‘Dialed In’ With Nick Sullivan: Your Essential Video Guide to Dress Watches

Dress watches were once all there was. In the first half of the 20th century, even the most functional of tool watches leaned hard on the old-school aesthetic of pocket watches. Informed by the more than two centuries of watchmaking that preceded them, they were rendered in precious metals with refined, highly finished displays.

After World War II, the widening used of purpose-built timekeepers for an array of jobs meant that the two functions diverged. Dress watches became just that: something to add to a dressy look, to wear with a suit to the office or slide under the sleeve of a tux. But while we all love a chunky daily beater, there is something to be said for watches that tell the time in a more elegant, restrained way. A fast-developing trend in vintage collecting is re-evaluating these posh timepieces and bringing to the fore watches that are noticeable precisely because they are slim, small, and elegant. In this installment of Dialed In, we delve into the fascinating and varied world of the dress watch.

Nick Sullivan is Creative Director at Equire, where he served as Fashion Director from 2004 until 2019. Prior to that, he relocated from London with his young family to Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. He has styled and art directed countless fashion and cover stories for both Esquire and Big Black Book (which he helped found in 2006) in exotic,uncomfortable, and occasionally unfeasibly cold locations. He also writes extensively about men’s style, accessories, and watches. He describes his style as elegantly disheveled.

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