Cartier’s resurgence is massive, with the brand riding a Kanagawa-sized wave of sales and praise. And yes, along with the Tank, we also love the JLC Reverso and its flippable charms. But what if your budget is a lot less or you simply don’t love those watches’ looks? Trust us, for your wrist, there’s a lot of alternative rectangular cool out there.

Even if you don’t want to spend more than €1,000, cool rectangular watches are still out there. Maybe you’ve only worn circular wristwear and just want to dip your toes in the water. The choices I’ve put together here are a sweet mix of Art Deco classicism and small brands along with a pre-owned wild card picked from my quirky taste spectrum.

Alternative Rectangular Cool

Hermès Cape Cod

Let’s kick it off with an unusual equestrian shape. Hermès has had a significant watchmaking resurgence, and the Cape Cod is the brand’s boldest rectangle. With stirrup vibes, a 33mm width, and a 41mm length, the case riffs on “the Big H’s” long history as a saddle maker. The Barenia leather strap contrasting the silver dial might also make it an easy favorite. This has a cheeky mix of a Tapisserie-stamped center and a rakish font. Something as simple as a well-designed proprietary font can be magic, and this is one of Hermès’s strengths. It contrasts with the traditional square center, with just enough space around each letter. You will also notice the same curvy, clean font filling the date window at 6 o’clock. The Hermès/Vaucher H1912 movement powers the Cape Cod. It is a self-winding caliber with a 45-hour power reserve, and this version of the CC is priced at €4,875.

Alternative Rectangular Chic

Oris Rectangular

This is not the first time I have mentioned the Oris Rectangular, for good reason. There was no need for Oris to be so literal in the nomenclature either. This is the only 90° angular piece in a growing collection of retro love and tool watches, and those are two categories in which the Hölstein-based brand excels. But this small four-model series has a Reverso vibe with matching dials and smooth, no-stitch straps in red, blue, and “green” (though it’s closer to gray). The last version is a silver dial with a lemon-fresh yellow strap. The Rectangular doesn’t get an over-30m water resistance rating or the fancy Oris Calibre 400 powering its sword hands. Because it doesn’t need those because it is a clean take on Art Deco with useful lume on its dial, a balanced, dressy look, and a 25.5 × 38mm case. I would happily rock the deep green/gray version at a decent €2,150.

Longines DolceVita

The Longines DolceVita series is easily overlooked when the brand keeps coming up with tempting new versions of surefire hits like the Spirit. But in its smaller 27.7 × 43.8mm case, this two-tone dial is a winner. It vibes like a clean-cut middle ground between the Cartier Tank and the Reverso while keeping its personality. With a host of straps and a multi-link bracelet, you’re spoiled for choice, including a slightly larger model. The crosshair center is the focal point with two dainty sword hands, while a silver outer rim has an almost-sector design, making the dial a fascinating place. Strap-wise, I’d go for dark blue to match the hands or a sophisticated taste of classicism with the light tan alligator shown here. The €2,000 price also seems quite reasonable for this curvy babe.

Noah × Timex Sun and Moon

Timex has a nice balance between extraordinarily affordable wristwear and hot collabs. Having worked with big-name designers like Todd Snyder in the past, this time, the brand surprised us. Picking up inspiration from the early 1930s, the 25 × 37mm Sun and Moon is the most traditional watch collab I’ve seen all year. And it is very accessible. A pure white dial on a crocodile-pattern leather strap hosts a giant day/night display on the top half and a cheeky little Noah logo at 3 o’clock. This new gold-plated quartz collab gives vintage-delightful JLC Reverso and Cartier Tank vibes while priced at only US$198. The first batch has sold out, but sign up to get notified on Noah’s website if you are interested in the next one.

Maen Manhattan 39 Ultra-Thin

Rectangular can also be sporty, right? And even if it’s well rounded, it’s a soft rectangle. The Maen Manhattan 39 is a slim and sublime mix of ’70s chic and modernity. It takes the well-known clues of today’s blazing-hot integrated bracelet and adds a compelling dial. Instead of using the formula of Nauti-like striations, it flips your perceptions by adding vertical Côtes de Genève to the dial rather than the movement. And it works, especially in the deep blue version I covered last year. You might not think it is rectangular enough; I hear you. But this is a budget competitor to a Cartier Santos XL, and it’s slim and rounded enough to give you a taste of that Nautilus glamour. That’s a win-win situation on any wrist. Take your pick from five dial colors, each for €999.20 before taxes.

Alternative Rectangular Cool

Bonus: a pre-owned wild card from Japan

So, there you go. There are five great takes on what a rectangle can do for your summer party fit or as a great contrast to that jeans-and-tee look. But if there is one watch that has caught the attention of many this year, it’s the Piaget Polo ’79 and its niche-cool rectangular alternative. The design in total gold makes a massive impact, but with its slim gadroons between the flat links, the bracelet design becomes even more pronounced in two-tone. This adorable Credor is currently advertised on Chrono24 for a very decent and negotiable price. The Croatian seller must know his watches as he describes it as “Polo style.” It might be 40 years old, but the über-exact fit and finish of Credor is present. And even if it looks worn, this legendary 4.1mm razor-thin elegance and angular bracelet will scrub up nicely for €330.

Which rectangle from my tempting list is your favorite, Fratelli? If you don’t fancy any of them, make an alternative suggestion in the comments. I’m waiting.