Published on August 11, 2023
Quiet luxury has recently exploded in the cultural zeitgeist thanks to wildly popular shows like HBO’s Succession. For the uninitiated, this expensive trend takes a minimalist approach to style emphasizing high-quality materials and timeless elegance—think the opposite of the 80’s and 90’s when bold logos and branding were the way to flex your wealth and show you were in vogue. While the “quiet luxury” movement feels new to some, many luxury brands have taken a “quiet” approach for years. Some of the watch industry’s most prominent and popular makers have in fact defined their ethos by the concept. Here, we’ve compiled nine examples of them.
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Patek Philippe Calatrava
Is there any watch more elegant or timeless than the Patek Philippe Calatrava? When you think of a classic round wristwatch, the Calatrava is likely what you picture. With its clean lines and simplicity, its design draws from the Bauhaus movement that emphasizes minimalism. With the subtle Patek Philippe name at twelve o’clock on the dial, you also know quality is at its core. The modern iteration of the Calatrava is offered in an array of precious metals, from gold to platinum, complete with leather straps and Patek Philippe’s in-house mechanical movements.
Parmigiani Tonda PF Minute Rattrapante
When it comes to quiet luxury, Parmigiani Fleurier is the full embodiment. It’s a brand for the purest collectors and enthusiasts who are in the know. The Tonda PF Minute Rattrapante epitomizes Parmigiani’s approach, offering a world-first complication while maintaining the sleek and sophisticated appearance of a time-only watch. Here, the brand puts a unique twist on the rattrapante using overlapping hands, only revealed when the complication is engaged. Like the Calatrava, the Tonda PF Minute Rattrapante is also rendered in precious metals and equipped with Parmigiani’s own in-house movement.
Vacheron Constantin Patrimony
While the Patrimony is a relatively young collection for a company with such rich history as Vacheron Constantin, its roots trace back to the brand’s minimalist dress watches of the 1950s. This era delivered the quintessential dress watch we know today, and the Patrimony has all the hallmarks with its classic round case and clean dial layout. Flip the watch over, and you’ll find it steeped in luxury with an open-worked caseback that reveals an elevated oscillating weight in 22-karat gold to complement the gold case construction.
Bulgari Octo Finissimo
Bulgari takes a thoroughly modern approach to quiet luxury with its Octo Finissimo line. While the highly angular octagonal design is instantly recognizable, a stripped-down simplicity is at its core thanks to its monochromatic color palette and no-frills dial. Bulgari opts for a contemporary titanium construction as opposed to precious metals, which enhances the model’s sporty flair, However, the luxury element comes in the technical prowess of its razor-thin profile and impressive in-house movement that gave it the title thinnest automatic watch back in 2017.
Chopard L.U.C 1860
For some, the quiet luxury style may be a bit too reserved, a bit too pared down. For those looking for something with a bit more interest yet still, without overly flashy branding or loud aesthetics, enter Chopard’s L.U.C 1860. Here, the brand retains the core principles of the quiet luxury trend with some extra finesse. The design of the L.U.C 1860 is the perfect balance of contemporary and timeless with the combination of its hand-guilloche salmon dial, stainless steel construction, and vintage calf leather strap.
Laurent Ferrier Classic Micro Rotor
While Laurent Ferrier is a younger brand, it still embraces a traditional aesthetic and timeless approach to watchmaking. Models like the Classic Micro-Rotor prove that independent watchmakers don’t need attention-grabbing designs or over-the-top complications to prove their watchmaking expertise. As the name suggests, this classic design combines time-tested proportions and materials resulting in a model that represents the archetypal dress watch. Add in the bonus of a highly detailed and well-decorated movement, and you have the ultimate quiet luxury timepiece.
Rolex Perpetual 1908
Rolex is arguably the most instantly recognizable name in watches, from collectors and enthusiasts to the general public. Just this year the Crown revitalized its dress watch offerings with a subtle and sleek model: the Perpetual 1908. Like the name, which references the year the Rolex trademark was officially registered in Switzerland, the design of the Perpetual 1908 offers historic design cues with a round, midsize case in precious metals, two simple dial colors (black and white), and a leather strap. Inside, you get the luxury of Rolex’s in-house 7140 movement with superlative chronometer certification and the brand’s Syloxi hairspring in silicon with a patented geometry that ensures greater regularity between various positions.
Grand Seiko Masterpiece Collection Manual-Winding Spring Drive Limited Edition SBGZ009
Grand Seiko proves you don’t have to sacrifice attention to detail when it comes to quiet luxury. There can be a misconception that quiet luxury is overly simple when it’s more about being understated. Grand Seiko’s limited edition SBGZ009 “white birch” is a watch that perfectly exemplifies the brand’s watchmaking prowess. Here, the brand applies the Shinshu white birch pattern to the case for the first time, marking the third fully engraved case to come out of Grand Seiko’s Micro Artist Studio. And did we mention the case is rendered in platinum? Of course, the model is complete with the brand’s signature Spring Drive technology.
Breguet Classique “Grande Complication” Minute Repeater 7637
With the Classique “Grande Complication” Minute Repeater 7637, Breguet employs centuries of techniques from the art of watchmaking. Breguet has chosen a traditional round case and stunning Grand Feu enamel dial that’s expertly rendered for the design. This unassuming aesthetic gives way to the model’s technical complexity, housing a minute repeater complication, which hails from the genius of Abraham-Louis Breguet himself and his invention of the gong-spring back in 1783. This chiming mechanism is activated by a svelte slider at nine o’clock that’s so discrete, you might mistake this watch for being time-only.