There's no doubt that a tool watch can be used as a dress piece. Today, the stainless dive watch or racing chrono's efficient look is sleek enough to go with anything from t-shirt to tux. But if you're a sucker for tradition, you might want a watch that matches your suit—something purpose-built, not for the sea or the track, but for the dinner party, boardroom, or wedding.
As far as dress watches go, the gold (or stainless steel) standard has been the Rolex Datejust. Priced less than many of the other Rolexes between $5,000 and $7,000, Rolex offers a high-end dress watch that could appreciate in value at a fraction of the cost of what a Patek Philippe or A. Lange & Sons dress watch might run you. Of course, that is still months of rent to most people. But don't worry, there's a solid alternative that's won us over—the $362 Seiko SARB035.
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The aesthetics behind a Datejust are easy to love—it prioritizes simplicity and ditches all loud design elements, leaving a clean, (usually) numberless face with a date window.
Unlike many watches brands out there, Seiko does a great job keeping things as simple and small as the Rolex classics, eschewing the large and boisterous trends that have been spreading across wrists throughout the country.
While Seiko usually does a great job keeping it uncomplicated, the Seiko SARB035 keeps things even more classic by having its crown at three o' clock on the dial, as well as a fantastic 23-jewel automatic movement. Japan might not have the cachet of Switzerland, but Seiko's Japanese-made Grand Seiko movements are as well regarded as anything out there, and the SARB035 follows in that tradition, albeit more economically.
Until you get Eisenhower's rank, the Seiko will keep you satiated.