for standing head and shoulders above the rest? Here, we list five of this year’s horological offerings that should be every man-in-a-suit’s accoutrement du jour.

1. Rolex Oyster Perpetual Explorer II

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Explorer II watch

The appeal of a Rolex watch remains mysterious — it attracts everyone, and we mean everyone. Take this new Rolex Explorer II for instance. It’s simple, elegant, and very masculine. The dial has been reconfigured and redesigned for better readability, while the 24-hour hand is now an orange arrow, inspired by the 1971 original. An additional bonus: Versatility. Make like dapper Don Draper, and pair it with a well-made three-piece suit or up your style ante in the fairways with this classic and versatile timepiece.

2. IWC Schaffhausen Portofino Hand Wound Eight Days

IWC Schaffhausen Portofino Hand Wound Eight Days with brown leather strap

Like most offerings from the IWC Schaffhausen watch family, this new IWC Portofino release is refined and dashing. Reading time off the dial, even with the power reserve indicator and 60-second subdial, is a breeze. And it boasts a slight vintage look, which ups its longevity factor by several folds — you can wear this watch in 50 years’ time, and it still will not look passé. The icing on the cake? The handsome alligator leather strap made by Italian shoemakers Santoni. Wear it with a pair of moccasins — sockless, of course — matched with a dash of Latin panache. Rudolph Valentino and Porfirio Rubirosa would approve, even if your boss frowns on your new sockless image.

3. Grand Seiko 130th Anniversary Limited Edition

Two Grand Seiko gold and silver anniversary limited edition watches

If there is a timepiece that spells “stealth wealth”, it has to be the anniversary edition of the 1960 Grand Seiko original. The dial, apart from the “Grand Seiko” inscription, is unadorned and intentionally plain or un-flashy, which makes it easy to pair with any fabric or design of a suit. Its utilitarian aesthetics also adds panache to any patterns, whether its herringbone, pinstripe or even paisley. And the Grand Seiko also has a cool factor, since it’s something of a cult brand among watch buffs. That makes this all the more a timepiece to covet.

4. Breguet Classique 5717 Hora Mundi

The Breguet Classique 5717 Hora Mundi world map watch

This lean, mean time-telling machine is really one for the jet-setting suits. It features an instant-jump time zone feature with fully synchronised displays. First, preselect two cities to display local time. Once chosen, it instantly changes all displays from one city to the other by depressing the pushpiece at 8 o’clock. The stately and classic look complements any smart dresser, and makes the right impact. It subtly states you’ve arrived. And at close to US$95,000, you have arrived in quite some style.

5. Laurent Ferrier Galet Secret Tourbillon Double Spiral

Close up of a Laurent Ferrier Galet Secret Tourbillon Double Spiral

Unlike other tourbillons, which go the way of flash and splash, Laurent Ferrier Galet Secret Tourbillon’s quiet demeanour is in stark contrast to what lies beneath. And this tourbillon even comes with two balance springs. Simply put, this is one helluva accurate piece — and an instant heirloom. It’s beautiful, packs tonnes of technical ingenuity, and carries that princely je ne sais quoi reminiscent of aristocrats. So, suit up, strap up, and you’re ready to go.

6. Hamilton Thin-o-matic

Hamilton Thin-o-matic wrist watch with brown leather strap

There is no need to break the bank to find a suitable timepiece after splurging on that Savile Row suit. Take the Thin-o-matic, Hamilton’s new update of a dress watch from its Golden Age in the 1960s, for instance. At less than US$1,000, it is money well spent. It mirrors the spirit and looks of the original, but it’s modernised with subtle design elements like quarter-hour indexes for better readability. It also comes in two sizes: 38mm – the same size as the original – and 42mm, which makes it perfect for any wrist size.

Terence | Website

Discuss: Which watch to wear with a suit


  1. Guy Clapperton

    Great article. I find my Christopher Ward C5SSS (the “S” is “silver” for the face, bracelet etc). does very nicely and for a very reasonable price indeed.

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