Men’s Wristwatch Buying Guide: What You Need to Know

While there is an increase in the number of men wearing classic jewellery, a watch remains every man's best accessory. Owning a quality wristwatch is more than a symbol of status. It can reveal your character and your appreciation for tradition and craftsmanship.

It can, however, be challenging to choose the best men's wristwatch with the overwhelming options in the market. This article covers the basics you need to know about men's wristwatches with recommendations to help narrow your search. Read on.

Main Types of Men’s Wristwatches

Although watches are constantly evolving thanks to advances in technology, most men's wristwatches fall into five broad categories. Here is a breakdown of each.

Dress Watches

The dress watch’s popularity grew in the early 20th century when many people started transitioning from pocket watches to wristwatches. The subtle design of these timepieces focuses on simplicity, class, and sophistication.

They are typically thin to fit in a dress shirt's cuff, use simple symbols on the face with little to no complications, and usually have leather straps. Dress watches are best for formal occasions.

Best dress watches on Amazon:

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Emporio Armani Men's Dress Watch

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Seiko Men's Analogue Quartz Watch

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Orient Men's '2nd Gen. Automatic Dress Watch


Field Watches

The field watch's predecessor was designed for soldiers during WWI. Reliable functionality was imperative considering the rigours of battle, a feature that makes this type of watch stand out. The modern models are more stylish but retain the desired functionality.

Field watches have small to medium cases with easy-to-read dials and enhancements (illuminable hands) to allow reading at night. They are also easy to set and have very minimal complications.

Best field watches on Amazon:

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Citizen Men's Analogue Eco-Drive Watch

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Infantry Mens Analogue Military Watch 

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Timex Men's Expedition Scout Watch


Dive Watches

The name of this type of watch relates to its main feature - the ability to withstand water. This model would make the best pick for you if you often operate near or in water. Since the watch is water-resistant, the material from which it's made has to be corrosion resistant as well. These include stainless steel and titanium.

The cases in most of these watches are medium in size and have easy-to-read hour dials with no complications. To withstand the pressure of the water when used underwater, manufacturers use hardened glass or sapphire on the face.

Best dive watches on Amazon:

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Invicta Pro Diver Men's Automatic Watch

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Momentum Men's Torpedo Dive Watch 

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Cressi Manta Coloroma Dive Watch


Pilot Watches

Wristwatches have been used in aviation for years since their invention. The pilot watch is one of the first specialized men's wristwatches. A significant feature of the pilot watch is a chronograph - to help pilots calculate speed and distance travelled.

While most pilot watches don't have many standard design elements, most are medium to large, are easy to read, and feature a chronograph and sometimes the date as the only complications. 

Driving Watch

Driving watches date back to the 1930s - when racers embraced the idea of accurate timekeeping and tracking. Years later, these watches were upgraded with additional features such as a chronograph and a tachymeter.

Driving wristwatches are usually medium to large with bold, easy-to-read dials. The main types of complications included are a chronograph and the date. Since they are flashier with trendy finishes, driving watches are ideal for casual wear.

Best pilot and driving watches on Amazon:

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Scuderia Ferrari Men's Analogue Quartz Watch

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Tommy Hilfiger - 1791476 Watch

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Casio Edifice Mens Chronograph Watch


Mechanical, Automatic, and Quartz Watches Explained

mechanical watches

The movement of a watch describes the mechanism that makes a watch's hands move on its face. Ideally, it's how it works and, fundamentally, how it keeps time. The three types of movements are mechanical, automatic, and quartz.


Movement in a mechanical watch is caused by a coiled wire (mainspring) that slowly unwinds while moving the second hand smoothly and steadily across the watch’s face. As such, the longer the wound mainspring, the longer your timepiece will keep working.

Mainsprings measure about 9 to 13 inches long, and once the unwinding is complete and the watch stops, you need to wind the mainspring to get the timepiece to work again.

You can tell that such a design requires attention to detail, refinement, and top-level craftsmanship to ensure smoothness and accuracy. Bear in mind that not all mechanical movements are created the same.


Automatic and mechanical movements both use a mainspring to move the gears. However, winding in an automatic watch is caused by your wrist movements while wearing the watch.

Here is how it works; a small weight inside the watch (‘rotor’) is connected to the mainspring. It moves as you move your wrist while wearing a wristwatch. Consequently, these motions cause the winding of the mainspring in the watch.

You can use a watch winder – a small device that moves the watch in a circular motion – when you are not wearing it to keep the mainspring wound. These watches also have a slipping clutch to prevent over-winding.


Accuracy, convenience, and affordability are among the top qualities of quartz watches. Unlike the other two movements that use a wound mainspring, the quartz movement gets its power from a small battery.

The electricity from the battery causes a small quartz crystal in the watch to vibrate 32,768 times per second. This vibration passes through a circuit in the form of a pulse – the distinctive ticking sound. Quartz movements have fewer moving parts and are, as such, used in most 'field' and 'sport' watches.

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