I inhertied my passion for horological finery at about the same time I developed my passion for suits (the watches, perhaps, came first), and I inherited both from the same man. At first it was a digital watch here and a Timex piece there (as an aside, Timex have the loudest tick I’ve ever encountered – light sleepers, beware), but before long it was a TAG Heuer and and Omega that were joined by a Bell & Ross, and then it was nothing at all. Watches simply became too big for my taste and comfort. Somewhere up until around 2010 the not-so-humble watch became a statement piece of size, not so much gracing wrists as they did weigh them down. Bell & Ross nailed the aesthetic with their BR 01 aviation range while others put in only enough effort to appeal to the world’s newly minted citizens.

Thankfully watch aesthetics have moved on. Slim, subtle, refined – these are descriptors that have made a return. Not every Swiss watchmaker has noticed, but there have been plenty of others waiting to fill the void in a very ‘now’ way. Those willing to sell an aesthetic and their story. Watch brands like Daniel Wellington.

daniel wellington ring

It’s a men’s Daniel Wellington watch in rose gold with a St Andrews leather band that has travelled with me over the past week. From Bucharest to London, with Zurich in between, (I snapped it over a Sketch knit and under a Burberry trench while in Bucharest in the photo above) it’s proved something of the perfect travel companion. There when an air hostess scalds me for daring to have my iPhone turned on during a flight, there with a suit, there over a chunky knit sweater. All the while siting comfortably – Daniel Wellington’s watch faces are only 6mm thick, unlike some of my other timepieces that seem gargantuan in comparison.

daniel wellington watches
Daniel Wellington watches with Nato striped straps are available for men and women.

Mine is a conservative approach to the watch – a leather strap making it something of a watch for all seasons and formalities. But Daniel Wellington watches are better known for their use of Nato stripes, something that gives the same watchface a transatlantic, preppy sensibility. Other wearers have opted for more flair (and I can’t see myelf as being able to avoid adapting this look later), with a Daniel Wellington watch crowned by an Hermes scarf serving as the strap in the example below.

hermes scarf watch strap
Daniel Wellington watch with an Hermes scarf serving as the watch strap; via DWIndonesia on Instagram.

All of this goes to show you the new watch aesthetic for this new decade. A watch that is permanently suitable. There for the day, there for the evening, there to stop you taking out your phone to check the time (something fast being labelled a faux pas), there to reflect your personality but to never dominate your style. Daniel Wellington’s watches are one such breed.

Daniel Wellington timepieces currently sell for between $175 and $229. They’re available online at danielwellington.com and at various stockists.

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