4 style mistakes you may be making with your watch

First published: 04-10-2017

A man smiling wearing a blue suit

Your choice of watch tells others a lot about you: from your personal sense of style or ability to accessorise to your interests. So it makes sense to ensure any style mishaps aren't causing a communication breakdown.

There are four main style mistakes people make when it comes to watches, all of which are easily avoidable with just a little knowledge.

  1. Styling a casual watch at a formal event

Granted, there are some watches that let you transition from day to evening in style, but many are best for one or the other. Wearing a sports watch may be fine during the day, but wearing one to a black-tie dinner, for example, is a definite no-no.

Historically, wearing a watch at all at a formal event was considered rude. Today, the wearing of a watch with a tuxedo or evening gown is more acceptable, but the watch in question should always be one of refined elegance.

The general rule of thumb for evening-wear watches is the simpler the better. A modest leather strap with an understated dial is ideal, although ladies, in particular, can also get away with a slim-fitting bracelet strap. Roman numerals or basic markers rather than obvious numbers give a more formal feel.

Metals or jewelled embellishments should be classy and match any other jewellery worn, such as cufflinks for men and earrings and necklaces for women. Platinum and white gold are the most appropriate, although a subtle yellow gold can also work if it is properly coordinated.

  1. Assuming all good watches are expensive

While it is true to say that fantastic Swiss-made mechanical watches are expensive, it is less true to say that a good quality watch must cost a lot of money. There are many brands at the more accessible end of the scale that offer technical and aesthetic merits, such as Casio, Nixon, or Skagen.

The idea is to build your watch wardrobe as you progress in your career, so each watch represents a specific time of life and gets progressively more expensive as you get older.

  1. Not understanding watch functions

Many of the watches on today's market feature myriad functions beyond the simple telling of the time. Some of these are useful in everyday life, while others will have specific purposes that may only be useful sometimes.

If your watch is full of features you either don't use or know how to use, you're not really making the most of your choice. Before you buy, some of the most common features you need to understand are:

  • Chronograph - The chronograph function on your watch is essentially a timer or stopwatch. It will have anywhere between one and three buttons and let you record time elapsed without affecting the working of the watch dial.
  • Chronometer - Not to be confused with chronograph, a chronometer label on your watch means it has been certified to meet precise Swiss watchmaking standards.
  • Date feature - One of the most common additional functions is a date feature or perpetual calendar, letting you know the day of the week and date of the year.
  • Moonphase - A moonphase display shows the lunar phases throughout the year.
  • Water resistance - Water resistant watches will not necessarily be waterproof. The levels of resistance vary, from resistance to splashes and rain to suitability for saturation diving. If you plan to wear your watch for swimming, diving, water-sports or other marine activity, you need to check the degree of water resistance is appropriate for your chosen activity.
  • World times - Many watches will have multiple time zone dials within the main dial, letting you know at a glance what time it is in some of the world's major cities. It's ideal for frequent travellers or those who regularly do business with people in other countries.
  • Light/luminous dials - If you often need to know what time it is in dark or low-light situations, you may want a back-lit dial or luminous hands.
  • Alarm - An alarm function is great either as a wake-up call or as a gentle reminder that something needs doing.
  1. Not maintaining your watch properly

No matter how robust your watch, it won't be indestructible. If you don't care for your watch properly, the inner workings will eventually experience wear. A well-maintained watch, however, is one of the few things that truly holds its value, so taking care of it not only ensures you have a timepiece that works and looks great but also lets you view each watch as an investment.

Many watch manufacturers offer maintenance services provided you can authenticate your purchase in some way, otherwise an independent watch repair shop should be able to refurbish or repair your watch when required. Many Watch Shop watches come with a manufacturer or brand guarantee to see you through the first few months or years of wear.

This isn't an exhaustive list of horological faux pas, but if you dodge these pitfalls you're unlikely to be left red-faced by a watch face style mistake.


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