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An Apple Watch may be your daily driver, but you need a second (better) watch, too

These are the watches to turn to when your Apple Watch just won't cut it for the look

Apple Watch Series 6 worn by distinguished professional in suit.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

While watch functions have slowly expanded since the advent of the wristwatch in the early 1900s, there have been serious advances since brands started developing the smartwatch. Especially the Apple Watch. Gone are the days when a watch simply tells the phases of the moon and the date; now, it can tell your heart rate and blood pressure, and it can even track your sleep.

Sometimes, though, simplicity is in order. While smartwatches are a valuable tool to keep you healthy and in control, they are less about style and more about function. There are nice watches for men to wear when they need to elevate their outfits and accessories. Here are the best kinds of watches to replace your Apple smartwatch with for more stylish looks.

Watches on a dark background
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Pilot watch

If you like wristwatches, you can thank pilots for their rise to fame and use. Before the pilot watch, wrist jewelry was a dainty thing for women. Men mostly carried pocket watches on chains in their vests. As the aviation industry developed, pilots realized that it became more and more challenging to check the time while flying, so manufacturers created a wristwatch to simplify matters.

Two features standard with the pilot watch are matte black hands on the face to avoid reflections and a large dial on the side that can easily be wound, even when wearing pilot gloves. As pilot watches have continued to develop, more features helpful to pilots have been added, including dual time functions, wind correction, and fuel burn tools.

Why is this style a must for your collection? The faces of these pieces are striking, luxurious, and almost always a conversation starter, whether you navigate the friendly skies or not.

Four dive watches
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Dive watch

The marine world is another industry where the inability to use both hands could be disastrous. Sailors and divers need water-resistant timepieces they can read without stopping to fumble with another device. While Cartier was the first to come up with exactly that, another company, Omega, was the first to create a watch specifically made for divers. They were pioneers of the dive watch.

We know what you’re thinking: “I’m not a diver. Why the heck do I need a dive watch?” While you’re sure you may not need 100m water resistance on a daily basis, that feature shows a durable robustness that will keep your investment safe for decades. Also, if you want something with proven staying power and class, remember that the Omega is the choice of none other than James Bond. It should be good enough for you if it’s good enough for the super spy-iest of all super spies.

Three field watches
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Field watch

When you’re in the trenches in the middle of battle, every moment counts. Every movement you make and every second you take can be the difference between life and death. The field watch was initially created for soldiers in WWI to allow them to keep their hands on their weapons and coordinate their movements.

Since then, this versatile timepiece has become the number-one timepiece for adventure. While some field watches are simplistic, with dark-colored faces and light-colored hands and digits for easy reading, many have other features. Specific features like date and day displays, moon phases, and compasses allow the wearer to accomplish far more than a watch that simply gives the time.

Many of these watches are made to withstand the harshest environments in the world, from the wilderness of the Sahara to the snowcaps of the mountains and even under the canopies of the jungles.

Dress watch close-up
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Dress watch

Every watch has its place. The Apple Watch and the field watch are about function and working toward a goal. Dive and pilot watches are made for specific industries to be used by the best of the best. But when you dress for success, you need a watch that matches the elevation. The number one thing to remember with a dress watch is that it needs to be subtle and understated, never taking away from the more formal looks.

The best dress watches will be simple faces with no bells and whistles, and they’ll sport a leather band. An essential tip to keep in mind is that you need to ensure the leather band on the watch matches the leather of your belt and shoes. When you wear a suit and tie, the right dress watch will let them speak.

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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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