You will find different functional watch types out there that are suitable for men. But here, we are only going to discuss the ones that you can use to add a touch of class to your outfit. You can either choose to have an automatic, mechanical, or battery-powered watch. If you are planning to buy a battery-powered watch, we recommend reading about how to change a watch battery.
There are 5 common types of stylish wrist watches for men: racing/driving, pilot, diving, field, and dress watches. In this article, we are going to give you the key features and recommended usage of each of these to help you choose the right one for you.
#1 Racing/Driving Watches
In the 1930s, wristwatches and car racing have been connected with each other because racing requires accurate timekeeping. Rolex was among the first manufacturers that capitalized on this need by offering their Oyster watch to top drivers back at this time.
- Complications: Chronograph (sometimes date)
- Band: Metal or leather
- Case: Usually made of stainless steel that can withstand the extreme conditions in auto racing
- Face: A large dial that can accommodate the chronograph and with Arabic numerals; They typically include bright colors
- Size: Medium/Large
- Racing watches are flashier compared to other watches and have a bold look so they are ideal for casual wear rather than formal ones.
#2 Pilot Watches
Wristwatches have always played a part in aviation applications. In fact, among the first men’s wristwatches that were made for a specific purpose was for Louis Cartier’s pilot friend in 1904. This was the Santos watch. Many years later, other watchmakers used this original design as a reference to make timekeeping easier for pilots.
- Complications: Date (sometimes chronographs)
- Band: Often made from leather, but not always; Longer compared to average bands because they were made for pilot jackets
- Face: Oversized dials (usually black) with luminous hands and legible numbers (usually white) for easier reading
- Size: Medium/Large
- Pilot watches have a casual look which makes them suitable for casual wear.
- They are not ideal for black ties and business attire.
#3 Diving Watches
These are among the most common watches you see in men who play sports. Diving watches were designed for people who spend most of their time in the waters. They are water-resistant and have bands that are made of corrosion-resistant titanium or stainless steel. Standard dive watches have a water resistance of at least 100 meters but some can have more.
- Complications: Date only
- Band: Metal straps that are usually longer compared to other watch bands because they are designed for bulky diving equipment
- Case: The case has a unidirectional bezel that only rotates counter-clockwise
- Face: Usually has bold Arabic numbering and is made of hardened glass or sapphire to protect the face underwater
- Size: Medium
- Their iconic heritage as well as their metal casing and band make them suitable for everyday wear.
#4 Field Watches
These are descendants of the trench watches in WWI. They are used to tell time at night as well as coordinate attacks. They have a rugged and stylish design that can withstand the harsh conditions on the battlefield.
- Complications: Usually none, sometimes date only
- Band: Canvas or leather strap
- Case: Normally stainless, sometimes titanium
- Face: Numerical indexes that are easy to read; The hands are often illuminated so that you can check the time even at night
- Size: Small/medium
- The versatility of field watches makes them perfect for all types of adventures, including casual and business casual events.
- You can wear them with your khakis, sports coats, jeans, and t-shirts.
- They are ideal for men who do not wear suits often.
#5 Dress Watches
Dress watches are all about sophistication and simplicity. They are sleek and not flashy. They draw attention in a mild way through their classiness. The first dress watches were made for wealthy men who wanted to wear their timepieces on their wrists instead of keeping them in their pockets.
- Complications: Limited only (usually date or moon displays), sometimes none
- Band: All have leather bands but some companies have both metal and leather options
- Case: Can be square, rectangular, or circular; High-end versions are normally made of precious metals such as silver or gold
- Face: A dial with Arabic numerals, Roman numerals, or just simple indexes for the hours
- Size: Usually thin so that you can easily slip them in/out of your dress’ cuff
- Dress watches are for dressier and more formal occasions.
- They are best paired with business suits or tuxedos, not with jeans and t-shirts.
Choosing a timepiece that best matches your outfit’s formality is important. This is because it can either make or break your get up. If you go to different events often, we recommend buying different types of watches that match the formality of each event. Take note that your choice of timepiece reflects your character so make sure that you pick one that satisfies you the most.