From classic men's gold watches to modern sports watches, a man's choice of timepiece is a way to express his personality, complement his outfit and of course, keep track of time. Luxury watch brands such as Rolex , Cartier , Omega , Tag Heuer and Audemars Piguet are experts in creating watches that are a delight to own and wear, with models for every occasion.
Choosing the Perfect Men's Watch for Your Style
Luxury watches for men are available in an almost infinite range of styles, shapes and sizes, with classic, contemporary and vintage timepieces to appeal to every taste. Whether you are a watch aficionado who is adding to their collection or you want to buy your first luxury watch, you'll be spoilt for choice. Dress watches are elegant in style and designed to wear with formal garb, from a business suit to a dinner jacket or tuxedo. For more relaxed occasions and to team with everyday outfits, a sporty racing watch with a large bezel or a simple field watch with a leather strap will both prove to be versatile options.
How Much Do Luxury Watches for Men Cost?
Men's luxury watches are available at a wide range of prices with models to suit every budget from leading brands including Breitling, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Patek Philippe . Prices vary depending on the watch model, manufacturer and the materials used in the timepiece. Stainless steel men's watches tend to be at the lower end of the price scale, while magnificent platinum, gold and diamond-set watches have a spectacular price to match their appearance. In fact, some of the most expensive men's watches in the world are diamond and gold watches from Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe. Such splendid timepieces can be priced in excess of 80,000€ (95,000 US$). The average cost for a Patek Philippe men's watch is 38,073€ (44,902 US$), while timepieces from Audemars Piguet are priced, on average, around 34,540€ (40,735 US$).
Those seeking more affordable luxury watches will find plenty of high-end models with prices starting from just under 1000€ (1,200 US$). The average price of a TAG Heuer watch is around 2,500€ (3,010 US$), while Omega watches have an average cost of 3,500€ (4,302 US$). In the mid-price range for luxury watches, Rolex watches for men cost on average 8,000€ (9,396 US$), IWC Schaffhausen watches average around 8,800€ (10,485 US$) and Jaeger-LeCoultre watches can be bought at an average cost of 13,000€ (15,360 US$). Another opportunity to buy cheaper luxury watches to choose a pre-owned model, which will allow you to save money without compromising on quality or style.
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A Brief History of Luxury Wristwatches for Men
Many people are surprised to learn that men's wristwatches did not become fashionable until the early 20th Century. Until that point, men generally used pocket watches, while watches worn on the wrist “wristlets” were seen as jewellery for women.
The earliest wristwatches for men were developed due to necessity. During the Anglo-Burma War and Boer War, military men found that checking their pocket watch during a battle was inconvenient. Many of them simply found a way to strap their watches to their wrists and this was the inspiration for early wristwatch designs. In 1902, Omega began advertising men's watches as essential military equipment, while Wilsdorf & Davis (now known as Rolex) began to introduce silver watches with leather straps for men and women in 1905.
During the First World War, the importance of being able to accurately track time continued to highlight the need for wristwatches. In fact, watches were considered to be such an essential that in 1917, the British War Department began handing them out to soldiers. After the war, the wristwatch industry boomed and pocket watches went out of fashion as men and women alike adopted the new, more practical designs that luxury brands like Cartier, Rolex and Jaeger-LeCoultre were now offering.
Top 6 Iconic Luxury Men's Watches
The most famous wristwatches in the world are manufactured by prestigious men's watches brands including Rolex, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe, Omega and Cartier. When a man sports such a timepiece, he is not only expressing impeccable taste but also carrying a rich legacy of history and tradition on his wrist.
Rolex watches for men have become a status symbol and the epitome of success. The now iconic Rolex Datejust was created in 1945 to celebrate the brand's 40th anniversary. The Rolex Datejust was the first self-winding wristwatch to show the date on the dial. Later models added a Cyclops eye to magnify the date and make it easier to read at a glance. Over the years, the Datejust watch has become a favourite of many famous men from Bruce Willis and Harrison Ford to Martin Luther King and Winston Churchill.
With its instantly recognisable Art Deco styling, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso dates back to the 1930s, when it was designed as the result of a challenge. After a game of polo, a player showed his broken watch to Cesar De Trey and asked him to find someone who could make a model that would withstand the wear and tear of the sport. De Trey approached Jacques-David LeCoultre, whose response was to design a reversible clock face. Today, the Reverso watch is as popular as ever, with many new variations available including double-faced bezels and diamond-set pieces.
The original Audemars Piguet Royal Oak was designed by Gerald Genta, who was a well-known name in the watch-making world. His previous experiences included collaborations with Omega to produce the Constellation watch and Patek Philippe in the design of the Golden Elipse watch. Genta was contacted by Audemars Piguet on the night before the 1971 Swiss Annual Watch Show to ask him to create a luxury watch unlike any that had come before. The following morning, Genta presented his new design – a steel watch, based on a traditional diver's helmet, with an octagonal bezel. The Royal Oak had an adjustable bracelet, visible screws and a unique pattern on the dial, as well as a self-winding Calibre 2121 movement. When launched in 1972, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak was criticised, but the distinctive design soon started to win fans. Today, the Royal Oak watch for men has become synonymous with exclusivity and the brand have offered several exclusive variations of the model, including the 1981 Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar, the 2010 Royal Oak Equation of Time and the 20th anniversary Royal Oak Offshore, designed by Emmanuele Gueit.
Like the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, the Patek Philippe Nautilus was created by Gerald Genta. The luxury watch was inspired by the portholes on a transatlantic liner, with a curved octagonal bezel and hinge-like ears on the sides. The mechanical automatic watch also had embossed pattern on the dial.
Launched in 1976, the original Patek Philippe Nautilus Reference 3700/1 was priced at 2,628€ (3,100 US$). At the time, a Rolex Daytona in stainless steel could be purchased for under 1,000 US$, while a Patek Philippe 18K gold men's watch would have been priced at less than 4,000 US$. Despite what seemed like a high price for a steel-watch, the uniquely classy yet sporty design ensured that the Patek Philippe Nautilus soon attained iconic status. Today, original Nautilus models are hugely desirable amongst watch-collectors and can fetch thousands of dollars at auction. A Nautilus Ref 3,700/1 was sold by Christie's New York in 2016 for 58,293€ (68,750 US$).
The Omega Speedmaster watch for men was introduced as part of the Professional Collection in 1957. Although with the sports and racing chronograph, the collection also included the Railmaster watch and the Seamaster 300.
The Omega Speedmaster is often called the Moon-watch, however, it wasn't originally designed as a watch for space exploration. Gordon Cooper wore his own Omega Speedmaster 2998 on the Mercury 9 mission and it is said that this attracted the attention of NASA. They realised that their astronauts needed accurate timepieces and set about researching watches that would be suitable. Rolex, Omega, Hamilton and Longines-Wittnauer were asked to produce prototypes for an astronaut's watch, and the timepieces were thoroughly tested. Only the Omega Speedmaster passed the qualification process and so the development of the Moon-watch began. The Omega Speedmaster Ref ST105.012 officially became the first watch on the Moon in 1963, when both Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong wore the model on their mission.
The Cartier Santos watch was undeniably instrumental in the rise in popularity of the man's wristwatch. It was created and named for the Brazilian-born aviation pioneer Alberto Santos Dumont. In 1904, he challenged his close friend, the jeweller, Louis Cartier to design a watch that he could read while piloting a plane without the need to take his hands off the controls. The watch that Cartier designed had a flat, square bezel with rounded edges and is considered by many to be the first pilot's watch.
Santos himself was a well-known personality in Europe, perhaps what we might refer to these days as an influencer. When people saw the aviation hero wearing the Santos watch, they were fascinated – and of course, wanted one too. Since then, the Cartier Santos has become an icon of style. Cartier went on to launch an updated version, the Cartier Santos 100 in 2004. The model was updated in 2018 with a slimmer line and self-adjustable straps. The Cartier Santos 2018 watch has a modern look that is very wearable and versatile.
5 Style of Men's Watches
Men's watches can be divided into five style main categories.
The most formal watch style for men, the dress watch is designed to be worn with suits and has a streamlined case to fit neatly and discreetly under a shirt sleeve. Dress watches generally have plain leather bands in classic brown, black or navy blue and a simple, elegant design.
Pilot Watch (Aviator Watch)
Pilot watches originated in the aviation field and are distinctive due to their generally larger sized dials with chronograph and date window. This style usually has a black dial and leather watch-strap. Pilot watches are considered very informal and are best teamed with casual wear.
Field Watch (Military Watch)
Field watches originated in the military and are designed to be practical, hard-wearing timepieces. They tend to have robust leather or canvas bands and a dark dial with light coloured numbers that are easy to read in dark conditions. A military style watch will look best teamed with casual or business-casual attire.
Dive watches are designed to handle the challenges of telling the time while diving, with water resistance up to 100m or more, corrosion resistant straps made of silicone or rubber and sapphire or mineral glass. Dive watches also feature a bezel which rotates anti-clockwise to allow the wearer to monitor how long he has been under water. Though a dive watch can be worn with everything from casual to business attire, it shouldn't be teamed with formal garb.
Racing watches have a relaxed and sporty look that makes them ideal for casual wear. Originally designed for race car drivers, with a chronograph and tachymeter to allow for time and distance calculations, this style is generally large in size with a leather or metal watch-strap.
Watches for Men Make Memorable Gifts
are shopping for a special gift for an important man in your life, a luxury
watch is a meaningful choice. Wristwatches are always memorable and whether you
present him with a timepiece to celebrate his birthday, an anniversary,
graduation or any other significant occasion, he will cherish it for years to
Gentlemen's Etiquette for Wearing a Watch
Over the years, certain etiquette has developed regarding how a gentleman should wear a watch.
Sports and dive watches should be teamed with casual attire, never a business suit.
A light dial colour is appropriate for day wear, darker colours at night.
Be discreet about checking your watch while in the company of others.
Traditionalists say men's watches should be worn on the non-dominant wrist. These days, most men simply wear their watch on the side that they find most comfortable.
Match colours with care when planning outfits: for example, don't pair blue leather watch-strap with a black suit or opt for a men's gold watch if the rest of your jewellery is silver.
The Latest Trends in Men's Luxury Watches
Fashions in men's wristwatches come and go, but when you choose a luxury watch, you are investing in a piece that will always be in style. A high-quality timepiece will look good for years to come, whether it is a pre-owned vintage Rolex watch for men or the most recent model from Cartier. For those looking for a watch with an up-to-date look that captures the latest trends, minimalist styles, watches with visible mechanisms and chronographs are all good options.