With all areas of style and fashion etiquette, there are common rules that all guys should know. There are some things we just know are wrong; matching two similar colors like pink and red or wearing a black belt with brown shoes.
However, some of the unwritten rules about wearing watches may not be so obvious. We will be covering a few important rules that every guy should know when wearing a watch; this is everything from when to check the time, pairing it with the right clothes, and general watch etiquette.
Rules of Wearing a Watch
Watches have evolved away from just being practical, becoming a much more diverse, and interesting pop-culture phenomenon. They are not just for keeping time anymore, they convey style, wealth, fandoms, and more.
We are going to look at 6 rules that you should keep in mind next time you reach for your luminous watch and pair it with your suit.
Obviously, there are countless rules, but these are some of the important ones to remember.
Think Before You Check Your Watch
Checking your watch at the wrong time can be associated with various attributes and can put you at risk. There are a few reasons why this is a cardinal rule of watch wearing, let us take a look at some now:
In a Meeting – checking your watch can be considered rude or that you are disinterested in what is happening, this can be ‘make or break’ if you are with a client or new customer.
In an Interview – similar to the above, you can look like you do not care and the job is beneath you. It may look like you are apathetic if you are checking your watch.
In the Car – depending on where you are, this can be dangerous and unnecessary. Even my first car that was a banger had a little clock in it, so there is no excuse for not using that.
On the Street – this may not be such an issue if you are wearing something basic, but if you have on your finest Breitling watch you can attract unwanted attention.
On Vacation – If you are a tourist and do not know the place well it is a good idea to wear a ‘day watch’, something cheap that does not draw attention.
On a Date – seems fairly obvious, but if it was we would not have to be writing it. Try not to keep checking your watch on a date as it can seem like you are trying to escape or wishing for it to end.
This is not a definitive list of situations you should be aware of when checking your watch but might shed some light on things you had not considered.
It can be as simple as saying, ‘I just need to check the time, I have X at Y’. Giving a reason you are looking at your watch can make the action seem much more polite and less about the people you are with.
Another solution would be to have your watch somewhere you can see it without moving or straining, if you have a jacket on, take it off so you can see your wrist naturally.
Pair Your Watch With Your Outfit
There are a lot of unwritten rules with watches, ranging from not wearing two watches at the same time (looking at you Chris Pratt), to not wearing a diving watch with a suit.
Regardless of what rules you have heard, it is always important to match your watch with the occasion. You may think wearing a bright-colored watch with a tuxedo is a good idea, but even rappers can not pull off this look.
Just as you match your belt with your shoes, you should match your watch with your outfit. We are by no means saying you need a different watch for every different thing you wear. Having different watches for different formalities and occasions is common practice.
At a minimum, you should have a casual watch, a formal watch, and a sports watch. This way you have something for dressing up, dressing down, and a more durable watch for the gym or sports (ideally with some form of fitness tracking).
Admire Watches from Afar
If you want to become an expert on watch culture, understanding the importance of not touching another person’s watch should be something you always remember.
In the case of men, watches are typically the only accessory or jewelry that is worn (aside from a wedding ring). This means the majority of guys like to keep it pristine and take pride in their timepieces.
There is no harm in asking someone to look at their watch, especially if you tell them you are a connoisseur too. Remember to not touch someone else’s watch, and keep your space.
It is unlikely someone is going to take it off, and give you the full tour of it, so be respectful of however they present it to you.
A good tip would be to show them yours as a sign of good faith too. Some people may not be comfortable showing a stranger their watch, so do not take it personally.
Watches can be a great conversation piece or even an ice breaker, so do not be shy to ask to see it, just be prepared for either a yes or a no.
Don’t Fake It
There are a number of reasons not to buy a fake watch, but the most important is that you are wasting your money, you might as well throw your cash in the trash.
You will get very little value from your fake timepiece and even undermine your image and reputation. A fake watch is more trouble than it is worth.
It is common knowledge that a Rolex does not tick, but there are a lot of ways to identify a fake watch, from the weight to the materials, to the cost of the model.
It is fairly unlikely the young entrepreneur peddling Rolex watches for $200 out of his Toyota Camry’s trunk is legitimate.
Stick to the real stuff, and you will get a much better quality watch. A timepiece does not have to be expensive to be nice, and it is entirely based on how you wear it and how you pair it.
Have an ‘Everyday’ Watch
This does not mean you have to literally wear it every single day. A good everyday watch is one that you feel comfortable wearing out on a daily basis, not your family heirloom that you’re afraid to lose. It should so be one that fits your personality and is versatile – it should look good when you are out and about or even at work.
Everyone has a favorite watch that they want to wear all the time, but there are a few reasons not to wear the same watch all the time:
- Your watches will last longer if you do not wear them all the time
- You want to match your watch with the occasion (formal, informal, swimming/sport, etc..)
Ensuring you have at least 3 watches should have you covered for any occasion.
You do not need to have all luxury watches, you may want a more informal one that you can wear when you dress down or go to the gym. No one wears a Rolex Batman on a run!
When you have a few watches to rotate through you are less likely to damage your prized timepiece and can save it for special occasions. Let your bulky ‘everyday’ watch go through the wringer, not your luxury timepiece.
Choose Watches You Like
One of the best things about watches is that we can always express our own unique style due to the sheer variety of timepieces available. Don’t feel pressured to buy a brand or specific model just because some watch “expert” told you that was the better watch. The best watch is one that you love to wear and that fits your style and personal preference.
Even if you have to adhere to a dress code, uniform, or school clothes you can still showcase your uniqueness with a nice watch.
The mainstream appeal of watch brands like Swatch breathed new life into the industry after the Quartz Crisis and made colorful and more low-cost options available to become accessories as much as time-keeping devices.
There are loads of ways a watch can inject some personality into your outfit:
- A pop of color on a dark outfit
- Matching your watch and your other accessories or shoes
- Wearing a subtle superhero watch
- Choosing a non-traditional style watch like a skeleton or newer shape/design
What suits you may not suit someone else, and that is why being a watch fan is so rewarding, you can have a watch that is uniquely yours, tells a story, and defines who you are.
These rules should give you a good basis of watch etiquette, how to wear your watch, and when to wear it. Avoiding these mistakes and keeping these in mind will help you not only look better but appear much savvier in the watch industry.
As with anything to do with style or fashion, it is down to your discretion, but if you follow these rules you can not go far wrong!
Hopefully, these will help level up your watch game and improve your overall aesthetics.