Online Shopping Picks: The 5 Best Men’s Watches to Buy Now

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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,

Stay stylish,

-Beau

 

Product Review: Stuhrling Aquadiver ‘Manta Ray’ Watch

With smartphones so ubiquitous nowadays, many question the necessity of wearing a watch to begin with. However, in the right setting and in the right style, a watch can function like any other part of an outfit — a finishing touch that sets the tone for an outfit, or a standout accessory in its own right. Building a basic, essential watch collection can be tricky, especially when so many expensive models are out there.  And there are certain types of watches that definitely fit in different situations, making things even slightly more confusing.

While a great dive watch is exceptionally versatile — wearable with jeans and a t-shirt as well as a suit when styled right — it’s always nice to give your timepieces a break. And, shaking things up on the wrist is as beneficial a style move as rotating shoes or other items of clothing.  That’s where a great rubber strap watch can come into play. But not the sporty, digital iterations worn to run races or anything like that. Think of the right rubber-strap watch as another casual watch to wear with simpler outfits, like the Timex Weekender (seen here as part of a Budget Style Guide).

The Stuhrling Aquadiver Manta Ray watch. Perfect for soaking up some, uh, rays.

The Stuhrling Aquadiver Manta Ray watch. Perfect for soaking up some, uh, rays.

That’s why this past Christmas, I was pretty pleased when Santa showed up under the tree with the Stuhrling Aquadiver Manta Ray watch. Now, the title on the Amazon link is quite a mouthful, but within just two days of wearing this timepiece, it’s clear that it’s quite the watch.

Yes, the watch is a quartz, meaning the battery will eventually have to be replaced. Although there’s quite the debate about quartz watches versus automatic varieties, the important thing about this timepiece is that it, well, tells time and runs well regardless.

Pure function aside, the great thing about this piece is its versatility. It would work in exactly the same scenarios as a Timex Weekender —for example, with an Oxford cloth button-down, sweater and jeans (as paired with on Christmas in cold New Hampshire) or with a polo and shorts (as worn in Florida during part 2 of a vacation trip). The color of the dial is a cool black with white symbols along the outer ring — no outlandish dial or strap here. And because of that rubber strap, there’s a durability aspect that a stainless steel watch doesn’t bring all the time — you needn’t worry about serious scratches or major damage all the time with this watch. Additionally, because the rubber strap is more casual than even a stainless steel strap, you don’t have to worry about matching the strap color with your belt all the time (honestly! Look closely here for an example).

The Stuhrling watch in action. Note the contrast on the bezel.

The Stuhrling watch in action. Note the contrast on the bezel.

The watch’s bezel actually works, as it rotates. The contrast between the numbering on that outer ring (as seen below) is a nice visual touch, as well. The stainless steel case is 42 millimeters in diameter, and it wears about that size — not overwhelmingly large, but slightly bigger than the average watch. It’s waterproof to 300 meters, making it very suitable for actual diving, and the watch feels sturdy overall. The screw down crown feels durable, too.

The area where the rubber straps attach to the watch case itself also feels sturdy — there’s a reinforcement aspect to those pressure points that’s reassuring if this watch is going to see some serious work. Most importantly, this watch (at least according to its Amazon page) is a serious, serious bargain when bought at the right time. It really embodies what great style should be about — it’s versatile, durable, well-built and extremely affordable. Not a bad job by Santa this year, in short.

If you’ve had any experience with Stuhrling watches in the past, leave it in the comments!