Your Needs

Consider your needs. You might start by asking yourself, “Why do I want to buy a watch?” A number of reasons come to mind:

    1) Practicality. You simply need to know what time it is.
    2) Fashion. Watches come in so many styles that it’s possible to own one for every occasion. You might even decide what clothes to wear depending on what watch you feel like wearing once you get a collection!
    3) Investment. High end luxury watches can hold or even grow their value. Some collect vintage watches just for this purpose.
    4) Status. Some watches are so well known that simply wearing one will make the wearer stand out in a crowd. Rolex watches come to mind, of course.
    5) Function. If you’re a diver you need a reliable watch to protect yourself. If you’re a pilot you might need a multi-time zone watch. For day to day planning, a date watch is handy to have on your wrist every day.

There are many ways to categorize watches, so you have to use your imagination when classifying them because watches are very diverse! For the purposes of, the categories we’ll consider are:

  • Dress
  • Fashion
  • Sport
  • Casual
  • The “in-betweens”
  • The following comparison is not meant to be an exhaustive list, but rather a brief discussion of some contrasting styles of watches. Let’s consider some of the popular uses of watches and the associated categories:

    Dress Watches:
    For Men:

    When considering what to wear for dress, the watch buyer has MANY options. Some watches are obviously intended for dress only: The Cartier Roadster is an example. Very elegant and very exclusive, the Roadster would be the kind of watch you wear to work if you’re a businessman who wears a suit to work or to a wedding or opera. The Roadster would not be a watch you’d see on anyone’s wrist while working in construction, but you would definitely wear it while driving a sports car since it’s styling is inspired by race cars of the 50’s and 60’s.

    The Alternative:

    Although not exactly the same, the Hamilton Dodson watch has a similar classic tonneau shape and deco style similar to the Roadster at a price more accessible to many. Additionally, this watch is a high quality Swiss made automatic watch like the Roadster.

    Hamilton Dodson Watch
    For Women:

    The Omega Constellation women’s mini watch. There’s no doubt at all as to what the purpose of this watch is. A small faced watch, the Constellation mini doesn’t say “watch” as much as it says “bracelet.” This design also features diamonds on the bezel and face, and the combination of gold and stainless steel means it can be worn with a variety of other jewelry, always a plus.

    Omega Constellation Ladies Mini Watch 1267.15
    Some watches will sit on the line of dress and sport.

    Here is an example of a watch that you might see worn during a dress situation but that has sport styling:

    The Rolex GMT Master II The GMT is a type of pilot’s watch because the GMT complication allows the wearer to track time in two different timezones, a useful function for pilots. Despite this very funcional purpose, however, the GMT is available in stainless steel, gold/stainless, and solid gold versions which are clearly dressy options.

    Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date GMT-Master II Mens Watch 116710-BKSO
    Fashion Watches:
    A different type of dress watch is the “fashion” watch.

    A fashion watch would, as the name implies, be fashionable, which could be good today and bad tomorrow. Some might think cheap when they hear the term fashion watch, much like you think cheap when you hear the term “fashion jewelry.” For the purpose of this discussion, though, fashion means “bling” at any price level. Buy a fashion watch with the understanding that it might become a classic someday or be considered ugly 5 years from now. The Datejust pictured to the right sells for almost $60,000.00!

    Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust Royal Black Mens Watch 116189-BBR
    And Another more affordable example:

    Ceramic watches have become a growing trend in watches and white ceramic is very elegant looking for women’s watches. Although this watch is a chronograph, the white ceramic construction and the bling bezel make it more of a fashion watch in our opinion.

    Michael Kors White Dial Ceramic Strap with Glitz Watch 5188
    Sport Watches
    When it comes to sport watches,

    there are three main types: Chronograph, Diver’s, and Military/Pilot’s watches. On the right is a Tag Heuer Swiss made automatic chronograph. The type of sport this watch would be associated with would be racing sports. The tachymeter bezel can tell you how fast something is moving and in addition, how long it took to accomplish a lap or other event.

    TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre S Laptimer Mens Watch CV7A10.BA0795
    Dive/Sport Watches

    Not that you’ll never see someone wear this watch in a business suit or at a wedding or something, but the intent of the Zenith Defy Xtreme Chronograph is clearly sport purposes. A large sized watch at 46.5 mm, this piece also features a 1000m water resistance rating so diving is a definite use for it. Watches like the Defy Extreme do present something of a contradiction, though. Since the cost of the higher end versions can be up around the $100,000.00 range, it might be a little hard to think of wearing them for anything other than “desk diving!”

    Zenith Defy Xtreme Chronograph Mens Watch 96.0525.4000/21.R642
    The Alternative:

    If the style of the Zenith watch appeals to you, but the cost is out of your range, then you might consider a watch like this one: The Swiss Legend Speedster.

    SWISS LEGEND 20078-SB-02 Men's Speedster Chronograph Black Rubber Watch
    Sport watches for lower budgets:

    Back to reality for most of us, here’s a watch that’s way different than the ones above but clearly illustrates the “sport” type watch: The G-Shock watches are much different than the other watches featured so far in the buyer’s guide but watches of all types have a purpose. This watch is a solar powered quartz as contrasted with the Zenith above which is a swiss made automatic.

    Casio G-Shock Atomic Solar Giez Mens Watch GS1000D-1A
    Diver’s Watches:

    This watch from Oris is a real diver’s watch and a terrific value in Swiss made watches at only around $1000.00 which although not cheap, is not nearly as expensive as many other swiss made watches. The example to the right is the titanium Titan date diver’s watch with a 300m water resistance rating. On the “your budget” page we featured a comparison between the Rolex Submariner and the Invicta Pro diver watches. These watches are positioned on either side of the Oris pricewise.

    Oris Divers Titan Date Titanium Mens Watch 733-7562-7154MB
    Military/Pilot Watches:

    (This group of watches is actually quite broad in it’s own right and we’re not going to cover all types here but let’s see a few prominent examples.)

    Classic Style Pilot’s Watch:

    There are two prominent types of pilot’s watches… The first is the classic type pictured here: The IWC Big Pilot. A classic, functional, high end Swiss automatic Pilot watch designed for easy legibility. The original idea for this watch was to put a pocket watch sized timepiece on the wrist.

    IWC Classic Pilot Big Steel Black Mens Watch IW500401
    Modern style pilot’s watch:

    A more modern, high-tech version of the pilot watch concept is the Citizen Eco-Drive Nighthawk. This watch features a pilot sliderule and dual time function combined with the Eco-Drive system; a light powered quartz movement.

    Citizen Nighthawk Eco-Drive Pilot Watch Mens Watch BJ7005-59E
    One more:

    Clearly an homage to the pilot’s style of the IWC above, the Chase-Durer Warhawk is also a Swiss made mechanical watch but for only $550.00!

    Chase Durer Warhawk Mechanical - Black Dial - Leather Strap - Sub Second Dial
    Casual Watches:
    Fun, Fashion, and Variety:

    The Invicta Russian Diver is another watch that is not likely to be considered a “dress” watch. This watch has dressy qualities, specifically, the goldtone accents. However, the sheer size of this piece is what makes it an unlikely dress watch; at 52mm fitting this one under a dress shirt sleeve might require a trip to the tailor to have the wrist size expanded! On the other hand, true diving is not what this watch is made for. with a water resistance of 100m, this watch is really more of a “casual” watch. So, while you might not wear this watch for diving or with a suit, wearing it out to dinner at a nice casual restaurant with slacks and a sweater might look great.

    Invicta Russian Diver Offshore Chronograph Mens Watch 4159
    Another casual watch example:

    The Ike Milano GMT watch is clearly an homage to the Rolex GMT watch but with a clear acrylic case. Italian design, quartz movement, and reasonable price. You wouldn’t have to worry too much what you paid for this watch when you wear it everyday.

    Ike Milano GMT Leggero Green Watch GMT979.10.2

    Lots of styles and lots of purposes… you get the point, right? There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to wearing watches. If you enjoy your watches and have fun shopping and buying them, no matter what the purpose or price, that’s what is important. Next, go to the How to Buy page to learn some tips on buying watches.

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