With socialising back on the cards, it's high time to spruce up your accessories collection and finally invest in a smart dress watch that will see you stylishly through elegant evening affairs. Scroll on for everything you need to know about these timeless timepieces, including our pick of the best dress watches for men to buy this season.

What to look for in a dress watch

Drawing on minimalist design cues, dress watches are characterised by clean, simple profiles, uncomplicated mechanics and either sleek leather straps or steel bracelets. The best dress watches will slip discreetly beneath the cuff of your jacket, complementing the rest of your attire but never distracting from it. Avoid fussy flourishes and extraneous adornment and keep it classic – opt for something with a pared-back dial that features two or three hands and simple hour markers or numbers. This is a watch that should serve you for many years, so it should look ageless.

How to wear a dress watch

When it comes to styling your dress watch, the clue is in its name: this is a timepiece that's best reserved for more dressy occasions. It will really come into its own paired with a suave suit – or better yet, a tux. However, this doesn't mean you can't wear it with casual everyday attire too. The understated nature and enhanced legibility of the dress watch lends it ultimate versatility, so it will work just as well teamed with your weekend uniform of jeans, T-shirt and overshirt. However, we'd suggest keeping your dress watch at home for those more adventurous plans – a sports watch is your best bet if you're undertaking any strenuous activity.

7 best dress watches for men

NOMOS Glashütte Orion 38 

NOMOS Glashütte is a German watchmaking brand best known for its clean, minimalist watches and the Orion shows why. Everything on the watch serves a purpose and no extraneous detailing is present, allowing the purity of the design to really shine. Slim hands are matched with hour markers of the same width, and the watch’s 38mm size is perhaps ideal for a modern dress watch. The soft grey colour of the face is the perfect finishing touch. 

Tapferkeit Löwenherz Watch

Inspired by Bauhaus design, British watch brand Tapferkeit creates minimalist watches that are made to last. The label's Löwenherz model, which translates to 'lion heart' is as powerful as its name suggests, designed to make a lasting impression upon its wearer. The combination of a clean black dial with a sleek black calf leather strap makes for a truly elegant dress watch that's perfect for those formal occasions.

VOID Watches PKG01-GO/BL/WH Watch

Inspired by Scandinavian design ideals of minimalism and functionality, VOID Watches creates simple yet meticulously considered watches. Its PKG01 watch fits this bill exactly, with aesthetic details stripped to a bare minimum. Its 7mm case is the thinnest in VOID's collection and is supplemented by an understated silhouette and colour palette that will complement any outfit.

Monofore M01 Silver Watch 41mm - Navy Leather

Monofore is a recently-launched London-based watch brand whose minimalist dress watches are proving a huge hit with design lovers. Its signature rectangular M01 model features a curved dial and domed glass that eliminates shadows, as well as an invisible crown that creates a clean, unbroken line. The sleek stitch-free leather strap is guaranteed to smarten up your look. Style with chinos and a blazer for a fail-safe business-casual look.

BALTIC Watches HMS 002 Blue Gilt Watch

This '40s-inspired watch from French watchmakers BALTIC will bring a subtle touch of art deco style to your ensemble. It boasts an elegantly slim profile and gorgeous blue dial, with gold indexes and three different finishes that capture the light in a unique way. The steel bracelet elevates the watch to a timepiece suitable for the most sophisticated of events. Comes in well under £500 too.

Meller Astar Wit Sand

Meller is a Barcelona-based accessories label that specialises in fashion-forward eyewear and watches for men and women. Its Astar watch is as minimalist as they come, with a completely stripped back dial and an utterly elegant watch strap. Powered by a Japanese quartz mechanism and featuring durable sapphire coated crystal glass, it's designed to stand the test of time.

Check out our round-up of the best dive watches for men.

Discover more dress watches for men at OPUMO.