Face it fellas, you like your arm jewelry as much as the ladies like their bling. And if there’s one truly indispensable accessory that every man of distinction has to have, it’s a classic, well-made, wristwatch. Any guy who says that he would never buy or wear an expensive watch probably isn’t being honest with you or himself.
A wristwatch says a lot about a man. It signals his taste, degree of success and personality. And for those who care about the finer things in life, classic men’s watches remain the rule rather than exception. Despite the advent of pricey smart watches, such as the recently unveiled Apple Watch, analog continues to be the preferred format for most men hoping to make a statement of good taste. It remains to be seen how many Apple Watch Hermès make it into the better watch collections.
Men of all backgrounds know that they have arrived when they invest in their first quality watch. And let’s be clear, a quality watch is indeed an investment: also in yourself. So before you drop thousands of dollars on a watch, you need to carefully consider your options. A good gent’s watch may well appreciate in value over time; a lesser quality definitely will not.
But no worries. We’re here to help you decide on what kind of watch to buy, and have taken a close look at trends for 2015 and beyond to guide you through this important and hopefully, life-altering investment decision.
It’s all about the face
When it comes to watch face options, tradition trumps novelty. In addition to the classic white, colors such as black, blue and even red are also safe choices.
Also look for more use of precious stones and gems as an added value. Diamond insets are a given. Pearls are also a nice touch. But so too are meteorite stones: their use on the dial has been around for a few decades now, but we’re liking many of the current options. Established luxury brands that add value with these space rocks include the Jaeger-LeCoultre, Rolex and Invicta. These pieces are rare. And, let’s face it, they make great conversation starters as well.
Vintage never really went out of style
When it’s time to tell time, form follows function. If you’re a pilot you probably prefer a classic aviator style. A yachtsman? Then you’re looking for something in the chronograph family. A diver? Well, you get the picture. The point is, we’re seeing the big brands sticking with what they know works, and that’s simple design with clean lines and understated features that prefer elegance and timelessness more than flash.
Vintage styles and features speak to the timeless nature of timepieces. They are definitely intended to be passed down from generation to generation – all while retaining their value and aesthetic appeal. You generally can’t go wrong with the classically inspired watch styles that have already stood the test of time. So if you’re looking for good appreciation, classic vintage styles make a very smart bet. Look at brands like Omega, Longines, for the tried and true. You can also find great options today with TAG Heuer, Tudor and Universal Genève.
2015 saw a return to classical watch sizes. Hockey-puck-sized timepieces, so popular throughout the 90s and 2000s, are still around but have lost some of their appeal.
When we talk about watch sizes we’re generally discussing the size of the watch casing. Consider something in the tried-and-true 44 millimeter range if you want a more traditional and elegant piece of arm jewelry. The larger, cuff dominating models certainly make a powerful statement, but can indicate a degree of over-compensation in some people’s minds—fairly or unfairly so.
There’s certainly no orthodoxy necessary in determining the right watch size. Wear whatever size appeals to you most based on usage and lifestyle. But if elegance is what you’re looking for, you might want to stick with relatively modest watch sizes.
Swiss-made still rules
Swiss made, mechanized and automatic watches remain the preferred watch for most guys. There’s just something about a Swiss engineered timepiece that exudes confidence in reliable performance and lasting quality.
Perhaps that’s why Swiss watches continue to dominate the luxury watch space and Switzerland produces half of the world’s watches and the lion’s share of pricier timepieces.
An unparalleled timekeeping history, a unique ecosystem of precision movements and craftsmanship, and the ultimate list of iconic brands all add up to Swiss quality in the minds of discerning consumers.
Personalization: you are the brand
Here in 2015 there are a lot of gorgeous options available right off the shelf. And that’s great, because you don’t need to have a PhD in design in order to make a good watch choice. The only thing is, a lot of other guys may opt for the exact same watch to wear.
That’s why personalization and customization of quality watches is also on the rise.
Of course, you can always alter a watch’s appearance by changing the strap. But some companies are taking branded watches and giving them a twist, adding unique colors to or incorporating other graphical elements on the face. Other upstarts eschew the entire branding process and allow you to customize the design of your own watch using quality Swiss movements.
Gentlemen: what will your next watch be?
Michael Wilkens is Founder of Wilkens.