Oftentimes, not to say always, the formality of the watch is dictated by the formality of the event. The watch should definitely match the occasion unless you want to make a statement or grab some attention. Otherwise, you can stick with the rule of thumb.
So, to be straightforward, Yes! You should make a tiny effort prior to leaving the house and come up with a watch-clothes match that combines well. Although few will notice, complementing your outfit in the best way, will eventually make you look cool and further self-express yourself. After all, this is what clothes are all about!
In case you’re wondering if there’s a rule of thumb to matching your clothes with your watch, as far as
I’m concerned, you can experiment as much as you can. However, if you take the extreme contrast too far, you can make a small but significant mistake style-wise. By extreme, I mean wearing a dress watch with a sports costume or the opposite, wearing a sports watch like a Casio G-Shock with a formal, semi-formal, or even a business casual attire.
That can basically be the only rule you should follow when looking to match your watch with your clothes. But, again, don’t overstress yourself too much. Watches are made to be worn and if your lifestyle includes office work, business meetings, night parties, and kayaking on the weekend, that means having an entire watch collection to perfectly match your clothes. As you may understand, dressing well can soon become costly, and watches occupy an important place in the expenses. However, the watch industry has something to offer to everyone, and you can dress your wrist with style, regardless of the budget.
So what do you need? A dress watch for those special occasions. A sports watch maybe for casual occasions, and a neutral watch – something half dressy and half sporty. A 42mm chronograph or a simple-looking dive watch with a metal band. The latter meets classic and playfulness halfway.
Watch types/styles and with what clothes to wear
The most fundamental belief in watchmaking is that besides delivering accurate timekeeping, to the wearer should also be granted a feeling of comfort and style. Different watch brands percept style in their own way, and thus countless designs, concepts, shapes, and colorways have come to life. If you’re already into watches, you may know that there are different watch types/styles, and each of them is combined with a different outfit. Minimalist watches, dress watches, sports watches, dive watches, pilot watches, field watches, and even smartwatches need the proper combo to perfectly fit with your clothes and avoid making “style errors”. So check them below…
Dress watches are those minimalist simple-looking fuss-free (simple, not cheap) watches that always come in a traditional classic design. Formal dress watches are usually characterized by a white plain dial, no complications, and a leather strap. It tells seconds, minutes, hours, and sometimes, the date.
Dress watches, at least those starting from entry-luxury and above, feature the watchmaking craftsmanship of many brands, from Geneva to Tokyo. The cases are carefully polished, the hands and numerals are perfectly aligned, the dial is simple and minimalistic, and the leather is of the highest quality.
These timepieces can be perfectly matched with formal attire (black tie/white tie), for those formal events when simplicity is crucial. You can also match a dress watch with a business dress. In this case, classic gold or silver-styled dress watch would perfectly fit with a dark conservative suit.
Moving next to the opposite of a dress watch. Sports watches are those watches that get their name not only from the distinctive rugged design but also the functionality and features they have to offer.
A sports watch is any watch from fitness trackers, to outdoor watches, to survival watches, to triathlon watches, etc. These watches come at different displays like analog, analog-digital, and entirely digital. Their features include anything from alarms, GPS, calendar, health monitoring sensors, chronograph, compass, barometer, and more or less depending on the brand.
The only quality that unifies sports watches into one category is their aesthetics. Speaking of which, the design of a sports watch is entirely muscular and intense, thus you can wear them on casual occasions with casual clothes like a combination of a chambray shirt, jeans, and dress boots. And understandably, you can wear your sports watch when exercising, going out to the gym, hiking, when having a picnic with friends on the weekends, or whenever you’re leading an active lifestyle.
You don’t necessarily have to be a diver or a pilot to love and appreciate these types of watches. Many watch enthusiasts but not only, choose to adorn their wrists with a dive or a pilot watch, and that decision is partially inspired by what these watches represent.
Dive watches, in this case, are great tool watches that for years, have helped frogmen, from exploring and surveying to building and maintaining underwater. A dive watch is characterized by its relatively large case size, luminous hands and markers, a rotating bezel, and usually a rubber strap.
So what to wear with a dive watch? Feel free to match your dive watch with casual wear, like shorts and a T-Shirt. You can even pair them with an Oxford shirt and look terrific. And you can add a leather strap to your dive watch and match it with a business dress. That would also make perfect sense. However, although very versatile to wear, avoid matching your dive watch with suits or other formal attire.
As aforementioned, you don’t necessarily have to be a pilot to wear a pilot watch, although it would make perfect sense. Pilot watches were born out of utility when pilots necessitated performing significantly important calculations like elapsed-time, distance traveled, fuel burn, and more. To this day, many watch brands continue the tradition of supplying aviators worldwide and make accurate pilot watches as required.
What you will usually find on a pilot watch is its large crown, to be easily operated even with gloves, the highly legible dial, and a large dial. In terms of design, a pilot watch is also highly versatile to wear. Its simplicity allows you to top any outfit and take it anywhere with you. Whether be a formal outfit, business casual, or casual clothes, your pilot watch can be perfectly matched with all dress styles.
A century ago, it was a rule of thumb that wristwatches were a woman’s choice while pocket watches were a gent’s choice. The fad lasted until World War 1 when army leaders wanted to equip their soldiers with watches that could not fall out of pockets when they needed them to synchronize attacks. This made a turn in how men keep track of time, and the field watches were eventually born.
Field watches are characterized by their durability, legibility, and accuracy. As for the overall aesthetics, the humble design with few to no complications makes field watches the perfect choice for many occasions. You can wear with style by combining your field watch with casual or business casual attire. Although its universal design might allow perfect combos with your wardrobe, avoid wearing your field watch with formal or business formal wear.
It is great to see how smartwatches have become many people’s choices as the ultimate wrist technology allows the wearer to be more connected and not only keep track of time. Although we are used to relating the smartwatch concept with Apple Watch or Samsung Galaxy Gear, many Swiss and Japanese brands are switching to digital as well.
Tag Heuer Connected Smart, Alpina AlpinerX, Hublot Big Bang E, and from Japan Casio G-Shock GSWH1000 and Citizen CZ Smart. With all of these feeds to choose from, you would probably have one of the wrists at the moment. And if you’re wondering what clothes to match your smartwatch you are in the right place.
The style and the look of a smartwatch are only suited to casual outfits. Feel free to perfectly combine your smartwatch with casual or business casual attire. So, if you’re opting for more formal wear like a suit or blazer, make sure the watch also matches the level of formality.
In Final Words
When it comes to accessories, men have very few choices. And with watches being one of those most important accessories that adorn our wrists, we have to be careful when combining them with our clothes. See, a watch can either make or break your entire outfit. As aforementioned, feel free to experiment as much as your style allows you, but don’t take contrast to the extreme. What else can we say, but to finalize with the words of Sam Levenson: Don’t watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going.