The watch that a man chooses to wear reflects not only who is, but who he wants to become. The choice in purchasing a luxury watch should be uniquely yours. But it can be difficult to know what to look for when you want to buy a watch.
You have to consider the aesthetics, the quality, the craftsmanship, the price point, and more anytime you want to purchase a watch.
In this article, we’re going to walk you through exactly what to look for when buying a men’s watch including how to judge a watch’s quality, where to look for watches, and how to determine if a watch is a good fit for you.
A Brief History on Men’s Watches
People have been using pocket watches for hundreds of years, but the idea of a wristwatch is relatively recent. Large pocket watches started gaining in popularity around the 1700s.
However, watchmakers didn’t start putting them on bracelets for the wrist until the 1910s. At that time, soldiers in World War I needed a reliable way to tell time without having to pull something out of their pocket.
So, swiss watchmakers began creating what we know today as the wristwatch. At first, people thought they were a fad that would go away after a few years. However, a quick look at the wrists of people you pass on the street would show just the opposite.
In fact, watch sales are expected to grow by nearly 6 percent heading into 2021. As watches continue to be a staple of our culture, it’s important to know exactly what you’re looking for when you go to buy one, as there are so many different options on the market, like eco-watches that are powered by the sun.
How to Choose Men’s Watch Aesthetics
The first thing you consider when purchasing a watch is usually what it looks like. At Jack Mason, we believe that a man’s watch should reflect both the man he is, as well as the man he hopes to become.
There isn’t a “right answer” when it comes to the way your watch looks. You just need to find something that you really like and that meshes with your style. If you don’t like the way it looks, you won’t wear it—no matter how much you paid for it.
Given how many different styles and brands of watches there are out there, you need to have an idea of what you’re looking for before you start shopping. First, think about what style of watch you’re looking for.
Styles of Men’s Watches
There are a few different styles of men’s watches that you will commonly see. These include dress, aviation, field, diving, and racing watches. Each of these watches has its own unique look and feel.
The dress watch is about as classic as it gets. They usually have a slim face with a thin wristband. You should be able to easily slip the watch in and out of a dress shirt cuff.
This style of watch is classic, and every man should have at least one in his closet. Check out our Heritage collection if you’re looking for a clean, classic dress watch. If you don’t already have at least one, it’s a great investment.
You can wear dress watches with anything, but they especially pair well with a well-tailored suit. This is the kind of watch you want to wear out to a nice dinner or on a date. They’re elegant, minimal, and timeless.
Aviation (Pilot) Watch
Another timeless watch style is the pilot’s watch. Although this style of watch does not a specific defining feature, there are certain elements you’ll notice are common among aviation watches.
For example, they will typically have large, easy-to-read dials. Function and ease of use are the priorities with this style of watch.
Having been created for pilots to use while flying, the idea is to have a watch that you can read in any kind of light or environment. Pilots during the war used their watches to track time, and in some cases, they used them to track distance.
Although not always present, you’ll often find chronographs on this style of watch. To put it simply, a chronograph watch is a type of watch that also has a stopwatch built into it. The wearer is able to track time, and in some cases use other complications of the watch to track distance as well. This was incredibly useful for pilots.
The field watch that you can purchase today is not unlike the old trench watches that soldiers wore during World War I. These watches were designed to be rugged, durable, and functional, while also still looking good.
You can see these design features in the field watches of today, as well. They are typically made of highly durable materials like stainless steel and are fitted to a leather strap. Today, they’re a great choice for an outdoorsman or someone who likes to adventure. These watches can really take a beating.
Another common style of watch is the diving watch. As the name suggests, the idea behind these watches was to create something that could be worn underwater.
A good diving watch should be able to withstand significant water pressure and remain visible even in little-to-no light.
Take a look at our best seller Seamount here at Jack Mason. The bright-colored face and solid stainless steel bracelet construction mean you’ll be able to take that watch down into the depths with you without any worries.
Last but not least in terms of watch styles is the racing watch. The biggest defining feature of a racing watch is the chronograph.
These sport watches were used to help racers time their laps and determine the distance they were driving. Before the invention of smartphones and digital timers, these new arrivals were essential to any motorsport enthusiasts.
They also have a classic, timeless look that you just can’t go wrong with.
If you want something a bit sportier, there are even touchscreen digital watches and sports watches with silicone straps or rubber straps that are perfect for sports, the water, and the outdoors.
How to Determine Watch Quality
Once you’ve determined the style of watch you want to buy, now it’s time to find a good, high-quality timepiece. This can be hard to determine, but there are a few things you can look for that will be key indicators of quality craftsmanship.
There are three different styles of watch movements—manual, automatic, and quartz. Each of these has their pros and cons, but most luxury watches are going to have an automatic movement.
This means that the watch uses the kinetic energy from your swinging arm to keep the watch charged and keeping time. These watches will also usually have a second hand that moves non-stop instead of “ticking” from second to second.
Manual watches are similar, but they require you to turn the crown manually in order to power the watch. With quartz watches, time is kept by a quartz crystal and battery within the watch.
In general, quartz watches are cheaper to manufacture than automatic watches, but there are exceptions to this. If you really want to purchase a watch that’s going to last, we recommend going with an automatic bracelet watch.
There are a few different materials used for the windows of a watch face. Some are made of glass, others acrylic, and some are made of sapphire crystal. The material your watch uses will determine both its longevity as well as it’s resistance to scratches.
At Jack Mason, we use sapphire crystal in all of our watch faces. While not a necessity, it certainly will help your watch last much longer. If you’re going to spend the money on a luxury timepiece, it’s worth buying something that’s going to last you.
Men’s Watch Prices
Lastly, we want to briefly touch on the price points of men’s watches. This is a difficult topic to address, as they range anywhere from $10 to $100,000. The amount of money that you spend on a watch is ultimately up to you and your budget, but there are some things to keep in mind.
After a certain price, you start paying more for the name and status that comes with a particular watch instead of the timepiece itself. That price can vary, but that’s the reason Jack Mason watches are as affordable as they are.
We want to make sure that you can get the best quality possible at a reasonable price. Most luxury watchmakers charge much more than they should be, given the quality of their watches. If you can, try to avoid overpriced watches that will max out your credit card and get something that gives you a decent value for the quality that you’re getting.
When it comes to what you should look for when buying a men’s watch, the ultimate deciding factor is whether or not you like it. You should absolutely love your watch, and it should reflect both who you are and who you are becoming.
Just because all of your friends like a specific watchmaker like Rolex, Cartier, or Movado, doesn’t mean you have to. Buy something that fits you and your style and makes you feel good about the watch you’re wearing -- whether that's a limited edition gunmetal smartwatch with a chic black dial or a classic rose gold leather strap watch. At the end of the day, that’s really the only thing that matters.