For those who aren’t watch aficionados or don’t have a true idea what kind of watch they’re looking for, buying a watch can be a real struggle sometimes. There are so many different types of watches in the marketplace with varying levels of price, quality, and functionality to their credit. You may simply be looking for a nice watch to wear on a date or two, or you may be looking for a sports watch to accompany you on hiking and biking excursions. What’s vexing is that there are plenty of different watches for both, and sometimes those styles can even overlap.
You may saying to yourself, “I want a watch I can take swimming.” That’s all well and good, but there are so many different styles of watches that offer peak water resistance and durable casing which can withstand long periods in the water. You may just be looking for the best watch for a man, unworried about price tags. But just because a watch is a luxury watch with all the bells and whistles doesn’t mean it’s the right watch for you.
So, how do you choose a watch? What are the real differences between mechanical watches and quartz watches? How do you find a dress watch in your particular price range which goes with most every bit of clothing you own? What is a movement anyways? Does a brand name really matter?
We’re here to help you answer all of those questions and hopefully find the right men wrist watch for you. We’ll cover some generalities to consider before you choose a watch, features of different watch types that may interest you, and even list a few examples of great watches in different styles for you to consider. You may not care if your watch is made of stainless steel or resin. You may not worry about the investment which expensive watches require. But you do want to make sure that your next watch is the perfect watch for you.
And that’s where this article comes in.
Why should I choose a watch when I have a phone?
One of the main criticisms levied at the watch industry as of late is the (false) assertion that watches are obsolete in the age of the smartphone. Why would one buy a watch, let alone spend thousands of dollars on a luxury time piece when your Samsung Galaxy or iPhone has a working clock which keeps itself on time via satellite? For some, watches are a redundant purchase which have gone the way of pagers and fax machines — virtually obsolete.
However, that couldn’t be farther from the case! Watches are just as essential as they were 50 years ago, and perhaps even more so! For one, there is a stigma attached with pulling out your phone in certain social and business situations. If you have personal business to attend to or just want to keep track of the time, it’s much more socially acceptable in many situations to look at your watch than to pull out your phone while someone is talking.
In addition, watches are much more advanced nowadays! There are even a litany of smartwatches in the marketplace which offer many of the benefits of your smartphone in a sleeker, more stylish package. And speaking of style, you can’t beat the look of a gorgeous watch wrapped around your wrist. Regardless of movement and price range, the right watch can really bring together your entire wardrobe and add touches of flair and style that other basic accessories simply cannot.
Finally, watches are much more than watches sometimes. There’s a perfect watch for almost every activity! There are watches which track fitness and health concerns for triathlete and ultra runners. There are self-winding mechanical watches with nearly indestructible cases for those working in high-stress field such as special forces work and construction. Watches have evolved as technology has evolved, and calling watches obsolete is just denying yourself the pleasure and practicality of a great watch.
How do I choose the right watch?
This is the million dollar question and requires a bit of self inventory on your part. The right watch for you may not be the right one for your neighbor, your brother, or your best friend. Choosing the right watch is like choosing a relationship of sorts. Some people want something low maintenance with limited features but great durability for active pursuits. Some want an ornate time piece which makes its style known no matter what room you walk into.
We all differ based on our tastes, our needs, and even our wardrobe choices. If you’re a crisp dresser who prefers suit jackets to hoodies and wing tips to sneakers, you’re unlikely to choose a cheap Casio model that looks like it’s fresh out of the late 1980s. Conversely, those who are much more casual are less likely to want to break the bank for a gaudy Rolex or similar luxury time piece.
Not only does it pay to choose your next watch based on your personal style, but you should also look at the utility you need out of your next time piece. For example, watches with quartz movements are much more accurate on a whole than self-winding mechanical watches and the like. If you’re using your watch for precise time tracking and to hit every appointment exactly on the nose, you may consider the presence of a quartz movement a deal breaker of sorts.
Also, are you taking your watch on long biking treks or swimming in a lake or river? If it doesn’t have ample water resistance and a sturdy construction, you could be out some significant coin if you submerge too far or bang it on something accidentally.
In short, choosing the right watch means that you choose the right one for you. Are you looking to show off your newfound status with a beautiful luxury time piece? Do you want an Apple Watch to work out with and listen to music? Do you want a smart and sleek dress watch that you can wear on your next Friday date? Determining what you both desire and need out of a watch will help you narrow things down. This is the way to approach choosing a watch, but it’s also the way to find types of watches you never knew even existed!
What are the main watch types I should consider?
There are oh so many different watch types out there, and many of them cross over each other based on functionality, aesthetics, and price tags. Some watches you can get from your local department store with no wait. Some are handcrafted one-of-a-kind gems which often require you being patient on a waiting list. While we won’t be able to cover every type known to man, we can dive into the main types of watches that you should consider on your nascent watch-buying voyage. If you’re all about style, we got you. If you’re looking for function first and function alone, we got you too.
For those looking for a wrist watch men can be proud of wearing regardless of environment, of course we got you as well. We’re going to take a look at a litany of different watch styles to help you along on your journey towards finding the right type for you.
But first, let’s look at what makes watches tick. Quartz watch, mechanical watch, or automatic? Which one of these three watch movements is right for you?
The granddaddy of watch movements, mechanical movements are built around a spring-loaded mechanism which needs to be wound either manually or kinetically (more on that later). Every time you wind the mainspring, a mechanical movement converts that energy into a power source for the watch hands. This makes a battery unnecessary as you get full power from winding it by hand.
Most mechanical watches are intricate handmade beauties with gear and rotor mechanisms which look more like art than some piece of utility equipment. That’s why a lot of watches with a mechanical movement have a clear sapphire protective casing on the back — so you can marvel at the complexity and wonder which makes your mechanical movement move.
If you’re an aspiring watch collector and are looking for watches that are just as fun to gawk at as they are to wear, a mechanical watch may very well be the way to go.
Here are the main benefits of choosing a mechanical watch:
- No Battery, No Problem — You know how irritating it can be to change a battery on anything. It can be that much more irritating with watches because of how small they are. You don’t have to worry about that with a mechanical watch.
- Lasting Quality — If you care for your watch and get it the proper maintenance it needs, most mechanical watches are built to last your lifetime and the lifetimes of loved ones after you.
- Unique Aesthetic — One really cool thing about mechanical time pieces is that they just don’t feel basic. They are intricate and gorgeous pieces of craftsmanship with unique stories and unique construction.
Quartz watches were introduced to the world by Seiko in 1969, offering a more reliable and pinpoint precise take on watch movement. A quartz movement centers around a small piece of crystal quartz which takes electrical current from a battery and turns it into vibration. The quartz crystal vibrates at an eye-popping 32,768 times per second, building a signal with a consistent and precise frequency.
The quartz movement uses this frequency to stay on track and on target, as the circuitry conveys the vibration of the crystal into a pulse each second which moves the hands (or digital readout).
Here are the main benefits of choosing a quartz watch:
- Accuracy — A quartz movement is built with precision time keeping as its main goal. Its accuracy is unmatched.
- Easier To Use And Maintain — You don’t have to worry about winding a quartz watch. You just let the battery handle the movement and call it good. In addition, there are less parts to worry about and less things to worry about breaking.
- Durable — Because there’s less to worry about repairing, there’s less of a chance it will cause you such issues.
- Usually Cheaper — Most mechanical and automatic watches require more labor to put together, thus costing your more out of pocket. Conversely, you can find a quartz watch for super cheap in a variety of different styles!
While automatic watches are technically mechanical in nature, they deserve their own space for a couple of reasons. While automatic watches have many of the same features of a great handcrafted mechanical time piece, they offer an added benefit of self winding.
The mainspring of an automatic watch is wound by the kinetic energy of your wrist motion. A rotor is connected to the movement which rotates on its own accord as your wrist moves. As the rotor spins, it directs energy to the mainspring and winds it. Thus, you don’t have to worry about either battery changes or winding it by hand!
Automatic watches are usually a bit thicker because of the added machinery and can cost a pretty penny for some handmade models, but they’re definitely worth considering for true watch lovers.
Here are the main benefits of choosing an automatic watch:
- Nothing To Worry About — No batteries to change. No winding to do. The movement takes care of itself based on your natural movement.
- Continued Functionality — As long as you care for your automatic watch and it’s sitting on your wrist, it will do what you need it to do. You can even buy a self winding machine if you can’t have it on your wrist all the time.
- Added Gravitas — Similar to a normal mechanical watch, there’s just something to be said about such a well-crafted piece of art. They look and feel different from other watches.
And now that we’ve covered what will give you next time piece the juice in needs to work, let’s now look at some of the different styles for you to consider on your watch-buying expedition.
Dive & Sports Watches
Dive watches are a special subsection of sports watches which are built with peak water resistance as one of their main selling points. In fact, a great dive watch and a great sports watch both have a lot in common nowadays — they are great at withstanding water pressure, they have powerful cases made of stainless steel or resin, and they’re built with active lifestyles in mind.
This is perhaps the type of watch with the most internal variance. You can find a luxury dive watch that will cost you thousands of dollars out the door or find a more modest sports watch which sacrifices affluence for features and sheer utility. As long as it can withstand the water and most of whatever else you can throw at it, neither are a bad option.
Dive & Sports Watches To Consider
Dress watches are usually much smaller and more understated than the majority of men’s watches available for sale. When you choose one, it’s usually less about features like water resistance and more about the touch of refinement which it can add to your wardrobe.
One of the great things about dress watches is that they’re small enough to tuck under a sleeve easily and pull out whenever you need to check the time or just want to show it off. Some are even made of stainless steel for an added bit of durability, but most are simply aesthetic beauties light on features but heavy on gravitas.
Dress Watches To Consider
- Junghans Meister Handaufzug
- Montblanc Héritage Chronométrie
- Citizen Corso Eco-Drive
- IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar
Fashion watches are similar to dress watches, but you usually choose a fashion watch based on the correlative name value and association of the brand who released it. For example, Gucci has their own line of watches which may not exactly be the peak of watchmaking technology. However, you usually choose a Gucci watch because they are fashioned to be complementary to articles of clothing bearing the Gucci name.
One other cool thing about fashion watches is that you often see stylistic and aesthetic tweaks which are more fashion forward than a run-of-the-mill time piece. To choose a fashion watch is to double down on how you look, and there are some beautiful fashion watches out there which will do just that.
Fashion Watches To Consider
Smartwatches are at the top of the mountain when it comes to technological innovation in the world of watches. The best smartwatches available for sale are tiny computers on your wrist, offering everything from music streaming capabilities to readers for texts and emails. In addition, there are specialized smartwatches which offer a litany of fitness-focused features such as heart rate monitors and step tracking.
While they’re not traditional watches in most senses of the phrase, they are a window into the future of the watch industry. And each month seemingly brings new innovations and a new smartwatch model which can do so much more in such a small package.
Smartwatches To Consider
Luxury watches are predominantly handmade pieces of art. They are crafted with the finest watch materials known to man including 18 karat gold, sapphire crystal dial lenses, and only the most durable stainless steels and auxiliary materials money can buy. When you purchase a luxury watch, you’re purchasing a time piece which should last you the rest of your life and still be in good enough shape to pass down from generation to generation.
You will end up paying thousands of dollars for a great luxury watch, but there’s just something to them which makes such an exorbitant price point completely fair. In truth, a luxury watch is a statement you make and a gift you give yourself to remind you of how hard you’ve worked and how far you’ve come.
Luxury Watches To Consider
- Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Reserve
- IWC Portuguese Chronograph Watch
- Patek Phillippe Grand Complications
- Rolex Sky-Dweller Black Dial
Field watches are all about durability and strength. They came into existence when normal watches were just too flimsy and prone to breakage for specialized workers such as military members and construction workers to get any lasting use out of them. You may get some cool bells and whistles out of a field watch, but it’s main purpose is to withstand potential damage and sudden impacts with nary a scratch.
The perfect field watch will be both comfortable to wear and have a case/dial window combination that’s water resistant and shock resistant in equal doses. No matter how stressful things get and how much of the brunt of it your watch takes, a great field watch should keep on ticking without showing any signs of wear or tear.
Field Watches To Consider
- Timex Men’s Expedition Field Chronograph
- Seiko SNZG09J1
- Hamilton Khaki Field Titanium
- Bertucci Unisex DX3
Bangers are cheap and easily replaceable watches which are no fuss, all utility. They’re sparse on features and sparse on flash, but they make up for it by being extraordinarily cheap and accurate when it comes to telling the time. You can find some really rad looking bangers for less than the cost of a movie ticket, and you won’t stress all that much if they break or get lost in a move or something.
Bangers To Consider
There are dozens of other watch types to consider including aviation watches, GMT watches (with four hands), and calendar & moon phase watches. Chances are, even if we didn’t cover a particular style of watch you hope to find, it’s probably out there for you somewhere!
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of watch goes with everything?
We look at smartwatches as the kind of watch that goes with everything. Most are built with sleek and elegant aesthetics which will always complement the way you dress. In addition, they have a bevy of amazing features which you simply can’t find in most other watches. Want to wear it jogging while listening to Spotify? Want to wear it to your next offsite business meeting but don’t quite know where that awesome sushi joint is located?
Smartwatches offer noteworthy style and fantastic utility to get you where you want to go with the information you need. They’re one of the key advancements in watchmaking technology, and most even have stainless steel or titanium cases which makes them as durable as some of the best time pieces in the world. If you’re unsure what kind of watch to get and you want a little bit of everything from your time piece, you can’t be the features of a great smartwatch.
What is the #1 watch in the world?
The top selling watch in the world right now is the Apple Watch Series 5. It is the pinnacle of smartwatch achievement currently with unparalleled applications and connectivity, iPhone sync capabilities, and a unique style which is emblematic of the best Apple products.
Other time pieces which are among the most celebrated and beloved watches in the world today include the Omega Seamaster, TAG Heuer Carrera, Omega Speedmaster, Rolex Speedmaster, Hublot Big Bang, and Breitling Navitimer.
How do you pick clothes for a watch?
It’s all about complementary colors and complementary sizes. Some outfits call for a more demure dress watch with less heft a bit more refinement. Some outfits call for a more gaudy automatic time piece which takes over the frame every time your turn your wrist. Don’t look to match colors so much as you should look to balance colors. If an outfit has a lot of red in it to begin with, you should probably not pair it with a watch with a red strap.
Make your clothing and watch choices symbiotic. If your watch has a brown leather strap and a more rustic feel, clothes with more earth tones and soft color pops may be the way to go. If you have a sleek black dress watch, you may want to wear more sleek and formfitting suits and slacks.
Also remember — style is in the eye of the beholder. The watch you choose and the clothes you choose should all be based upon what you feel comfortable with and in. Make sure that your comfort and happiness is the primary concern when picking clothes and a time piece to match.
Choosing a watch is all about style — your style, that is. It should be a natural extension of you since it spends so much time connected to your wrist. You may want added features and smartwatch connectivity. You may want a dive watch that can withstand long excursions into the water. You may want a lot of things or just a few features out of your particular choice.
But, we all want to look good and feel good with what we wear when we wear it. Choose a watch that does what you want it to do, yet also speaks to your personal sense of style. And even if you buy one and it doesn’t quite work for you, there are plenty of other watches in the marketplace sea for you to consider. Isn’t life great with such freedom of choice?