Guide to Men's Watches

Choosing the perfect watch for the man in your life may seem like an easy job, but when you start to look into it, you begin to realize just how vast the world of men’s watches is.

In order to help you decide what kind of watch is best suited to your boyfriend, husband, father or whoever it may be, we have put together a comprehensive guide to men’s watches. From the most common types of watches available, to tips on how to know what the man in your life appreciates, this guide will take you through it all.

Types of watches

The first thing to establish when choosing a watch for the man in your life is what type of watch you are looking for. There are different types of watches available, all with varying aesthetics, features and functions. In order to help you decide which watch is best, we have compiled a list of some of the most common types of watches and what they bring to the table.

Automatic watches

The first type of watch for your consideration is the automatic watch. The automatic watch is a sophisticated watch that uses impressive self-winding technology. They are powered by a mainspring and the watch hands are able to move thanks to an extensive gear system, but do not require the wearer to wind it up to keep it ticking. Instead, automatic watches register your movement throughout the day which subsequently winds up your watch during the day.

Although automatic watches work best when they are worn constantly, this should not deter you from investing in one even if you’re not going to wear it everyday. You can buy a watch winder alongside your watch that will simulate automatic movement to move your watch when you’re not wearing it in order to ensure it continuously remains wound. Keeping it wound is important not only so the time remains accurate when you choose to wear it, but also so that any other display feature remains accurate.

Mechanical watches

Mechanical watches have similar interiors to automatic watches. Again, they are powered by a mainspring which moves an extensive gear system. However, the main difference here is that they do not self-wind, instead, these watches are wound by hand. Once it has been hand wound, the mainspring on these mechanical watches slowly unwinds, which in turn moves the watches hands.

The quality of the mechanical movement in these kinds of watches will inform how smoothly the hand moves around the watch face as well as how accurate the time remains throughout the day. Like with most other watches, the price will inform the quality of the mechanics and how effortlessly the watch functions and performs.

Mechanical watches are the traditional watch so they are highly appreciated by individuals who have a knowledge of watches and are often considered a luxury watch. Watch enthusiasts who understand the history, engineering and craftsmanship of mechanical watches inevitably appreciate being gifted a mechanical watch.

Quartz watches

Quartz watches are the most common type of watch for the average person. These watches differ from automatic or mechanical watches as they are not powered by a mainspring, but instead are powered through a battery.

It’s called a quartz watch because in addition to the battery, there is a small quartz inside the watch. It functions as the electricity from the battery surges through the quartz which causes it to vibrate. The vibrations are converted into a pulse which then moves the hands.

Due to the fact that quartz watches are powered with electricity and a battery, it means that they have fewer moving parts on the inside. The lack of moving parts means a few things. Firstly, it means that if something goes wrong, it will not require intensive maintenance.

In addition, it means they are more durable and can therefore withstand more than mechanical or automatic watches can. These are therefore a good option to consider if you are buying a watch for a sportsman or a man who is particularly active.

Another key advantage to the less complicated manufacturing of quartz watches is that it means that they can be bought for cheap. Depending on what the intended use of the watch is, you can get quartz watches that range from just a few dollars to a couple hundred dollars. You are therefore likely to find a quartz watch that fits your budget.

Dress watches

Dress watches emerged in the early 20th century for upper-class men who wanted to make the transition from pocket watches to wristwatches. This upper-class sensibility has remained a constant for dress watches, as they can be used to dress up outfits and are often paired with suits. However, today the dress watch is worn by men from any background.

As for the aesthetics of this watch, they are usually very thin and come with a leather band. The face of the dress watch tends to display the time in hour indexes and can come in a plethora of different styles, such as saber-style or Roman numerals, making them easy to read. The face is usually in a simple case, although the more expensive high-end cases are made of things such as gold or silver.

A dress watch is a brilliant option if the man in your life is looking for a watch that has a classic style, it’s not too over the top but it can be used to dress up an outfit. Although dress watches do not pair very well with every day casual looks, they are a brilliant accessory for those occasions when you need to dress up just a little.

Dive watches

If your man is looking for the 007 aesthetic, the dive watch is the way to go. Popularized by the James Bond films, the dive watch is one of the most popular men’s watches today. They are medium-sized watches with metal bands and bold easy-to-read displays on the glass-encased face. The outside case of the dive watch is unique to this type of watch as it includes a rotating bezel.

One of the best features of the dive watch, as the name would suggest, is the fact that it is water-resistant. Most dive watches are safe to wear up to at least 100 m underwater, making it a brilliant choice if you are shopping for a man whose hobbies revolve around the water. In order to achieve these water-resistant properties, these watches are usually made of stainless steel, giving them a polished look.

Smart watches

Smart watches are the newest addition to the world of watches. In addition to being your traditional time telling watch, they are basically wearable little computers. Smart watches can do different things, and are rarely used as stand-alone devices.

Instead, they are paired up and synced with other technological devices, the most popular of which is the smartphone. When synced they have different functions, such as being able to send and receive phone calls, play music or simply use the calculator function.

As for aesthetics, smart watches are quite versatile. The bands used for smart watches can be made from an array of different materials, and can sometimes be interchangeable.

Smart watches are digitized and resemble a tiny smartphone with touchscreen capabilities. The displays themselves are completely customizable as you can alter the fonts, background, etc. A smart watch is the perfect gift for the tech savvy man.

Tips to find the perfect watch for your boyfriend, husband or father

Now that you know what some of the most popular types of watches are, here are some tips to help you further refine your search. There are a multitude of things that can go into making a decision about what watch will be best for the man in your life, so let us break it down for you.


Thinking about who the kind of person you’re buying a watch for is extremely important. Do they pride themselves on owning all the latest designer pieces or are they someone who will go for practicality over aesthetics? This is important to keep in mind when shopping for watches as there are a lot of different watch brands out there.

Undoubtedly, your budget will inform the kinds of brands that are accessible to you, but no matter the price range you are working with, you will be able to find a brand that has something you like.

If you’re looking to purchase a luxury watch, you will most likely be looking at brands such as Rolex, Breitling or TAG Heuer. If you’re looking for less expensive options that still look great but won't break the bank, you should look into brands such as Casio, Seiko, or Tissot.

Wrist Size

One thing that many people overlook when buying a watch is the importance of wrist size. Wrist to watch proportionality is extremely important. If you buy a watch that is too big or too small for your wrist, it will look obnoxious and out of place.

The easiest way for you to determine the watch size that the man in your life needs, is to simply eyeball it. As soon as he puts it on, it should be obvious if it’s too big or too small. Equally, if this is a surprise present, you could observe the current size of his watch and go off of that. However you do it, it’s important to keep proportionality in mind when shopping for watches.


The materials that a watch is made out of plays a large part in dictating its price. It will also dictate how usable it is and for how long it will last. When a cheap glass face is used, these watches can easily become destroyed and will end up being thrown away and not used as much as you would like.

There are three kinds of glass that you should look for when purchasing a watch:

  • Mineral glass is a common type that is highly resistant to abrasions and will protect your watch face from most external threats.

  • Sapphire crystal is similar to mineral glass but cannot take as much damage.

  • The least protective kind of glass that is commonly used is acrylic, which is light and shock resistant but scratches more easily.

A more expensive watch will be more durable and will have a longer life span. A cheaper one will not be as durable but may be more suited to your needs.


The straps of a watch is what gives it its essence since it largely determines the overall aesthetics of your watch. You should consider what kind of vibe you think the man you are buying for would like.

If you’re looking for a more suave and sophisticated look, go for a traditional leather strap. On the other hand, if you want a more modern look, you could opt for a metal strap to achieve that look.


As has been mentioned throughout, the quality of the watch that you buy will be dependent on the price. It’s therefore important to establish your budget as early as possible to ensure you are setting realistic expectations.

Although the watch world is known for its luxury watches, don’t let this dishearten you if you’re unable to afford $20,000 on a watch. There are plenty of affordable options that will allow you similar aesthetics and that you can wear with confidence.

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