A Guide to Men’s Watches
How to choose a watch: a men’s guide
Choosing a watch is one of the main fashion choices open to men seeking to establish their own style and show the world what they are all about. Chosen well, your watch can become your daily companion. Cared for properly, it can be passed down the generations, so it is worth taking a little time on its selection to make sure that you are 100 per cent happy with your timepiece and what it says about your style.
There are many factors to consider when choosing a watch, so here is a basic men’s watch guide with a few areas to consider when making your choice. From the different types of movements that are available to the watch styles most suitable for different times of the day, activities and moods, there are all kinds of aspects to take into account in this handy guide to watches.
What your watch says about you
Choosing a luxury, recognisable brand such as a Rolex or Philippe Patek, if you are fortunate enough to be able to afford one, shows the world that you are not only powerful, but have a taste for the finer things in life. It shows that you are not afraid to take risks and work hard to get what you want. Choosing a more adventurous brand, such as a Breitling or Omega, gives you an active, sporty edge, thanks to these brands’ associations with pilots and action movies.
Classic Cartier designs reveal a sophisticated, classy guy, while fitness addicts tend to go for the practical, yet stylish Apple Watch or Samsung Galaxy Watch with added functionality to monitor steps, heart rate, blood pressure and more. Whatever you choose, make sure it fits in with your lifestyle and adds to your enjoyment of life, rather than acting as an irritant on your wrist.
The types of men’s watches that are the most useful and practical are those that are designed to be worn ever day – at work, at home and at play. This sort of watch needs to be robust with a good quality movement for longevity of life and lower maintenance costs and commitment. Look for something that’s water resistant and tough enough to withstand a few knocks. In terms of its appearance, go for a fairly neutral colour that will go with the majority of your clothes and a style that isn’t too outlandish to get you into trouble at work on during more formal occasions.
Of course, you can swap out your everyday watch for something a bit dressier if you wish, but the more versatile your everyday watch can be, the easier you will find choosing something to suit your outfit and mood, day in, day out. Don’t be afraid to invest well in this type of watch, as you will get good value out of something that you wear every day. If it is of a higher value however, make sure it is insured adequately for peace of mind when out and about.
The first question to ask when selecting a sports watch is what kind of activities will you be doing when you wear it. Next, when working out how to choose a watch for sport or fitness, decide whether you need it to have additional functions, such as a heart monitor, pedometer, blood pressure sensor etc. Some watches come with in-built music playing facilities or radio for added entertainment at the gym during those long, long treadmill sessions. Get one with a headphone jack if you are intending to use your watch for this purpose so that you don’t annoy the person working out next to you.
Make sure your sports watch has a good battery life too, as you don‘t want it to die on your half way round your running route or in the middle of your gym class. Try it on before you buy it so that you know the strap is comfortable to wear. If you do a lot of swimming, or would like the ease of not having to take your watch off when you head for the shower, ensure it is waterproof and safe down to the required depth if you fancy a spot of diving practice.
Men looking to impress on an important night out will not go far wrong with a classic wristwatch that accentuates their suit and makes them look stylish and sophisticated in one fell swoop. First impressions often count for a lot when it comes to dressing to impress, so choose a watch that is well made, is in great condition and is not too flashy to look ostentatious or too try-hard.
Go for a minimalist design with carefully added details to add a touch of flair. Traditionally, dress watch straps and casings are made from a precious metal such as platinum or gold and the movement is normally analogue to add to the classic feel of the piece. Another alternative is the leather strap, which can look stunning set off against a smaller, simple face and darker colours.
Moving, appropriately enough, onto the movement of your chosen watch, there are several options to choose from here, too. The movement covers how the watch hands move around the face and how the inner mechanisms work. Mechanical watches operate via a coiled wire, or mainspring, that enables the hands to move smoothly around the face. This kind of watch must be manually wound periodically, with the length of the spring affecting how often. The longer the spring, the less often the watch needs to be wound.
Many watch enthusiasts consider mechanical watches to be the elite type amongst the choices out there, due to the precision engineering that has gone into the making of the movement. As such, prices tend to be a little higher, but they do tend to retain more of their value for resale. Pros include not needing to change any batteries and an ultra-smooth hand movement. Cons are that they need regular winding and can be quite sensitive to their environment, meaning that they do not always remain quite so accurate in temperature changes or wetter weather, for example.
Automatic watches use a mainspring, just like a mechanical one and have intricate gears that move the hands around to tell the time. The big difference is in how they are kept going. Where you need to wind a mechanical watch by hand, there is no such requirement with an automatic one. They are powered by the movement you make in going about your daily business, which generates the energy needed via a tiny rotor, or small weight inside the mechanism, This winds the spring as the watch moves about. You can get special watch winders to store your watch when you are not wearing it to keep the time accurate, even while you are asleep.
Automatic watches do not need any batteries and don’t have to be wound by hand, naming them easier to keep going. The movement is smooth and the watches tend to come with an abundance of character and style. However, they can also be sensitive to the environment and, as a result, aren’t always quite as accurate as other types of men’s watches. They can be expensive to buy, but represent great value for money as a statement piece and heirloom.
Quartz movements are an extremely popular choice, worn by the vast majority of watch-wearing men and prized for their more affordable price ticket and practicality for everyday use. They are also highly accurate. Quartz watches are powered by a small battery, which powers a wound mainspring, sending electricity through a quartz crystal that vibrates and sends a pulse to the spring to move the hands. You can always tell if someone is wearing a quartz watch as they will emit a distinctive ‘tick, tick’ sound from the pulses. The movement of the hands will also not be quite so smooth.
Pros include the affordable price band, increased accuracy over more traditional movements and easier maintenance. It is easy to change the battery about once a year or so at your local jewellery store. Quartz watches tend to be more durable too, so suitable for a more active lifestyle. They don’t quite pull at the heartstrings as much as other types of movement though, it has to be said.
The ultimate in modern timekeeping and practicality. Digital watches eschew the traditional clock face altogether in favour of digital numbers instead. They come in a wide variety of price bands, depending on the added functionality they offer. Smart watches are practically the same as wearing your phone on your wrist, as they offer text messaging, internet access, call functions and body monitoring apps to help you stay active and informed on the go.
Many children have a digital watch as their very first timepiece as they are easy to read and normally highly durable and comfortable to wear. You can also enjoy extremely accurate times displayed in hours, minutes and seconds – with some even calculating fractions of a second for ridiculously specific timing. They are usually waterproof too, making them great for the gym. What you gain in practicality and multitasking though, you do tend to lose in aesthetic appeal as digital watches tend to look more futuristic and functional and less classic and sophisticated.
The men’s watch style choice is yours…