Men’s Watch Buying Guide

From fashionable accessory to high-tech toy, a man’s watch can do a lot more than tell him the time. Discover the various types and features available with this men’s watch guide.

Men’s Watches 101

A man’s watch can be a status symbol, a workout tool, an extension of his smartphone, and, yes, a means of telling time. A leather-strapped dress watch is all business while a brightly coloured rubber sports watch is all fun and games. Having different watches for work and play allows men to express their style and take advantage of the various watch functions to suit their activities. From heart rate monitors to GPS receivers to watches that can stream music to Bluetooth headphones, these are not their grandfathers’ timepieces. 

Types of Men’s Watches


Men’s Dress Watches

Simple, but sophisticated, a dress watch is a timeless addition to any man’s wardrobe. Even the most casual guy has occasion to dress up, and when he does, a plastic watch won’t make the grade. A slim, elegant dress watch with a leather band and metal case should subtly enhance a man’s outfit, not draw attention to itself. Unlike bulkier sports or training watches, the sleek profile of a dress watch lets it slide easily under a shirt cuff. Paired with a dress shirt or blazer, a dress watch works well at the office, on dinner dates or any time a man wants to look smartly put together. 

Men’s Fashion Watches

The fashion watch is a good option for men who want to stay on trend and have a little fun with their timepiece. While a proper dress watch is a refined choice for more formal or conservative occasions, a fashion watch can be more contemporary, and less of a financial commitment. Fashion watches can incorporate bold colours, cutting-edge design and a wide variety of materials to stand out and complement a man’s individual style. Designer logos, oversized silhouettes and the latest eye-catching accents can help to keep things interesting.

Men’s Casual Watches

It may not pass muster at a business meeting or wedding reception, but for everyday use, a casual watch is an affordable and dependable choice. Durable and hypoallergenic stainless steel watches have a metallic gleam without the price tag or maintenance of gold or platinum. Leather, rubber, canvas and even wood make for fun and functional watch bands that pair well with t-shirts and jeans for a relaxed, weekend look. Add some fashion to the function of a casual watch with contrast stitching, patterned or brightly coloured bands. 

Men’s Sports Watches

Active men can use the many functions of durable sports watches to support their workouts without worrying about damaging their timepiece. Stopwatches, GPS receivers, heart rate monitors and diving markers, complement and help to optimize physical activities while sturdy construction and waterproof materials keep things ticking in challenging environments. The thicker hands and easy-to-read digital displays of fitness watches allow the wearer to check his time and stats quickly and conveniently without distracting him from his routine.

Smart Watches

A smart watch turns a timepiece into a watch phone. It runs apps; monitors calls, texts and social media updates; streams music; makes voice commands… and, yes, even tells time. For athletes, smart phones can conveniently track running routes, heart rates and calories burned. Because it’s worn on the wrist, the wearer’s hands are freed up while still remaining connected to their phone via the Bluetooth watch. Some smart watch brands feature integrated microphones and speakers to handle calls directly from the wearer’s wrist, while others alert the wearer to calls, eliminating the need to constantly monitor their phone.

Men’s Watch Buying Tips:

• Decide on a budget range and stay within it
• Consider when you will wear the watch: formal occasions, office, gym
• Select sports or smart watches with features you need and will use
• If using for diving or swimming, verify watch’s waterproof rating
• For a durable and affordable watch suited to a variety of occasions, choose a stainless steel watch
• Dress watches should be discrete enough to slide easily under a shirt cuff
• Larger men should choose larger watch faces for a balanced look


Movement Type +

Movement type is the means by which a watch measures time. Types include mechanical, quartz, kinetic and solar. Mechanical movements are carefully engineered and tend to be found in high-end luxury watches. This type of movement features quality craftsmanship but requires daily winding and regular maintenance. The widely used and reliable quartz movement regulates time with a battery-powered quartz crystal. Quartz watches are more affordable than mechanicals, but require watch battery replacement every couple of years. Kinetic and solar movements, which harness the energy of motion and light respectively, are less common, but energy self-sufficient timekeepers.

Display +

Display is how the time, date and other information is presented on a watch; either digital or analog. Digital watches use LCD or LED technology to display time numerically. The more casual of the two, digital watches often offer handy stopwatch, calculator and calendar functions in addition to displaying the time. Analog watches feature a dial with hands that point to Arabic numbers, Roman numerals, dashes or other markers. This classic display is suited to business and formal wear for a more traditional look. Digital-analog watches combine the two displays to maximize the benefits of both.

Shape +

Men’s watches are available in many shapes and sizes, from slim, classic dress watches to oversized trendy fashion watches. Choosing a shape that isn’t overpowering or underwhelming on a man’s wrist will lend a balanced look. The classic shape of a round watch face suits a variety of occasions, while angular square watches offer a retro-inspired look for men who want something a little different. With their straight tops and bottoms and rounded sides, tonneau-style watches are favoured by high-end watchmakers.

Band +

There are two basic types of watch bands: bracelet and strap. Bracelet bands consist of interlocking metal links and a clasp, while straps are made from leather, rubber, cloth or other materials and constructed like a belt with holes and a buckle. While bracelets are often made from precious metals such as platinum, gold and silver, more affordable gold-plated and stainless steel options are also attractive and durable. Both types of bands are adjustable, though with bracelets the services of a professional may be required to add or remove links for resizing.

Crystal +

Crystal is the term for the clear covering that protects watch faces from dirt, water and other harmful elements. Crystals on luxury watches are generally made from hard-wearing, man-made sapphire crystal but mineral glass is a common, scratch-resistant and more affordable alternative found in many watches today. Acrylic crystal is the least expensive option and is easily polished, but also prone to scratch more easily.

Bezel +

A watch’s bezel can be practical or decorative. From a practical standpoint, this ring holds the crystal of the watch in place and protects the face. For divers, minute markers on a rotating bezel can help keep track of dive times and gauge underwater pressure. Minute-marking bezels are also convenient monitors for cooking times and tracking parking meters. For decorative purposes, bezels can hold precious stones like diamonds to add some bling to a man’s watch. Interchangeable bezels allow the wearer to swap out different colours or accents for added variety.

Material +

Watch materials vary widely, encompassing a range of styles and accommodating any budget. From impressive high-end platinum to durable stainless steel to boldly-coloured resin, there’s a watch material for every purpose. At the office, a comfortable and sleek leather strap is well suited to a dress watch, while a more rugged material such as rubber is a fun choice for a weekend sports watch. Titanium watches are popular among divers for their strength and durability and gold and silver watches are prized for their shimmer and craftsmanship.

Accents +

A watch that keeps accurate time is important, but function doesn’t have to be the only concern when purchasing watches for men. Additional accents of colour, pattern or gemstones can express a man’s personality through his timepiece. A diamond-studded bezel can turn a wristwatch into a status symbol while a logo face watch with his favourite NHL team is a fun choice for a hockey fan. A brightly coloured display that contrasts with the background of the watch face is another eye-catching accent to consider.


Watches that contain a global positioning system (GPS) can help the wearer to navigate hiking routes, monitor his heart rate and measure his running cadence. This function encourages wearers to pace themselves while pursuing their fitness goals, helping them to stay on track and avoid injury. A GPS watch collects a live stream of data that can be viewed on the watch’s display and transferred back to a database for future review. For added motivation, some models even offer feedback to help control the speed and intensity of workouts.

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Watch Care & Maintenance Tips:

• Protect watches from scratching by storing in a watch box
• Clean and service mechanical and automatic watches every 3-5 years
• Keep leather watch straps away from water to avoid damage
• Replace expired batteries promptly to avoid damage to your watch
• Clean watches with a soft fabric cloth or dry toothbrush
• Wind automatic watches every couple of weeks
• Wind mechanical watches at least once per day
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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