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The 6 Best Silver Dress Watches - Rolex Style Models

Posted on December 02 2020

Rolex Datejust Alternatives

 

Silver dialled dress watches have a classic look. From the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control to Rolex’s Date-Just, it’s a popular style that favours a simple utilitarianism over flair. In the case of the Rolex Oyster Perpetual, only the time is displayed. No date, sub-dials or a rotating bezel.

I’m a fan of this simplicity and was recently in the market for an affordable watch that would be smart-casual, ideally have a silver dial and resemble a Rolex. I ended up purchasing an Ingersoll Reliance - reviewed here - which wasn’t actually available with a silver dial.

But I’d spent too much time researching silver dialled watches that resembled an Explorer I or Datejust. I had my notes, my pictures and, of course, my years of experience retailing watches. Another blogpost was born.

So what criteria did I use in my search?

The watch I was looking for would have:

  • Silver dial and minimal use of colour
  • Stainless Steel case and bracelet
  • Indices rather than numerals
  • Simple hands
  • No sub-dials
  • Ideally an Automatic movement
  • Inexpensive

There were surprisingly few watches that fit my criteria. My final purchase ticked off everything on the list other than the silver dial. So I created this short-list.

The 6 Best Dress Watches with Silver Dials


I’ve tried to stick as close as possible to my own criteria and inevitably there is some overlap with the watches that I selected in my piece about Rolex Datejust alternatives and, to a degree, the Explorer I alternatives.

If you have any that you think that I should add to the list, pop the details in a comments below.

 

Alpina Alpiner Sport Watch

 

Swiss brand Alpina is a brand that I’ve featured in my blog a few times now. They just about qualify as affordable, but as an independent, family-run company, they’re not in the same price point as some of the more affordable brands that I champion.

They’re a well-established brand, tracing their roots back to the late Victorian period. As far back as 1938, they introduced their Alpina 4 concept - four features that their watches should have. Anti-sock, anti-magnetic, water-resistant and stainless steel construction. They’ve moved on a lot from there and are now probably best-known for their Startimer and Seastrong lines.

The Alpiner Sport was among the first watches to grab my attention. Other than the quartz movement, it fulfills all the elements on my wishlist. At 42mm it’s around the size that I’d expect for this type of watch. And given the price, it has a sapphire crystal and some water resistance.

There are blue and black variations, but this silver version works the best for me. The Swiss-Made label means that it is more expensive than some of the others on the list, but you are getting a watch from a Swiss heritage brand.

It’s a great place to start this list, but I’d probably need to get it below the RRP for it to be a serious contender.

Alpina Alpiner Sport AL-240SS4E6B

  • 42mm Diameter
  • 9.4mm Thick
  • 21mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • AL-240 Quartz movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 100M Water Resistance

 



Rotary Verbier Automatic Watch

 

Rotary also has a Swiss heritage stretching back more than 125 years and still manufactures some of its watches there. This gives the company a real back story and something that they’ve used when celebrating their 125th anniversary. This watchmaking history may not be obvious if your familiarity with the brand comes from seeing their more inexpensive watches on the high street.

Like many watch fans in the UK, I see Rotary as a bit of a home brand. Their head office is in London for example. The British connection goes back to the early days of the brand. They opened their first British office in the late Victorian era.

So they’re a brand that I grew up with but neglected. This year I’ve started to keep them on my radar and since then I’ve stumbled across a number of models that I’ve really liked.

The black variation of the Verbier is among my favourite couple of Rotary watches. The tool watch aesthetic and simple Rolex style dial really works for me. Unfortunately, it’s now discontinued and difficult to find. This silver version is also discontinued, but copies are still available online.

It’s a deceptively simple design, that again works due to the whole package rather than individual features. Being a Swiss-made piece is one of the main selling points - the affordability is also a major attraction.

Unlike the Alpina, this watch has an automatic movement.

As expected, a high level of workmanship has gone into the watch and the specs are impressive for the price-point. The automatic movement is the most obvious, but there’s also a sapphire crystal and a robust three-link bracelet. Compared to other Swiss automatics you’ll find this very competitively priced.

Rotary Verbier GB08150/06

  • 40mm Diameter
  • 12mm Thick
  • Stainless Steel
  • Automatic movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 100M Water Resistance

 



Tissot Powermatic Silicium Watch

 

Tissot, like the previous two brands, can trace their watchmaking roots back to the 1800s. I’ve described Certina before as an entry-level Swiss brand and that description fits Tissot too. They’re a popular high street name that targets that price point between a couple of hundred pounds and the £1000 mark.

This model is a classically styled watch that is a little wider, thicker and more substantial than the earlier generation of watches that inspired its creation. The similarities to the Rolex models are obvious - it has the same pared-down dial, with plain indices and a minimum amount of text.

The Gentleman is powered by a Powermatic automatic movement, with 80hrs power reserve and a silicon balance spring. The decorated movement can be viewed through the exhibition back. This is technically better than the Alpina and Rotary and really adds to the watches appeal.

Where the Alpina has moved the date window to 6 o’clock the Tissot has kept it in the traditional place. I think I prefer the latter, as we are looking at watches that are classically styled.

Tissot Gentleman T127.407.11.031.00

  • 40mm Diameter
  • 11.5mm Thick
  • 21mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Swiss Automatic movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 100M Water Resistance

 



Seiko 5 SNKK87K1 Watch

 

Regular readers will know that Seiko often features on my blog, whether it’s when I looked at iconic Space Watches, Famous Seiko’s or affordable alternatives to the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms. Having been producing timepieces since the 1800s, and now one of the worlds biggest manufacturers, they can be pulled into any conversation about watches.

The Seiko 5 line of watches were designed with value for money in mind. The concept is relatively simple - well made and affordable mechanical watches, with the design emphasis on a young demographic.

What this has meant in practical terms, is a series of watches built with Japanese in-house movements and often taking design cues from other, more expensive, Seiko designs.

First launched in 1963, the Seiko 5 line had very clear specifications. Five features each watch should have. Still in use today, the suggested attributes are:

  • An Automatic Movement
  • Day/date displayed in a single window
  • Water resistance
  • Crown at the 4 o’clock position
  • Durable case and bracelet

With that in mind, this a well made functional watch, designed to provide good value for money. It is, however, slightly smaller than the others on the list and the height is a slim 11mm. There are a couple of other points that differ from the Rolex template that I’m working from.

For a start, this watch has crown guards. It also has both a day and a date display. Neither are dealbreakers, but it does mean that this watch isn’t quite what I’m after.

The price does alter this view slightly. It’s a very affordable watch, particularly considering that it has an in-house automatic movement.

Seiko 5 SNKK87K1

  • 38mm Diameter
  • 11mm Thick
  • 18mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Automatic movement
  • Hardlex Crystal
  • 30M Water Resistance

 



Hamilton Viewmatic H32715551 Watch

 

Hamilton is a US brand with a fine history of producing watches for the railroads and the US army. Their marine chronometers were also used by both the US and Allied navies in WWII.

Having ceased manufacturing watches in America in 1969 the company is now Swiss-owned, and like Tissot, a part of the Swatch Group. This American heritage and Swiss ownership mean that Hamilton is a well respected and popular brand, one of those that are available on the high street.

Although best known for the Khaki Field watch (more here), the Jazzmaster line has been another of the brand’s successes. More dressy, and often avant-garde, this collection allows for more refined and fashionable designs.

Like the Seiko, this watch deviates from the strict Rolex look, although it has the basic elements. It’s relatively spartan and has a simple dial. Again, there’s little that is unnecessary and the styling is timeless.

It is Swiss-Made and powered by ETA’s Caliber 2824-2. So the quality is there. At 44mm it is slightly larger than I’d like, but the leather strap keeps things comfortable - I might have found a bracelet a bit much on a watch of this size.

Overall, I’m a big fan of Hamilton and this is another watch of theirs that I’ll keep on my radar.

Hamilton Jazzmaster Viewmatic H32715551

  • 44mm Diameter
  • 12mm Thick
  • 23mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Swiss Automatic movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 100M Water Resistance

 



Certina DS-4 Watch

 

Until recently I hadn’t paid a great deal of attention to Certina. We just never really crossed paths, until a friend showed me his DS Action Diver. It’s a nice looking watch that inspired me to explore the brand more and I ended up doing a feature on the company.

Their history will be a familiar story if you’ve paid interest to other Swiss heritage brands.

They are based in the historic watchmaking city of Le Locle and have been described as an entry-level luxury brand. Founded the late 1800s, they have been at the forefront of watch innovations - creating a number of world firsts.

Inevitably, they are now owned by Swatch Group.

Certina produces a line of watches that are built around the core concept of Double Security - a collection of features that ensure the robustness of each watch. Their range is comprehensive and they are particularly strong with dive watches and dress designs.

This DS-4 is a quartz model, although they do have some similar mechanical pieces too. It’s a good watch to close out my list with. It’s Swiss-Made, affordable and incredibly stylish.

At 40mm wide and 8mm thick, it’s also sized well for the kind of dress watch that I like. As you’d expect, the glass is a sapphire crystal and there is 100M water resistance - more than enough for a smart dress watch.

Where the larger Hamilton benefits from a leather strap, this Certina works better with a bracelet. There are some more colourful Certina dress watches, and a number of them really suit their leather straps. For this plain, all silver model, I prefer the complimentary steel bracelet.

I don't even mind that the date is at 6 o'clock.

Certina DS-4 C0226101103100

  • 40mm Diameter
  • 8mm Thick
  • 21mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Swiss Quartz movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 100M Water Resistance

 


Conclusion


Silver dialled dress watches have a classic look. It’s a popular style that favours a simple utilitarianism over flair. My personal favourite luxury watches with this aesthetic include the JLC Master Control and the Rolex Datejust.

Both of those are expensive watches so as usual, I’ve been on the lookout for an affordable alternative. Silver dial watches with this look are harder to find than I first thought.

The 6 watches that I’ve featured are what I believe to be the best affordable options. It’s only half a dozen watches, so I’d be interested to hear your own thoughts. If there are any obvious choices that I’ve missed, pop details in the comments below.


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