The best men’s watches for any occasion

Make your watch an extension of your personality.

Best Overall Dive Watch

Seiko SRPE99 Turtle

Seiko SRPE99 Turtle

Best Value DIve Watch

Orient Kamasu Gen 1

Orient Kamasu Gen 1

Best Premium Dive Watch

Tudor Heritage

Tudor Heritage

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Watches are arguably the most popular item of men’s jewelry, next to wedding rings, and the best men’s watches are timeless classics that define not only that style of watch, but also watches in general. While we don’t believe that watches can ever truly be gendered, these are watches that are popular with men, so it’s always a solid gift idea. These watches have been selected based on their staying power, their importance to the world of watch development and design, and their value to the wearer. 

These are our picks for watches that aren’t just popular but are just generally among the best men’s watches worth wearing. Here’s why they may deserve a place on your wrist.

How we tested

To select these watches, we based our choices on what our staff wears, what we’ve worn in the past, and what guys in our audience wear. These are all trendsetters in their fields and are some of the best examples of modern horology. These watches were evaluated on timekeeping, how well they perform their specific functions (e.g., dive capabilities), their styling, and how their pricing correlates to premium features. Additionally, we selected a variety of options at different price brackets, to accommodate a wide variety of tastes and wardrobes, opting to do dress watches, dive watches, and chronograph watches. Finally, almost all of these come in a wide variety of color options, so you can further customize them beyond what we’ve included today.

Best Overall Dive Watch

Seiko SRPE99 Turtle

Best Value DIve Watch

Orient Kamasu Gen 1

Best Premium Dive Watch

Tudor Heritage

Best Overall Dress Watch

Tissot PRX Powermatic 80

Best Value Dress Watch

Orient Bambino Gen 2

Best Premium Dress Watch

Longines Record Collection Automatic

Best Overall Chronograph Watch

Seiko Prospex Speedtimer

Best Value Chronograph Watch

Sugess 1963 Chronograph

Best Premium Chronograph Watch

Omega Speedmaster

Our verdict on the best men’s watches

Oof, that was a long one. But there are a lot of watches out there, and a lot of guys with different tastes, different wardrobes, and different lives. 

The Seiko Turtle is going to be a great dive watch for anyone who wants a solid go-anywhere watch and who doesn’t mind it being a little big and having all the quirks of a Seiko that was first designed in the 1970s. 

The Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 is such a gorgeous, fun, and cool watch, and as long as you like the bracelet it comes on, you’ll have a great experience with it as a dress watch. 

Finally, the Seiko Speedtimer is a great chronograph for anyone, since it nails the design language of more expensive models at a better price, even if there is a debate as to whether it’s truly a Seiko “Speed-Timer.” 

Overall, these are watches that nail the styling that men’s watches are known for, and they need not be restricted just to men. Anyone will look good with these on their wrist.

What to consider when buying men’s watches

The considerations for buying men’s watches are really just considerations for buying watches in general, which include several major categories, the features that we evaluate them on, and the pricing brackets to look out for. These aren’t just here to help you understand our picks for the best men’s watches, but also to help you become a more informed watch shopper in general.

Types of men’s watches

Dive watches

Dive watches are specifically designed to help scuba divers keep track of their oxygen levels, so they avoid running out of air and dying underwater. This is especially important for divers who go down beyond a certain time, as they need to factor in the air time needed for them to wait at a certain depth to decompress, to avoid getting “the bends.” Dive watches will always be very water-resistant, durable against impacts, and will almost always feature a unidirectional dive time bezel for keeping track of air. Diver’s watches are dive watches that are specifically accredited by the International Organization for Standardization and must have certain features related to marking, durability, and water resistance. For more information, check out our list of best dive watches under $500.

Dress watches

Dress watches are jewelry that tells time and prioritize looks and elegance above all else. Dress watches are designed to be worn with a suit and tie, or a dress uniform, and will often feature slim, elegant profiles, ornamental engravings or dial designs, and precious metals. These features may come at the expense of things like durability, water resistance, and luminescence, but those are secondary considerations compared to looking the part. A good dress watch will be a reflection of the wearer’s style, and many wearers will choose to match the metal of the watch to the metal of their belt buckle, and the leather of the strap to their belt and shoes.

Sports watches

Sports watches are a very general term that is largely one of tradition than of function. Some people would consider things like G-Shock watches and Garmin GPS watches to be sports watches (and they are), but this category encompasses things like the Rolex Explorer and even one of our dress watch picks, the Tissot PRX. In general, sports watches are designed for those who live an active lifestyle and want a watch that keeps up with them, but who might not need the dive-specific features of a dive watch, the military heritage of a field watch, or the stopwatch features of a chronograph.

Field watches

Field watches are designed for military use, and as a result, have very specific style choices that make sense for this purpose. For starters, they prioritize readability above all else, which means that they’ll feature high-contrast dials, plain numbering, and simple hands. Additionally, these watches will often have a 24-hour dial that allows you to quickly convert from civilian to military time. For more information, check out our list of the best field watches.

Chronograph Watches

A chronograph watch is a wrist-mounted stopwatch. That’s as simple as it gets. Chronograph watches have a rich history with racing, aviation, and other sports, and our list of the best aviation watches reflects accordingly. Chronograph watches will usually feature a large seconds hand that only runs when the starting pusher is pressed, relying on a small seconds hand to keep track of the actual seconds of the minute that the main display shows. Oftentimes, these watches will also feature a tachymeter bezel, which allows the wearer to measure the speed of an object by tracking how long it takes to travel a known distance.

Key features of men’s watches

These are the features that we used to evaluate all of the watches on this list, and are common to every wristwatch.


The crystal of a watch is the glass that covers the dial. The three major categories are acrylic, mineral, and sapphire. Acrylic crystals are the cheapest, being simple plastic, and are very resistant to shattering, but they scratch very easily and are only usually seen on vintage reissue watches. Mineral glass is just that. Glass. Mineral is more scratch-resistant than acrylic, but still scratches easily when compared to sapphire. Sapphire is nearly scratchproof, being a disc of synthetic sapphire jewel, which is only beaten in hardness by diamond. Sapphire and mineral may shatter easier than acrylic, depending on thickness, and sapphire glass often needs an anti-reflective undercoating due to its tendency to glare in direct sunlight.

Lug width

The lug width of a watch is how wide the strap or bracelet is. Ordinarily, lug width is measured in millimeters, and watches commonly use spring bars to hold the strap in place, which can be removed with a tool for easy strap changes. Commonly, these lugs will be an even number of millimeters wide, and most companies that produce aftermarket straps will make them in even number increments, usually 18, 20, and 22mm. Certain watches feature integrated bracelets, which don’t allow you to use aftermarket straps without significant custom work being done.


Luminescence, or lume, is how a watch glows in the dark for visibility in low-light conditions. Most commonly, lume will be done with phosphorescent paint, and these are usually things like Super Luminova and Seiko Lumibrite. This has the advantage of glowing very bright at first, but it eventually fades. Another option is tritium tubes, which use radioactive material to glow a certain color. The advantage to these is that they always glow and need no recharging until the half-life of tritium elapses, which is roughly 12 years. The disadvantage is that tritium costs significantly more than paint, needs to be in vials, and glows dimly at all times. The final type of lume is electronic, and this is mostly on watches like the Casio G-Shock, where a lightbulb built into the watch illuminates the display. However, Timex has integrated its Indiglo function into analog watches as well, with similar results. The advantage to this is that no matter what, you can illuminate the dial, as long as you have battery power. The disadvantage is that this requires a battery, and can’t be easily operated one-handed, preventing you from glancing at your watch to see what time it is.

Pricing for men’s watches

Watch pricing is tricky because, while there’s a lower-end limit that you should stay above, there is theoretically no upper limit. The low end of quality watches is $50 to $200, with things like Casio G-Shocks, Timex Weekenders, and even our pick for dress watches, the Orient Bambino living in this pricing bracket. From $200 to $1,000, you can get quality watches ranging from entry-level divers and chronographs to the beginnings of Swiss luxury. From $1,000 up, there’s no limit, and people have bought watches worth millions of dollars, and the upper echelon of pricing is best left to enthusiasts who know what they love in terms of watches.

Tips and tricks

As with something you do for years and sink thousands of dollars into, you pick up a few tips and tricks along the way in terms of selecting the right product, and/or using it. That’s the case with us and men’s watches. To help you bridge the information gap, here’s a selection of what we’ve learned along the way.

  • Bigger is not better, and even though the trend these days is towards larger watches, you should generally avoid watches that overhang your wrist or make your hands look small.
  • Buy something that you know you’ll wear more than once in a blue moon. There’s no sense in buying a watch if you’re not comfortable wearing it every day.
  • Avoid fashion brands, meaning brands that are known more for their designer clothes than their watchmaking. That means watches from Gucci, Michael Kors, Armani, and Tommy Hilfiger. A watch from a brand known for quality watches will always be more fashionable.
  • Don’t buy watches as investments. Watches are only valued higher than their original price because of people hyping them up and artificial scarcity. Instead, invest in stocks and other securities, as those are much more stable and actually have an infrastructure in place to help you avoid getting scammed.

FAQs about men’s watches

You’ve got questions, Task & Purpose has answers.

Q: What is the hottest watch right now?

A: Watches like the Richard Mille RM-01, Patek Philippe Nautilus, and Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, often jewel-encrusted, are seen on the wrists of musicians and other celebrities, due to the fact that they are extremely expensive and extremely rare, often as a status symbol. These watches are oftentimes not owned by the person wearing them but are loaned to them by the company as part of a marketing deal to encourage people to aspire to own a $200,000 watch some day.

Q: What is the most popular watch?

A: The Rolex Submariner is arguably the most recognizable watch, to the point that people who don’t know anything about watches can recognize it as “a rollie.” This is due to the watch’s connection with famous movie characters, excellent marketing deals done with sports, movies, and musicians to get the brand more exposure, and artificial scarcity, where Rolex actively controls who can and can’t buy their watches.

Q: What is a luxury watch?

A: A luxury watch is a watch that is, by definition, difficult to obtain. Whether due to cost, availability, or both, luxury watches are exclusive and are more pieces of art than they are time-telling devices. These watches are owned as heirlooms, mementos, or status symbols, and are often only sold through specific dealers. Examples of luxury brands are Rolex, Omega, Audemars Piguet, Vacheron Contstantin, Breguet, Jaeger-LeCoultre, and A. Lange & Sohne.

Q: How do you know if a watch is good quality?

A: First, evaluate the watch based on materials. In general, things like steel cases, sapphire crystals, and solid link bracelets are good things. Then, research the brand and make sure it has a reputation for quality. Third, avoid heavily advertised “fashion watches” like MVMT, Vincero, Valuchi, and so forth. These companies simply rebrand Chinese watches for a 10-times markup. Finally, look at what else might affect the price. Is it a limited edition? Is it rare? Was it featured in a movie? Is it no longer produced? In general, if a watch is vastly cheaper than a more popular option, it’s not because you’re getting some sweet secret deal, it’s because the watch is actually made of lower-quality materials.

Q: What does a watch say about a man?

A: I’ll answer this one with an anecdote. A former boss of mine once said that whenever a young man came in for an interview wearing a large, ostentatious watch, he would ask him the time. If the man went for his cell phone, it showed that the watch was just there for show and/or it wasn’t actually set, and let my boss identify people who were pretentious or ostentatious. Whether that’s a good judge of character or not, I’ll leave it up to you.


Matt Sampson Avatar

Matt Sampson

Commerce Reporter

Matt Sampson is a commerce reporter for Task and Purpose and The Gear Locker, and a contributing writer for The Drive, and Car Bibles, covering everything gear and tech-related. He lives in Fredericksburg, VA or Richmond, VA, depending on the day.