Think fashion watches are bad? These Dior watches will make you think again

Forget about big name brands with cheap movements – the Dior Chiffre Rouge range has the specs to back up its price

The Dior watches for men range
(Image credit: Future / Sam Cross)

When you think about the best watches ever made, you'll probably have a few brands which come to mind. The genius movements and exquisite finishing of brands like Patek Phillippe and A Lange and Söhne might take your fancy.

For others, the mix of marketing magic and relative attainability of brands like Rolex and Omega make them top picks. But one market segment you probably don't consider is fashion watches.

That comes with good reason. For years, major brands have found the cheapest case and movement they could, slapped their name on the dial and charged a hefty premium for the pleasure.

That's not the case with this new lineup of Dior timepieces, though. The fashion house has turned their attention to larger case sizes with the Dior Chiffre Rouge collection. That was first seen in 2004, but is being relaunched again here 20 years later.

Three models make up the range – a simple three-hand watch, a chronograph and a tourbillon. Crucially, all three feature respected movements inside, giving them additional credentials when compared to the fashion watches of yore.

The Dior Chiffre Rouge Chronograph

(Image credit: Future / Sam Cross)

Arguably the highlight of the range is that chronograph model. That packs the El Primero movement from LVMH stablemate, Zenith, inside. Popularised on watches like the Zenith Chronomaster Original Triple Calendar, this is widely regarded as the first automatic chronograph movement.

It's an absolute masterstroke, too. You'll find a sumptuously finished mechanism inside, which feels every bit as premium as the watches it powers deserve.

Then, there's the three-hand model. That packs a Sellita SW300 calibre inside, for smooth operation and a robust, easy-to-service movement inside.

Last – but certainly not least – is the tourbillon. That movement is provided by La Fabrique Du Temps – the Swiss watchmaking arm of Louis Vuitton. We haven't spotted that one in the flesh yet, but it sounds positively sumptuous.

Each model features a black design, with lashings of the iconic red shade. That can be found on seconds hands, crowns and pushers, and gives a neat splash of life against the dark black backdrop.

The Dior Chiffre Rouge Chronograph

(Image credit: Future / Sam Cross)

Of course, pricing will always be one of the most contentious things about these watches. We don't currently have pricing for the tourbillon model, but the regular three-hand Dior Chiffre Rouge Black Ultramatte costs £6,800.

For me, that's a little rich. Sure, it's a neat movement and a really lovely design, but there are swathes of watches available at fractions of that price with the same movement and equally compelling design.

Still, that's not the one I'm excited about. The chronograph will retail for just £11,650, which is as near as makes no difference, the same price as the Zenith. That's practically unheard of for fashion watches, and could make that model the most compelling from the new range.

"Sure", you may ask, "but why wouldn't you just buy the Zenith?" Well, many reasons. It's no secret that the Dior brand name carries a great deal more significance than Zenith will to non-watch people.

You may also just prefer the design. But being able to make that choice without sacrificing on quality is a significant step which has scarcely been seen before.

Sam Cross
Staff Writer

Online news writer at, Sam has five years of experience in online and print journalism, with work featured in publications like Metro and Last Word on Sports. After years writing about music and football, Sam now turns his hand to bringing you news about new phones, smart home products, smart watches, laptops and TVs. Sam is a longtime fan and user of Apple products, including iPhones, MacBooks and Apple Watches.He’s also T3’s resident football expert, bringing you everything you need to know about the big games, including how to watch them. In his spare time, Sam is a keen guitarist, watch lover and (very) amateur golfer.