Wristwatches for men – complete and ultimate guide to men’s watches

Wristwatches for men – Men’s watch buying guide

Men have been wearing watches for over 100 years. Wristwatches for men are one of the most important devices in their busy life. Over decades ago a watch is simple a time-telling device for keeping track of the time during the day and night. Most wristwatches for men are mechanical and are hand-made, today we find watches with more and more complications than before, such as smartwatches.  

In the era of smartphone and wearable technology, wristwatches for men have taken a backseat, someone may prefer to track time using their smartphones. However, there are still the majority of men, celebrities, to say the least, is still into watches, most specifically luxury watches.

Wristwatches for men has never been out of fashion, there are numerous options in the market when searching for wristwatches for men, wristwatches for men are not only a time-telling device, they represent your status in life, your lifestyle, your fashion sense, and your outfit enhancer.

In this article, we will give you the ultimate buying guide to wristwatches for men. Read on and learn the different things you need to consider when deciding on a watch to buy whether for yourself or as a gift.

Wristwatches for men – the right watch for the right occasion

Of course, the first thing you need to consider is what type of occasions you are most likely to attend, whether it is a formal occasion, business meeting, or just a relaxing day at the beach. With men’s watches, there are many types to choose from, from the features, waterproof level, straps, styles, and more. There are also some rules on when you have to wear a certain watch for which occasion, and we will go through that on this article as well. First let us go through the important parts, features, and styles to choose from.

Wristwatches for men – Basic parts of a watch

Wristwatches for men – watch part #1 – Watch movements

The individual parts of a watch movement are situated between two plates, the front plate which sits just behind the face of the watch has the same shape as the movement overall as well as the case, in general. The back-plate, however, can have a few different shapes. It can be a full plate to match the front one, a ¾ plate or a series of smaller plates referred to as bridges. In the case of these latter two, it is so that the individual parts of the movement can be more easily accessed when the watch needs to be repaired.

  • Mechanical watch movements

Speaking broadly, the mechanical category simply means that the watch in question is not powered by a battery. All mechanical watches, meaning both of the types we’re about to cover, will contain the following types of parts:

  • Crown – The crown is the wheel on the side of the watch that is used to set the time, it can also be turned to wind the watch to run it.
    • Mainspring – is the power source of the movement and the kinetic energy from winding the crown is transferred to the coil-shaped mainspring which stores the energy by getting tighter and tighter
    • Gear train – transmits the stored energy from the mainspring to the escapement through a series of small gears.
    • Escapement – also referred to as the escape wheel, is responsible for taking the energy from the mainspring and transferring it to the balance wheel is equally apportioned amounts. The balance wheel is essentially the heart of the watch movement.

Why are mechanical watch movements prized by style aficionados? Due to its delicate small parts inside of the movements as well as the craftsmanship that goes into assembling them makes these movements pieces of art.

Many European produced mechanical movement watches will sell for hundreds of thousands even millions of dollars at the auction. Though as with anything else, some of that price is due to the brand name value, for instance, Rolex, Patek Philippe, and many more.

Aside from just considering artistry though, there also practical benefits to mechanical movement wristwatches for men. For one thing, with proper care, watches like this can last a lifetime and you won’t have to worry about constantly replacing the batteries. On the other hand, mechanical movement watches can get dirty and lubricants inside can dry up so they should be maintained by disassembling them and cleaning them every three to five years or so. And this should not be done at home, but rather at your trusted watch repair shop.

  • Manual movement

A manual movement, also frequently referred to as a hand-wound movement, is the oldest type of watch movement made. It dates back to the 16th century. Most manual movements will need daily winding in order to keep time accurately but some higher-end models can store energy efficiently enough to only need winding every few days.

Some important aspects to consider when purchasing a manual movement watch:

  1. Get into a habit of winding your watch regularly. If you don’t do this your watch will wind down and it won’t keep time accurately.
  2. Do not wound improperly. If a manual watch is wound tightly or in an improper angle, say for example you try to wind it while it is already on your wrist, this can do damage to the movement over time.
  3. Cleaning your watch daily. Make it a habit to wipe your watch clean every after use, this will keep the sweat, oil, and dirt from staining your watch and watch strap. Making it looking new and fresh every day.
  • Automatic movement

Along with manual movement wristwatches for men, the other type of mechanical movement is the automatic movement, also known as a self-winding movement. This type debuted in the early 20th century. An automatic movement harnesses kinetic energy from the natural motion of the wearer’s wrist. In other words, moving your arm around while you are wearing the watch throughout the day will wind the mainspring.

How is this accomplished? It is because an automatic movement contains all of the components we covered earlier plus an additional component that is referred to as the rotor. This is most often a semi-circular metal weight that can swing freely 360 degrees as the wrist moves. The rotor is connected by another series of gears to the mainspring which gets wound as the rotor swings. From there, the mechanism of the automatic movement is the same as the manual and yes, it can also be wound from the crown, if you so choose.

  • Quartz movement

Also known as a battery-powered movement. It was first introduced to the public by the Seiko corporation in 1969. Unlike the mechanical movements, the inner workings of a quartz movement are made up of every different component.

Firstly, the power source of a quartz movement is a battery. It takes the place of a mainspring. A watch battery will typically last between one and two years at which time it should be promptly replaced to prevent any leakage of battery acid.

Wristwatches for men – watch part #2 – Watch complications

Watch complication is the features that are included on the watch, many wristwatches come with features that also display the date or even the phase of the moon. These little extras on wristwatches are called complications.

Besides the calendar or moon phases, other complications include alarms, power reserve indicators and repeaters (a feature that chimes the hour and minutes on your watch at the press of a button. To sum it up here are the common complications you will see on a watch.

  • Alarms
  • Moonphase
  • Chronograph or commonly known as a stopwatch.
  • Tachymeter

How many and which complications you want in a watch is a matter of preference. Dressier wristwatches for men tend to be sleek and have one to none. More sporty and casual wristwatches for men often include more complications.

Wristwatches for men – Watch styles for men to choose from

While there are plenty of functional men’s watches out there from rubber sport watches, you would wear while running a 5K to tactical digital watches with a bunch of smart features, we are going to focus on wristwatches for men that you would wear to class up an outfit. Of course, functional watches serve as a purpose in a man’s life, but they just don’t look that great with a suit or at the office.

When it comes to stylish men’s watches, there are basically five types of watch styles for men, and we will go through them here so that you will know when to wear your watch properly.

Let us start.

Dress watches

Dress watches birthed in the early 20th century for well-to-do gentlemen who wanted to start wearing their timepiece on their wrist rather than in their pocket (Pocketwatch). The dress watch is all about simplicity and sophistication, it is sleek rather than encumbered. A dress watch should not be flashy and should not draw attention to itself in a subtle way for the classiness and how it complements your outfit.

Dress watches are perfect with suits and ties, formal events or business meetings. They are slim and sleek, just perfect to tuck in underneath the suit.

Signature features of dress watches:

  • Size – they are typically thin
  • Case – may be circular, rectangular, or square. High-end dress watches may be made from precious metals like gold or silver
  • Face – dial displays simple indexes, the number of symbols for the number on the watch face, such as saber-text indexes which are little lines, Roman numerals, or small Arabic numbers.
  • Band – Dress wristwatches for men always come in leather straps, some companies offer both leather and metal band
  • Complications – dress watches have little to none complications. At most a date and or moon display.

When to wear a dress watch? As the name applies, you wear a dress watch for dressier occasions, more formal events like on a business meeting or with a tuxedo. But you can also wear a dress watch with everything from a sharp occasion, however, it won’t pair well with plain shirts and jeans.

Here are brands with great dress wristwatches for men to choose from:

wristwatches for men - dress watches
  • Cartier tank
  • Orient Bambino
  • Seiko Kinetic

Filed watches

Field watches are the descendant of the WWI trench watch, which was designed for officers who needed to coordinate attacks, tell time at night, and sport a wristwatch that could withstand the rigors of battle, all while still look good. Field wristwatches for men continue to evince a military vide, design and are rugged, functional, and stylish all at the same time.

Signature features of field wristwatches for men:

  • Size – small to medium. Large watches would just get in the way while you are doing battle in the trenches of war, or business
  • Face – functional, easy-to-read numeral indexes, typically a white dial and black numbering, or a black dial with white numbering.
  • Case – typically stainless steel or sometimes titanium. Field watches sometimes include a feature called hacking seconds, where you can stop the second hand by pulling the crown out, this makes it easier to set the watch to a reference signal, or synchronize it with another.
  • Band – leather or canvas straps are typical for field watches, metal is too heavy and would easily scratch with the kind of regular, rough, and tumble use a field watch is designed for.
  • Complications – typically none, or date only.

When to wear a field watch

Field wristwatches for men are quite versatile and can be worn on all kinds of adventures as well as for every day casual wear or even business casual. So everything from jeans and a t-shirt, to a sports coat and khakis. For men, especially younger guys who don’t get dressed up in a suit very often, a field watch is probably your best bet. It is a simple, rugged style that may best match your personality and lifestyle.

Brands that offer the best field wristwatches for men on the market.

wristwatches for men - field watches
  • Timex Weekender
  • Lum-tec Combat B19 Bronze
  • Filson Mackinaw Field
  • Dive watches

Next, to the field watch, the dive watch is probably one of the most common watch types you see men sporting. And we likely have James Bond to thank for that. Ever since Dr. No, 007 has been sporting a dive watch of some kind or another. In the early Bond films, it was Rolex Submariner, then Pierce Brosnan turned the Omega dive watch into Bond’s timepiece of choice.

As the name suggests, the dive watch was designed for individuals who spend a lot of time in or near water. Their primary selling point is that they are water-resistant. The first iteration of what became the dive watch was likely Rolex Oyster, which was introduced in the 1930s, with its hermetically sealed case. It was one of the first water-resistant watches on the market.

In the 1950s, Rolex board member Rene-Paul Jeanneret wanted a watch that would be useful when he went diving but still looked good as an everyday watch. The Rolex Submariner was born and the standard for dive watches everywhere was set. Most dive watches on the market today take their design cues from Submariner.

Signature features of dive wristwatches for men:

  • Size – medium
  • Face – typically bold, easy-to-read, Arabic numbering, though the 12-hour numerals are often replaced with hash marks, with seconds displayed in 15-second increments. To protect the watch while deep underwater, sapphire or hardened mineral glass is used.
  • Case – A defining feature of the dive watch is the uni-directional bezel included in the case, it will only rotate counter-clockwise. The rotating bezel allows a diver to know with just a glance at his watch how long he has been underwater.
  • Band – Metal, and usually longer than other watch bands, as it was originally designed to fit around bulky dive equipment.

When to wear your dive watch:

While the dive watch was designed for underwater use, it is all-metal casing and band, plus its iconic heritage, make it a suitable wristwatch for versatile everyday wear. You can wear them with sportswear, casual wear, business casual wear and business formal wear. And if you take your style cues from James Bond, you can even get away with wearing a dive watch with a tuxedo.

3 great brands that offer the most versatile dive watches in the market:

wristwatches for men - dive watches
  • Rolex Submariner
  • Omega Seamaster
  • Seiko’s Divers watch
  • Pilot watch

Wristwatches have been a part of aviation since its inception. In fact, one of the first purpose-specific wristwatches for men ever made was a pilot friend of Louis Cartier back in 1904 with the iconic Santos watch. In the decades after, watchmakers built on that original design to make timekeeping easy for pilots taking off into the wild, most notably with the addition of a chronograph. Back in the 1930s, the Swiss company Breitling made onboard chronographs for planes in the Royal Air Force so pilots could determine their speed, distance traveled, and fueled consumption. In the 1940s, they decided to put their chronograph or a wristwatch, creating the Breitling Chronomat, as well as the mold for future aviator watches.

Signature features of aviator wristwatches for men:

Unlike other men’s watch styles, the pilot watch does not have a firm, distinctive style, the features of timepieces marketed as “aviator wristwatches for men” can widely vary. That being said, the following are the features that are most common to this type:

  • Size – medium to large
  • Face – Designed for easy reading, even in the dark cockpit, pilot watches sport an oversized dial with clean, legible numbers and luminous hands.
  • Band – Often, though not always, made of leather. Longer than average, as the band was originally designed to fit around the cuff of a pilot’s flight jacket.
  • Complications – Date and sometimes a chronograph

When to wear an aviator watch:

The size and more casual look of pilot wristwatches for men make them a good fit for more causal get-ups, but not for black tie and formal business wear.

List of the best pilot wristwatches for men on the market.

Wristwatches for men - aviator watches
  • Breitling Navimeter
  • Omega Speedmaster
  • Citizen Hawn NaviHawk
  • Racing watch

Car racing and wristwatches for men have been linked together since the 1930s. That is because racecar driving relies on accurate timekeeping to measure the outcome of the race. Rolex was one of the first companies to capitalize on this need for accurate timepieces by outfitting top drivers with their famous Oyster watch back in the 1930s.

But it was TAG Heuer that created the standard for racing wristwatches for men by adding a chronograph and tachymeter – the 2 defining features of a driving watch. The first TAG Heuer chronographs were made in the 1930s and 1940sfor pilots in Luftwaffe, but by the 1950s and 1960s, racecar drivers were wearing them to measure their speed and distance. TAG Heuer cemented its racing bona fides when actor Steve Mcqueen wore their Monoca 1133 in the 1971 film, Le Mans.

Signature features of racing wristwatches for men:

  • Size – Medium to large
  • Face – Large dial, with clear Arabic numerals
  • Case – Designed to withstand the rigors of auto racing, the case if typically made from stainless steel.
  • Band – Leather or metal
  • Complications – Chronograph and sometimes a date

When to wear a racing watch:

Racing wristwatches for men tend to be flashier looking than dive or pilot wristwatches for men, because of their bold look, they are more suitable for casual than formal wear.

Here is a list of the most sought after racing wristwatches for men on the market:

Wristwatches for men - racing watches for men
  • TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 18
  • Tag Heuer Monaco 1133
  • Timex Intelligent Quartz Fly-back Chronograph

Wristwatches for men – when choosing a watch

Once you have decided what type and style of watch you want, you will next need to decide what kind of price range to look in. When you see the $8000 price tag on Rolex Submariner or that a TAG Heuer Carrera for $4500, you might ask yourself, are these wristwatches for men really worth that much if they can tell time just as well as your $10 Casio. Well, that is totally up to you, if you are looking for luxury watches, this only means that you have a budget for a finer timepiece. Wristwatches for men are a wide category, and therefore it is important to consider all the things you will need from a watch.