How to Choose Your Next Watch

by Ariel Adams

When selecting a timepiece, there are no shortage of appealing shapes and sizes to choose from. Your suit and shoes don’t do enough to tell people who you are. A man is framed by what he wears—and your style can begin or end on your wrist. A watch resides on your arm as a beacon of taste, personality, and of course success. A timepiece can communicate who you are or merely accent what you already project. Choose a watch with the right shape to fit the man you are (or want to be).

Geometeric Watches

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Sitting between square and circle, the geometric case is one of the most “alternative” watch shapes you can find, available as octagons, decagons, or other shapes that eschew the notion of “round.” These are best matched with all manners of non-conservative dress for the design lover. Try one with a strap for formal attire and a bracelet for more casual outfits.

Bulgari Octo Automatic, $9,500 at Bandiera Jewelers; Corum Admiral’s Cup Legend 42 Chronograph, $4,625; Concord C1 Grande date, $7,900; GC-3 Automatic, $1,250.

Tonneau

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Also known as “barrel-shaped,” tonneau watches bulge in the middle with a shape that melds the lugs into the case. High-end watchmakers flock to this design for its ability to stand out off the wrist. Tonneau-shaped watches are for non-eccentric individuals who want to add a dose of flash to their look. These are the timepiece equivalents of power ties.

Bulova Longwood from the Precisionist Collection, $495; Carl F. Bucherer Patravi T-Graph in rose gold, $25,900 at Classic Creations.

Square & Rectangular Watches

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These have the distinct ability to look either sporty or classic—with little in between. Often more visually interesting than round watches, angular timepieces also tend to look more like tools. Square watches are remarkably versatile when it comes to your wardrobe—and don’t forget, they also look good with your sleeves rolled up.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Grande Reverso Calendar, $11,800 at Solaris Jewelers; Zenith New Vintage 1965, $5,300; Bell & Ross BR03-92, $3,400; TAG Heuer Monaco, $3,600.

Oversized Watches

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Big watches have a youthful flair and evoke activities like flying, diving and boating, but they tend to be divisive. Often reserved for casual attire, boisterous men tend to wear large watches, which epitomize boldness. Choose carefully, as the line between tasteful and tacky can be thin.

Oris Carlos Coste Chronograph Limited Edition, $4,350; Louis Vuitton Tambour Power Reserve, $8,850; Rolex Oyster Perpetual Deepsea, $12,220; IWC Portugese Automatic, $12,400 at Solaris Jewelers. Porsche Design Indicator P’6930 Chronograph, $11,500; Panerai Luminor Marina 1950 3 Days Automatic Titanio, $9,800.

Dress Watches

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The safest timepiece you can wear is a prudently-sized dress watch. It says you have good taste and are responsible. More important, a medium-sized dress watch tends to accent its wearer rather than steal the conversation—you wear the watch versus it wearing you. Match one with the right navy blue suit and you’ll always look dashing and well-composed.

Top to bottom: Frederic Constant Classics Manufacture, $2,850 at Classic Creations; Longines Saint Imier, $2,100; Ulysse Nardin Classico Luna, $8,500 USD; Hermes Dressage, $8,750; Tudor Heritage Advisor, $5,600; Raymond Weil GT Maestro Black, $2,450; Mont Blanc Star Chronograph GMT Automatic, $4,555.