Every square is a rectangle, but not every rectangle is a square. Let's talk about rectangular watches.
Luxury timepieces are as much about aesthetic as they are about function. Traditional round watches have always held a significant place in the world of horology, but there is something inherently different, intriguing, and sophisticated about square and rectangular watches. They challenge the conventional circular design, showcasing a balanced blend of style, precision, and innovation.
Among the plethora of timepieces available in the market, square and rectangular watches always manage to stand out. This article brings to light some of the coolest square or rectangular timepieces that have elevated the benchmark in the watchmaking industry. Let's start with two such exemplary pieces, the Cartier Santos and the Bell and Ross BR 05.
Santos by Cartier is, without doubt, one of the most iconic square watches of all time. Unveiled in 1904, the Cartier Santos carries a rich history with it, initially designed for the aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont to allow him to check the time while keeping both hands on the controls during flight.
The design of the Santos has evolved over the years, yet it retains its signature square face, contributing to the watch’s unique aesthetics. The modern Santos models come in various sizes, boasting automatic movements and impressive features. The watches are available in steel, gold, or a mix of both, thus catering to a variety of tastes and preferences. Noteworthy is the bezel with its delicate screws, which adds a touch of industrial sophistication to the timepiece.
A special feature that sets the Cartier Santos apart is its QuickSwitch system, allowing the wearer to switch between metal bracelets and leather straps effortlessly, thereby enhancing the versatility and adaptability of the timepiece. Despite the modern enhancements, the timeless elegance of the original design has never been compromised, making the Cartier Santos an enduring symbol of luxury.
Bell and Ross BR 05
Bell and Ross, known for their aviation and military-inspired timepieces, pushed their design envelope with the introduction of the BR 05 collection. The BR 05 embraces a square case with rounded edges, an unconventional design that sets it apart from the crowd.
The BR 05 is the epitome of elegance combined with robustness. It comes with an integrated bracelet that seamlessly merges with the case, exhibiting a harmonious blend of lines and curves. The dial is available in black, blue, or grey, all of which perfectly contrast with the Super-Luminova-filled applique numerals and indices, ensuring legibility even in low light conditions.
Inside the BR 05 beats a Swiss automatic movement, visible through a sapphire case back, ensuring precise timekeeping. It also carries a water resistance of 100 meters, which makes it a reliable companion for underwater adventures. The Bell and Ross BR 05 is indeed a testament to the brand's ingenuity and design prowess, elegantly marrying the square and circle within its geometry.
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Tag Heuer Monaco
Notable for its distinctive square case and association with the legendary actor Steve McQueen, the Tag Heuer Monaco is a true icon in the world of horology. Launched in 1969, it was the first automatic chronograph in a square case and the first with a water-resistant square case.
The bold and innovative design of the Monaco continues to turn heads even today. The dial comes in different colors and configurations, yet the classic blue with white square sub-dials remains a crowd favorite. The case size and shape remain faithful to the original, encapsulating the retro charm while housing modern, reliable movements, including the brand’s in-house Heuer 02.
The Reverso by Jaeger-LeCoultre, with its iconic rectangular rotating case, is a perfect amalgamation of art deco aesthetics and precise Swiss watchmaking. Designed in 1931 for British army officers in India who needed a watch that could withstand the rigors of a polo match, the Reverso's flip-over case allowed the watch to be protected from blows.
Source: Fifth Wrist
The clean lines, elegant proportions, and classic guilloché designs have kept the Reverso a must-have for every watch enthusiast. Over the years, it has seen several variations, including dual time-zones, moon-phases, and even minute repeaters, yet the essence of the Reverso’s design remains intact.
Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse
Another exemplar of rectangular elegance is the Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse. It's not quite a rectangle but an elliptical shape based on the golden ratio, a rule of aesthetic harmony that guided some of the greatest artists and architects throughout history.
Introduced in 1968, the Golden Ellipse features an incredibly slim profile, a solid gold dial, and an exquisite integrated bracelet. It’s a timepiece that favors simplicity and elegance over complexity, a subtle yet distinguished statement piece for the discerning collector.
Square and rectangular watches are a testament to the versatility and creativity in the watchmaking industry. These timepieces have successfully merged traditional horology with a touch of modern aesthetic, thereby creating a unique identity. They are not just about telling time but are a celebration of art, history, and innovation. Whether it's the timeless Cartier Santos or the avant-garde Bell and Ross BR 05, these watches never fail to impress and hold their ground in the dynamic world of horology.