Watches come in all shapes and sizes. Aside from the usual round builds that most timepieces use, some are also molded into quirkier and more distinctive shapes. For instance, you have probably seen a number of square watches or rectangular watches. At some point, you might even have glimpsed the unique shape of the Hamilton Ventura watches from the movie franchise Men In Black. The Italian luxury watch brand Bvlgari even has a lineup of winding watches with a snake-like construction through its Serpenti collection.
In this article, we will be going through a roster of tonneau watches. But what exactly is a tonneau watch? Stick around as we find out just what is so special about this intriguing type of watch and its case shape. We will also be taking a look at the 15 best tonneau watches on the market.
Tonneau Watch: What is It Exactly?
Tonneau watches refer specifically to watches that come in tonneau-shaped cases. The French luxury watch brand Cartier was the pioneer of tonneau watches. Back in 1906, the brand was in the process of experimenting with timepieces that came in various shapes and dimensions.
Cartier’s efforts paid off with the release of a watch in the shape of what seemed to resemble a barrel: the Cartier Tonneau. Its name was derived from its unique look, as ‘tonneau’ is actually the French word for ‘barrel’. As one of Cartier’s earliest watches, the Cartier Tonneau certainly made an impact in the field of watch manufacturing. Even now, more than a hundred years later, tonneau-shaped cases are still used by watch brands worldwide, as part of a continuing trend.
Strictly speaking, the tonneau shape is neither a square nor a rectangle. Instead, it comes in a rectangular shape with curved edges and rounded corners, with a consistent smooth pattern that runs all throughout its figure. Tonneau watches are designed to rest as comfortably as possible on your wrist. Thanks to its level, curved outlines, the edges of this watch do not dig too deeply into your skin, unlike square or rectangular watches.
Now that we have a better idea of what tonneau watches are and where they came from, let us proceed with 15 of the best tonneau watches you can find on the market today. This list contains not just superb dress watches for men, but also wonderful women’s accessories that you could gift to the lovely ladies in your life.
15 Best Tonneau Watches:
1. Fossil Wallace Ref. ES3174
A perfect and very affordable gift for ladies with exquisite tastes, the Fossil Wallace Ref. ES3174 comes in a slender 28mm x 29mm stainless steel case, along with a three-link stainless steel bracelet. On top of the watch case, you can find a fixed bezel which is studded with crystals that run all the way down to the watch’s lugs, adding to the watch’s look of refined luxury.
This Fossil watch’s all-silver exterior is complemented by a plain white dial. It is composed of silver-tone Roman numeral markers in a slim typeface and elegant pencil hands. Underneath this watch face, you can find a battery-powered quartz movement that is very easy to maintain.
The Fossil Wallace Ref. ES3174 is a wonderful dress watch that looks far more than it costs. You can purchase this Fossil Wallace timepiece for just $109 USD.
2. Emporio Armani Retro Ref. AR2489
The Italian fashion brand Emporio Armani does not just make posh clothing and perfume, but it also offers a wide variety of timepieces. Through the Emporio Armani Retro watch collection, you can choose from a wide variety of timepiece options at very decent prices.
The Emporio Armani Retro Ref. AR2489 is a delightful tonneau watch that blends well with the skin, thanks to its warm brown leather strap and light brown sunray dial. These earthy tones give it a soothing look that is very pleasing to the eye. The dial has a fairly simple layout, comprising thin hour indices and Arabic numeral hour markers in gold, as well as luminous black pencil hands. The watch is also presented in a 37mm x 33mm stainless steel case, which is quite a large size for a tonneau watch.
The Emporio Armani Retro Ref. AR2489 retails at a very cheap price of $129 USD.
3. Emporio Armani Retro Ref. AR2491
A twin of the previous Emporio Armani timepiece, the Emporio Armani Retro Ref. AR2491 shows off a more masculine, handsome demeanor. Encased in a 37mm x 33mm stainless steel case, this watch is coupled with a stark black leather strap.
The dial, on the other hand, comes in a more vibrant blue finish that is sure to draw the eye. It is decorated with silver-toned hour indices, Arabic numeral markers, pencil hands, and the brand’s iconic eagle logo at 12 o’clock. Although this watch’s depth rating is quite subpar, coming in at just 30 meters, it is still more than enough to withstand any light showers or splashes.
The Emporio Armani Retro Ref. AR2491 is slightly more expensive than its twin, selling at around $139 USD.
4. Hamilton American Classic Ref. H13431553
Did you know that one of the first watchmakers to follow in Cartier’s footsteps of making tonneau watches was the American brand Hamilton? Hamilton has been making tonneau watches since as early as the 1920s, and this case design continues to be utilized in its watches today.
The Hamilton American Classic Ref. H13431553 is sheltered in a 27mm x 31.6mm gold-tone stainless steel case, which is topped with a layer of mineral crystal. A very luxurious-looking piece, this watch’s white dial is furnished with gold-tone Arabic numeral markers in a stylized typeface, alpha hands, and a small seconds sub-dial at 6 o’clock. All of these functions are powered by a battery-operated ETA Caliber 980.163 quartz movement. Paired with a brown leather strap, this watch is a charming timepiece that is sure to elevate your style.
The Hamilton American Classic Ref. H13431553 costs approximately $625 USD.
5. Longines La Grande Classique Ref. L47054116
Hailing from one of the oldest watch brands in the world, the Longines La Grande Classique Ref. L47054116 is a classy and professional-looking watch that is perfect for the workplace.
This Longines timepiece utilizes a 29.7×32.5mm stainless steel case and a multi-link bracelet made of the same material. Its clean white dial is ornamented with Roman numeral markers in a very slim, slanting typeface, along with silver-tone stick hands. A layer of sapphire crystal safeguards the dial from any scratches or impacts. Inside this watch, you can also find a robust Caliber L209 quartz movement.
This Longines La Grande Classique is worth about $839 USD.
6. Hamilton American Classic Ref. H13519711
The next entry in this list is another offering from the Hamilton American Classic collection. The Hamilton American Classic Ref. H13519711 sports a 34.5mm x 38mm stainless steel case paired with a smooth black leather strap. It runs on a reliable in-house Hamilton Caliber H-50, which possesses an outstanding 80-hour power reserve.
Complementing the watch’s silver case is a classic white dial, which consists of bold black Roman numeral markers and elegant blued steel Alpha hands that stands out clearly against the rest of the watch face. You will not have any trouble reading the time with this Hamilton watch, thanks to its highly legible hour markers and dial. A layer of durable sapphire crystal is also used to guard the dial.
The Hamilton American Classic Ref. H13519711 has a price tag of $895 USD.
7. Hamilton Boulton Ref. H13519641
Tonneau watches can also be found in other Hamilton collections, such as the Hamilton Boulton. Here, we have the Hamilton Boulton Ref. H13519641, which shows off a stylish blue motif that is perfect for both the dance floor and for everyday wear.
This Hamilton watch is packed in a 34.5mm x 38mm stainless steel case, coupled with an alligator leather strap in dark blue. This strap is complemented by a dial with a matching sunray blue finish. It is adorned with sizable Roman numeral markers and sleek Alpha hands, all of which come in lovely silver. It is important to note that this watch does not come with any lume, so it is not really intended to be used in dark places.
Driving this watch is the brand’s in-house Caliber H-50 movement. Based on the ETA 2801-2, it boasts a power reserve of up to 80 hours when fully wound.
You can get your hands on the Hamilton Boulton Ref. H13519641 for about $895 USD.
8. Longines Longines Evidenza Ref. L21424736
Another exquisite timepiece that caters exclusively to women is the Longines Longines Evidenza Ref. L21424736. It uses a slim 26mm x 30.6mm stainless steel case and a bracelet made of the same material. Both the case and bracelet have a polished finish that adds to the enchanting luster of the whole timepiece.
The dial of this watch shows off a mesmerizing, textured beige finish that enhances the watch’s vintage vibe. All of its components effortlessly exude elegance, from its Arabic numeral markers in a slanting, cursive font down to the striking blued steel hands. A compact date aperture can also be found at 6 o’clock.
This Longines Longines Evidenza watch runs on an in-house Caliber L595. Held together by 20 jewels, this movement has a beat frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour (4Hz). In addition, it has a standard power supply of 40 hours. With such a sleek, ravishing design, this Longines timepiece is definitely one that should not be missed.
The Longines Longines Evidenza Ref. L21424736 retails at $2,150 USD.
9. Longines Longines Evidenza Ref. L21428732
There is no denying that rose gold watches have a distinct aura unlike any other. For instance, the rose-gold Longines Longines Evidenza Ref. L21428732 is a timepiece with exceptional poise. This watch comes in a 26mm x 30.6mm rose gold-tone stainless steel case, coupled with a crocodile leather strap in dark brown. This leather bracelet is patterned with cream-colored stitching, which enhances its glorious composition.
The warm, rich tones of the watch’s exterior go incredibly well with its soft beige dial. Like the previous Longines offering, this dial contains cursive Arabic numeral markers, blued steel hands, and a small date window at 6 o’clock. Inside this watch, you can also find an in-house Caliber L595 that can last for up to 40 hours when fully wound.
The Longines Longines Evidenza Ref. L21428732 is priced at $4,800 USD.
10. Franck Muller Vanguard Ref. V45 SC DT TT NR BR NR
At first glance, this watch might look quite heavy and chunky. However, this timepiece is the perfect one to prove that first impressions are not always correct. Crafted using titanium, which is lighter than stainless steel by 45%, the Franck Muller Vanguard Ref. V45 SC DT TT NR BR NR is a lightweight timepiece packed in an all-black ensemble.
This Franck Muller watch is presented in a 44mm x 53.7mm matte black titanium case and a black leather strap. Arranged on its brushed black dial are large, stylized Arabic numeral hour markers, blunt black hands, and a circular date display at 6 o’clock. The outer rim of the dial is also surrounded by a handy compass scale.
An in-house Franck Muller Caliber FM0800 powers this watch, giving it a standard power rating of 42 hours. Exuding charisma and vigor, black watches like this Franck Muller Vanguard timepiece wear extremely gloriously on the wrist.
You can get the Franck Muller Vanguard Ref. V45 SC DT TT NR BR NR for $5,389 USD.
11. Franck Muller Vanguard Ref. V41 SC DT Yachting
For a more stylish, glamorous Franck Muller offering, check out the Franck Muller Vanguard Ref. V41 SC DT Yachting. This watch utilizes a 41mm x 50mm stainless steel case that boasts a neatly polished surface, giving it a fashionable radiance. The dark blue dial is filled with stylized Arabic numeral markers in white, silver-tone hands that are placed on top of a compass rose, a circular date complication at 6 o’clock, and an internal compass bezel. This watch is also accompanied by a blue rubber strap, which is patterned to resemble a leather bracelet.
Considering this watch is designed for those who own yachts, it is quite unfortunate that it only has a 30-meter depth rating. Nevertheless, this is still a majestic watch to be dressed up in, not just for formal affairs but also for daily routines.
The Franck Muller Vanguard Ref. V41 SC DT Yachting sells at $6,549 USD.
12. Franck Muller Casablanca Ref. 6850Casa
Timeless and gorgeous, the Franck Muller Casablanca collection holds a lineup of watches that are inspired by the look and feel of vintage timepieces. In this entry, we will be looking at the Franck Muller Casablanca Ref. 6850Casa in particular.
This watch is housed in a 34mm x 47mm stainless steel case, coupled with a matching stainless steel bracelet. Its sharp black dial contrasts sharply with the all-silver exterior, giving the watch a very quintessential look. This dial is also slightly simpler compared to the previous Franck Muller timepieces mentioned. It comprises just stylized Arabic numeral markers in white and luminous Alpha hands that are outlined in blue.
The watch is also driven by an in-house Caliber FM0800 which offers a 42-hour power supply. If you are into timepieces with vintage makeup, this Franck Muller Casablanca piece is a great option.
The Franck Muller Casablanca Ref. 6850Casa costs around $7,189 USD.
13. Franck Muller Vanguard Ref. V45 SC DT TT NR MC VE Camouflage
A robust timepiece that is inspired by military watches, the Franck Muller Vanguard Ref. V45 SC DT TT NR MC VE Camouflage boasts a rugged camouflage touch. Despite its sturdy build, however, this watch actually looks quite funky, thanks to the bright colors of its dial.
This Franck Muller timepiece utilizes a solid 45mm case made of black-toned titanium, along with a military green strap. This strap is topped with a layer of leather and has black-toned rubber lining its underside. The colorful camouflage dial, on the other hand, shows off lively hues of green in various shades. It is decorated with stylized black Arabic numeral markers, luminous black hands, and a circular date aperture at 6 o’clock.
The Franck Muller Vanguard Ref. V45 SC DT TT NR MC VE Camouflage is worth $8,749 USD.
14. Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Ref. 665.NE.2010.RW.1204
The Swiss luxury watch manufacturer Hublot is widely recognised for its robust Classic Fusion and Hublot Spirit of Big Bang series. While both of these collections are best known for their titanium-clad watches, some of their timepieces are also notable for being enveloped in diamonds.
The Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Ref. 665.NE.2010.RW.1204 is constructed in a 39mm titanium case that showcases a mix of satinized and polished sides, coupled with a clean white rubber strap. When taken as a whole, this mix of textures creates a very intriguing look which gives the watch a premium aesthetic. Furthermore, the fixed bezel is also embedded with fifty sparkling diamonds that only bolster the lavish vibe of this timepiece.
Complementing the silver and white exterior is a matching matte white dial that simply exudes purity. This dial is ornamented with applique silver-tone indices and sword hands, all of which are generously coated with luminous pigments. A small square date display is also located at 6 o’clock.
For obvious reasons, diamond watches like this Hublot timepiece do not come at cheap prices. Nevertheless, looking at the exquisite elegance of the Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Ref. 665.NE.2010.RW.1204, most would agree that it is surely worth the investment. This watch has a hefty price tag of $16,700 USD.
15. Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Ref. 665.NX.7170.LR.1204
For another diamond-studded Hublot watch, check out the Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Ref. 665.NX.7170.LR.1204. While the previous Spirit of Big Bang watch showcased a more serene vibe with its white hues, this watch boasts a more rugged and stylish aura. It is encased in a 39mm titanium case, paired with a blue rubber strap. Fitted on top of the case is a fixed bezel, which is also embellished with fifty lavish diamonds.
The dial also shows off a dark blue finish, matching the watch’s strap. It is furnished with silver applique indices, luminous sword hands, and a date complication at 6 o’clock. Underneath this simple watch face, you can find an in-house Hublot Caliber HUB1710, which possesses a 50-hour power supply. This watch is also water-resistant up to depths of 100 meters, making it one of the tonneau watches best suited for any water adventure.
The Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Ref. 665.NX.7170.LR.1204 can be purchased for $17,200 USD.
Generally, while it is true that the main function of a wristwatch is basically to tell the time, sometimes it can also be used as a fashionable wrist accessory. The tonneau watch is a magnificent creation that wears satisfyingly on the wrist and is a delightful sight to the eyes. Given these fifteen tonneau watches with varying price ranges, we are sure that any one of these deserves a space in your growing inventory of watches.
All images courtesy of The Watch Company, unless otherwise stated. Featured image courtesy of WatchTime.
Interested in finding out more about an underrated Swiss watch brand? Read our article about Gevril Watches and some of their best pieces!