Men’s Watches Guide

Are you starting your journey into the world of men’s watches? We’ve created an infographic guide to arm you with the knowledge you’ll need to get started in horology. Consider it a watches cheat sheet, or watches 101. Reading our beginner’s guide to watches will give you on introduction into the different watch types, as well as a bit of history and trivia, that you can whip out when talking about your new found passion.

Choosing the best men’s watch for you can be a big commitment. Knowing which style of watch you want is a large part of the battle. With our guide, you’ll know the different styles of popular men’s watches, helping you to home in on your perfect timepiece.

We’ve provided some more in depth information below, but if you want to jump straight to our men’s watches infographic, click here to view it now.

Dress Watch

Men’s dress watches developed during the 20th century as men’s watches made the leap from the pocket to the wrist. Turning away from the traditional pocket watch and the bulky military watches worn during the war, dress watches became popular men’s watches due to their simple and sophisticated style. These watches are designed to impress people with their refinement and elegance rather than a bling.

When it comes to faces, the dress watch has simple hour indexes. The markings are often small numerals or saber-style indexes. Popular men’s dress watches usually have very few complications (functions other than telling the time). They may have a date or moon display, but rarely have more than that.

Men’s dress watches are typically thin to allow them to easily slide under a shirt cuff. Although the case must be thin, the shape of the case could be circular, rectangular, or something less standard, like an elipse or tank. These cases are often made of precious metals and accompanied by a simple leather band.

Dive Watch

Men's watches Rolex dive popular men's watches

Although the dive watch is made with a specific purpose in mind, its one of the most popular men’s watch types. Dive watches have been a seen as a status symbol for decades, due in part to them being the watch of choice for James Bond. In his world of luxury cars and fine suits, watches such as the Rolex Submariner and the Omega Seamaster are the perfect timepieces for a daily dose of espionage.

Men’s dive watches are designed to be worn by those who spend their time in or near water. All dive watches are water resistant to over 100m. This is a standard which has been upheld since the first Rolex Submariner, a watch designed in the 1950s when a Rolex board member wanted a watch to use whilst he was diving. Since 1996 a formal ISO standard (ISO 6425) was set. All watches must now meet this standard to be able to call themselves a dive watch.

As functionality is a priority, men’s dive watch faces must be bold and easy to read at depth. They are often composed of luminous hash marks and hands, with the twelve hour marker being distinct for easy identification. Dive watches seldom have complications, although they may display the date.

Dive watch cases are sturdy, with sapphire or hardened glass to resist the high pressures experienced at extreme depths. They also have a uni-directional bezel which allows the diver to see how long they have been submerged at a glance. Dive watches have metal straps which are longer than most. The reason for this is that they are designed to be worn over bulky diving equipment.

Field Watch

Field watches have a true military pedigree. Popular field watches can trace their roots back to trench watches worn during WWI and watches worn by infantry during WWII. These watches were designed to allow officers to coordinate attacks, even at night. They were also required to stand up to the rigours of battle, continuing to tick after exposure to the rain and mud.

Men’s field watches have a somewhat utilitarian face with simple numerical markings. The face is normally either white with black markings or black with white. Field watches also usually sport luminescent hands to also the to be read at night.

One of the standout features common in popular field watches is their use of hacking seconds. This means that, rather than a slow constant movement, the second hand moves in on distinct increment per second. This also allows the wearer to stop the hand by pulling the crown out and synchronise it to the second. This feature allowed offices to coordinate maneuvers with military precision.

Popular field watches are small to medium in size, with cases made of stainless steel or titanium. This allows them to be resilient, but also not get in the way during battle. The band is usually leather or canvas, keeping the watch light. This also makes the band easily replaceable if it becomes damaged on the battlefield.

Pilot Watches and Aviation Watches

Men’s pilot watches are very diverse. There are two general types, one being a simple yet effective watch, which has stayed true to its routes in the early days of military aviation. The other popular men’s pilot watch style is a cutting edge piece of engineering, packed to the brim with complications and functions.

We’ll start with the more traditional style of pilot watch. These watches developed as crucial equipment for pilots during wartime. The large faces of these watches featured clear numerical markings and luminescent hands to allow for easy reading when flying at night. The band is often leather or canvas, They’re also slightly longer than other watch bands to allow them to fit around the cuff of a flight jacket. Traditional pilot watches will sometimes have a second dial for extra accuracy, but in general they tend towards simplicity.

Modern style aviator watches don’t shy away from complexity. The numerical markings are often replace with luminous hashes. The simplicity of the traditional pilot watch’s face is frequently replaced with a chronograph. Popular men’s pilot watches often have a slide rule bezel, to simplify the complex calculations required during flight. They may also have an international time zone bezel allowing pilots to see the time in at their destination with a glance. Another option is a tachymetre, which is used to calculate speeds or distances travelled. With so many options available, these watches are a mathematical tool set on your wrist.

Racing Watches and Driving Watches

Racing and watches have been inseparable since the 1930s. The racing industry had a need for accurate timekeeping as the sport became more competitive. Rolex pounced on top drivers, supplying them with top end timepieces, but it was TAG Heuer’s introduction of the chronograph and tachymetre which set the benchmark. TAG Heuer them became synonymous with racing watches when their Monaco 1133 was featured in the Steve McQueen film, Le Mans. It remains one of the most popular racing watches to this day.

Popular men’s driving watches are fairly big in size and have simple, clear markings on their faces. Racing chronographs allow for highly accurate time readings. Their cases are mostly stainless steel, giving them the strength to withstand the rough and tumble world of motor racing.

Popular racing watches usually have a tachymetre so that they can be used to measure speed and distance covered during a race.

The Watches Infographic

This men’s watches infographic teaches you the basics about popular men’s watches. Read this guide and you’ll know what type of men’s watch you want. You’ll be able to research a lot faster and find your perfect watch in no time.

The Midas Club Men's Watch Infographic showing popular men's watches
This infographic shows the different styles of watches and their different features

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