The answer? More than you think. Of course, there is personal preference, but I just want to voice mine. Across multiple watch forums I always see people posting these beautiful dress watches ranging from Seiko to A. Lange & Söhne. Then the post comes where they say that they don’t have enough occasions to wear the watch and this saddens them or makes them want to trade it in for something else. To me that seems almost silly. My personal collection consists mainly of watches airing on the dressier side and I wear them for almost every occasion.
Dress watches are watches and watches are meant to be worn. Now, there are some situations in which even I think wearing a dress watch is ridiculous such as when exercising, swimming, sports with the possibility of hard contact, and any activity in which you will cause a ridiculous mess. Outside of that I think a dress watch can always be worn. Sure, most of the time these watches have a water resistance of under 50 meters but that’s fine for washing your hands or a little rain.
To me a dress watch is just a watch that is cleaner and has a less functional, tool aesthetic. Even if you don’t dress up in suits and you wear sweat or shorts or flip flops every day the watch won’t look out of place. Sometimes the problem is that many dress watches come on or are worn on some type of leather strap. This I believe dresses the watch up. To wear a dress watch casually, simply swap that leather for a nato, perlon a silicone strap. Silicone straps match dress watches very well in my opinion and I wear my pieces on almost exclusively silicone during the hotter parts of the year.
I’ve worn a Junghans Maxbill on a crocodile strap (as pictured) while playing basketball, a Nomos while cleaning tables and taking out trash for work, an orient star classic pretty much in every occasion with outfits ranging from a t shirt and shorts to a tuxedo. There’s nothing wrong with looking down at your wrist and seeing a little bit of class at any point in time. Some people won’t be used to wearing dress watches casually or will completely disregard the idea, but I ask you to give it a chance. Pop on a hoodie and sweats and wear that dress watch too, I promise it’s ok.
Written by Xavier Sanchez
Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the author and do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in professional or personal capacity, unless explicitly stated.
For the full range of Vario's Eclipse handwound dress watch, please visit
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