It was just a few short decades ago that wearing a watch was essential to keep track of the time. These days however, a quick glance at your phone, computer, or any other electronic device can tell you the time. As such, people who wear watches today do it more so to make a style statement rather than by necessity. But what exactly does your watch say about you and your sense of style? Here are some popular types of watch-wearers and the kinds of timepieces they gravitate towards.
The minimalist is someone who prefers understated watches with clean lines, legible dials, and more often than not, tasteful leather straps. With restrained case sizes and stark dial designs, brands like Nomos Glashütte and Junghans offer plenty of fantastic unassuming high-quality timepieces in their respective catalogs.
Image: Rolex Oyster Perpetual
Alternatively, if a minimalist opts for a big brand name, they’ll go for the most discreet options within the collection such as the Rolex Oyster Perpetual or the IWC Portofino. A watch is there to subtly complement a look rather than be the star of the show because, for a minimalist, there’s nothing worse than clutter and chaos.
On the other end of the style spectrum is the maximalist—someone who wholeheartedly believes in “go big or go home.” And that ethos extends to watches too; if you’re going to wear a watch, make sure it makes a bold statement. Oversized watches like Hublot Big Bang, Panerai Luminor, Bell & Ross, or anything from Richard Mille will certainly fit the bill.
Image: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph
What’s more, a great way to amp up a watch’s wrist presence is to combine it with a colorful strap. For maximalists that like to dress up, shiny gold watches with matching gold bracelets, like a Rolex President or precious metal Audemars Piguet Royal Oak can do the trick too. There’s a certain subset of maximalists that can perfectly rock a diamond watch too.
The curator is attracted to the classic icons of the watch world. They’re not interested in current trends and fleeting fads. They prefer timepieces that have endured over decades to become quintessential must-haves. Adding a watch to a collection is never done on a whim, but rather it is a deliberate and thoughtful process.
Image: Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch
Instantly recognizable watches such as the Rolex Submariner, Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch, IWC Portugieser Chronograph, Patek Philippe Nautilus, Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, and the like are some of the most popular among the curator crowd.
The nostalgic has a sense of style that is firmly rooted in the past—a yearning for the “good ol’ days,” so to speak. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the nostalgic will typically opt for vintage or vintage-inspired watches. Some examples include pilot watches like the Breitling Navitimer, racing watches like the TAG Heuer Monaco, military watches like the Hamilton Khaki Field, and old-school divers like the Panerai Radiomir.
Image: Panerai Radiomir 3 Days Acciaio
Wearing vintage-inspired straps is yet another way to play up a watch’s retro vibes. Even more important than the aesthetics of the timepiece, however, is the story that comes along with it. The nostalgic will frequently own a watch passed down from a family member or is looking forward to the day they can pass on their watch to someone special.
Closely related to the nostalgic but more conservative, the traditionalist favors elegant timepieces to match a dapper demeanor.
Image: Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso
Whether Art Deco rectangular models like the Cartier Tank and Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso, or slim classic round timepieces such as the Patek Philippe Calatrava and Vacheron Constantin Patrimony, less is more for the traditionalist. The ideal case metal is yellow gold, preferably fitted with a dark leather strap, and powered by a thin manual-winding movement.
Whether diving, climbing, flying, sailing, or traveling, the adventurist is always on the go, seeking the next quest. This type of lifestyle requires gear that can keep up. Thankfully, there are tons of watches out there created specifically for the adventurist that boast plenty of water resistance, durability, and functionality.
Image: Breitling Super Avenger Military
Pairing the watch with a sturdy nylon or rubber strap can boost robustness too. From the Rolex Explorer II and Breitling Super Avenger to the Omega Planet Ocean and Seiko divers, these watches are built to withstand extreme conditions common to the adventurist lifestyle.
Fueled by a passion for cars, it’s only natural for the motorhead to wear auto-inspired watches. And if there’s one style that the watch world is not short of, it is car-focused ones.
Image: TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 16
From famous racing watches like the Rolex Daytona, Omega Speedmaster, and TAG Heuer Carrera, to collaborative models like the Zenith El Primero Land Rover, Hublot Ferrari, and Breitling Bentley, the motorhead has a bevy of watch options to flaunt his car-loving persona. Plus, for that extra mile, there are also motoring-inspired watch bands like perforated rally straps or racing livery-colored nylon straps.
For the data-driven, the appearance of a watch is second to its functionality. Smartwatches like the Apple Watch, Sunnto, Fitbit, and Garmin offer the data-driven a dizzying array of information at the touch of a finger. Why stop at merely timekeeping when a smartwatch can do so much more?
Image: Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar
The athletic data-driven can track performance and vitals, while the ambitious data-driven can stay on top of daily tasks and obligations. It’s all about optimization, and having a world of capabilities strapped around your wrist is incredibly practical. Style is still important, and switching out straps to change the look of a smartwatch is great, but for the data-driven, performance is always king.
It goes without saying that some of us just don’t fit into just one of these watch types. Many of us have overlapping styles and like to switch things up depending on mood or occasion—and our watch and strap collections can also reflect that. However, we all have favorites that we like to fall back on. What do you think your favorite watch style says about you?