I would love to write about affordable dress watches, but let’s be honest, there’s always a certain price to pay for gold. However, the watches I’ve picked from Breguet and Blancpain for today’s Pre-Owned Spotlight are at least attractively priced, especially in comparison to their original MSRPs. I’ve also included a Cartier Tank Américaine in yellow gold, which comes at a lower price than its current version.

Breguet and Blancpain are the Swatch Group’s high-end luxury brands and serve as its pillars of traditional watchmaking. However, in comparison to other brands, Breguet and Blancpain’s watches are still undervalued. Especially when it comes to their gold dress watches, there are great offers to be found on the pre-owned market. Cartier is a member part of the Richemont Group, whose top-tier brands include Vacheron Constantin, Jaeger-LeCoultre, and A. Lange & Söhne. But Cartier also makes some fine and technical watches, especially within its Privé collection. The model I picked today, however, is a gold Tank Américaine XL, a watch with a simple movement that puts aesthetics first.

Breguet 5177 gold dress watches

Breguet 5177 — Image courtesy of World of Time

Breguet Classique 5177BR

The Breguet Classique 5177 in rose gold still exists within the brand’s current collection. However, the watch I found is a pre-owned model from 2016. It has a rose gold case and a silvered gold dial that has been hand-engraved on a rose engine. I have visited the Breguet manufacture on several occasions and tried to hand-engrave a dial in this way. Let me tell you, it is not easy. The dial has a number at 6 o’clock, which is the unique number for the watch, not the reference or model number. On the case back, you will find the watch’s reference number. As you can see in the image above, the traditional Breguet hands are blued.

Breguet 5177 — Image courtesy of World of Time

Reference 5177BR measures 38mm in diameter and 8.8mm in height. Inside is Breguet’s caliber 777Q with a 55-hour power reserve. As you can see, the caliber 777Q is nicely decorated and has an 18K rose gold rotor. While the 5177 with a guilloché dial has a retail price of around €24,000 today, this 2016 pre-owned model is on offer for €13,850, including the box and papers, at a reputable pre-owned and vintage dealer from Munich, Germany. Click here to see this offer.

Blancpain Villeret gold dress watches

Blancpain Villeret 7001-3318 — Image courtesy of UhrenKapital

Blancpain Villeret 7001-3318

The other high-end brand from the Swatch Group is Blancpain. Even though 2023 will be the year of the Fifty Fathoms collection (its 70th anniversary), let’s not forget about the brand’s Villeret dress watches. Those who love smaller watches should look at some of these pre-owned Blancpain Villeret models. I picked a 33mm example for the spotlight today. It’s an anniversary model that dates back to 1993, commemorating 300 years since Jehan-Jacques Blancpain’s birth (1693). Jehan-Jacques Blancpain founded the watchmaking company in 1735, which still exists today and is the oldest watch manufacturer in the world.

Blancpain Villeret 7001-3318 — Image courtesy of UhrenKapital

This Villeret has an 18K rose gold case that measures only 6mm thick. The dial has applied Roman numerals for the indices and a small seconds register at 6 o’clock. Within it, you see the “1693 – 1993” reference. Blancpain produced 300 pieces of this watch in 1993, this watch being 080/300. I found a similar one (number 085/300) that was auctioned for just CHF 2,640 in 2008. Even at that time, it must have been an underrated watch. Inside, we find Blancpain’s caliber 64-1. This movement is based on the Peseux 7001, finished and decorated to Blancpain’s standards. An interesting article on this specific Blancpain caliber 64-1 can be found here. Anyway, a German dealer from Langenfeld is offering this rose gold Villeret for €6,999You can find it here.

Cartier Tank Américaine gold dress watches

Cartier Tank Américaine XL — Image courtesy of Xupes

Cartier Tank Américaine 1740

I thought it would be nice to add a rectangular watch to the Pre-Owned Spotlight today. Now, I’m not a fan of wearing rectangular watches; believe me, I’ve tried. Though I love the Reverso, for example, I simply can’t get used to looking at a rectangular watch on my wrist. However, I know that many people can and appreciate a watch with a different shape than a round one. So here’s the Cartier Tank Américaine, also referred to as “XL” or “Jumbo Tank Américaine.” It measures 44.7mm in length and 26mm in width. The Cartier Tank Américaine is still available today in three sizes and comes in both gold and stainless steel.

Cartier Tank Américaine XL — Image courtesy of Xupes

The dial has a beautiful guilloché pattern and the typical “VII” with the “Cartier” signature. Also in characteristic Cartier fashion, the crown features a blue sapphire cabochon. At 6 o’clock, you will find the date aperture. This Cartier Tank Américaine has the caliber 120 inside, a self-winding movement based on the ETA 2000. This round caliber is relatively small, measuring 20mm in diameter and just 3.5mm thick. What I found interesting is that the Tank Américaine doesn’t use a sapphire crystal but a mineral crystal. The current version of this watch (retail €17,400) also uses a mineral crystal, hence my comment in the introduction that the watch puts aesthetics first. Nevertheless, the Cartier Tank Américaine XL ref. 1740 is an elegant timepiece that is very suitable to wear for formal occasions. This Tank comes with the original box and papers for £9,950. You can find this offer here.

When it comes to dress watches, what is important to you? Is it the material, the movement, the size, or something else? Let us know in the comments below.