Have you been looking to add a rectangular watch to your collection? Here are the best options you can choose from!
I love watches. I love wearing them, shopping for them, and writing about them. Putting together roundups like this one is a lot of fun.
But, in some roundups, I feel like I need to come to the defense of some poor watch that the horological community turns its nose up at. Or, I’m begging a new watch collector to give a particular watch a chance.
So I’ll address the issue head-on, right off the bat.
Rectangular watches don’t get a lot of love. Let’s face it. They don’t make the loud statement of an oversized diver. They rarely hold a shirt cuff back enough for anyone to notice them.
Most of the time, the cases blend right in with the bracelet. There’s even a notion that rectangular watches are feminine in style, or only for women.
That’s just wrong.
The truth is the reasons that make rectangular watches less popular are the same reasons that make them so great. They’re understated and classy. They’re unique and mysterious.
While it’s true that you’d be hard-pressed to curate a one-watch collection with a rectangular watch, just about every collection needs at least one.
The thing is that some rectangular watches are extremely expensive, making it difficult to add one to a collection. But, there’s always an alternative, and this guide will help point them out.
Listed below, you’ll find several high-end rectangular watches as well as some affordable rectangular alternatives that aren’t so cost-prohibitive.
Short on time? Here are our top three picks for the best rectangular watches for men you can buy right now:
The Vacheron Constantin American 1921 is by far the most expensive watch on this list. But, the attention to detail that goes into every one of these Swiss-made beauties takes time, and the materials used are second to none.
Read on for more info and the complete list…
Cartier Tank Solo
Price Tag: $3,550 and Up
Technically, the Santos was the original Cartier watch, but the Tank is the one that comes to mind whenever anyone thinks of rectangular watches.
Cartier released the original Tank in 1918, finding inspiration in the Renault tanks fighting during WWI. This line’s classic design, Roman numeral hour markers, and top-notch craftsmanship is the best example of a timepiece from a fashion brand available.
The Solo is a bit more modern than the original Tank. It measures 31 mm across, almost 41 mm from lug-to-lug, and just over 7.5 mm thick. It features a mechanical movement with automatic winding, a sapphire crystal, and comes on a calfskin strap.
Honestly, if your budget allows, the Tank is the rectangular watch to have.
Price Tag: Under $150
If you’re after the Tank look but can’t catch up with the price, check out the Seiko SUP880. This solar-powered quartz watch features most of the look of the Tank for less than $150. It has a gold-tone stainless steel case, Roman numeral hour markers, and it comes on a decent leather strap.
As far as dimensions go, the SUP880 is a bit undersized from the Tank. It measures 28.5 mm across, 38.4 mm lug-to-lug, and just over 6 mm thick. The battery has a 12-month power reserve when fully charged, with a solar panel hiding behind the white and gray pinstriped dial.
Price Tag: Around $700
While it’s hard not to refer to the Bouton as an homage, it would be a classic in a world where the Tank never existed. This beautiful watch has a high-polished case, a cream dial, and blued hands that you could easily mistake for a much more expensive watch.
Even the dimensions are pretty close to the Tank’s. It measures 31.1 mm across at its widest point (the case does curve a bit) and 41 mm lug-to-lug, making it as close to the real thing as possible, down to the Roman numerals.
The best part is you get the Tank look without dropping the extra few thousand dollars.
JLC Reverso Classic Medium
Price Tag: Around $5,700
If you’re not familiar with the JLC Reverso, its design is something special. JLC designed it for polo players. The case flips over, shielding the crystal and dial from damage during a spirited game.
This particular version of the Reverso is a medium, meaning it measures 24.4 mm across, 40.1 mm lug-to-lug, and 7.56 mm thick. It has a manual winding movement housed in a stainless steel case, hidden behind the silvered gray dial.
Paired with the ostrich leather strap and blue hands, it’s truly a show-stopping piece.
Frederique Constant Carree
Price Tag: Around $1,700
Okay, there are a few caveats here. One, “affordable” is relative, and anyway you slice it, the Carree is more affordable than the Reverso. Also, there aren’t that many watches out there with cases that flip over to hide the dial. With that said, the Carree is a good Reverso alternative.
The Carree isn’t the perfect match in dimension, measuring 31 mm across and 47 mm lug-to-lug, and 10 mm thick. It’s a bit bulkier than you might want to wear during a polo match.
It comes on a crocodile-embossed calfskin strap, and it features a cream dial with Roman numeral markers, set behind a sapphire crystal, all within a gold-tone case.
Flipping over the Carree isn’t altogether useless. It does have an exhibition case back, so that’s something.
Tag Heuer Monaco
Price Tag: Around $5,000
Back when Tag Heuer was just Heuer, their chronographs were synonymous with sports cars and racing. Part of that popularity was due to Steve McQueen’s Heuer Monaco wrist candy, which he famously wore for years.
This Tag is a rendition of that particular watch, allowing you to feel like the King of Cool for just over $5,000.
The Monaco features a brushed and polished case that measures 39 mm across, 48 mm lug-to-lug, and a hulking 15 mm thick. It runs on a Tag Heuer Calibre 12 automatic chronograph movement.
You’ll get a 30-minute subdial at 9 o’clock, a small seconds complication at 3 o’clock, and a date window at 6 o’clock. Plus, it comes on a crocodile-embossed leather strap to help make a statement.
While it’s technically one of the larger watches on this list, Steve McQueen wasn’t a big guy, and it looked pretty good on his wrist. In fact, his personal piece just sold for $2.2 million at auction.
Tissot TXL Chrono
Price Tag: Around $500
Steve McQueen didn’t wear a Tissot, but the company sponsors plenty of racing teams and events, putting it reasonably on par with Heuer. The TXL Chronograph is an excellent choice if you’re looking for that racing heritage, a chronograph, and an affordable price point all in one watch.
The good news is that the TXL is also a bit smaller than the Monaco. The stainless steel case measures 36 mm across, 38 mm long, and just over 12 mm thick, making it a bit more wearable if you’re size-concerned.
It also features a sapphire crystal, which is a nice feature for a relatively low-price Swiss-made piece. Since it’s discontinued, you might be happy to know it has a low-maintenance quartz movement.
Price Tag: Around $3,000
Nomos doesn’t have quite the history of most of the other watch companies on this list, but the Tetra from this German watchmaker certainly deserves a spot in this roundup. Its Bauhaus-style design, sharp corners, and simple layout make it an ideal choice for a minimalist rectangular watch.
The case on the Tetra measures 33 mm by 33 mm, with a case thickness of 7.3 mm thick. It comes with a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, a display case back, and a black leather 20 mm strap. It has an in-house automatic movement with a 17-hour power reserve.
Feice Bauhaus Automatic
Price Tag: Under $150
Let’s address the obvious: You’ve never heard of Feice, and this watch is pretty much a copy of the Nomos Tetra. But, this is a nice-looking watch, and if you’re going to go with a lesser-known brand, a Bauhaus-style watch might be the way to go.
If you’re concerned about quality, the Bauhaus Automatic uses a Seagull movement. Seagulls are pretty reliable machines, though maybe not incredibly accurate.
The Feice also comes with a sapphire crystal. It’s slightly larger than the Tetra at 34 mm across and 10 mm thick. And, it only has a partial display case back.
Sure, it’s clearly targeting the Nomos. But to get a sapphire crystal, an automatic workhorse movement, and an attractive design at this price, it’s a solid alternative.
Vacheron Constantin American 1921
Price Tag: $35,000 and up
If that price tag doesn’t startle you, you’re probably reading the wrong article. The Vacheron Constantin American 1921 is by far the most expensive watch on this list.
But, the attention to detail that goes into every one of these Swiss-made beauties takes time, and the materials used are second to none.
The 18k pink gold watch case measures 40 mm across and long, with a thickness of 8 mm. It has a sapphire display case back, a sapphire crystal, and it comes on an alligator leather strap.
The round dial features a railway dial-train to represent the minutes as well as black hand-painted Arabic numerals.
The American 1921 has an off-kilter dial, with the 12 o’clock numeral in the spot typically occupied by the 2 o’clock numeral. This design made it easier to check the time while driving without letting go of a sporty, perforated leather-wrapped steering wheel of your vintage Ferrari or Jaguar.
Price Tag: Under $150
If you like the round dial, square case look of the American 1921, the SNKN37 makes an interesting alternative with a similar look. While slightly rounded, it carries much of the same look for less than half a penny on the dollar.
The American 1921 isn’t a small watch, but the SNKN37 is much bigger. It measures 43.5 mm across, with a lug-to-lug of 50 mm. It comes with Seiko’s workhorse 7S26 automatic movement and a distressed leather strap.
There’s no denying how large this watch is. While the square-ish cushion case does eat up a bit of the perceived size, the dial is enormous, so it could be too big for smaller wrists.
Bell & Ross BR0192
Price Tag: About $4,100
This watch is incredibly easy to read, with its massive dial and large, bright white photo-luminescent numerals and hands. It features a satin-brushed steel case to cut down on glare, as well as an anti-reflective sapphire crystal. It comes on a thick black leather strap.
If you want to spend even more (an additional $500), you can upgrade this luxury pilot’s watch to a carbon case.
Price Tag: Under $25
Comparing the Casio Royale to the Bell & Ross BR0192 might seem like a tall order at first blush, but it’s not as much of a stretch as it might look. First, they both have a brushed metal finish (the Royale’s is resin), and they come on rubber straps.
Plus, they’re both incredibly helpful for pilots. One’s easy to read, and the other allows you to cycle through 31 different time zones.
Not so different, after all.
The Royale measures 39.5 mm across and features a mineral crystal. It features the time zone complication mentioned earlier, as well as five different alarms, a stopwatch, and a timer. It’s also a favorite for watch modders, if that’s your thing.
Panerai Luminor Specchio
Price Tag: Around $8,500
Panerai watches get a lot of attention for living on the wrists of some big celebrities, including Sylvester Stallone. Panerai watches spent many years as the definitive Italian military tool watch, specifically on the wrists of military divers.
While they don’t look like a standard diver, their huge faces, tons of lume, and professional-level water-resistance actually make them ideal.
The Luminor Specchio’s a big watch, with a case diameter of 44 mm and a thickness well over 15 mm. But, it does have relatively short, curved lugs, so if you can get past the heft, it might not be a bad choice.
For your $8,500, you’ll get an exceptionally robust in-house movement, a stainless steel case and bracelet, a small seconds hand at 9 o’clock, and a tough-as-nails crown guard.
Price Tag: Under $50
I’m sure we can all agree that any list of rectangular watches that doesn’t include a G-Shock is incomplete. But, how can the DW5600E-1V possibly compare to a Panerai? Let’s take a look.
One of Panerai’s claims to fame is its military heritage. Casio G-Shocks have a similar, if not less official, heritage. They’re the go-to choice for military personnel and first-responders all over the world.
Second, the Panerai can dive, but so can the G-Shock. Its 200-meter water resistance and backlight make it about as good a diver as any on the market.
They’re both apologetically large as well, with the G-Shock measuring 42.8 mm across. Factor in the alarm, stopwatch, and timer functions, and you could argue it’s a better tool watch than the Panerai.
Price: Around $60
Some companies just seem to know what they’re doing with rectangular watches, and Casio is definitely one of those. The A500WGA-9DF is a prime example, and it’s a great choice if you’re looking for a gold-tone rectangular watch.
Admittedly, there’s not much in the high-end market to compare it to.
The A500WGA-9DF is a fun watch. It has a gold-tone case and bracelet that aren’t trying too hard to fool anyone, and the time zone map at the top right corner of the screen is a retro touch that can’t go unnoticed.
It measures 33 mm across and 38 mm lug-to-lug, so it’s comfortable and easy to wear. It also features alarms, a perpetual calendar until 2099, four programmable time zones, a stopwatch, and a countdown timer — the quintessential retro-cool digital watch features.
As you can see, there are lots of great rectangular watches on the market, and you can find something for literally any budget. If you have the budget, you can’t go wrong with the Cartier Tank.
Whatever you decide, make sure you choose a timepiece that works with your style. You might also consider one that stretches you just beyond your comfort zone to add a new flair to your daily grind. There are plenty of great rectangular watches that will help you stay stylish.