Fashion In 2019: Square vs Round Watch Faces

April 16, 2019 by Modellist-ID editor

Circular watch faces or square watch faces? That is the question. We have both going head to head in a battle of fashion and value in 2019! Learn which is best!

One of the first wristwatches was a Patek Philippe made in 1868 and bought in 1876 by Countess Koscowicz of Hungary. It had a round face surrounded by a square design. 

Watchmakers took the circle and ran with it with pocket watches. But square face watches came on the scene in the early 20th Century when wristwatches became commercially produced. People wanted something different.

That sentiment continues. While round face watches are the most-produced and top-selling timepieces, horology lovers like to mix it up with the square.

But is one better than the other? And what’s trending now, in 2019?

The answer is both! Take the 2019 Oscars red carpet. Rami Malek, Christian Bale, and Spike Lee sported squares with Cartier Tank Americaine, Santos de Cartier, and Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso respectively. Paul Rudd, Barry Jenkins, and Jimmy Chin kept it classic with circular watches by IWC, Jaeger-Le-Coultre, and Panerai, to name a few.

Looks like a head-to-head battle. Keep reading to see which is best for you.  

The Round Face Watch

It makes sense that round-faced watches are the most prevalent on the street. Why? Maybe it’s because time is circular itself. The days, weeks, years, seasons go round and round, so psychologically the circular watch face with all its inherent symbolism makes sense when we see it. 

Also, traditionally, watchmakers have always made more round watches than square. So most people are simply used to seeing more round-face watches, and when asked, typically say they prefer a round-faced watch. People the world over also buy more round watches in general. 

The round-face watch has a classic, timeless look and in 2019, as always, the refined and elegant symmetry suits up nice with a classic look.

But that doesn’t mean there’s no room for the square.

The Square Face Watch

The square-faced watch has been around the block too when it comes to distinctive fashion, but it’s known to be the unconventional one. It functions just as well as the circle with its state-of-the-art movements being the same inside. But it definitely makes a stand-out statement in style with its easy-on-the-eye geometric design. 

The square design seems to outdo the circle in the way it sits on the wrist and how the strap comfortably rounds the wrist. 

Ideal for both casual and red-carpet wear, the square-face design always makes a statement. It’s original and contemporary and adds flair to whatever you’re wearing, or carrying. 

Trending Circle Watches in 2019

Let’s take a look at two round-faced timepieces sported this year on the design and celebrity scenes to give you an idea of what we’re loving.

The IWC Portugieser

Paul Rudd paired the gorgeous IWC Portugieser Automatic with his navy blue tux at the Academy Awards this year for a pop of panache with his classic look. This circle face watch adds sport to the Portugieser line.

IWC, loved for its titanium-made luxury wristwatches, goes aviation with its Portugieser brand. We love seeing the pilot-style Portugieser on the street on all types of gents this season.

IWC is a Swiss watchmaker established by Florentine Ariosto in 1869. 

The Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Small Second

This one boasted pure sophistication on Barry Jenkins this year on the red carpet with its graceful circle face, fine leather band, and classic Dauphine hands. Pair it with jeans to dress up a contemporary look or just go straight-out classic in true Jaeger-LeCoultre style. 

Founded in 1833 in Switzerland by Jacques-David LeCoultre, Jaeger-LeCoultre came about on the polo field. It was a challenge! But not about polo, rather about making a watch face that could withstand getting hit by a mallet. 

Trending Square Face Watches in 2019

Now, let’s take a look at two square-faced timepieces sported this year on the design and celebrity scenes.

The Cartier Tank

Since its start in Paris in 1847 by Louis-Francois Cartier himself, watchmaker Cartier has been known for its refined, sophisticated look, and it brings that to its elegant strong-lined and rectangular-faced Tank watches. (Yes, we count rectangle as a square here!) It also boasts the ideal match of forward-tech mechanics with geometric design. 

We guess that Rami Malek, the king of the 2019 Oscars for his win as Best Actor for Bohemian Rhapsody, would agree with King of England Edward VII about his Cartier watch when he noted that Cartier was the “jeweler of kings and the king of jewelers.”

And if he’s too modest to say that, we will. This square-faced beaut is a real eye-catcher this season, again for both casual and high-style times. Check out the blue alligator band on Malek’s Tank Americaine and the gorgeous octagonal crown around the rectangular face. Royalty on royalty abounds. 

The Ralph Lauren 867 

Ralph Lauren puts his signature style of sophistication, glamour, and luxurious timelessness into his horological masterpieces. He went square watches and timepieces in general in 2008 when he added his 867 collection, studded with diamonds and boasting unique detail and finishes. 

Lauren is the celebrity here as ate the watch movements, the ultimate in Swiss-class quality. This square-faced look pairs well with a sophisticated dress style. 

Splurge and Mix It Up

We love both square face watches and round timepieces. And we love to mix it up different styles at different times, depending on what we’re going for in our style statement.

Do you have a favorite? Honestly, it’s always best to wear what makes you feel great. But sometimes you just want to get adventurous with a new horological design and mix it up. As long as your new wrist-wear meets the three purposes of a watch: tells time, looks good, and makes you feel amazing.Once you found your new watch, keep reading for watch rules for guys. Who knew? 


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