Watch Buying: The Middle 80%

***This is a piece I did for the fine folks at Crown & Caliber.  I hope you enjoy it***

It’s an obvious and necessary step in the value proposition argument to evaluate usage. When buying a watch, especially a first watch, this is a really popular question that’ll plague you until you make the purchase. Now, let’s define a couple things: When I say ‘watch’, I mean an heirloom piece that, at minimum, has an in-house movement. When I say ‘purchase’, I mean the moment that you decide which watch that is going to ride your wrist for years to come.

Look at this purchase as a watch that will get wear. A lot of wear. Let’s call this the ‘middle 80%’. In a bell curve, the fringe 10% on the far left and the far right are too far outside the norm to be considered as practical. Focus on that middle hump, it’s where we’re operating today.

And there isn’t a category that fits every man’s needs. It all depends on the kind of guy you are- your style, your day job, your weeknight and/or weekend activities. It’s important to match your lifestyle with a watch purchase, or it will likely sit idle as you go about your day to day. And that would be a shame.

Here is a quick cheat sheet and some options:

The Suit Guy

For the guys that don the suit of armor all day, a dressy watch is a good choice, and one that not many get to utilize as their daily driver. A classy Cartier Tank or an IWC Portuguese are both great choices, and go well with a suit. The pro move is a Patek Phillipe Calatrava, but that big deal may need to hit first…

The Office Guy

Are you a 9-5er, sitting at a desk plowing through Powerpoint and Excel all day? The wear and tear on a watch will be somewhat minimal, so something with a nice leather band (Panerai, Breitling) is a good choice, or something iconic, like a Rolex Datejust or an Omega Speedmaster.

The Out and About Guy

For the guys that are going from appointment to appointment, it’s good to get something that will stand up to being ‘always on the move’. Consider a metal band and a protected face. The Tudor Black Bay or the iconic Omega Seamaster are great choices that are both tough and cool.

The Outdoors Guy

For the guys that are getting dirty, either in the field or on a job site, this is where the toughness of a watch is truly tested. You are going to want something that is built like a tank. A Tag Heuer Carrera or a Breitling Super Ocean are both great choices for giving you that tan line on your wrist. Both can be fitted with a rubber or Zulu strap, making it more appropriate for the elements.

The Retired Guy

Buy what you want. You run the show.

At the end of the day, an investment in a good watch is also an investment in the lifestyle that you lead. Set yourself up for a good value proposition, and buy smart.

***Don’t forget to feast your eyes on the entire collection on Crown & Caliber’s website***



  1. HHH
    05/06/2019 / 7:26 AM

    Nice post. I love reading/talking about watches. Everyone has a different taste and I still learn something new about watches off others experiences and pasts. My watch collection has evolved over the years but now I have majority dive watches. They suit where I live, work, vacation the most and can transition the best between day/night. I have about 7 higher end quality watches (top two being a Rolex Hulk and Rolex SubC no date) and a handful of “beaters” and those are basically different model/color Luminox. I still haven’t found my suit or leather band watch. I don’t wear suits enough to justify one. I do have a Rolex op39 which is the dressy watch of them all – but I am thinking about getting rid of it and adding an IWC to the mix. I love the Pilot – more specifically the Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII Edition “Laureus Sport For Good Foundation”. If not I have thought about just throwing the op39 on an Everest Nylon band. It just makes it sporty and dressy at the same time.

  2. Wanna Be Retired Guy
    05/06/2019 / 6:16 PM

    What is the brand of the yellow faced watch in “The Retired Guy” picture?

    • Nem
      05/07/2019 / 8:09 AM

      That is a vintage Heuer Seafarer for Abercrombie & Fitch when they were a legitimate adventure apparel and hardgoods purveyor.  That piece is every bit of $23k if you can find an example.

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