5 watches that prove it's hip to be square

Why you should consider a square timepiece for your next purchase.

Peter Iantorno November 24, 2014

The square watch came to prominence in the early 20th century when a generation was moving away from the pocket watch and craved something entirely different looking to adorn their arm.

The practical style of the square case meant that attaching the strap was easy and seamless, while round-faced watches often had to have unsightly, welded lugs. But as designs improved and changed, so did the public's opinions of circular timepieces, and square-faced watches began to fall behind its round counterpart in the popularity stakes.

What that means nowadays is that while square watches aren't rare, there are significantly fewer choices available, so finding the right one can be a tough task. But don't let that put you off. After all, it's hip to be square...

Jean Dunand The Palace (also main image) Jean Dunand The Palace square watch.

If you've not got wrists of steel, move on to the next watch now, because this mechanical masterpiece from Jean Dunand is an absolute beast that would swallow up all but the manliest of arms.

Taking its cues from the Art Deco period, the watch is essentially a single-button chronograph movement housed in a 48mm by 49mm case inspired by the Eiffel Tower. Although it may seem simple at first glance, look closer and you see two indicators - 72-hour power reserve and GMT - which are set on pierced beams and have the unusual characteristic of being powered by a tiny chain, which took an incredible five days of work to assemble.

Consisting of 703 individual parts, The Palace is a true work of angular art, which is reflected in its hefty $410,000 price tag.

Girard-Perregaux Vintage 1945 Girard Perregaux Vintage 1945 A true connoisseur's timepiece, the understated elegance of the Girard-Perregaux Vintage 1945 won't demand instant attention from the masses, but for the initiated, it's difficult to beat.

Housed in a sleek 37mm by 36mm case and viewable through the watch's sapphire exhibition caseback is Girard-Perregaux's automatic GP03300 movement, which has a power reserve of 46 hours. Featuring a simple, uncluttered dial with dauphine-style hour and minute hands and blue steel hands for the central seconds and chronograph counters, much as the name suggests, the watch feels distinctly vintage.

Expect to pay in the region of $32,500 for the gold version.

Patek Philippe Gondolo ref. 5200G patek philippe Gondolo ref5200G Yet another classy piece from the kings of watchmaking, Patek Philippe, the Gondolo 5200's beautiful manually wound eight-day movement combined with the simple styling make this a real purist's timepiece.

Priced at $59,400, the watch features two subdials - the top being the power reserve and the bottom the day and date. The watch must be manually wound every eight days, which takes 134 turns of the crown. This may sound like quite a laborious process, but Patek believes that this ritual of sitting down with the watch regularly helps build a connection between the timepiece and its owner, and we'd tend to agree.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Grande Reverso Ultra Thin SQ JLC Grande Reverso Ultra Thin SQ For such a thin (7.2mm) and highly decorated watch, the JLC Grande Reverso Ultra Thin SQ manages to retain its manliness with a striking square case that contrasts with the ornate inner workings of the skeletonised movement.

Of course, thanks to the reverse case, the beautiful movement can be admired from both the front and the back, and although it's only a fraction over 2mm thick, it appears to have an incredible amount of depth.

Comprising 128 parts, limited to 50 pieces and priced at around $61,000, this is as much a work of art as it is a watch.

TAG Heuer Monaco V4 Tourbillon TAG Heuer Monaco V4 Tourbillon A fascinating collision of old and new, the centuries-old tourbillon combines with the groundbreaking movement to create a slightly baffling yet entirely captivating timepiece.

The first-ever belt-driven tourbillon, the Monaco V4 is powered by four barrels mounted on a V-shaped main plate reminiscent of the engines found in powerful racing cars. These barrels are connected by minute (0.7mm thick) transmission belts, creating a genuine mechanical movement.

You can expect to pay around $170,000 for one of these, but for an immaculately precise piece of engineering genius delivered in such a cool and refined overall package, we reckon that's a snip.