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The 7 Best Affordable Blue Dial Dress Watches

Posted on July 16 2021

Blue Dial Dress Watches

Blue is a great colour for the dial of a dress watch.

It's a formal colour, associated with authority and the military. It's second only to black in the popularity of watch colours.

Like black, it's an ideal colour to wear in formal settings and with smart clothing. A blue watch compliments your suit.

Yes, pale blues are calming and therapeutic.

But for the most part, watch manufacturers use deeper shades of blue. They're more likely to use a navy blue than a sky blue.

The blending of a formal blue with a conservatively styled dress watch can be sensational. Blue dress watches often benefit from subtle and understated designs.

And I want to show you my favourite affordable models.

The Seven Best Blue Dial Watches


Trust me, there are some stunning blue dial dress watches.

I've included a little variety in my favourites list. But when you narrow things down to only dress watches and only with blue dials, then the watches are going to be similar.

To widen the options, I've included a range of specs and price points too.

There should be something for you here. A watch that will compliment your smart dress, and hopefully have the versatility to work with less formal clothing.

Ingersoll Reliance Automatic Watch

The first watch on my list is the Ingersoll Reliance. This model has a simple, pared-down aesthetic reminiscent of a Rolex Datejust.

It's classically styled and whilst clearly a dress watch, it's surprisingly adaptable.

At 40mm, it’s also exactly the correct size for a modern watch. This blue and silver variation works well and has nice applied indices and a small, neat date window.

Here's mine.



The Reliance is powered by a reliable Japanese Miyota movement, with a signed rotor. This can be viewed through the exhibition case back.

It's a great watch, particularly if like me, you’re always on the lookout for another affordable Rolex alternative. I've switched mine to a distressed leather strap and love the softened look.

It comes in a wooden box which is a nice touch, although the lack of a signed crown is a bit of a shame. But if you want a mechanical watch from an American heritage brand, at a very affordable price, start here.

Ingersoll Reliance I05502

  • 40mm Diameter
  • 14mm Thick
  • 20mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Automatic Movement
  • Mineral Crystal
  • 100M Water Resistance


Certina DS Action Blue Watch
This watch from the Swiss brand Certina is more colourful and vibrant. I'm still including this on a list of dress watches, despite the obvious sports styling.

It's a well-made and well thought out entry-level quartz watch. Where the Ingersoll was referencing an earlier Reliance model, the DS Action is more contemporary.

The hands, markers and dial fonts are all modern. The inclusion of a quartz movement is also a modern touch. I'd prefer an automatic, but remember, this is an affordable Swiss-made piece and the price reflects the specifications.

This is a good choice if you still want your formal watch to be eye-catching.

The 12 at the top of the dial is bold and it's complemented by a date window at 6 o'clock. The red accents and second hand add some colour and the thick crown guards give the watch a functional edge.

This watch is dressy, without being a classic dress watch. More smart-casual than office smart.

Certina DS Action C032.851.11.047.00

  • 41mm Diameter
  • 11mm Thick
  • 20mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Swiss Quartz Movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 200M Water Resistance


Corgeut Aqua Terra Homage Watch
I’m a big fan of the Omega Aqua Terra. I'm also fond of Chinese brand Corgeut's homage watches.

Originally launched in 2003, the Seamaster Aqua Terra is a reliable and rugged tool watch. Despite being popular, it hasn't been mimicked as much as some other iconic Swiss watches.

But it is distinctive.

The first part to catch your eye is usually the unusual “teak concept” dial. Even more so with this blue variation. The texture is reminiscent of the wooden surfaces of luxury yachts. It adds uniqueness to these Seamaster style models. As does the arrow on the minute hand.

The Omega original is a pricey watch and Corgeut have made a faithful homage.

There are some slight differences, but the major influence is clear. The Corguet is powered by a Miyota automatic movement. And for the price the specs are good. They include a sapphire crystal and an exhibition case back.

If you love the blue Omega Aqua Terra but have a smaller budget, this could be a realistic option.

Corgeut Aqua Terra Homage 3021D-SS

  • 41mm Diameter
  • 11mm Thick
  • 20mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Automatic Movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 50M Water Resistance


Bulova Surveyor Blue Watch
Like the Ingersoll, this Bulova model takes design cues from a Rolex. In this case, the Rolex Day-Date.

You'll be aware that I often feature American brand Bulova on this blog. That's because they regularly create exciting affordable watches. Over the years some of these have taken inspiration from Rolex. But each watch still managed to include some of its own DNA.

The same is true with the Bulova Surveyor. It hints at the Rolex but is also recognisably Bulova.

Part of the Classic collection, this particular watch reminds me of the plainer variants of the Day-Date. There are no roman numerals or diamond markers. Instead, it has an attractive deep blue dial with simple silver hands and indices.

The design works for me. It's spartan, without being minimalist and formal without being plain.

It's another quartz model and comes in a touch under 40mm.

Bulova is an influential brand. They made watches for American GI's during Vietnam, had a watch used during the moon landings and made cool watches for surfers.

If you want a piece of that heritage, the Bulova Surveyor is a great place to start.

Bulova Surveyor 96C125

  • 39mm Diameter
  • 10mm Thick
  • 22mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Quartz movement
  • Mineral Crystal
  • 30M Water Resistance

 


Orient Bambino Blue Watch

The Bambino is Orient's take on the blue dress watch. It's subtle, minimalist and has a beautiful gradient dial. It's the most arty of the watches on my list but isn't a dainty piece.

Orient is one of Japan's large watchmakers and the Bambino is a classic of theirs. There’s a number of generations and versions and the model I've featured is a version 4.

The watch has an almost Bauhaus styling. It reminds me of the more affordable German brands like Junghans and Junkers.

At 42mm it’s probably a little larger than you’d expect - and maybe a little larger than you'd like. But it is slim and doesn't have a heavy bezel or crown guards.

It's all simple and symmetrical. Clean lines and narrow markers and hands.

The blue isn't too bold either. I like that. The watch is a series of small details that make an impressive whole. That and the addition of a black leather strap give the watch a style unlike the others on my list.

The inclusion of both a domed dial and crystal are touches that you’ll not find on modestly priced high street brands. And they both reinforce a vintage-inspired aesthetic.

And the movement?

It's an in-house Japanese automatic movement. So you're getting a lot of watch for less than £200.

Orient Bambino FAC08004D0

  • 42mm Diameter
  • 11.8mm Thick
  • 22mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Automatic movement
  • Domed Mineral Crystal
  • 30M Water Resistance


Tissot Gentleman

In a past post about alternatives to Jaeger LeCoultre’s Master Control, I featured this watch. It’s a real favourite of mine.

It's a classically styled dress watch. But it's a little wider and thicker than the earlier generation of watches that inspired it.

It’s a good place to start with Tissot. And the blue dial variation is one of the most attractive variations.

Like most dress watches, the design is restrained. And like Orient, this watch succeeds by doing the simple things well. There is nothing unique or innovative in the design.

There’s a pared-down dial as you'd expect. The indices are straightforward and the dial has a minimum amount of text.

Like the JLC and similar Rolex's, the functional case hides the real workmanship. The Gentleman is powered by a Powermatic automatic movement. That means it has an 80hr power reserve and a silicon balance spring. The decorated movement can be viewed through the exhibition back.

I like it when a watch makes some of the best details a little less obvious. And that's one of the reasons that I enjoy this watch. Half the pleasure is the small details and the quality.

Like the Certina, this is an entry-level Swiss watch. This time with a mechanical movement.

Tissot Gentleman Powermatic 80 Silicium T1274104404100

  • 40mm Diameter
  • 11.5mm Thick
  • 21mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Powermatic 80 Automatic movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 100M Water Resistance


Reef Tiger Classic Heritage Watch

The final watch that I'd like to present is my wildcard. Reef Tiger is a young Chinese brand that makes some flamboyant watches. This model is less ostentatious and showcases the brand at its best.

Again, it's a spartan dress watch that is successful because of its understated design. It's plain, has the blue dial that you want and is uncomplicated. Sometimes that's all you need.

It worked for the Rolex Explorer and Datejust and it works here.

Blue works well with this model and there's always going to be a market for an inoffensive watch like the Classic Heritage.

Reef Tiger seems to use a variety of movements and this model has Seiko's NH35A workhorse. It's a strong movement, famed for its durability.

There's no colour here but silver and blue. That's all it needs.

The indices are large and help keep the dial highly legible. The only real flair is the oversized crown. It's reminiscent of the Onion crowns used on aviation watches.

I'd suggest that this is a good watch for the money and would be ideal if you want something leftfield.

Reef Tiger RGA823

  • 42mm Diameter
  • 10mm Thick
  • 22mm Lug width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Seiko Automatic movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 50M Water Resistance

 

Conclusion


Blue is a popular colour for watches. It's second only to black.

I hope that I've demonstrated why it's used so often. When combined with a clean, classic design great things can happen.

The pairing of a deep blue dial with a stainless steel case is a tried and tested combination. It has just the right amount of colour.

And it's masculine.

Blue is a man's colour and works best on men's products.

My list includes watches from the Swiss and Japanese - and a couple of more controversial Chinese models. They range from inexpensive quartz models to Swiss-made automatic watches.

Let me know what you think in the comments below. Did you find one that was ideal for you?


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