More often than not, watches are the final piece of your outfit, but you don’t have to break the bank to get the ideal timepiece. If you wear a watch every single day it is worth buying something that you really like, and will stand the test of time (excuse the cliché).
Styles can range massively for men’s watches, from leather to metal straps, and from dress watches to dive watches. Some timepieces come with a simplistic design, while others are really bold and more bling.
Swiss-made watches in particular have a certain appeal, primarily due to the hand assembly and use of metal gears, but whether you’re looking for a watch from a company which has a long history in watchmaking, or something from a new, upcoming brand, there are plenty to choose from.
The size of the watch you choose is one of the most important factors and, on average, men’s watches have a diameter of 35mm. If you want a slightly bigger face, watches can stretch to around 46mm. Thickness is something worth looking at too and this is often correlated with the size of the face. The depth measurement looks at how thick the watch is on your wrist.
Another differentiating factor is the movement. An automatic movement, for instance, winds itself while worn and does not need a battery. It will however stop ticking if you don’t wear it for a period of time. A quartz movement, on the other hand, uses a battery as its power source and is considered to be the most accurate type of movement.
Whatever takes your fancy, we have looked at a range of watches, all of which are analogue, mentioned the movement and design, as well as how they feel on your wrist.
1. Movado Men’s Ultra Slim Watch: £479, WatchShop
This American watchmaker is well known for its simple designs, defined by the one dot at the 12 mark, symbolising the sun at high noon. This watch is a sleek, elegant, Swiss-made beauty – minimalistic, classy and with a nice calfskin strap. It is gold PVD-finished, and very thin measuring only 5.85mm with a 35mm diameter, so it feels incredibly light on the wrist. The watch doesn’t have any numbers or a second hand, and you’ll struggle to feel any movement whatsoever when wearing this timepiece. It’s powered by quartz movement, is water-resistant and comes with a two-year guarantee. With this watch, less is definitely more and it certainly feels like a higher-end product.
2. Tissot Men’s Visodate Automatic Watch: £395, WatchShop
This luxury Swiss watchmaker very rarely fails to please. A classic round shape, a sophisticated design and an automatic winding movement make this one of the best in its price range. The watch has an exhibition case back, so you can see the movement of the watch’s mechanism, a stainless steel case and a thin bezel. It is only 11.6mm thick, feeling comfortable on the wrist, and it’s very easy to tell the time. The Tissot Heritage Visodate comes in a range of designs – there is one with a black dial and strap, while others have Roman numerals. If you want a luxury watch and don’t want to (entirely) break the bank, this is definitely up there.
3. Swatch Men’s Sistem Earth Automatic Watch: £127, WatchShop
The Sistem Earth is an automatic watch and supports a remarkable 90-hour power reserve (that is, it will keep ticking for 90 hours when it is not on your wrist). The open back lets you see the mechanism at work and the wave-patterned dial and grained hands make the watch seem a lot more expensive than it is. It is housed in a 42mm-wide case and crafted from stainless steel with an attractive matte finish. With a depth of 14mm, it does feel slightly chunkier and heavier on your wrist than you would think, which isn’t necessarily a criticism but is certainly worth noting. There is a lot of variation in this collection, with both bracelet and leather strap versions available.
4. William L Vintage Style Chronograph: £163.56, William L
Established in 1985, William L is a slightly newer watch brand than the others mentioned here, but it means you can buy a vintage-style chronograph watch with a modern twist. It is on the cheaper end of the market but still has an elegant feel. It has a quartz movement and comes in a stainless steel, polished case. It has been given the IP rose gold treatment, giving it an expensive feel and has diameter of 40mm, so doesn’t feel too big on the wrist. The red and blue nylon strap does feel slightly cheap, but we think the face itself makes up for it. It comes with a tachymeter scale, telemeter, date, small second hand and 60-minute counter.
5. Hugo Boss Men’s Grand Prix Chronograph Watch: £349, WatchShop
Hugo Boss’s watches are reliable and stylish and you can’t really go wrong with one. The Grand Prix Chronograph is another example of a watch that doesn’t push the boat too far out in terms of design but still looks the part. It fits well on the wrist, although the stainless steel casing and metal bracelet mean it is slightly heavier than other watches. Powered by a quartz movement, the watch is 43mm in diameter and 11mm thick, so it’s one for those who prefer their wristwear on the larger side.
6. Hamilton Khaki Navy Frogman Auto: £870, Hamilton
If you’re a keen diver, this is the watch for you. The Khaki Navy Frogman is designed for that purpose and the hour markers and hands are incredibly clear when you’re under water. It is offered in a 46-millimeter-wide titanium case and has a thick, anti-reflective-coated sapphire crystal. The watch has an 80-hour power reserve and automatic movement. It fits incredibly snugly on the wrist and won’t move off your wrist when diving. Although it is rather large and a bold timepiece, it still has the finer details you’d expect, including the unidirectional rotating bezel to track elapsed time while underwater. It is water resistant up to 300 metres and also has a helium escape valve for regulating internal/external pressures experienced while diving. Hamilton is known for diving watches and if you’re after a model which is water resistant to a greater depth, it has watches which you can use when diving up to 1000 metres.
7. Paul Smith Black Ma: £179, WatchShop
This understated, lightweight watch from the high-end menswear brand comes in a very slim 7.5mm case and is powered by quartz movement. On our favourite design, there are black dials and multi-coloured markers at 12, three, six and nine, which adds a hint of character to the face. The design is intentionally simple and there’s certainly a sophisticated feel to this timepiece. A nice touch is the Paul Smith signature embossing on the buckle, but a definite criticism is the geometric etching on the back of the case – it feels rough and is a bit of a disturbance on the wrist.
8. TW Steel Maverick: £289, The Watch Hut
TW Steel, a Dutch watchmaker founded in 2005, is best known for its large watches and chronographs. This watch comes with a polished bezel, a sweeping second hand and a leather strap with a vintage feel and bold stitching. The watch itself, powered by a quartz movement, doesn’t feel particularly heavy on the wrist but the one criticism is that the numbers are probably a little too large in relation to the watch face. This unfortunately overpowers the design and makes it seem much chunkier than it is. That said, it is in an incredibly bold piece and if you want a watch that stands out, this is definitely it. Available in 48mm and 45mm diameters, the watch was designed alongside a motorcycle (if you were in the market).
9. Links of London Brompton Black Chronograph: £395, Selfridges
If you’re after a retro-looking watch, this one has a Seventies style to it and is available in 20 different versions. It feels a lot more expensive than it is. The striking watch face gives it a distinctive look, and if you’re after a bold statement watch this is certainly up there with the best of them. It has a Miyota 6S20 quartz movement and a stainless steel, black-plated dial. The leather strap feels luxurious and at a diameter of 44mm it isn’t too big.
10. Luminox Authorised For Navy Use ANU 4220 Rubber Strap: £460, First Class Watches
Luminox watches are designed with the Navy Seals in mind, which makes them among the toughest, most durable timepieces on the market. It is powered by a quartz movement and the strap is made from rubber, which is more comfortable than you might think. It is definitely bulkier and larger than most watches, with a 13mm depth and 45mm width, but that gives it the rugged look. The face even comes with a message of assurance: “Authorized for Navy use”.
The Verdict: Men’s watches
For a great quality Swiss-made watch, which also looks fantastic, we like the Movado Men’s Ultra Slim Watch. If you want to spend slightly less, the Tissot is not far behind. If you want a timepiece that is bold and makes more of a statement, go for the TW Steel.
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