Nick Campanella

Nick Campanella

How to Match your Watch with your Outfit

Rules to match your watch with your outfit? 

Sounds a little too much? 


Imagine a man in a tuxedo at a black-tie event. 

He has class, style and a posture that grabs everyone’s attention. 

He casually turns his wrist to check the time… a G-Shock wristwatch 

with a rubber strap… (Don’t be this guy…) FAIL!! 

Yes, a wristwatch is more than just a timepiece. It is an important fashion accessory today. A watch has got the ability to either to break or build an outfit. So it is imperative that we are extra careful about matching our watch to the attire 

Since men wear limited jewelry, a watch is an expression of their personality. The best wristwatches are simple, versatile, sophisticated and classic. 

Most men prefer to own more than one watch so they can wear the appropriate timepiece to complement their outfit. 

The style of watch you choose to wear needs to match the formality of your outfit. What are the 4 watch-matching rules that are timeless and relevant in any situation? 

#1 – Match The Formality Of Your Watch With The Formality Of Your Outfit Digital or analog watches? 

Dress or casual

What’s the difference? 

Analog watches have a face with hour and minute hands and either markers or numbers that display a 12-hour day. These watches are considered classic and more formal, making them suitable for business, formal events or a date.

Digital watches have a LCD display or LED face that shows time in numeric form. These watches are considered casual. Personally, I don’t have a digital watch in my collection, because, as a friend once put it, I’m not a spy kid… 

Watch Categories 

Leaving exclusive gadget watches out of the equation such as the apple watch, there are five categories of watches that most men own… 

Dress Watches – A watch with a plain black or white face and no complications accompanied by a black or brown leather band is as formal as it gets. The most formal dress watches are the ones that only show hours, minutes, seconds and maybe the date. Complications in dress watches are simpler and not related to sport. 

Diver’s watches – Also referred to as a diving watch, these were originally worn as work/tool watches. Designed for underwater diving, these watches feature a minimum water resistance up to 100 meters. 

The Ulysses Nardin brand is a great example of a watch company that puts out great divers, and I recommend them when going for that look. One Thing I DO NOT recommend is wearing a diver’s watch with a suit. That’s the equivalent of wearing a suit with sandals. 

Chrono / Sports Watches – Not a true dress watch, but can be quite dressy especially in the higher brands. Sports watches are durable, sleek and made from high-quality materials with many complications. 

Pilot or flyer watches – Featuring a simple dial design and a rather large diameter, these watches were made to be accurate and easy to read. Originally worn over the pilot’s jacket – they were made with a large crown that could be operated while wearing gloves. The Breitlimg Navitimer world is a great example of this. 

Field Watches – These are the watches you go for if youre out camping hiking or some other outdoorsy activity in which telling time is the most valuable utility of the tumpiece and being flashy is not the goal. The simple design improves legibility of the numerals. Typically, these watches are moderately sized, and as previously mentioned, have utility in mind over style. The 

Breitling Emergency watch is a great example as they were supposedly designed to signal a distress call in case the wearer got lost . 

Levels Of Formality 

Watches are made for a specific purpose. Avoid common fashion faux-pas by matching your watch style with the formality of the occasion. 

Black tie / White Tie – For formal events, simplicity is key. Historically – it would be considered rude if you were to refer to your watch at such an event, because it signals to others you’d like to leave or are in a hurry. A simple dress watch in a classic style and simple leather band will silence any objections from conservative guests. 

Business dress – For business – go with a simple and classic styled gold or silver watch with a thin dial with limited or no complications. A watch shouldn’t be a main focal point of a business

meeting. A dark conservative suit is best paired with a classic dress watch or a diver watch with a leather strap. 

Business Casual – A light colored suit with no necktie is best paired with a high-end chrono, a pilot or even a smart field watch. 

Casual – If a watch has a metal band, it is considered less formal. A metal band is generally suitable for casual wear while a leather band is suitable for any purpose. Any of the watch categories can be worn with a jeans, chambray shirt and dress boots combination. Digital watches should only be worn with casual clothes or workout attire. 

Sports – For activities that involve unpredictable physical movements, such as sports, a dress watch would be inappropriate. In this case, you have permission to go crazy with strap choice, camo straps, bright colored straps whatever suits your style. Personally, I don’t wear my watches when exercising buy you may want take a cue from Odell Beckham Jr and become a twitter sensation with the timepiece you wear om the field. My point is it’s all about personal tastes, just keep the activity in mind 

#2 Leather Complements Leather 

The material and color of your shoes is a suitable reference for the choice of watchband. You should start by matching your belt and shoes. 

A black watchband should be worn with black shoes and belt; a brown band with brown belt and shoes. A silver or gold band suits either color.

Interchangeable bands are an excellent option for men who own shoes in different colors. The watchbands don’t have to be the exact same color as your shoes, but a similar tone (light vs medium vs dark). 

● Don’t wear a black band watch with a brown tone shoe. Or a brown band with black shoes. ● A watch with a rubber band is most appropriate for casual or sporting occasions. ● A chronometer is made for sport and styled for sport. It should generally be worn for sport. ● In analog timepieces, the watchband is either made of leather or the same kind of metal used on the case. 

● Rough, worn-in leather straps work better with jeans. Such a watch would not be appropriate for a professional event. 

● A good leather strap is the classic choice, but gold or silver bands can work too when they complement the rest of your outfit. 

#3 Metal Complements Metal 

The metal case of the watch (the frame around the face) should complement the metal accents of your other accessories. The case can be square, rectangular, round, and polygonal. The finish on the case can be matte, shiny, matte, patterned, or inlaid with crystals or other jewels. 

The metals used to make the case include steel, gold, silver, platinum and titanium. A rose gold watch can be worn with a gold belt buckle – it’s close enough. 

What if the metal casing on the watch is blacked out? Then do as you please. 

You want to coordinate the metal color with your watch and ring, so if your watch is gold then all your accessories, for example, are gold. 

The other accessories speak of that you will need to pay attention to include cuff links, shoe buckles, buckles on the side adjusters of trousers or on the back of your waistcoats and any other piece of jewelry on your outfit. 

A gold-plated watch is best-suited to clothes and shoes in earthy tones, while silver goes with grey, blue and black.

#4 When In Doubt Match Your Watch To Your Shoes 

Black is generally dressier, but that doesn’t make it the default right choice. Sometimes brown shoes are just a better choice. Interchangeable leather bands are useful here – one in brown and one in black for each watch. Or another color for more variety, I believe one of the reasons I fell in love with the Panerai brand is the versatility it offers in that regard. 

● Black leather is more formal than brown. A black watchband is more suited for formal events. ● Silver watches match best with shoes in black, gray, silver, and blue shades. Gold watches go with browns, beiges, tans, and other earth tones. 

● Wearing Oxford black shoes with a dark suit? Go with a formal watch. 

That’s it! Those are the 4 rules I try to follow when picking a watch for my outfit, now, the key word there is TRY. I got into collecting watches because it was fun, and much like anything else in life, once you learn the rules, break them a bit every now and then!

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