This might come as news,
but your watch doesn’t need to be encrusted with diamonds, or have sixteen dials, or tell you what the surf is like in Malaysia right now. It needs to sync up with your lifestyle. In other words, are you throwing on your pinstripes and heading to the firm every morning, or are you hopping on a lift to head up the mountain? Once you answer that question, you’ll have taken the most important step in deciding what kind of watch is right for you.

A Wrist Is a Terrible Thing to Waste

We understand perfectly well that the phone in your pocket tells the time. That’s cool and all, but we still think you should strap on a watch. A watch is the one piece of man jewelry (yeah, we just said “man jewelry”) that we can fully get behind. Not only does it punctuate an outfit; it also says something about who you are—or, at least, who you aspire to be. So forget about technological advances for a moment. Think of a watch as you would a tie: Who cares if it’s not purely functional? It still plays an integral role in what it means to be a man

Be a Man of Steel

“I got my stainless-steel Rolex Air King as a birthday present to myself fifteen years ago, and it’s been the one watch on my wrist ever since. I opted for a few details that keep it from being either too techy or too dressy—bars instead of numbers, a dark navy dial, a smooth (not ridged) bezel. It’s really become a watch that takes on the personality of whatever I’m wearing. If I’m in a tweed suit, it’s classic. If I’m on the beach in a swimsuit, it becomes sporty. It doesn’t just work with the clothes I have on—it adds something to everything I wear.”—Jim Moore, GQ creative director

Seasonal Advice: Yes, We Endorse the Strap-on

Nothing wrong with sporting the same watch year-round, but there’s something cool—and stylish—about summerizing your timepiece. It’s easy and cheap. Here’s how to do it.

When the weather heats up, remove the strap from the watch you already own and replace it with a striped grosgrain band. You’ll find ones at classic men’s stores like Brooks Brothers or J.Press. Or you can go online to find a broad selection from the excellent (and colorful) English accessories maker Smart Turnout.

It’s a move that works with almost any simple, slim watch, like the Max Bill–designed Junghans shown here.

Is the Size of Your Watch Compensating for Something?

In general, we’re not into oversize watches at GQ. There’s something about them that says, “Look at me! Look at me!”—like you’re trying way too hard. However, if you do go big, there is a right way to do it. You want a large watch that’s well proportioned—kind of like how a seven-footer like Dwight Howard doesn’t look all gawky and mammoth. If you can swing the cost, go for a black-faced Panerai Radiomir Black Seal, with either a black strap (for a more streamlined, modern look) or a tan leather one (if you’re feeling a little European). Yes, it’s manly and macho and all that, but ultimately it’s a beautifully designed timepiece that makes a statement without having to scream.

A Sophisticated Way to Sneak Some Color into Your Wardrobe

You might not be the kind of guy to wear a tangerine orange power tie or Crayola green socks, but you ought to consider a color-faced watch. The reason timepieces like these look smart is because they have classic bones—nothing gimmicky or goofy about them. Just a shot of color to bring some life to your wardrobe.

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