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How Do I Choose a Men’s Watch?

Posted by Nicholas Crusie on

How Do I Choose a Men’s Watch?

The right watch that a man wears is more than just a piece of jewelry. At Jack Mason, we believe that a man’s watch should reflect both who he is today, as well as the man he is becoming. It’s an integral part of a man’s style, and because of that, the wearer should take care when choosing a watch. 

In this article, we’re going to go through everything you need to know when choosing a men’s watch.

What Watch Style Should I Choose?

The first thing you need to consider when buying a watch is the style of the watch in question. There are a few general styles to consider including a dress watch, field watch, and chronograph. Each of these can be narrowed down to a more specific style, but choosing one of these categories will set you in the right direction. 

Dress Watch

The dress watch is a classic silhouette for a man’s timepiece, unlike a clunky smart watch and other casual watches. A dress watch is simple, clean, and elegant, like James Bond. The defining features you’ll typically see are minimalist face design, clean details, classic watch case, and simplicity. 

This is the kind of wristwatch that is meant to accompany a three-piece suit or be worn at a dinner party. You’ll often see all-metal dress watches in precious metals like a gold watch, silver watch, or stainless steel, but you can also seamlessly swap in a leather strap or watch band. 

For a more traditional dress watch look, check out the Canton Day-Date. The type of watch with gold and silver accents make this a timeless and iconic piece that you just can’t go wrong with. 

Field Watch

Another timeless watch style is the field watch. It gets its name from its original use. The field watch is not dissimilar from the watches soldiers would wear on the battlefield to stay synchronized in their maneuvers. 

Today the core concept remains the same. The field watch is durable, functional, can tell time, and built to take a beating. 

The Solar is a perfect example of this. The solar powered watch was chosen for it’s lifespan, use of earth's most available resource, and for it’s subtle encouragement to get outside and recharge.

Field watches are the perfect watch for the person who likes a little adventure in their life. While you certainly can wear one to a special occasion, the watches are built for the outdoors.

A good field watch will last you a lifetime of hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities. And on top of that, it still looks great and is suitable for plenty of indoor occasions, too.

Chronograph

Last but not least is the chronograph. Technically, a chronograph is a watch function that you’ll see across a few different styles, but it’s worth pointing out as its style.

A chronograph is a watch that has built-in complications that give it additional features. Typically, a chronograph watch will have standard timekeeping, but it will also have additional dials to keep track of separate hours, minutes, and seconds.

Before the rise of digital stopwatches, athletes would use chronographs to time themselves on runs or in other sports. The sports watch can track time separately to function as a stopwatch, or even to help you calculate time or be a tachymeter with distance in some cases with a little math.

The Halyard is our best-selling chronograph - and for good reason. It’s got a classic tan-and-white look with easy-to-read dials on the face. We love this watch, and if you’re looking for a chronograph, we think you will too.

Other Styles

We would be remiss not to mention a few other watch styles, including the aviator (or pilot watch) watch, the dive watch, and the racing watch to name a few. There are distinctions among these that make them different, but broadly they fall into one of the three main categories.

Pilot’s watches are similar to field watches, but they can take on a variety of looks. The most distinguishing feature is that they are easy to read. They also include moon phases and time zones so the pilot can keep track as they cross time zones, instead of having to look at their smartphone. You’ll often see white roman numerals on a black face, for this reason, to make it easier for the pilot to see in the cockpit

Diving watches usually look more like a traditional dress watch. However, you’ll find that they are always water-resistant (hence the name) and are usually made of some kind of metal that can hold up to extended periods underwater.

When it comes to racing watches, they can take on a lot of different looks, but they will always include a chronograph. Drivers used these watches to time their laps, so they needed the stopwatch feature that comes with a chronograph complication.

The style of watch you choose ultimately comes down to personal preference. There isn’t one that’s better than the other. Each has its purpose, and you have to determine which watch is best for you.

Which Watch Movement is Best?

Another important element to consider when choosing a watch is the movement. This is a word that watchmakers use to describe how the watch works. In general, there are three types of watch movements: manual, quartz movement, and automatic.

Manual

Manual and automatic movements are both types of mechanical watch movements. With a manual watch, you have to physically wind the watch yourself to keep the mainspring tight and give the watch power.

Any watch that requires you to wind the crown every couple of days is a manual watch. These movements have no other way to keep themselves powered.

Pros:

  • Manual watches are inexpensive to make
  • You do get a mechanical movement, which is preferred by many people
  • Manual movements are extremely common

Cons:

  • You have to keep the watch manually wound if you want it to keep time
  • If you don’t wear the watch for a couple of days, it will be dead the next time you want to put it on
  • There is no way to keep the watch going outside of winding it yourself.

Quartz

Quartz watch movements became popular in the mid-20th century. Watchmakers found a way to create watches that keep accurate time with a digital movement.

Quartz watches have a small quartz crystal inside that vibrates at a specified frequency. This keeps the watch moving and helps it keep accurate time. However, the crystal is powered by a battery that needs to be replaced often.

Pros:

  • Well-made quartz watches keep time just as well or better than mechanical watches and are incredibly accurate
  • Quartz watches are the cheapest movement to put into a watch, as they require the least craftsmanship
  • These watches are more durable than most mechanical watches since there are a lot fewer moving parts

Cons:

  • On a quartz watch, the second hand “ticks” around the watch face. In contrast, mechanical watch movements give you a smooth rotation of the second hand, which is usually preferable. 
  • Quartz watches have not been around as long as mechanical watches, so you lose some of the history that comes with a luxury watch

Automatic

Automatic watches are a favorite of ours here at Jack Mason. They function similarly to manual watch in terms of how the movement works, but they require no winding of the crown.

They can harness the kinetic energy of your wrist swinging back and forth to maintain tension on the mainspring. This was revolutionary technology when originally invented, and it continues to be a favorite among watch lovers everywhere.

Pros:

  • As long as you wear them consistently, automatic watches wind themselves as you wear them
  • The second-hand moves smoothly around the face, which is a beauty to see
  • You don’t need a battery to power an automatic watch

Cons:

  • If you aren’t wearing the watch every day, you’ll need to keep it on a watch winder. If you don’t, it will be dead the next time you go to wear it. 
  • While they are accurate most of the time, over time the watch may start to lose accuracy and need a few tune-ups over its lifetime.
  • Automatic movements are typically the ones with the most expensive price tags.

Each watch movement has its benefits, but again, it comes down to your personal preference. We recommend considering an automatic watch, as the legacy and prestige that comes with an automatic movement is something you don’t get with other watches.

How Do I Choose Between Men’s Watches I Like?

Once you’ve done your research and determined the style of watch you want to get, there are still likely dozens of options available. It can be difficult to choose, but you just have to find the watch that best suits you and your personality.

You can also buy a few different watches. We know that different occasions may call for different watches, so don’t be afraid to experiment with your choices.

Purchasing a men’s watch is exciting, and we know you want to find something that uniquely represents you and your style. Take some time and browse our collections at the watch brand Jack Mason. We think you’ll find something that suits you perfectly.


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