What Your Watch Says About You Header

What Your Watch Says About You

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

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.

What Your Watch Says About You Minimalist Rolex Oyster Perpetual
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.

The Maximalist

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.

What Your Watch Says About You Maximalist Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chonograph
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

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.

What Your Watch Says About You Curator Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch
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

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.

What Your Watch Says About You Nostalgic Panerai Radiomir 3 Days Acciaio
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.

The Traditionalist

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.

The Adventurist

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.

What Your Watch Says About You Adventurist Breitling Super Avenger Military
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.

The Motorhead

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.

The Data-Driven

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?

What Your Watch Says About You Date Driven Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar
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?


  1. Rick Atkinson

    Good article. I would have to agree, I wear my watches for time and date keeping as well as good looks. I lean toward minimalism. Lately I have swapped out some of my black and brown leather straps for Strapsco. I like the performance of the rubber bands and found they even have a little texture to them.

    I am looking for a basic watch that tells network time and date. Any suggestions?

  2. Angel Alberto Torres

    What does it say if you like all of the above?

  3. Mauricio Centeno

    I have recently started to collect some watches and I always think that a Leather strap gives a touch of elegance to a watch.

  4. Randy Beamer

    You left out “The Historian”. One who wears vintage watches from numerous manufacturers, whether they are American, Swiss, German, etc.

    1. I am in that category as well. Probably have over 100 vintage pieces. Nothing valuable, just the run of the mill Bulova, Elgin, Wyler, Swiss brands. 1930’s-1980’s..

  5. An interesting take on “watch heads”, ( like gear heads in the automotive world? ) What watch to wear when driving the Jag, or traveling to a foreign country? This is the fun part. Do I wear a leather strapped tool watch with an old
    Fiat or do I put on the SS racing band.
    A simple way to stand out without seeming to do so.

  6. Thank you very much for such an interesting article! I was very pleased to read it and I got a lot of pleasure.

  7. No functionalist category for tool watch lovers?

  8. My leather watch band is holding up nicely. I’ve attached the leather band to my Fitbit. It’s a nice mix of tech & tradition since Fitbit can’t figure out how to make their watch band work or hold up. wje

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