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The best watches for men: These are the timepieces worth investing in

Keep your wrist looking better than ever with a timepiece from this list of watches

Man in suit, cufflinks, watch, and gloves
Joshua Reddekopp / Unsplash

Building an excellent watch collection begins with versatility and ends with luxury. When you are first beginning to acquire quality timepieces, you will pick the ones that can go with most of your outfits and work just as well at the office or on safari.

The list of best watches for men and the companies that sell them can feel overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. lucky for you, we have done the legwork and put together this list of best watches for your consideration. Of course, before you start picking your favorite watches, you need to understand yourself and your watch goals.

Watch on a wrist in front of coat
Nordgreen / Unsplash

How to build a watch collection

Building a watch collection can feel overwhelming if you’re just starting out. There seems to be an endless amount of combinations from colors and bands, to functions and brands. When you decide to take a dive into buying watches, you should consider three things.

  1. Your budget – Whether you are going for the cheapest watches available or the most expensive watches on the market, you need to figure out what your budget can handle. You may want a Rolex, but you may have to start with a Nixon. There’s nothing wrong with either unless you have the latter budget trying to make the former work.
  2. Your goal – Why do you want a watch collection? Are you looking to get specific watches to round out a collection? Do you simply want to grab the best watches you can to round out any outfit you come up with? Or do you want watches with stories attached? Either way, answering this question will go a long way to narrowing your focus.
  3. Your lifestyle – Are you wearing these watches to parties on Billionaire’s Row in New York City? Or are you a frequent visitor in the sandbox as a Navy Seal? You’re more likely somewhere in between, but the point is these two have very different needs from their watch collection. Understand the kind of functions you need from your watch before you start making purchases.

Of course, whether you begin with a dive watch, a pilot’s watch, or a field watch, function will often give way to fashion when you are casually shopping. But with this list of watches for men, you don’t have to compromise on either. These are some of the best investments you can make for your watch collection.

This Luminox tactical timepiece features a bright red band, perfect for Valentine's Day.

Luminox Master Carbon SEAL Automatic 3875 Watch

Made to handle some challenging situations, this beauty from Luminox is crafted from the brand’s proprietary Carbonox+ material. It’s light, durable, hypoallergenic, weatherproof, and shock and scratch-resistant. The model also features automatic movement and is extremely water-resistant, with an easily legible face and sapphire crystal. If this is strong enough for the baddest of the bad, the U.S. Navy Seals, it is for sure strong enough to handle whatever you have going on in your life. Not only that, but it will look great on your wrist.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Automatic Watch
Audemars Piguet

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Automatic Watch

Audemars Piguet debuted its Royal Oak collection in 1972, one of the first brands to make a genuine luxury watch in chunky steel with a large case rather than a smaller gold model. This watch may see you more trying to figure out how to survive a fundraising gala than navigating through the wilderness, but it’s nice to know it can handle either with ease. Going from formal dress to the wilderness may require a complete wardrobe change, but your timepiece can stay the same.

IWC Schaffhausen Pilot's Spitfire Watch

IWC Schaffhausen Pilot’s Spitfire Watch

This classic casual watch could just become your one and only. Initially produced for the British Royal Air Force, its traditional, retro styling goes with just about anything in a man’s wardrobe. The automatic movement means the watch keeps running for 72 hours even if you take it off for a few days. Whether dressing for the office, a day around the house, or an adventure off the beaten path, a touch of British history can go along with you.

Hamilton American Classic PSR Digital Quartz
Hamilton Watch

Hamilton American Classic PSR Digital Quartz Watch

Hamilton debuted the Pulsar watch in 1970, celebrating a kind of astronaut chic inspired by the first moon landing the year before. Its simple, polished style features a classic red LED display with a clean stainless steel case and bracelet. There is nothing better than celebrating our country’s greatest achievements by taking your style to new heights with this pioneering, inspired watch.

Casio G-Shock Black Triple Sensor

Casio G-Shock Rangeman Multi-Band 6 Atomic Timekeeping Watch

The G-Shock has become practically a cultural phenomenon unto itself, renowned for its durability and chunky, elaborate design. The Rangeman (just one of many, many iterations) strays into both tactical and dive watch territory, featuring a digital compass, altimeter, barometer, thermometer, and atomic timekeeping, all while being suitable for light scuba diving.

Ulysse Nardin Diver Automatic Chronograph
Ulysse Nardin

Ulysse Nardin Diver Automatic Chronograph

Imagine being named one of the most famous adventurers in history and being the son of one the most prominent watchmakers of the time; Ulysses Nardin carried a heavy heritage. The best way to live up to both of those legacies was to make one of the most extraordinary adventure watches on the market. We think this contemporary style from the company that bears his name would make all of them proud.

Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time 18kt Rose Gold Automatic Men's Watch
Patek Philippe

Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time 18kt Rose Gold Automatic Watch

From the bottom of the sea to the top of the world, this pilot watch offers an 18-karat rose gold case that is refined and elegant, especially when paired with the brown face and brown leather band. Whether you are shuttling passengers at 30,000 feet or reaching new heights in your career on the ground, this watch will go with you every step of the way.

ROLEX Deepsea D-Blue Dial Automatic Men's Stainless Steel Oyster Watch

Rolex Deepsea D-Blue Dial Automatic Men’s Stainless Steel Oyster Watch

If you love watches, Rolex is on your bucket list of brands to add to your collection. There is no shortage of Rolex options to choose from, as it has been pioneering this industry for a century. Practically synonymous with luxurious watches and good taste, the Rolex name is internationally renowned for straightforward, masculine design and quality that lasts for generations. The Oyster watch is the very epitome of the brand’s heritage.

Vacheron Constantin

Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Self-Winding Watch

Easily crossing boundaries in this story from automatics to luxury to dress watches, this dark blue watch (the strap is Mississippi alligator) with a pink gold case is the very essence of elegance. It’s also set with 117 round-cut diamonds and is part of a collection of contemporary interpretations of watches from Vacheron Constantin’s 70-year history. Think of it as a strikingly beautiful investment in your own family’s heritage.

Movado Museum Classic

Movado Museum Classic

The Movado Museum watch truly is a classic, espousing simple, elegant design that looks as great with a suit as it does with a pair of blue jeans. It’s called the “Museum” because it’s included in the collections of 20 museums worldwide. This minimal stainless steel beauty features 11 diamond markers on its face, a mesh bracelet, and a Swiss Quartz Movement. This watch is one you don’t ever have to think about, just put it on and go.

MTM Black Ops Cobra 47
MTM Watch

MTM Black Ops Cobra 47

Developed by warriors, for warriors, MTM Watches is a truly American company that dedicates itself to creating the perfect timepieces for the men and women who serve us. You don’t have to be a soldier, cop, fireman, paramedic, or search and rescue technician, but with the Black Ops Cobra, you will feel like one. As if you need another one, an added benefit is every watch can be customized to fit your life and preference. The founder of the company served in some of the harshest conditions the world had to offer and has spent 30 years making watches that can do the same.

Norqain Adventure Sport Chrono 44mm

Norqain Adventure Sport Chrono 44mm

The Norqain spirit lives in the peaks of the Swiss Alps. Inspired by the mountains, the company logo features two back-to-back Ns that create a peak. The three collections that the 5-year-old company has developed look to scale the mountains represented by the logo and to overtake the watch industry with values and innovation. The Adventure Sport is one of its most striking pieces, able to be fitted with a black rubber strap, black Nordura strap, or khaki Nordura strap, and the underside of the case is open to show the inner workings of this timeless piece.

Breitling Top Time BO1 Chevrolet Corvette

Breitling Top Time BO1 Chevrolet Corvette

What does a man love more than a great watch? His muscle car. Willy Breitling knew that and developed the Top Time line to capture the love of the 1960s with models built inspired by some of the most badass cars on the market. The four cars represented are the Chevy Corvette Stingray, the Ford Mustang, the Ford Thunderbird, and the Shelby Cobra, with a bonus inspired by the Dues Ex Machina motorcycle outfitter. On top of the Stingray-inspired badassness of this watch, Breitling is one of the most well-known and well-respected watch brands in the world for a reason, and this conversation starter will serve you well both on and off the road.

The truth is, you can’t go wrong with any one of these options, and there are some very compelling features of each one that deserve your consideration. Whether you go with a well-known commodity like Rolex, Hamilton, or Breitling or a lesser-known but competitive brand like Norqain or MTM, you will never not have the best watch in the room.

Mark McKee
Mark is a full-time freelance writer and men's coach. He spent time as a style consultant and bespoke suit salesman before…
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