It used to be the case that a watch was for life. You’d be bought one to commemorate some milestone – your 18th or 21st birthday for example or your graduation – and, until it finally gave up the ghost, that would be the only watch you’d ever wear.
Not anymore. Now you’re encouraged to think about your watch in the same way you’d think about any other accessory in your life. However, before we start to look at what should be in your wardrobe, we must cover some ground rules.
1. A sports watch is not an acceptable accompaniment to an evening dress. You may think you’re being terribly non-conformist, but ask yourself this – would you also wear trainers? No. Exactly.
2. Despite what oligarchs would have you believe, there is such a thing as too many diamonds.
3. We like an oversize watch as much as the next woman – it’s the quickest way to make a wrist look dainty – however, there is such a thing as too big. If the lugs overhang the wrist bone, you need to pick something smaller.
4. Coloured straps are a great way to get a pop of colour into your outfit, however, if you’re already wearing half the rainbow then a plain strap is probably best.
5. If you’re a grown woman, wearing a watch with Disney characters or things like that on it isn’t endearing, it’s just odd.
But enough with rules. Let’s get on with building a watch wardrobe.
The Everyday Watch
This watch should, as the name suggest, go with your day-to-day look. We’re making a general assumption that most of you work in an environment that demands you look stylish yet professional hence the understated elegance of the watches above. Obviously if you work in a creative hub in Dalston where you can go to work in lace cycling shorts, day-glo high-tops and your nan’s jumper, then these probably won’t work. For everyday, the best thing to do is keep it simple and, if you are going to opt for diamonds, think less is more. Diamond indices or a thin line of them around the bezel is acceptable. Full ice isn’t.
The Cocktail watch
This is where you can start to put on the glitz a bit. After 7pm – or earlier if that’s what time the gin comes out in your household – is when you can start to play with gemstones, interesting designs and experiment with strap materials. Generally speaking, cocktail watches look better when they are on the smaller side, though, if the watch is ultra thin then you can get away with a slightly bigger dial, however this is a situation where smaller is better.
The Sports watch
Sports watches are a strange category, seeing as this category covers everything from those sorts of timepieces that have delicate link bracelets that look as though a brisk walk would be too much for it, to seriously minicomputers that do everything bar tie your trainer’s laces for you. These three are more about looking good while you train as opposed to technical marvels, as well as proving that you don’t have to ditch your diamonds when you put on your trainers.
The ‘interesting’ watch
Of course, all watches are interesting per se, we wouldn’t be writing about them if they weren’t. However, what we’re talking about here is a watch from a brand people might not have heard of – a conversation starter if you will. And the good news here is that finding something cool and quirky doesn’t have to cost thousands, so you can add a little interest without having to take out a loan. The Nomos Berlin featured here is automatic and contains the brand’s new swing system, while the Shore Projects watch comes with detachable straps so you can switch your look up in the time it takes to put your shoes on, and the Mondaine is the same design as the SBB Swiss Railways clock. See, told you they were interesting.
Watches to steal from the other half
If you are going to rummage through your other half’s collection for a watch, you want to make sure it is obvious that you’ve got a man’s watch on. The same principle applies as stealing his shirts, it looks cooler if it’s obvious its not yours, so look out for his pilots’ watches or military inspired, like the Panerai here, which was invented for the Italian Navy. The ‘lug wrist bone overhang’ rule still applies so leave his Zenith Pilot Montre D’Aeronef Type 20, with its whopping 57.5mm case, in the drawer.