Admit it: you’re also glad you don’t have to wear that rubber strap or that clunky bracelet anymore. Now that temperatures are dropping in the Northern Hemisphere, the classic leather strap is ready to take center stage again. It’s time for a classy dress watch. Should it have a precious metal case? Yes, let’s “limit” this search by two things: the case should be in either gold or platinum, and the price can’t exceed the €10K mark. Challenge accepted!

To be very honest with you, I don’t care much for the colder months. Give me warmth, sunshine, the beach, and salty water too. So when the leaves start to fall and I experience my first shiver from a cold breeze from the east, my mood dampens. The colder months do have a nice little side effect, though. Colder weather means less sweaty wrists, and that allows me — and perhaps you too — to wear a watch on a leather strap again. Yes, the days of strictly wearing dive and sports watches are over. The range of watches you can choose from in colder conditions has opened up. And because the days of shorts and flip-flops are also over, the days of the dress watch that complements your slacks and Chelsea boots are upon us. Once again, it’s time for a smart, stylish, and classy dress watch.

Classy Dress Watch Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse ref. 3858

Image: Bulang and Sons

The Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse ref. 3858 is not your average classy dress watch

Yes, the first Golden Ellipse ref. 3548 and ref. 3546 are fabulous watches because of their perfectly proportioned cases and radiant dials. The Golden Ellipse, with its meticulous finishing, not only stands out because of its Golden Ratio proportions but also because it’s such a refined and soft-spoken creation. The Aquanaut and Nautilus are the loudmouthed adolescents in the Patek collection, whereas the current ref. 5738R “Grande Taille” Golden Ellipse is the calm, collected, and everlasting embodiment of self-assured style.

Does that also apply to the ref. 3858? Well, this kind of rare Golden Ellipse has, let’s say, an original and interesting shape that asks for a closer look. The ref. 3858 has some design elements in common with the ref. 2554 “Manta Ray,” but it’s a bit less extravagant. It is incredibly charming and stylish, though, and it will look fabulous on many occasions and combined with most fall and winter clothing. The ref. 3858 is also relatively unknown and, consequently, relatively affordable. Occasionally, a few below the €10K mark pop up, like the one above from Bulang & Sons, an €8,600 ref. 3858 from the 1970s. Take a look — and a second or third, if necessary — at the 30 × 34mm 18k yellow gold case. Keep in mind that inside this sleek and svelte housing beats the hand-wound Patek Philippe caliber 215, and fall in love with it.

Then again, you may not want to fall too deeply in love with this one… I’m sorry to say that shortly after completing this article, this particular ref. 3858 got scooped up. Well, at least you can set an alert for this reference on Chrono24 and keep an eye out for a deal.

classy dress watch Girard-Perregaux 1966

Image: Bachmann & Scher

The Girard-Perregaux 1966 in pink gold sure is classy too

A way more straightforward but still very classy choice is the Girard-Perregaux 1966 in pink gold (49525-52-131-BK6A) for €7,980. With its 38 × 8.5mm case, it’s a nice and modern size for a dress watch. Plus, the in-house GP03300 movement inside is quite a looker. And if you want something a bit cooler and a smidgen more sporty, there’s also a version in a palladium case with a blue dial, the reference 49525-53-432-BB4A.

Girard-Perregaux was once regarded as the Maison that rivaled Audemars Piguet and Vacheron Constantin. No disrespect to GP, but the times have changed. The brand is bravely soldiering on, and it does produce a variety of interesting watches, but the prestige that the aforementioned rivals enjoy has somewhat disappeared. This is reflected in the prices on the secondhand and parallel markets. You can profit from that by picking up precious metal dress watches from GP at significantly under or right around the €10K mark.

Classy Dress Watch Roger Dubuis Much More

Image: The Watch Dealers

The odd yet classy one out: Roger Dubuis Much More

If you want a rectangular dress watch, your instincts lead you to Cartier. And although I see the Reverso as a sports watch gone classic, I do understand that you also think of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s classic bestseller. But why not take the unbeaten path for once? If you do and spend some time browsing catalogs and magazines from a couple of decades ago, you might find some interesting non-round, alternative dress watches that don’t say “Cartier” or “Jaeger-LeCoultre” on the dial. The alternative I found says “Roger Dubuis,” “Horloger Genevois,” and “Bulletin d’Observatoire.”

The watch I’m looking at is the Roger Dubuis Much More reference M34570. It’s an early 2000s model in a curved, rectangular white gold case that measures a generous 34mm wide and 56mm from lug tip to lug tip. Inside it beats an in-house automatic Roger Dubuis RD 57 caliber that bears the coveted and respected Poinçon de Genève. Only 28 pieces were ever made of the two-handed Much More in white gold, so the watch was exclusive from the start. What strikes me is the stunning Art Deco dial. There are examples of dials with oversized Roman numerals that stretch with the natural curves of the case. Also, some dials show a mix of Roman and Arabic numerals that take turns. And there’s even a wild California-dial configuration. You always get blued hands for a classic contrast.

With an asking price of €6,500, this neo-vintage white gold Much More on Chrono24 won’t cost you much more than a new Cartier Tank Française large model in steel. And there’s also a stunning example on Watch Collectors with a price of £7,550 (about €8,770). The Much More also made me think of some older Franck Muller watches. But I prefer the more jaunty name Roger Dubuis over the slightly stiff-sounding Franck Muller. How about you?

Featured image: Bulang & Sons