The Best Mens Designer Watches

From Armani to Vuitton, the fashion set are upping their watch game. Switzerland's big boys should be looking over their shoulders...

Over the past couple of decades, designer fashion brands have caught onto the joys of a decently crafted Swiss timepiece in a big way. Nowadays, most of them boast a solid collection of Swiss-made timepieces driven by mechanical automatic movements – and some are even making their own complicated contraptions themselves. Snobs begone: the fashion set are getting respectably handy with a pair of tweezers, and here's how...

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Emporio Armani Swiss Made Watches Automatic

The price below isn't simply reasonable for an Armani, it's reasonable for any Swiss watch boasting a precision automatic movement – one whose ticking balance wheel you and your admirers can admire equally through a dial window. This shows a newfound maturity in the brand's watch offering, dressed in suitably sleek lounge-lizard-worthy midnight-blue dial and rose-gold coating.

£745

Dior Chiffre Rouge C03 Automatic

Hedi Slimane may be a distant memory at Dior, but no one can deny that his skinny-tailored 'Homme' influence rages on at the fashion behemoth – not least his men's watch collection, 'Chiffre Rouge'. The C03 model's devastatingly chic grey-metallised mother-of-pearl dial (which hides a high-end Zenith movement) positively glows with gentle iridescence, making this watch the perfect foil to a crisp tuxedo. C'est genial!

£6,300

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Dolce & Gabbana DG7+

Think Dolce & Gabbana, usually think Euro-bling with a kinky edge. Well, the kinkiness is certainly intact here, thanks to a steroidal case wearing a rubber strap, but the refreshing change is the subdued, rakish vibe elsewhere. It's kitted with a robust ETA movement from Switzerland, so it has brains as well as beauty. (The "+" symbol, in case you're wondering, denotes the addition of a date window at 6 o'clock, which is nice.)

€2,450

Gucci GG2570

It's all change at Gucci, thanks to the recent appointment of Alessandro Michele as creative director. He's been comprehensively rebooting the brand, and impressively, his gaze has addressed the watch collections with equal scrutiny. His smart new, cushion-shaped GG2570 range is the perfect accompaniment to your Gucci loafers and teak deck, named after his lucky number (25) and the decade in which the brand was at its most potent.

£570

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Hugo Boss BOSS HB6038

It may only be £150, our most affordable pick here, but don't let that make you wary – instead, treat it as a bargainous opportunity to buy into a solid fashion brand, not to mention a solid daily wearer of a watch, whose no-nonsense classical styling will pair effortlessly with jeans and trainers or a business suit (the black shoes / brown watch strap argument is over now - just go with it).

£150

Louis Vuitton Escale Time Zone

Along with Chanel and fellow LVMH stablemate Dior, LV was one of the first fashion brands to take watches seriously with its one men's collection, the Tambour. Since then the acquisition of top flight horological thinktank La Fabrique du Temps - and the canny decision to adopt some of the globetrotting markings of its vintage luggage lines - the Escale range has breathed fresh life into their offering. This Time Zone is a kaleidoscope of the world's 24 major timezones, with a 24-hour ring that tells you the time anywhere.

£5,100

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Chanel Monsieur de Chanel

This really was the big news of Baselworld trade fair this year, hands-down – and it really is down on hands, having "sautante" or jumping digital hours display framed by a Place-Vendôme shaped window. Not only is this the first men's watch from Chanel (the "unisex" J12, while revolutionary, doesn't really count) it is the first to be driven by an entirely in-house-manufactured movement – created from scratch and five years in the making.

£23,500

Ralph Lauren Safari 39mm

The ultimate American lifestyle brand does that louche, grainy, woozy, outdoorsy, rugged thing so well – which translates perfectly as "Safari", the name of Ralph Lauren's new louche, outdoorsy etc. collection. Even better, since the launch of the brand's watch division it's been impossible to buy anything much lower than £6,000, owing to the haute-horlogerie movements borrowed from the likes of Cartier and Piaget. Well, that's changed, with a switch to the appropriately rugged Swiss automatic "base calibre" in this doozy.

£2,290

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Hermès Slim d'Hermès

Hot on the heels of Mondaine's Helvetica, and Nomos's beautifully scribed Minimatik, comes this third exercise in bespoke horological typography – something so quintessentially "Hermès" in all its Parisian whimsy and delicacy that it's difficult to accept it's not been in the brand's oeuvre all along. The French graphic designer Philippe Apeloig designed a completely original suite of numerals for "Slim", and the result feels at once harmonious, rigorous and chic, drawing heavily on the visual culture of Hermès.

£4,750

Michael Kors Access Dylan Silicone Smartwatch

Somewhat of a departure from the usual Michael Kors aesthetic, the chunky proportions here nevertheless lend themselves perfectly to the wrist gadget of the moment - the smartwatch - and the effect is pretty darn edgy. Android-driven, with fitness tracker and voice-activated Google search, Batman wouldn't mind pairing this with his utility belt.

£329