11 Most Stylish Rectangular Watches For Men (For All Budgets)
Make your wrist stand out from the round-faced crowd with these superb rectangular timepieces.
Think of a watch and most likely you will picture something round. It’s not surprising. Round watches have dominated the horological landscape since Charles II introduced the waistcoat to fashionable society and men wanted something to put in their pockets.
Its popularity is also born out of practicality. Round cases are easier to make, to make water resistant, and to create a movement for. However, there have been periods in history when rectangles ruled. The first rectangular watch is thought to be Cartier’s iconic Tank, from 1919, which took its silhouette from the treads of the Renault F-17 tanks used in WWI.
Its design chimed with the new aesthetic of the post-war period. Rudolph Valentino insisted on wearing his Tank during the 1926 film The Son of the Sheik, Duke Ellington would wear his onstage, and Boni de Castellane – politician, nobleman, and renowned tastemaker – was also a fan.
The other brand flying the flag for non-round watches was Jaeger-LeCoultre with its Reverso, first launched in 1931 and as much of a success then as now, though probably less prevalent on polo pitches.
These two historical moments did make a difference, but round cases reasserted themselves and have their retained dominance. Recently, a renewed interested in unusual case shapes has returned and rectangular and square watches are in the spotlight once again.
From wallet-friendly options to budget breakers, here are 11 timepieces with which to indulge your oblong obsession.
Hamilton American Classic Boulton
Hamilton and Hollywood have a long-standing connection with its watches appearing in everything from Christopher Nolan’s time-warping space epic Interstellar to the decidedly less highbrow Men In Black.
This is the first time it has accompanied the esteemed archaeologist Dr Jones on his adventures, gracing Indy’s wrist as he once again attempts to thwart the Nazis in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.
It does work with the film’s aesthetic as this is a design inspired by a 1940s watch and it has a lovely vintage Deco look. However, unless Indy used the Dial of Destiny to travel forwards to the 1980s, when this watch was reintroduced, it wouldn’t be on his wrist in 1969 as quartz technology wasn’t invented then.
Longines Dolce Vita
This is the epitome of after-dark elegance. First launched in 1997, La Dolce Vita collection was a homage to the Italian way of life; a touch of sprezzatura for the wrist. And it is a collection comprising only rectangular cases.
Longines loves a rummage in its archives, so it won’t be surprising that this design is based on a model from the 1920s. The introduction of a sector dial, with its combination of matte finish centre section and vertically brushed outer section, emphasises its Art Deco origins while the sleek polished case, barely interrupted by the crown, brings an aura of luxury to the timepiece.
Powering it is Longines mechanical L592 calibre, supplied by ETA with a 45-hour power reserve. It’s a superb piece that calls to mind a certain military-inspired classic but without the price tag.
Baume & Mercier Hampton Auto
Because of the period in which they were first created, rectangular watches tend to feel more like dress pieces than everyday wearers. Yet there’s an angularity to this Baume & Mercier that makes it feel like it could be worn daily.
Maybe it’s the way the bezel comes up to meet the sapphire crystal giving a sense of robustness, or the very simple yet substantial hours markers, or the way the strap sits flush to the lugs with no space for a flash of skin. Whatever it is, it feels like a different style proposition.
This wouldn’t look out of place with a rolled cuff on a linen shirt; at a push, shorts wouldn’t be out of the question. As the name suggests, it looks as though it should be worn while sitting on a deck, eating a lobster roll, looking out to sea.
Raymond Weil Toccata
Raymond Weil has long been inspired by music. Its collection names include Tango and Maestro, it has made watches in collaboration with AC/DC, has honoured David Bowie, and created a limited Beatles edition.
Toccata pays homage to the person behind the music: the conductor. In keeping with this storied profession, this is a very traditional interpretation of a rectangular watch.
The Roman numerals bring gravitas, there is a ‘no nonsense’ attitude in the classic pairing of a white dial with black leather strap, and the bezel is slender and polished.
The date is a bit of a bum note but that’s a small quibble for a design in which, like a symphony, all the various elements come together harmoniously.
Bulova Sutton Automatic
There is a love it or hate it element to open apertures on watch dials. Traditionally complications were hidden, even Patek Philippe isn’t so gauche as to show its tourbillons, so this can feel a bit try hard – especially if you’re only showing a balance wheel.
That said, it works on this Bulova. The balance-wheel reveal adds a bit of steam-punk grit to what is essentially a classic rectangular dress watch.
This is also a substantial bit of wrist candy. Most rectangular watches are cased around 27mm across and 43mm long. The Sutton is 33mm x 49mm, which is ideal for anyone wanting to angle up but who doesn’t have the delicate radial proportions usually required.
Fears Archival 1930
Fears is such a wonderful British success story. Homegrown Bristol brand dating back to 1846, which was revived by the original owner, Edwin Fears’s great-great-great grandson Nicholas Bowman-Scargill in 2016, after being shuttered since 1976.
This elegant slice of Art Deco beauty was designed to celebrate 175 years since Fears was founded and is a proportional recreation of a watch from 1930 made by the brand.
The case has been increased to suit modern tastes and the small seconds at six o’clock has gone but the numerals, hand shape and minute track all remain the same.
One other excellent detail is that all the watches are powered by renovated and upgraded ‘new old stock’ mechanical movements – ETA 2360s from the 1960s that have never been used. It’s an unnecessary yet witty touch for which Bowman-Scargill is becoming renowned.
Heritor Automatic Frederick
Probably a name that isn’t so well known, but Heritor makes for an interesting brand proposition. Its parent company Rescultco was set up to offer sunglasses and watch brands to retail partners.
These are the sorts of names you’d see in demi-luxury, multi-brand outlets such Wolf & Badger in the UK, where it retails its mechanical heritage-inspired brand Heritor.
Despite the price, the company uses the same high-grade stainless steel as renowned Swiss brands, leather for the straps comes from Italy, and the movements are Japanese or Chinese, depending on who you read.
We particularly like the Batman-esque rendering of this style. The all-black palette brings a muscularity to what can sometimes be a more refined style of watch, the intersection of the smaller seconds sub dial with the larger minute one is a thought-out design decision, as is the almost imperceptible sunray Roman numerals in the background.
It’s kind on the wallet, and easy on the eye – what more could you want?
Cartier Tank Solo XL
Given it is 104 years old it isn’t surprising that the ür-rectangular watch has had a few reinterpretations and facelifts.
It is less square than the original; and as the name suggests, it is also larger. It’s not excessive – 31mm x 40.85mm – allowing it to keep its graceful instantly identifiable silhouette but catering to the modern preference for more substantial case dimensions.
Everything else is barely changed. It has the Roman numerals, and the blued-steel sword shaped hands. The modern dial is a silvered opaline colour and it has the now-signature synthetic cabochon-shaped spinel in the beaded crown.
Look closely and you’ll see the word ‘Cartier’ on the V of the VII; a conceit originally thought to be a way of delineating a fake, but now so well-known even counterfeiters are probably aware.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Classic Monoface
Alongside the Tank this is the other quintessential rectangular watch. Born on the polo pitches of the British Raj and designed to deflect polo balls, this is probably the least sporty sports watch ever made. It is an elegant solution to a rarefied problem, which imbues it with sophistication.
The simple ‘slide and flip’ mechanism is easy to use, while the combination of steel and black leather is a classic. Unfortunately, because of its function, you don’t get to see the Calibre 822A manual wind movement that powers it.
It is unusual because it is actually shaped to the case – an elongated oval just 2.94mm thick.
A.Lange & Söhne Cabaret Tourbillon Handwerkskunst
There are no corners cut, literally, with the L042.1 movement that powers this exquisitely made haute complication from Lange and Sohne. Its form has been tailored to the rectangular shape of the case and has 370 parts, 84 of which are integrated into the filigreed tourbillon.
The Handwerkskunst in the title refers to this particular Cabaret Tourbillon from 2021 being part of a limited collection of timepieces characterised by the artisanally elaborate finishing of the dial and the movement.
Lange and Sohne’s watches are always beautifully hand finished, but this is next level. There is a manually engraved lozenge pattern on the inner area of the dial, which, in turn is surrounded by semi-transparent enamel.
There’s also a very thin strip of tremblage engraving around the edge of the dial; a fiendishly difficult type of engraving where the craftsperson uses a fine-tipped chisel called a burin to create a granulated texture. It’s barely visible, but, typical of Lange’s commitment to excellence.
Hermes Cape Cod
Back in 1991, Hermès chairman Jean-Louis Dumas wanted to add a square-ish shaped watch to the brand’s collection. He turned to accessories designer Henri D’Origny who was more famed for his silk scarf patterns.
D’Origny was inspired by the link of an anchor chain, which he cut in half and placed at either end of a rectangular case with a square inside it. He named it after the famous Massachusetts peninsula because he was taken there by his American-born wife who had holidayed in Cape Cod all her life.
Since then, the Cape Cod hasn’t changed much, the only thing that has is the ability to switch the straps. Myriad options, and all in Hermès’s superlative leather.