For watch collectors, one more is never enough. It doesn’t matter if you own five watches or fifty watches, there is always another one around the bend that will catch your fancy and earn a spot in the rotation. However, for most men, even if they own some timepieces, they favor one or maybe two for everyday use.
Since we’re talking the ‘average man’, it also has to be noted that the typical gentleman doesn’t collect watches. Certainly, he wears one. But his collection – so to speak – probably consists of just one or two timepieces. Possibly a third at the most.
So for men who have the desire to own and wear just a single watch, or for collectors who have numerous and yet still favor an EDC watch, how does one begin to decide what to wear?
The answer is easier than you may think.
Forget all the watch ads you’ve seen in issues of Robb Report, The Rake or Forbes. Stop thinking about the watch you saw in that movie or on that celebrity. Pay no heed to popularity. James Bond might wear a Rolex Submariner and so might your boss, but unless you work as a diving instructor or plan to use its features, you’re wasting money on a timepiece that isn’t worth your attention. Should it become a part of your collection? Of course. Should it be an everyday watch? Not a chance.
An everyday watch should be reflective of your lifestyle, your career, and your personal style. If you wear suits or blazers all day, picking a watch that passes the cuff test and is simplistically elegant should be the priority. If you happen to wear a uniform and are very active in your free time, you may want something more rugged and sporty.
Ideally, we recommend that most men have at least two watches. They don’t have to be expensive, but they should be distinct styles. One should be a dress watch and the other, a casual sports watch. For most men, regardless of what they do or where they are, having both of these watches will fill their horological needs every day of the year. For that reason, we’ve broken this article up into two main categories where we’ll discuss both styles at various price points.
The Everyday Dress Watch
Pair it elegantly with a suit at the office, a tuxedo at the symphony, a blazer at the office party or a pair of chinos and a polo shirt on the weekend. The everyday dress watch is the most versatile timepiece in your wardrobe provided it’s not hitting the water or other extreme conditions.
Ideally, you want to try and select one that is made from the metal you most often wear. If you typically wear a ring, a belt or carry a money clip made of gold, consider gold. If your choice of metal is steel, pick one with steel. Of course, this can greatly impact the price, but it doesn’t have to be the deciding factor. What’s more important than the watch, is the band. Ideally, you’re going to want a leather strap over something that’s made of metal, rubber or nylon. Save those straps for the casual watch. Now you need to figure out whether to go with a black or a brown leather strap. For most of us, our wardrobe changes between black and brown shoes and belts. Ideally, your watch will change with it. If possible, select a timepiece that you can easily switch the strap on. Then you just need a second strap. However, if you can only go with one, we recommend black.
The face, or dial, of the watch, should be simple. Index markers or Roman numerals are fine, but there isn’t usually a need to have multiple complications. The simpler the dial is, the more you can wear it with. A white or cream dial is preferable over black or another color as it goes with anything and black dialed watches are typically reserved for evening wear. Here are few of our recommended watches, and we also urge you to take a look at our very in-depth Dress Watch Guide.
Timex Weekender – $30
It comes with various straps and bands as well as in a number of styles. The Timex Weekender is one watch that can be worn at the office or on the field. At a starting price of just $30, this preppy timepiece is perfect for starving students and those on modest budgets. Take a closer look -click here to buy one.
Bulova Dress – $90
For $215, this classic Calatrava-style watch can be yours. Its quartz movement might not appeal to all, but if price is your biggest factor, consider it. My wife wears one, and so does my son. Click here to learn more to buy one.
Stührling Gatsby – $100
A department store brand that is named after Max Stührling who lived in the 1800’s and gain experience Louis Audemars. Gatsby takes Tank stylings and creates a relatively well-built timepiece for the modern man on a budget. For $100 you can’t go wrong even though it is made in China.
Burberry Dress – $440
Burberry is well known for their clothing and some of their accessories. Not so much for their watches. However, this round dress watch is a great exception to the rule. It’s a classically styled timepiece with a name behind it that means something in certain circles. At under $500 it’s well worth every penny. CSilver and Round – click here for a closer look to buy one.
Hamilton Intra-Matic – $540
With an ETA 2892-2 automatic movement and clean lines, the Intra-Matic is a classic dress watch with a contemporary twist. Well-liked amongst collectors, it’s boardroom appropriate and passes the cuff test. Learn more about it here.
Nomos Tangente – $1900
Another incredibly simple design perfected by German watchmakers, the Tangente is a beautiful timepiece for any discerning gentleman. Nomos sent me a Tangente to review about a year ago, and what started out as a watch I was unsure about, quickly became one I didn’t want to take off my wrist. This watch is the man’s version of the little black dress. It works with everything. Click here for our in-depth Nomos Tangente Review.
Frederique Constant Slim Line – $2000
One of the best sub-$3000 watches on the market, Frederique Constant, is one of the only Swiss watchmakers in this price category that uses in-house automatic movements. This is one watch that should be priced higher than it is and a brand worth keeping your eye on. The watch is elegant, simplistic and a perfect size. Get your’s here.
Cartier Tank – $2500+
One of the most iconic dress watches ever made, the Cartier Tank is graceful and sophisticated. A favorite of royalty and world leaders, the Tank is recognizable the world over. It is the perfect dress watch. Learn all about the different models, history and everything you need to know in our Cartier Tank Watch Guide.
Vacheron Constantin Patrimony – $15,000 +
I have two favorite dress watches. The Calatrava and the Patrimony. Both are created by two members of the holy trinity of watchmakers. This watch needs no introduction. You can read it about it many of our watch articles, and it is perfect in design and mechanics. The question isn’t whether it is worthy of being worn on your wrist. The question is, are you worthy of wearing it on your wrist? If so, click here.
Patek Philippe Calatrava – $21,000+
My favorite dress watch and my second favorite watch of all time, the Calatrava is the pinnacle of dress watches. As I’ve said previously, it’s understated and yet completely refined, with silky Roman numerals on a creamy lacquered dial. The watch can only be described as perfection with the only embellishments being the Clous de Paris guilloché which is the hobnail pattern that accentuates its bezel. There is no timepiece quite like the Calatrava. Click here to find out yourself to buy one.
Once you get past the $25,000 mark, chances are you can afford to buy a few watches that you can change up as needed.
The Casual Sports Watch
Even the most dapper dandies like to have fun. Sven Raphael Schneider may wear a bow tie and jacket at the office or out to dinner, but when he’s playing racquetball, he’s dressed in gym clothes like everyone else. I enjoy wearing a tie during the day or when I leave the house, but I’m also a father and leave the dress clothes in my closet when I take my kids to the park. Most men who do enjoy dressing up, still partake in some activities that require a more rugged timepiece than a dress watch.
For other men, it’s the opposite. They may work in a very active environment, wear a uniform, or perform their duties in extreme environments. It’s when they get home at the end of the day that their spouse or the person they’re dating wants them to put on a tie and take them out for a romantic dinner or to the theater. That’s when the rugged sports watch comes off, and the aforementioned dress watch gets fastened to the wrist.
Here are some fairly rugged casual watches that can go pretty much anywhere.
Casio G-Shock – $40+
This watch can take a beating. A favorite among police officers, paramedics, military and guys who like to get physical, the G-Shock comes in various styles with about as many features as you can imagine. If you live on the hard knock streets and need a watch that can take a beating, this one will keep coming back ticking. Get your G-Shock here.
Victorinox Swiss Army AirBoss Mechanical – $500+
With a Swiss automatic movement, this watch is a great casual watch for the guy in jeans. It’s water resistant to 330ft and comes in a stainless steel case with a deployment-clasp bracelet. There’s nothing special about this hardworking watch, but it also won’t let you down. Click here to buy the Victorinox to get one.
Lum-Tec V Series V3 Phantom – $900
A relatively new and small company, Lum-Tec has developed a loyal following by members of the armed forces and various law enforcement agencies. A surprisingly tactical looking watch, it’s powered by a Swiss ETA 2824-2 automatic movement. The watch uses a specially designed tinted sapphire crystal with double-sided anti-reflective coatings and a threaded display caseback. It comes with two straps including one made of leather and one made of molded rubber. It’s a hardworking timepiece that’s ideal if you work in public service. Learn more – click here.
TAG Heuer Formula 1 Grande Date Black Dial Watch – $1200+
An entry into the world of luxury watches, this Tag Heuer is one casual timepiece that gives you a well-known luxury brand without the price tag. If that’s important to you, click here to get this watch that’s great for the racing enthusiast. Click here to get one.
Omega Seamaster – $2000+
The newest watch to grace the wrist of 007, the Seamaster is a world-class dive watch that should be at the top of your list if you live life on the water. Whether you’re under the sea or on the boat, the Seamaster is a top pick for the adventurer. On land, it will stick with you through the toughest terrain, and it outsells Rolex in many Asian markets. Learn more about this watch in our Omega Seamaster Watch Guide.
Breitling Navitimer – $4000+
This watch jumps up quickly in price, moving from just around $4000 upwards of $20,000. It all depends on what the watch is made out of and what model you get. In the end, the selling point of the line is that it is the world’s most popular watch amongst professional pilots. If you happen to be one, consider getting a Navitimer. This is my favorite Navitimer to buy one.
Rolex GMT Master II – $7000+
If you think the Speedmaster is the only watch to go to space, you’re wrong. There have been a few, and one of them was the Rolex GMT. This beast of a timepiece is one of the most popular Rolex watches sold to adventurers. Forget the Submariner you saw James Bond wear. Unless you’re deep sea diving, you don’t need one. The GMT Master II will meet all of your needs and go with you on every adventure. It’s our top pick in the casual/sports category. Get you Rolex GMT Master II here .
Best Overall EDC Watch
For some people, owning two watches isn’t an attractive option. Perhaps they want a luxury watch and can’t afford two, or maybe they just don’t see the need to have more than one watch. For that, we scoured our library and came up with the one timepiece we believe meets the needs of the man in the suit and the guy playing in the field.
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso – $4000+
Originally developed for polo players, this is one dress watch that’s designed to take a beating. In homage to its name, the Reverso is designed so the wearer can flip the watch around so the face of the watch is protected by the wrist and isn’t prone to damage. While the Reverso isn’t capable of being used underwater, it is an all-around sports watch that can easily be worn with a suit or evening wear. There are many styles available and you can choose watches with dual dials or just a protective steel plate. You can even have the timepiece customized. Overall, it is a sports watch that is still boardroom appropriate. Click here to get one today- prices start at $4,000 but you have at $6,000 you will get a lot of options.
There are thousands of watches we could suggest and hundreds we would recommend. This is a sampling we’ve come up with of what we think are the best EDC – EveryDayCarry watches for casual and business attire in a variety of price ranges.What’s your EDC watch?
What’s your EDC watch?