Professional Jeweler Archive: Four Basic Watch Shapes

November 2001

For Your Staff/Selling Watch Styles

Four Basic Watch Shapes

This is second in a series devoted to different watch styles. Learning about the selling points of each basic timepiece shape will make your job more interesting and profitable

New case-making technology and materials have resulted in dozens of unusually shaped watch cases. Before all these new shapes, however, there were the basic four. The basics still account for the majority of watch sales, so below are some selling tips for each one.


The most popular shape can be dressy or sporty. Most sport watches are round because the shape is more easily made water-resistant. Round cases evolved from pocket watches, which evolved from tower clocks. Many people say hands are easiest to read on a round dial.

Selling points: Traditional, classic, easily made sporty.

Fendi’s Stella is classically round. Fendi, Spring Lake Heights, NJ; (732) 282-0300.


Tonneau, which means barrel shaped, is more stylized than a rectangle but equally as dressy. In recent years, tonneau cases have gotten larger and been given dials with elongated numerals.

Selling points: A retro feel that connotes a sense of individual style. Sleek, fits well under a sleeve, fashionable without flash.

Antoine Preziuso offers diamonds on his tonneau models. Art of Watchmaking, New York, NY; (888) 221-7466,


Generally considered dressier and more sophisticated than rounds, rectangular cases are often curved to fit the wrist. They were first popularized by Cartier, whose Tank watches reminded wearers of a military tank.

Selling points: Dressier than other shapes, fits snugly under a shirt sleeve, often sold with a variety of leather straps, can be sold as a retro look.

Wenger’s Escort Rectangle is a more rugged version of this dressy shape. Wenger North America, Orangeburg, NY; (800) 431-2996,


Often used for fashion watches, the square is open and bold. Small squares are more elegant, larger ones sportier. If they have rounded edges, they’re called cushion-shaped.

Selling points: Good for men who have the other basic shapes or want to make a unique statement. In women’s sizes, they denote fashion.

The Epos Carré opens plenty of room for the chronograph and the big date. Markers and pushers are also square. Epos, GNT Inc., Providence, RI; (800) 689-2225,

– by Michael Thompson

Copyright © 2001 by Bond Communications