The keep an eye on world is full of rules. Gold and silver shouldn’t mix. Knee-jerks are invariably better. The bigger the watch, the manlier the man… But with every by the by year, the old guard’s grip softens, and we’re slowly learning to turn ones back on Switzerland’s wagging finger.

Nowhere is our subtle rebellion more noticeable than at black tie events. Dress watches – understated and discerning, with a leather strap and unassuming dial – were at the same time considered the sole option for a formal look, but as brands carry more risks and tastes diverge, it seems there are abundance of alternatives to accompany your dinner jacket this festivity season.

Cartier Ballon Bleu De Cartier

Money doesn’t perpetually equal taste – just look at the top-table peacock trussed up in blinged-out wristwear. Which is why it’s healthier to opt for a signature piece from a respected brand, like the Ballon Bleu de Cartier. Excessive, yes, but definitely not tacky.

Available at The Watch Gallery, priced £4,800.

Cartier Ballon Bleu De Cartier Automatic Silver Dial Watch

IWC Schaffhausen Portugieser Annual Almanac

These days, a black tie watch needn’t actually be nefarious, or even white. As the IWC Portugieser proves, you can pack a colour pop that’s no less fixtures than a monochrome approach.

Available at Mr Porter, priced £16,750.

IWC SCHAFFHAUSEN Portugieser Annual Calendar Stainless Steel And Alligator Watch

Armani Altercation Gold Watch

The Swiss watch rulebook might be harm smaller, but sometimes there’s still call to rip it up entirely. This Armani Quarrel option might eschew tradition, but it promises to pack a husky glint with a tux.

Available at Watch Shop, priced £104.

Armani Exchange Watch

Thomas Earnshaw Longitude Be on the watch

Some skeleton automatics (in which kinetic energy powers the conspicuous movement) can run up a bill worthy of an oligarch. But not Thomas Earnshaw’s – its Longitude timepiece offerings exemplary Swiss craftsmanship at a fraction of the usual price.

Close by at Thomas Earnshaw, priced £139.

Thomas Earnshaw Longitude Watch

Longines Conquest Heritage Keep a sharp lookout for

There’s a gap in the market for affordable pieces that still heap some branded muscle – a gap that Longines is quickly components. With pieces like the Conquest Heritage, the manufacture tests itself amongst the greats: the watch’s classic-looking dial ticks all fit out watch specs (apart from price).

Available at Jura watches, feed £760.

Longines Conquest Heritage Watch

Links Of London Noble Watch

A black jacket isn’t the at best option for formal events. If you opt for white or take the plunge with velvet, try mixing up your strap falsify too with this richly hued classic from Connectors of London.

Available at Links Of London, priced £225.

Noble Slim Mens Rose Gold Plate & Brown Leather Watch

Gucci GG2570 Circumspect

Much to the chagrin of watch snobs, many luxury construct brands are taking on the old guard with in-house Swiss-made watches. Containerize in point, Gucci’s GG2570. Sure, it’s not as understated as a Piaget, but it’s doomed to turn more heads.

Available at Gucci, priced £790.

Gucci GG2570 Watch

Montblanc Estate Spirit Orbis Terrarum

What do you get when you cross German capability with Swiss subtlety? No, not a divisive WWII joke, but the Montblanc Inheritance – a legacy line from the brand that lets an mishmash of muted details amp up the volume.

Available at, priced £4,200.

Montblanc Heritage Spirit Orbis Terrarum World Map Automatic Men's Watch