Editor’s note: To feast your eyes on all kinds of #menswear shopping picks, click over here.
Curious about what casual watch you need in your arsenal? Read on. The Stuhrling Aquadiver Manta Ray is pictured here. Vintage ballcap by Goorin Brothers. Striped chambray shirt by JACHS NY. Sneakers by Reef. Sunglasses by Tom Ford. Sweatshorts by Pistol Lake.
Look down at your right wrist. Now, look down at your left wrist. Do you have a great watch on? Yes? No? Can’t tell? I’m here to help you sort that out today. When it comes to style upgrades, there’s no messing about here at The Style Guide. As a guy constantly on the hunt for a great watch, it’s an area that’s been a focus for me as of late — we even covered off on some more men’s watches on a budget last spring, so it’s high time to get after it again. And although it might not be the first thing you look to buy for yourself (whether you’ve owned a timepiece before or not), it can play a pretty crucial role in tying together an outfit. The right accessories just work that way. And while a casual watch might seem a bit out of place, we’re looking today for watches that you’d wear to, say, a relaxed spring bar crawl or a casual Sunday brunch, not to a boardroom meeting. Specifically, look for something Bond might wear in the Moroccan desert — you see where we’re headed with this? The below picks definitely reflect that spirit of adventure without the high price tag — casual in nature, ready for spring and summer (and beyond), and designed with a slightly more rugged feel in mind. If you think I missed any pieces, give me a holler on Twitter! Talk to you soon!
#1. Timex Waterbury — $100
A unique offering from a brand that does casual watches very well.
Note that the original Timex Weekender could very well fill this top spot, too — it was a close call! But the brand so well-known for that style is doing something a little different with its Waterbury line. These watches blend rugged style, like that slightly aged leather strap, with a simple contrasting design on the dial and no real frills anywhere. It’s the perfect watch to grab when you want to mimic a leather dress watch without such a minimal look (like at that Sunday brunch). The price is definitely tough to beat no matter where else you look — it’ll take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’, to quote the brand.
#2. Daniel Wellington Classic Glasgow 40mm Silver Watch, $195
A style Bond would be proud to wear — the merger of a dress watch and a sport-inspired strap.
For those who prefer a slightly more crisp watch merged with the sporty nature of a NATO strap, here’s your winner. Daniel Wellington has taken the ultra-minimal design and thin case of a dress watch for its Classic Glasgow and done it up in a sharp silver color. The striped white-and-blue NATO strap is practically begging to be worn alongside a slim pocket tee and a great pair of summer shorts — even if it looks a tad too dressy at first, a watch this well-designed can work with any outfit (just be sure to keep it out of the water — it’s not built to go quite that far).
#3. Timex for J. Crew Vintage Army Field Watch — $98
Based on a decades-old archival design, this watch is worth the higher price tag compared to other Timex watches.
J. Crew continues to knock it out of the park when it comes to partnering with renowned third-party brands, and this particular watch has surely ended up on many a style wish list over the years because of that. The Timex for J. Crew timepiece in question is based on a style from the Timex archives that dates back to the 1940s — talk about timeless. The olive strap is neutral enough to match with almost anything, and the simple case markings and smaller case diameter make this one subtle, stylish watch — to say it’s perfect for a backyard barbeque would be an understatement.
#4. KOMONO Winston Heritage Chambray — $99.95
Chambray on a watch strap? Can’t go wrong.
While chambray as a shirting or trouser fabric is versatile enough to rock year-round, it’s not often seen on watch straps. In this instance though, the KOMONO Winston Heritage would be a unique, eye-catching addition to your watch collection — it’s just different enough visually from a brown leather watch to make it worth your time (pun intended). The acid wash chambray strap is a neat finishing touch that would play nicely off inky selvedge denim and a navy crewneck, and it would also work alongside a slim short-sleeve henley and light wash jeans this spring. Casual in nature, ya dig?
#5. Stuhrling Original Aquadiver Manta Ray Watch — $48.40
Ultra-tough and ultra-dependable, this rubber-strap Stuhrling watch just works.
By far the most casual and least expensive watch on this list, perhaps the Stuhrling Aquadiver is what you had in mind when thinking “casual watch.” A rubber strap watch is certainly the most rugged and dependable among this group, and it even performs just as a stainless steel dive watch might — that is, you can rock it in the water, on land and everywhere in between. It’s a heck of a steal for under $50, and my personal timepiece is still going strong after more than two years of use (read the full review here).
With a dearth of casual watches on the market, cutting any list off at five is tough. But brands that do dress watches well (like Daniel Wellington) also have the market cornered with more casual timepieces. MVMT Watches delivers options that certainly drift a bit louder in terms of style (like this all-black, rugged watch), but they could be a wise pickup if you’re a fan of the brand. If you fancy yourself a watch collector with some cash to burn, you could feasibly snag the same watch worn by James Bond in Spectre. Oh, man. On the slightly cheaper side of things, Shinola is even manufacturing super-rugged, sport-inspired watches that might be worth a look. If building up your watch collection is a goal of yours, start with the basics — like a brown leather dress watch — and then move into the more casual realm with picks that serve a twofold purpose. As for me? I think this list isn’t a bad place to start.
Until next time,