Suited man with watch

A gentleman’s guide to choosing the perfect watch

It’s no secret that paying attention to the small details is the key to refined dressing. Even the best Savile Row suit needs the right accessories to shine. A watch can make or break an outfit: tying it together or standing out like a sore thumb.

For many men, a watch is the only piece of jewellery that they will wear on a day to day basis (apart from a wedding ring), so it’s understandable that they want to get it just right. That’s why we’ve sought the advice of James Mainwaring, a watch expert at luxury timepiece retailer Est.1897. He’s a Member of the British Horological Institute too, so he knows a thing or two about watches.

When you’re dressing to impress in a tailored suit, it can be difficult to know what type of watch to go for — after all, you don’t want to spoil the smart choices you’ve made so far. So, I’ve decided to help you out by pulling together three essential pointers for choosing the perfect watch.

Know which styles work for which occasions

Just like you dress up for certain occasions and down for others, there is a time and a place for particular styles of watches. For example, you shouldn’t wear a sports watch or a diving watch when you dress up for dinner at a nice restaurant. You won’t need to time your laps around the table and you won’t be delving to the depths of your soup bowl, not to mention the fact that both styles look horribly bulky under your jacket. Dress watches are compact and classy for a reason, so be sure to pick out your very best when you need to look the part.

Learn what size watch suits your wrist

Over the past few years, there’s been a trend for oversized watches for men, which is thankfully on the way out. Your best bet for staying stylish is to go for a watch size that matches the thickness of your wrist, otherwise you risk looking disproportionate and throwing your carefully chosen outfit completely off kilter.

Obviously, everyone has different sized wrists, so you will want to pick one that allows a small part of the strap to sit flat on the top of your arm. Don’t allow for too much strap though, as your timepiece will begin to look a little bit lost. Likewise, a watch that swamps your wrist will look ridiculous when compared to your designer suit.

Too many diamonds are not a man’s best friend

Watches studded from strap to strap with diamonds are best left to the hip-hop stars who can actually carry them off. So, unless you want to look like an overpaid footballer who’s just blown his first month’s wages, it’s best to stay clear of jewel-encrusted timepieces (especially sporty ones) for dressy occasions.

However, there are exceptions. Some dress watches make use of small, understated jewels to accentuate their look. Diamonds are often found in the small details, such as number markings or decoration on the inner rim, and they can look classy if used the right way. If you see a watch like this that you like, don’t be put off, as they can work very well with a tailored suit.

Take these three tips on board and you’ll be able to choose a watch that matches your tailored suit perfectly every time.