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A complete guide to styling men’s watches for all occasions

The watch is just about the most important accessory in the male wardrobe. It serves as the one piece that can make or break an entire style. If it looks out of place, then it serves as a distraction. Get it right and everything locks in seamlessly together.  It can truly be the defining statement on what you are trying to express through your fashion. Follow our indispensable tips of how to style your timepiece correctly, so you will know what to keep in mind when perfecting your look.

1
Black Tie

Black tie events were considered so formal, over a century ago, that wearing a watch to one was considered rude. This was so one could concentrate on the conversations to be had on hand as opposed to worrying about the time. Although times have changed, simplicity is key when it comes to how your timepiece styles with you dinner suit. A good dress watch must not at all be flashy. It will have a plain white face, small in diameter and preferably no complications. A thin black or brown leather strap is all that is needed and the most formal of dress watches are the ones that only show hours, minutes, seconds and maybe the date. A Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Dual Time Dress Watch or a Cartier Drive de Cartier Men’s Dress Watch are perfect examples of understated sophistication.

2
Business Formal

Wearing the correct watch with your business attire can make all the difference in your work. It shows effort and thought has been put into your look and hence caring about presentation. Looking the part will help you exude confidence and style to those who look up to you and those who you need to win their respect of. Either way, everyone will be impressed. A business watch should be a lot more practical and mechanical than your dress watch. It can include complications but it should still look formal and not overbearing. Pilot’s watches and field watches are perfect for the formal attire but if you are using a diver’s watch, then do change the rubber strap to a dark leather one. We must not forget the watches are made for specific professional use too and can look severely out of place when not adapted to a certain style. The Rolex Submariner range or the Omega Speedmaster are both great examples of a practical timepiece that display a sense of professionalism.

3
Smart Casual

Casual styles are really very personal but if you stick to a few rules, your look can be optimised. In most cases, watches that have a metal band with slightly larger faces, making them easier to read and appear less formal. Look to use metal bands, as they are also a lot more versatile than leather ones and can be applied to a majority of styles. Unlike formal watches, you can also begin to look for preferences in colour and boldness in design. Make sure that your colours compliment your outfit and don’t distract. Whilst dress watches will usually have Roman numerals, casual timepieces can have vibrant Arabic ones. A relaxed, light coloured suit worn with no tie can be complimented with a chrono, a pilot or smart field watch.

4
Street Wear

The watch is a major player to street fashion, more so vital than a mere accessory. Here is where you can have some fun. The bolder the design and the larger the face, the better. Gold is good. If you can’t muster the confidence to pull off a completely gold watch then have it as a highlight in a two tone strap. It’s one of the only looks where you will be forgiven for having both gold and silver on your wrist. Street wear can also incorporate a lot of retro as well as military design elements. Don’t be afraid to apply this to your timepiece. Sometimes the latest timepieces in fashion are not the best bet. Instead look at vintage watch faces or straps that stand out and even contrast your clothing. The watch then becomes a statement piece as opposed to just elevating your style.

5
Metal on Metal, Leather on Leather

The material of your strap can easily be complemented by your outfit’s accessories and can make a look come together a lot tighter. Just as with your belt and shoes, try to match your watch’s band along with their tones. A black watch band should be worn with black shoes and belt; a brown band with a brown belt and shoes. This is when interchangeable straps come in handy as your timepiece can be adjusted to your wardrobe. The same goes for your watch face. Metals complement each other to create a neater style, especially for business or business casual outfits. If your belt buckle or jackets buttons are gold then wear a watch with a gold case. If your wearing silver rings or bracelets then wear a watch with a steel case. Nothing has to be exact but getting it as close as possible really smartens one’s style.

Tengku Muzhaffar Petra
Watches and Culture Editor