If you’re looking for a new men’s watch, the sheer volume of brands out there can be overwhelming. So which ones actually matter?
Buying a new watch can feel a bit like entering a new and rather daunting country, complete with its own language, history, and culture. As you wander this new terrain, unsure of which of the best watches for men are worth your attention, you may need some pointers.
A dress watch – to complement black tie or other formal attire. Typically understated and elegant.
A dive watch – to enhance your dive missions with practical and sometimes life-saving functions.
A smartwatch – like your smartphone but wearable.
A pilot watch (aviator watch) – originally for commercial or fighter pilots and a great choice for travellers.
A tactical watch or a field watch – durable and high-functioning. Tactical watches are heavy-duty and serious. Field watches have a slightly retro aesthetic.
Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Perpetual Calendar ( $84,000 )
One of the world’s oldest and most established watchmakers, Vacheron Constantin knows a thing or two about exceptional dress watches. Our favourite is the brand’s Traditionnelle Perpetual Calendar with its masterfully crafted calibre 1120 QP, perpetual calendar, 48-month-counter with leap year indication, and moon phase indicator.
As the name suggests, this Vacheron Constantin watch is classic and conservative in style, with an 18-karat pink gold case and a silver opaline dial along with a brown alligator strap.
Panerai Submersible Automatic ( $16,250 )
Panerai’s unrivalled attention to detail and commitment to excellence is all very much on show in the Submersible Automatic where you’ve got two of the company’s most cutting-edge materials in one watch.
A BMG-TECHA case-a unique material designed for next-level robustness and extreme corrosion, shock, and magnetic field resistance. Plus, a bezel made from Carbotech-tougher than steel, lighter than titanium. The result is a timepiece that’s incredibly strong, super scratch-resistant, and surreally lightweight. The Panerai Submersible also looks like the kind of watch a secret agent might wear. In other words, it’s one of the hottest watches around.
Rolex Pepsi GMT-Master ( $22,500 )
Pan Am commissioned Rolex to produce a timepiece for its pilots and flight attendants and the original GMT-Master was the result. It wasn’t long before the watch had a huge cult following and today it’s one of the best selling men’s watches around.
The Pepsi GMT-Master gets its name from the red-blue bi-directional 24-hour bezel that indicates day and night in the additional timezone. This means pilots-or jet setters, frequent flyers, and businessmen on the go-can tell what time it is back home with a glance, ideal for phoning home at just the right time.
Audemars Royal Oak Self-Winding Chronograph Limited Edition ( $74,800 )
A gold watch was once a signifier of retirement. This Royal Oak ain’t that. It’s more of a statement piece for those seriously in their prime. The automatic chronograph is gold on gold with a stunning green dial, which they tell is very en vogue at the moment, but when is green ever actually out of style? It’s only available at the New York boutique and is limited to 125 pieces.
Hublot Big Bang Integral Tourbillon Full Sapphire ( $422,000 )
Uber technical and aesthetically dynamic, this Big Bang is evidence that Hublot is on the cutting edge of fine watchmaking. The crystal, case, bracelet, and some parts of the HUB6035 manufacture automatic tourbillon movement are made out of sapphire. It’s just a bonkers watch limited to 30 pieces worldwide.
Zenith Defy Extreme ( $18,000 )
The 45mm Defy feels like something Bruce Wayne might wear all day, then leave on his wrist when he suits up as Batman. The micro-blasted titanium case and bracelet protect an El Primero 21 high-frequency chronograph movement that spins the seconds hand around the dial in a single breath. The new model also features a quick swap system that allows the wearer to swap from bracelet to strap and back again with the push of a button-perfect if you have to transition from the boardroom to battle the Joker in a moment’s notice.
Breitling B25 Datora ( $12,950 )
It’s hard not to find yourself transfixed by the copper dial on this Breitling Datora. It’s an elegant and luxurious shade that draws you in to admire the texture of the chronograph subdials, as well as the complete calendar and moon-phase complications.
IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar ( $32,900 )
Even the least watch savvy among the party guests will be able to identify this IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar as a stand-out creation. It’s clear from the get-go that this is a watch with some mega luxury credentials.
We’re talking about an 18-karat gold case, a blue alligator strap, a blue dial, and, of course, a perpetual calendar, one of the world’s most demanding complications. This IWC Portugieser has to be one of the most attractive men’s watches out there. There’s also a perpetual moon phase calendar so you can impress your lover by explaining the celestial situation.
Vacheron Constantin Patrimony ( $20,100 )
As we’ve already established, Vacheron Constantin makes beautiful watches for men. Another of the brand’s many gorgeous timepieces? The Patrimony. With its rose gold case and sunburst blue dial, this is the stuff dress watch dreams are made of.
Wonderfully low-key, the dial features simple lines and curves, barely-there minute markers, and baton-style hour markers. Inside the Patrimony’s slim 40mm case you’ve got a Swiss-made calibre 1400 hand-winding movement, making it one of the best hand watches on our list too.