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What Watch Should You Choose?

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If you’re looking to buy a new watch, where do you start?

With plenty of videos and articles already out there, which cover the theory behind what makes a good watch, I wanted to do something different. I wanted to show you what style of watch might suit your everyday style.

With thousands of watches already out there, choosing the right one can be a daunting task. What watch do you choose? Do you go for a dress watch? If you decide upon a dress watch, do you go for black leather or brown leather? But then what about a more casual watch? What watch face? There are so many unanswered questions, and hopefully in this article I’m going to clear them up for you.

Now there is so much that you can learn about when it comes to watches. How they work, how they’re constructed, how long they’re going to last, the history behind each brand but as I’ve mentioned today we’re focusing solely on the most popular and stylish watch styles for you to consider.

Ready to dive in?

The Dress Watch

If you’re looking for a watch to add elegance to any outfit, opt for a dress watch. The dress watch is perfect to wear with formal attire, it can add formality to a casual outfit but it’s something you want to avoid wearing to the gym.

mens dress watch

With the dress watch, typically it’s going to be made from leather. The obvious options are brown leather and black leather, although the varying tones of brown leather makes this the more popular choice. Choosing which comes down to personal preference but you want to pay attention to the leather goods you already wear and own. If you tend to wear black leather shoes and a black leather belt then opt for a black leather watch. As stated in the 9 Rules To Follow When Wearing A Suit, matching your leathers is important.

Personally I prefer a brown leather watch, for me it’s more versatile and opting for a lighter tone such as a tan leather can create more of a statement than black leather.

A dress watch doesn’t need to be expensive, sure you can break the bank and opt for a luxury timepiece but you can easily get an elegant looking dress watch for under £200. I’ve owned a few from Daniel Wellington in the past, a few from Timex and also a Vivienne Westwood watch all costing less than £200.

daniel wellington watch

The Dress Watch Strap

As I’ve mentioned a dress watch will typically come with a leather strap and deciding what colour is the first decision you’ll need to make. But you also want to pay attention to the leather itself. If you buy a dress watch and it’s made from very cheap leather, it’s not only going to look cheap it will also wear very easily. Saving money on cheaper leather at the beginning might seem like a good idea but you’ll soon have to reinvest more into a new strap or a new watch completely.

dress watch straps

Decide upon a colour that will be more versatile for your personal style and then opt for better quality leather.

The Dress Watch Casing

The other thing to consider with a dress watch is the casing. Normally with a dress watch, the casing isn’t as big as you may see on an oversized casual watch or a field watch. With a dress watch, the casing is normally a lot thinner. This is to simply allow the watch to fit underneath your shirt cuff and jacket.

Some men do prefer an oversized dress watch because it creates more of a statement, but personally I would go for something that’s a little bit thinner in terms of the casing, because that’s going to fit nicely under your shirt cuff and under your jacket.

Less Is More

The other thing with a dress watch is less is more. If there’s too much going on it can really take away from the elegance of a good dress watch. Some men will often opt for oversized branding, distressed or coloured leather alongside multiple dials and widgets but less really is more when it comes to a dress watch.

maen watches

This watch from Maen Watches looks elegant but the detailing and branding is extremely understated. Lines replace numbers, the logo is subtle and the leather strap is simple but of high quality. Less detailing makes the watch more versatile, so you’ll be able to wear it with formal and casual attire.

The Vintage Watch

The second watch is a vintage watch, and this allows you to wear a watch with a story. You can probably think of a few prestigious watch brands you’ve always wanted to own (Rolex, Breitling, Tag Huer) but the price tag may be out of reach, but and by investing in a vintage watch you can often own the watch you’ve always desired at a cheaper price.

With a vintage watch, you’re buying a watch that has history. It’s a collectors item and although some second hand watches are cheaper than the standard retail price they can also rise in value over time.

Buying A Vintage Watch

There are various websites and resources online where you can buy pre-owned and luxury vintage watches and investing wisely could easily save you money in the process. Why? It’s like investing in a good suit. You could buy a cheap suit which could easily ruin after a few months of wear or you could invest in a higher quality suit that could potentially last you years.

rolex datejust

A Watch With A Story

Alongside buying a pre owned watch you can also get a watch with family history. My Grandad who’s 92 has a really great watch that he probably bought 40 or 50 years ago. It still works, and it’s still something that I’ve got my eye on. This watch has story, it has character and it’s been worn by my Grandad which is hugely appealing for me over a brand new watch bought at a premium.

A vintage watch has story, it has character and it can really become a collector’s item.

The Casual Watch

The third one is a casual watch, and this is something that you’re probably going to be wearing on the weekend or with casual attire. A casual watch will often be dictated by the strap with a fabric strap being a personal favourite. It’s also going to tend to be understated with the detailing on the watch face.

mens watch styles

The Casual Watch Strap

As I’ve already mentioned the strap will typically dictate how casual the watch is. Fabric, metal and lightweight leather are all options and it really does come down to personal preference and versatility.

With a casual watch you can often find a watch that has adjustable straps. This simply means you can take the straps off and replace them. This makes the watch more versatile, as you could choose an understated black fabric strap for a smart/casual occasion and then choose a coloured strap for a more casual occasion.

If you’re opting for a watch with a removable strap make sure you pay attention to the watch face as this will always be the main focus of the watch.

The Technical Watch

The fourth one is a technical watch, something that serves a purpose. If you play a lot of sport it’s not going to be ideal to rock a vintage Rolex on a daily basis, so therefore you’re going to want to wear a watch that serves a purpose for the sport.

But a lot of times we find it hard to master the balance between wearing a watch that looks good, but also wearing a watch that’s technical.

divers watch

A lot of brands are fusing technical elements with style now so there’s no excuse to wear an ugly watch, but with a technical watch I always suggest focusing on the function rather than the appearance.

Can’t find a technical watch that balances style with function? Buy two. Just because you need to wear a watch to serve a particular purpose it doesn’t mean you have to wear it to your best friends wedding as well. I’ve seen a lot of guys let their style down by refusing to take off their Divers watch when they’re outside of the water.

The Digital Watch (Or Tech Watch)

Last but not least the digital watch or the tech watch is something to pay close attention too. This watch style is certainly something to consider but it really is dependent on your daily attire. If you wear suits to work and tend to dress quite formally on the weekend rocking a digital watch could have a negative impact on your overall style.

The Digital Watch

Dependent on your style a digital watch is going to be a very casual alternative, more casual than the casual watches I’ve already showcases in this article.

The Casio is a classic example of a digital watch that has stood the test of time, it’s a retro watch that a lot of men still wear to date.

casio mens watch

What makes it a digital watch? Surely I don’t need to explain that. A digital watch is a watch that displays the time digitally (in numbers or other symbols) where as an analog watch will show the time via rotating hands.

Numbers being displayed digitally amazed consumers when the digital watch first launched but now it’s a normality. But that’s where tech watches come in…

The Tech Watch

With tech watches on the rise it’s becoming more accessible for men to wear a watch that serves multiple purposes through technology. Take the Apple watch for example, when the Apple watch first launched a lot of consumers weren’t interested in what it had to offer, but as the features of the watch allowed people to save time and stay connected more people start to invest.

As technology advances so are the watches, and tech watches are something I’ve got a close eye on. Why? If a watch can save you time, keep you connected and potentially give you valuable insights and data whenever you need it more consumers will start to opt for a tech watch over an analog.

mens apple watch

If you can order your food, ring your friends, arrange meetings, pay for your coffee and even track your heart rate and daily food consumption and calories all on one watch it’s surely going to be something more men will look to wear.

The rise of phone technology has been staggering and if you can perform the same tasks you do daily on your phone on a watch… it’s an exciting investment to make.

Personally a tech watch is something that I’ve got my eye on but I can’t really justify the purchase right now. I don’t own an Apple watch or any of the other tech watches on the market but I own a few classic dress watches and casual watches.

But in the near future if it’s something that’s going to save me time but still look aesthetically pleasing I’ll certainly strongly consider investing in one.

What Watch Will You Choose?

So there we have it, what watch style is better suited to you?

How many watches do you own?

Let me know in the comments below.

If you enjoyed this article and you think it could help someone else don’t forget to share it with them.

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Paul McGregor
Paul McGregor

Founder of MFM, and short course lecturer at The London College of Fashion teaching all things marketing. Read my personal blog here.

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