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Updated Jun 10, 2022 1:03 PM

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

The Seiko Turtle is a popular choice for a reason. It’s a certified dive watch with a case shape that will fit almost anyone, a solid workhorse mechanical movement, and fun styling that brings a bit of levity to an otherwise serious tool watch. Even better, if you don’t mind spending a little extra, you can easily find special edition watches with textured dials and unusual colors. This was one of the most recommended watches for this article, and we loved this watch so much that it made our list of the best dive watches under $500.

The watch case is nearly the same width as its height, making it far more wearable for people who don’t have large wrists, thanks in part to the cushion-shaped case. Another cool feature specific to this iteration of the Turtle is the “Pepsi” color scheme that’s preferred by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI). This red and blue design not only serves the practical purpose of highlighting the 15-minute quadrant of the dive-time bezel, but also adding an extra splash of color. But don’t let the attractive packaging fool you, this is a serious tool watch as well, carrying an ISO-certified “diver’s” mark that shows that this is the perfect choice for the serious scuba diver.

It’s not all sunshine though, and this watch has some quirks that are just inherent to the world of Seiko. The crystal (glass over the dial) is simple mineral glass, in a time when even sub-$200 watches like our budget pick use synthetic sapphire, which is effectively scratch-proof. The bracelet is also not the most premium option, with a stamped clasp and false links that are less flexible than a true oyster-style bracelet. This adds a possible expense of getting a better bracelet which, along with the expense of getting a better crystal, pushes the price point of this watch higher. Finally, the cushion case isn’t for everyone, especially for those who prefer a more modern appearance, which usually means not something that was popular in the early 1970s.

Product Specs
  • Diameter: 45mm
  • Lug width: 20mm
  • Crystal: Seiko Hardlex
  • Complications: Day and date
PROS

Fits nearly everyone

Pepsi styling adds a fun element to a tool watch

An officially-certified diver

CONS

Mineral crystal

Less-than-premium bracelet

Old-school case styling

Best Value DIve Watch

The Orient Kamasu Gen 1 is a totally original dive watch that has a sapphire crystal, an in-house movement, and it’s less than $200. I could leave the review there, but the reality is that my editors would kill me. Orient is the best-kept secret in affordable watches, and the Kamasu is no exception. This is the Gen 1 variant, which features a more subtle dial texture and trapezoidal hour markers that I actually prefer over the dots of the newer variant. This version linked above comes in a lovely petrol blue color, which is my favorite color, but you can still find them in almost any color variant to suit your tastes.

The luminescence on this watch is fantastic, taking advantage of the fact that Orient is owned by the Seiko-Epson Group to use Seiko Lumibrite, which is regarded as some of the best stuff on the market to make your watch glow in the dark. The fact that this also has a sapphire crystal under $200 is a huge achievement as well, given that you can easily spend twice that and get mineral glass. I can’t stress enough how important it is that a watch at this price point have an original design, because while you can easily get innumerable Rolex, Omega, and Seiko ripoffs from China, something that not only eschews plagiarism, but the sensibilities of a lot of dive watches in general is very welcome.

The biggest issue with the Kamasu is that it’s not a “true” dive watch, meaning that although it has 200m of water resistance, a unidirectional dive time bezel, and all the luminescence and markings that are required, it’s not submitted for diver’s certification. This might be a sticking point for some people, especially hardcore divers, so it’s something to consider. Also, the bezel is somewhat stiff and difficult to operate, especially compared to ISO-approved diver’s watches. The bracelet is another point of contention for me, being once again a false link bracelet with a stamped clasp, and folded endlinks, meaning it’s on the rattle-y side. Luckily, Strapcode makes a replacement bracelet (that I immediately purchased for mine), but that’s an extra $90 to consider, which lowers the value proposition of this watch somewhat. A final minor gripe is that the sapphire crystal doesn’t have any anti-reflective coating on it, which means that you might encounter glare issues in direct sunlight.

Product Specs
  • Diameter: 42mm
  • Lug width: 22mm
  • Crystal: Sapphire
  • Complications: Day and date
PROS

Fantastic lume

Sapphire crystal

Totally original styling

CONS

No anti-reflective coating

Less-than-premium bracelet

Not officially certified

Best Premium Dive Watch

I had always told myself that I’d never buy a Rolex. They’re overpriced, the price is mostly due to the demand, you have to go on a waitlist, and you can get much better watches for a similar price. But a Tudor? I just might. Tudor is owned by the same company as Rolex, and offers a chance to own watches with the same DNA style for less, due to being more mass-produced. However, they are no less well-designed and have been used by professionals for actual use many times, including in the military. So these aren’t necessarily outright copies of Rolexes as much as they are actually attainable variants that perform almost all of the same functions for less.

Tudor is no budget brand and has been a mainstay in its own right for decades. The Heritage watch is a great example of this, resembling classic divers from the 1950s and 1960s with features like a bezel that’s only stepped in the first quarter, bronze-tone hands, and other touches that really hearken back to the middle of the century. This is a watch with real Rolex DNA too, and if you don’t care for something this retro, you can look at the innumerable Black Bay variants that span from GMT watches to racing chronographs. Tudor watches are also watches with real military heritage as well, with Tudor producing licensed submariners that were issued to French Marine Nationale divers, Canadian divers, British Special Boat Service, Jamaican Divers, and even U.S. Navy SEALs. Their weird hands with the square marker on the hour hand, known as a “snowflake,” were specifically selected due to their visibility in low light conditions and murky water. All in all, it’s a supremely cool watch with a lot of history and heritage behind it, and it’s one of the coolest lineages of watches to own.

Unfortunately, the biggest downside of owning a Tudor is that oftentimes you spend a lot of time explaining how it’s basically a Rolex, but not really. Because yes, Tudor is owned by the same company and yes, it has access to a lot of the same parts and techniques, but it doesn’t have the Rolex crown. So for many people, it’s roughly one-third the cost of a Rolex with none of the clout. Even for people who don’t care about what others think of their watch choices, the styling is controversial. The retro look isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay, but Tudor has gone all-in on things like the snowflake handset and retro styling, meaning that if you want a more modern-looking watch, you might have to look elsewhere.

Product Specs
  • Diameter: 41mm
  • Lug width: 20mm
  • Crystal: Sapphire
  • Complications: Date
PROS

Classic premium watch

Real military diver heritage

Rolex DNA

CONS

Looks like a Rolex, from the same parent company, but not a Rolex

A large price jump from the previous options

Controversial styling

Best Overall Dress Watch

The Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 is so 1970s, it comes with a Mach 1 Mustang, a disco ball, and upholstery made of Corinthian Leather. This style of watch is back in a big way, with watches like the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak popularizing the Gerald Genta style of design with hard angles, integrated bracelets, and straight lines. However, the PRX isn’t just a Royal Oak Royal Ripoff, it’s a watch that takes that design language and goes in its own direction, opting instead for a smooth circular bezel to contrast the waffle dial, and gently sloped tapering links that make this watch wear more like a bracelet than anything. Best of all, it’s a completely unusual Swiss design and is probably the coolest affordable watch that money can buy. I personally own one, and it’s one of my favorite watches to wear for almost any occasion, but especially the dressy ones.

The PRX demands attention way more than a watch this size should, owing in no small part to the fine details that build an impressive package. Envision the continuous line of the bracelet that merges with the case, accented by the smooth, polished bezel reflecting against the vertically brushed case, held by the polished chamfered edges, and subtle polishing in between the links of the bracelet, playing with the light as you move your wrist. Finally, the dial texture, symmetrical and grid-shaped, looks like a sea of white chocolate bars. All this is to say that it’s a beautifully-designed watch in a way that you don’t often see at this price point. It’s also not just a looker, but also a high performer, with a Powermatic 80 movement housed within the gorgeous exterior, the 80 indicating the number of hours that the movement can run without needing to be rewound. The movement also features a quick-set date, and the entire apparatus is visible through the rear of the case back. Finally, this is a watch that you can wear on other occasions, like the beach, given that it features 100 meters of water resistance, meaning that it’s not a simple dress watch by any stretch of the imagination.

Just because it’s not technically a strict dress watch doesn’t mean that it’s not in its element as a dress watch. One of the biggest limitations is that this thing has miserable luminescence. Almost nonexistent. That’s not a huge issue when you can shine a light on your watch to see the time, but for a watch that has 1970s sport watch DNA, it’s not exciting. Another issue is the bracelet. It’s a semi-integrated bracelet with quick-detach spring bars that are a pain to remove, but which reveal a totally proprietary opening. You won’t be buying different bracelets and straps from other retailers unless you know a custom manufacturer of leather straps, so if you don’t like the stock bracelet, you’re out of luck. Finally, this watch wears far larger than the stated diameter, owing in no small part to the long lug width of the integrated bracelet, which helps keep the lines of the watch continuous and also prevents it from being compact.

Product Specs
  • Diameter: 40mm
  • Lug width: Proprietary
  • Crystal: Sapphire
  • Complications: Date
PROS

Eye-grabbing style

Incredible power reserve

The perfect blend of dress and sport

CONS

Proprietary bracelets

Wears large

Poor luminescence

Best Value Dress Watch

Once again, Orient watches is on this list for being the best in budget watches, unseating parent company Seiko from its former throne with this watch that just screams mid-century goodness. The Orient Bambino is a watch that makes many people’s budget choice lists for a good reason, and that’s because it delivers timeless style for well under $200. Best of all, if the color linked here isn’t for you, Orient makes so many different color schemes that you’re bound to find something.

Mid-century watches prioritized rounded lines, bubble crystals, and grandfather clock-style Roman numerals, with plain indices also being an option, and the Bambino offers either one. Channeling classics from brands like Longines and Rolex Cellini, the Bambino brings this retro styling into the 21st century with a larger dial diameter and an automatic movement. The best part about this watch is obviously the price, but that’s also not to say that you’re not getting the high level of quality and originality that most people expect when it comes to Orient watches.

The gripe that everyone has with the Bambino when they get it is the fact that you can’t easily change the strap, due in no small part to the fact that Orient chose 21mm, rather than the more common 20 or 22mm for the lug width. That means you’ll have to be that much more careful when sourcing an aftermarket strap. Another limitation that comes with the dress watch territory is that the Bambino has no lume, which isn’t a huge issue, but just something to consider. Finally, the Bambino, for all its retro styling, is a little large for purists who want something that has the full look of the mid-20th century watch.

Product Specs
  • Diameter: 40.5mm
  • Lug width: 21mm
  • Crystal: Mineral
  • Complications: Date
PROS

Retro styling

Extremely affordable

Orient quality experience

CONS

Difficult to replace stock strap

Slightly large for a classic dress watch

No lume

Best Premium Dress Watch

Longines is possibly one of the most important watch brands in existence, older than many of the popular brands out there, to include Rolex. The fact that Longines is still going strong today is a testament to its ability to make some of the best watches available with the artisanal touch that people will pay double and triple to get from other brands. Longines dress watches, in particular, are some of its best offerings because they’ve remained relatively unchanged since their early to mid 20th-century introduction, save for getting slightly bigger. The Longines Record collection is a chance to own a piece of real horological history, and that’s something that’s hard to put a price on.

The Longines Record Collection automatic is as purebred of a dress watch as it gets, not trying to blend in sport watch, chronograph, or dive functions. This is aided by the retro styling, minute details, and a movement that has a special trick up its sleeve. The Longines Record collection is an officially-certified wrist chronometer, meaning that this watch is guaranteed to operate between minus four to plus six seconds per day at maximum. You can even see the beautifully decorated movement through the case back. This movement drives blued steel hands that sweep over a paper-texture dial, giving this watch a simple beauty that’s no less impressive than the movement that beats inside. Best of all, the watch is understated and slim, hugging the wrist with a 10mm thickness that will slip under any shirt cuff. The result ends up looking like any other dress watch, except you know better.

Bafflingly, Longines opted to take a page out of Orient’s book with its Bambino, and give this watch an uneven strap width of 19mm. Not that the stock straps are bad, per se, since Longines includes a very flexible and soft leather strap, but many users want variety, and being able to match the leather of your strap to the leather of your shoes is important, especially for a dress watch. Like the Bambino, it’s also fairly large for a classic dress watch at 40mm, so that’s an issue mostly for purists. Again, the Record Collection dress watch also lacks any sort of lume, so don’t be surprised when your dress watch doesn’t work the same as your dive watch.

Product Specs
  • Diameter: 40mm
  • Lug width: 19mm
  • Crystal: Sapphire
  • Complications: Date
PROS

Retro styling

One of the longest-lasting brands on the market

Slim and elegant

CONS

Difficult to replace stock strap

Slightly large for a classic dress watch

No lume

Best Overall Chronograph Watch

Chronograph watches are a great choice, owing to their connection with things like car racing and space travel, and the movies that depict both. Seiko, in particular, has had a hand in both of those, with its Speed-Timer being one of the most popular chronographs of the mid-20th century, and its “Pogue” being one of the watches to travel into space with the crew of Skylab. Now in 2022, Seiko is back with a Speedtimer that doesn’t resemble a Speed-Timer at all. It’s a Speed-Timer in name only, but it’s a fairly competent watch, and it’s a great option for anyone who wants a classically-styled chronograph.

Seiko’s decision to make this watch carry the “Speedtimer” name is a controversial one, especially since it more readily resembles a Rolex Daytona, but what matters is that it’s a precise watch that’s a good sign for Seiko. The choice of sapphire crystal is excellent, given that Seiko held on to its proprietary mineral “hardlex” crystal for arguably too long. It’s also a precise chronograph, being powered by a Seiko VK-series “Mecha-quartz” solar movement that preserves the gradual ticking of a mechanical watch for the chronograph seconds hand without the cost or imprecision of its spring-powered brethren. It’s also a black chronograph watch with a relatively small dial diameter, meaning that it’s got a look that’s proven popular for decades, and isn’t likely to go out of style anytime soon.

The biggest advantage of this new Speedtimer is also its biggest drawback for some people, and that’s the choice of movement. Solar-powered quartz isn’t the first choice for notoriously anal-retentive watch snobs, and almost inevitably, someone’s going to ask if you’re wearing a Daytona, and then revert to “it’s only a Seiko.” The bracelet is also not impressive, with brushing that doesn’t quite match the case, and imprecise polishing on the edges. Thankfully, it’s easy to replace, and I love this one on a Rally strap. Finally, there’s a bit of a question as to why this was called a “Speedtimer.” There’s no resemblance to the classic model, and instead of recreating the mechanical original with a more precise solar movement, they instead put that name on a Rolex Daytona lookalike and added an aged lume, which doesn’t work nearly as well as the Lumibrite that Seiko is famous for.

Product Specs
  • Diameter: 39mm
  • Lug width: 20mm
  • Crystal: Sapphire
  • Complications: Date, 24-hour sub-dial, 60-minute sub-dial, running small seconds, chronograph seconds with tachymeter
PROS

Precise chronograph function

Timeless styling

Sapphire crystal

CONS

Oddly-aged lume

Unimpressive bracelet

Not mechanical

Best Value Chronograph Watch

The Sugess 1963, aka the Sea-Gull 1963, aka the Tianjin Watch Factory 1963, aka the HKEd 1963, is the blatant Chinese watch that watch nerds like me love. By all accounts, watch nerds should hate it, considering it’s a completely ahistorical watch that comes out of a country that’s associated with cheap goods and inferior workmanship. Except the thing is, the Sugess 1963 is none of those things. It’s a well-made, beautifully-styled, and completely charming watch that wears “China made” with pride, and for a good reason.

The Sugess 1963 is based around the Sea-Gull ST19 Chronograph movement, which is a licensed copy of the 1940s Venus 175 chronograph movement. Consequently, the 1963 is a column-wheel mechanical chronograph that runs off real mechanical power. There’s almost no other way to own a mechanical chronograph at this price point, and given how charming the 1963 is, there’s almost no reason. This watch looks like what it is, a military-style mid-century watch, and when you consider the champagne dial, gold indices, fishbowl case style, red seconds hand, and blue hour and minute hands, they all come together to create something that’s harmonious and beautiful while still looking utilitarian. Perhaps best of all, in my estimation, this watch embraces the fact that it’s Chinese. There are so many watches out there that are made in China, but put some fake Swiss or Italian names on them to sound more western, and I appreciate the honesty.

Unfortunately, not everyone is going to see it that way, and a lot of people are going to turn up their noses at the Chinese red star on the dial. The chronograph pushers are also not the easiest to use, and that comes with the territory of such an old movement, so you’re left with pushers that operate with a sort of “ka-chunk” when you press them to start the stopwatch. Finally, despite this watch’s alleged military heritage, there’s no luminescence whatsoever, meaning that this thing is next to useless in the dark.

Product Specs
  • Diameter: 38 or 40mm
  • Lug width: 18mm
  • Crystal: Sapphire or acrylic
  • Complications: Running seconds, 30-minute sub-dial, chronograph seconds hand
PROS

A true mechanical chronograph

Attractive mid-century styling

Truly unlike anything else

CONS

No lume

Difficult to press chronograph pushers

Blatantly Chinese

Best Premium Chronograph Watch

Moonwatch. That’s it. That’s the review. The Omega Speedmaster is arguably THE chronograph watch, and one of the top watches for men beating out Rolex, Bulova, and Hamilton to be the watch that astronauts took to the moon. This is for a good reason, given that Omega has cemented itself as a quality watchmaker for centuries, and it nailed the right balance of Swiss quality without the supply chain issues of Rolex. This is a popular choice for military officers (hey, Major Rosenblatt, sir) and racecar drivers alike, and is as much a practical tool as it is a status symbol.

Everyone wants to be the Omega Speedmaster. Seiko, Rolex, Bulova, and countless others have copied the three-register black dial chronograph with white lettering, because of the success of this watch. You’re not just buying a watch, you’re buying a piece of history. This is backed up by the fact that countless service members have worn the Omega Speedmaster on crucial missions, trusting it to keep time while pulling high-G turns in the air, or orbiting the Earth in space. But it’s not just a functional watch, it’s also a gorgeous one, with selective polishing on the edges of the case, alternating brushed and polished links in a five-link bracelet, and a black ceramic bezel that sets the dial off nicely. To top it off, it’s got a water resistance of 100m, which means that barring scuba divers, this watch is one that never has to leave your wrist.

The Speedmaster once again follows suit with Orient and Longines, and features an uncommon 19mm lug width. Why this is, I have no clue, but here we are in the year of Our Lord 2022 with companies acting like this is okay. The Speedmaster is also a thick watch, owing to the extra gears needed to run the chronograph functions, which means that it’s not a watch that will wear well under a shirt cuff. Finally, this watch just doesn’t have an incredible amount of lume, which isn’t a crazy issue, considering that it’s not a dive watch, but I prefer the tritium that the older Speedmasters had, especially for military purposes.

Product Specs
  • Diameter: 40mm
  • Lug width: 19mm
  • Crystal: Sapphire
  • Complications: Running seconds, 12-hour sub-dial, 30-minute sub-dial, chronograph seconds hand, tachymeter bezel
PROS

The gold standard

Amazing craftsmanship

Legitimate military heritage

CONS

Uneven lug width

Wears thick

Unimpressive lume

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.

Crystal

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

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.

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