With Cartier’s massive resurgence from the auction block to celebrity wrists, rectangular cool is back. And the same goes for the flippable magic of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso. With the wide selection of Cartier and the JLC Reverso range, a big choice is yours for taking within the ranks of the two dominant brands. But look deeper, and you’ll find alternative rectangular chic from unexpected brands like Oris and Longines, with value for money as a common denominator.

With Tanks starting at less than €3,000 and the new cool Française on the market, there is much to choose from for Cartier lovers. The equally revered Reverso has risen in price, even if its colorful new look is still tempting. What about the rest? I’ve found some good alternatives to French chic and flip-cool in a wide budget range, proving a great alternative to circular wristwear. And their Art Deco style goes with a lot more than your seldom-used suits too, you can be sure of that.

Girard-Perregaux Vintage 1945 Earth To Sky

Girard-Perregaux Vintage 1945 Earth to Sky

This is the super-quirky version of the longstanding rectangular Girard-Perregaux Vintage 1945 range, and I love it. Its curvature is not as dramatic as a Tank Cintrée, but it is visibly rounded. Art Deco looks are transformed into a futurist vision in blue with a titanium DLC case and a polycrystalline dial. We are used to these materials and colors in larger sports watches. However, seeing them in the formal, rectangular context of this GP is refreshing. Popping off the midnight-infused dial is a double-digit date window at 12 o’clock. Twin date wheels, visible through a haze of blue, display the underlying engineering behind this, while a moonphase indicator resides at 6 o’clock. With a width of 35.25mm and 36.10mm length, the 11.74 thickness feels slimmer thanks to the wrist-hugging design. A GP03300 in-house self-winder with a 46-hour reserve powers the Vintage 1945 Earth to Sky for €22,600.

Alternative Rectangular Chic

Longines DolceVita

Longines has a position within the Swatch Group as the progenitor of Swiss midrange cool. The brand has some solid hits, but a deeper catalog reveals a lot more than the Spirit and retro Heritage lines. The DolceVita series is a Longines mainstay and a great alternative in the elegance stakes. They come in a variety of designs, but this is my sharp fave. Pure Art Deco style is evident in the tiered 28.2 × 47mm case, and the beige and silver sector dial is an architectural delight. Even the small date window seems in its place, framed while bisected by a razor-sharp crosshair. A 1920s-feeling railroad outer track frames the dial, while brightly heat-blued sword hands have a small, early 20th-century feel. With a solid L592 Longines caliber inside, I consider this DolceVita a great alternative to the Reverso for just €1,950.

Oris Rectangular

I will admit to being completely hit by the surprise factor of this Oris reference, especially its cheeky selection of colors. It seems that Oris, the purveyor of vintage-inspired divers like our own Fratello collab, sensed a trend. As a distinct juxtaposition to the modern, high-tech Aquis, the Rectangular rides the wave of rectangular cool created by blue and green Reverso Tributes. But it does so with a distinct Oris flavor and, like the Longines DolceVita, good value for money to boot. With the Sellita-based Oris caliber 561 inside, the case is a sweet-sized 25.5 × 38mm, and I’d go for the deep Bordeaux red version.

The stepped case sides give an architectural nod to Art Deco with a low-profile crown and a color-matched seamless strap. A delightfully busy dial has an inner and outer railroad track, the inner one punctuated by lume plots for the hours, while the sword hands are balanced in their length. I enjoy the fact that Oris acknowledges the practicalities of everyday life with a liberal dab of Super-LumiNova in the quite sporty handset. This is formal cool with fresh color, and a balanced dial right down to the date at six. That’s a lot for €2,050.

Lorier Zephyr

Is the Zephyr an oddball in this story? Maybe, and that’s probably why I enjoy its sharp, curved-side shape so much. There is a bold streak in New York-based Lorier, a brand I’ve had three watches from myself. The husband and wife behind it have captured the vintage zeitgeist with their 36mm Falcon, and the 39mm Neptune diver keeps selling out quickly with each drop. The slim Zephyr is very different and more than a completion piece in a Lorier fan’s collection. While there are three colors, I’d pick the stone-cold classic white guilloché version with its super-sleek 31× 42 × 8mm case. You’ll get two straps to choose from, and the triangular hands complement the curvy cushion case to a tee. With this inspired design, downplayed elegance, automatic Miyota 9029, and a seven-layer internal ARcoating on the sapphire crystal, US$499 is good value.

Casio A100WE-7B

I know, this seems like an odd choice here. But this Casio fits three important criteria, offering a different (octagonal) take on the rectangular. The case of this chromed resin Casio is elegantly thin, and at 32.7 × 40.7mm, the size of the A100WE-7B is similar to a Cartier. So what’s missing? Well, it’s got no hands, bubba, but does that matter? With football (soccer, man) stars like Robert Lewandowski wearing Casio with a tux, could this actually be a viable option? At a silly €59.90, it might seem too cheap, and it is. But the laissez-faire attitude it conveys while being superbly legible makes the Casio A100WE-7B a heck of a watch. A sleek steel bracelet makes the 9.2mm-thin octagonal shape softly comfortable too. And the featherweight total of 53 grams? Well, that speaks for itself.

Are you still circular-centered, Fratelli, or did this leave you open to suggestions for angular wristwear of the rather dressy kind? Let us know in the comments.

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