Style Commentary: Why I Wear A Watch

A look at my watch collection circa Jan. 2014. From left to right: Timex Ameritus Sport with brown-leather NATO strap, black canvas strap Timex Weekender and silver Invicta dive watch.

A look at the author’s watch collection circa Jan. 2014. From left to right: Timex Ameritus Sport with brown-leather NATO strap, black canvas strap Timex Weekender and silver Invicta dive watch. Some new additions pictured below.

Although I’ve written about watches in the past on this site, there hasn’t often been much discussion on why it’s important to me, or why it just makes intrinsic sense (to me, at least!) to wear a watch. There are plenty of other ways to tell time, undoubtedly, from computers to smartphones to other apps on your phone. But each of those, while functional, are utilitarian and not the most stylish — and ambition in matters of style is always good to have!

A Timex Ameritus Sport watch with a No. 8 Chromexcel Horween leather band from Form-Function-Form, a new addition to the personal collection.

A Timex Ameritus Sport watch with a No. 8 Chromexcel Horween leather band from Form-Function-Form, a new addition to the personal collection.

The best timepieces have meaningful stories and memories behind them and style that fits in with your day-to-day life — really, that’s the biggest benefit! The first watch I really bought to wear was a Timex Weekender (seen in the case above and in this post here), with a black canvas strap. It was a trusty timepiece that took me through many late nights editing and writing at the student newspaper at Michigan State — classic, minimal in design and style and well set-up for casual wear. I’ve upgraded over time to a larger collection, as you can see in the photos here — a brown-leather watch from Stuhrling, a black-rubber casual watch also from Stuhrling, a Timex Ameritus Sport watch with interchangeable canvas straps (seen in this post on Dappered) and a silver dive watch from Invicta. The black-rubber Stuhrling watch is great for casual outfits — a crewneck sweatshirt, henley and jeans on the weekend, or a pocket T-shirt and khaki shorts in the spring and summer. And the Timex Ameritus watch has tons of versatility, too — it can be worn with a dressier leather strap as pictured above, or with a colorful paisley strap for warmer weather.

The Stuhrling Aquadiver Manta Ray watch.

From the collection: A Stuhrling Aquadiver Manta Ray watch.

A personal favorite: the Stuhrling Original Classic Ascot Agent watch in brown leather.

A personal favorite: the Stuhrling Original Classic Ascot Agent watch in brown leather.

It’s not essential to have a large collection or even multiple watches, however. When I travel, I take one, maybe two watches at the most (like I did on a recent trip to Michigan). And the most versatile watch in my collection for day-to-day wear is undoubtedly my silver Invicta pro diver watch — the stainless steel links pair with either brown or black leather shoes and belts and everything else from casual sneakers, shorts and a T-shirt in the summer to a navy suit and dress accessories (like this get-up). Although I haven’t gotten to it yet, the links can be swapped out for a canvas or leather strap for even more versatility. The stainless steel style (say that three times fast) is favored by fashion icons on screen and in real life, so that’s an added bonus.

An up-close look at a versatile timepiece, the Invicta 8926 Pro Diver. Cardigan by Todd Snyder.

An up-close look at a versatile and oft-worn timepiece, the Invicta 8926 Pro Diver. Cardigan by Todd Snyder.

And this particular watch is definitely special for more than its looks — it was a Christmas gift from my parents, so I think of them every time I wear it. It’s a daily reminder of consistency, too — wearing a watch helps me start my day off on the right foot and keep track of appointments and meeting times. The fact that it’s got intrinsic style benefits to it is just an added bonus. While I save up for a bigger purchase (for now, this Shinola watch), my collection will definitely do just fine.

If you’re just starting out looking for great watches, some pointers can be found here on key styles and low prices. And if you want to add some long-term “grail” watch purchases to your list, Invaluable has some drool-worthy men’s watches up for sale right now — and they’ve also got some women’s watches up on the site if you need a gift for that special someone in your life! In the meantime, buying an inexpensive, solid timepiece like the ones above should work well for style purposes and functionality.

Do you wear a watch every day? What’s on your wrist from Monday to Sunday? And what would be your dream watch? Let me know! 

The Product Review: Stuhrling Original “Classic Ascot Agent” Watch

The Stuhrling Original Classic Ascot Agent. With brown leather and a black dial.

The Stuhrling Original Classic Ascot Agent. With brown leather and a black dial.

With smartphones and the like so ubiquitous nowadays, it seems watches have been steadily disappearing from the wrists of men (and even women) for some time now. There’s no mistaking that a smartphone can feasibly do just as well as a watch when telling the time, but a watch — at least from a guy’s perspective — really has the potential to do so much more. It’s one of the only ways a man can express himself in terms of accessories outside of piling on bracelets, something that’s kept hanging on despite reaching a peak last year, it seems. And a watch, as others have noted, is the perfect way to diversify an outfit — be it with a dress watch, a stainless band, or another option.

That’s why I’m such a big fan of wearing a watch – it provides a daily consistency, and can set the tone for an outfit.  A Timex Weekender? Perfect for, you guessed it, casual weekend wear.  A sturdy dive watch, as linked to above? Great for dressing up a casual outfit or keeping a sharp look well-grounded. And even in the summer, it’s tough to go wrong with a minimal, sharp leather dress watch. After a few days of wearing my Stuhrling Original “Classic Ascot Agent” Watch, I’m certain this will become a go-to timepiece (namely, because I personally enjoy wearing brown shoes so much). As a fan of the Stuhrling brand too, the quality seems on-point. Now, pricewise, it’s no Omega, but when you can grab it on Amazon (as I did) for a ridiculously low markup, it’ll act as a great holdover from a reputed brand for the price.

A closer look at the crisp white markings on the black dial.

A closer look at the crisp white markings on the black dial.

Now, there’s definitely something to be said for mixing up different watch bands in the warmer months (read a review of a paisley strap by The Knottery here), but a brown leather strap is hard to beat. This Stuhrling model is a bit out of the norm, as it combines brown and black, but that combo definitely works on a watch. The watch face is incredibly minimalistic, a personal favorite when so many watches try to add a lot of bells and whistles.The white markings stand out crisply against the black background, and the black-and-white combo actually makes the brown leather look more rich. Now the genuine leather strap certainly isn’t like a Horween leather strap from the guys at form-function-form,  but it’ll do the job. The watch itself wears at a not-too-large, not-too-small case diameter of 42 millimeters — a little larger than the traditional dress watch, but with an added bit of beef that makes it more acceptable for casual wear, too. It certainly doesn’t overwhelm my smaller-than-normal wrists, by any means.

42mm case diameter, a little larger than a normal dress watch, but no less wearable.

42mm case diameter, a little larger than a normal dress watch, but no less wearable.

To boot, the Amazon listing says it’s water-resistant to 165 feet — a nice touch, but this isn’t a dive watch or a sturdier rubber-strap option, so it’s best to keep it away from the water. The crown doesn’t wind too loosely when changing the date or time, but where some might take issue is the fact that it’s a quartz watch, not an automatic — a big debate in the style world. But for $50 on Amazon, there shouldn’t really be any qualms over paying that price for a quartz watch. And that’s really the main point here — for $50 (on some sites), you can get a great-looking, incredibly clean and minimal dress watch that’s also suitable for casual wear. If you’re in the market for something like that, you can’t ask for much more.