In my modest collection of watches, there is not a single one with a rectangular case; the only non-round one is the octagonal Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Extra-Thin. Nevertheless, since rectangular-case watches do have their fans, this week’s Fratello Friday focuses on the top five I would wear… if I did indeed wear them.
My issue with rectangular watches is that I find them just a bit too “classical” for my taste. A watch with this type of design doesn’t usually suit me, especially if I am wearing short sleeves, such as a polo shirt, as I often do. The strange thing is, when I see myself in the mirror wearing a rectangular watch, I usually do like how it looks, but when I look back at my wrist, I’d rather take the watch off as quickly as possible. Perhaps even more strangely, I like how they look on other men’s wrists, just not my own. Does anyone else feel this way? Don’t get me wrong; I do love some of the rectangular watches that are out there — just not necessarily on me. But perhaps I never really tried one on long enough to give it a chance. Here are the five rectangular watches that I would consider buying if I could get used to wearing one.
1. Jaeger-LeCoultre Grande Reverso Ultra-Thin Tribute to 1931
This is actually a watch that I tried & tested for a week (you can read the full story here). I had been looking forward to “test-driving” this Grande Reverso Ultra-Thin since it was introduced during the 2011 SIHH in Geneva. The Reverso seems to have the perfect dimensions and comes with a proud heritage. In short, I loved this watch but I would need more time with it to find out if I could wear it long-term.
2. Cartier Tank Louis Cartier XL
Like the Reverso, the Cartier Tank LC XL has a very iconic design. Perhaps the most classical-looking watch of the bunch, it is only available in rose gold and white gold. To power this this very slim timepiece, Cartier used an ultra-thin Piaget movement, which is just 2.1 mm thick.
3. Patek Philippe Gondolo 5200G-001
When it comes to Patek Philippe, I am usually more of a Nautilus guy but the brand’s Gondolo (Reference 5200G-001) makes my list of top rectangular watches. This Gondolo’s dial is a bit on the crowded side, but that helps to make it less ‘retro’ and more modern-looking, in my opinion. The day-and-date indicator at 6 o’clock and the eight-day power-reserve indicator at 12 o’clock make this watch come alive.
4. Richard Mille RM17 Extra Flat Tourbillon
Whereas most Richard Mille watches are quite “loud,” the RM 17 Extra Flat Tourbillon is one of the more “quiet” timepiece in that brand’s collection. (It may still be the loudest of the rectangular watches in this particular list.) It’s available in white gold, rose gold and titanium, and I would settle for any of them. The tourbillon movement also features a function indicator, in order to show you whether the watch is in winding mode, neutral mode or setting mode.
5. Oris Rectangular Complication
Another rectangular watch that might suit me is the Oris Rectangular Complication. Despite the alligator strap, silver dial and Roman numerals, this watch manages not to be overly “vintage”-looking thanks to the complications on the dial. Three subdials indicate the date (9 o’clock), second time zone (6 o’clock) and day (3 o’clock).
Are you a fan of rectangular watches? What are your favorites? Let us know. And visit my blog, fratellowatches.com, for more news, reviews, and opinions from the world of watches.
This article was originally published on January 11, 2015, and has been updated.