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The general etiquette in black-tie dressing is that there should be no watch on your wrist. If a timepiece is worn, it should be a pocket watch—and if one must absolutely wear a wristwatch, it should be a slim dress version thin enough to hide underneath French cuffs. And yet, despite recent attempts by companies to revive it, the handsome dress watch of yesteryear still sits in the shadows of the big, sporty Breitlings, Richard Milles and Audemars Piguets. And nobody owns a pocket watch today—at least not one he is willing to pull out of the family safe.

Yes, the sports watch still rules. Some would point to the 61-year-old Rolex Submariner as the gateway piece to the one-style-fits-all mantra, with its graphic yet elegant black-and-white dial and circular-dot hour indicators in place of numerals. To others it’s James Bond’s Omega-wearing tendencies. The Seamaster (a diving watch) first appeared on Pierce Brosnan in 1995’s Golden­Eye. And it was a nylon-strap Submariner that Sean Connery wore in Dr. No. (Bond creator Ian Fleming himself wore an equally famous Rolex Explorer.) “No one is going to argue with James Bond,” says stylist Bruce Pask. “But if a man is going to go for the sports watch, he must be impeccably pulled together, in a well-fitted tux, crisp shirt and perfect shoes.” Add to that cuff links in a matching metal and you’re good to go.

Pictured: Chopard Mille Miglia Zagato, $9,900;

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