Learn The Different Mens Watch Styles From Dress, Diver, Aviator, Racing Watches

Mens Watch Styles

Ok, so the question ‘what style is right for me’ is a follow on from the ‘where am I wearing it’ question because each question informs the other, meaning you answer one question and the second question is answered for you unless you have special requirements.


There are countless designs out there with all types of features but you could go grazing trying to research everything out there. No, the best way to go about this is by deciding broadly on a style that suits your needs after you decide where you’re primarily wearing it. Doing this means you can break down styles into 5 main areas before drilling down to LINK feature which we look at in another article.

For the moment forget about the bells, whistles, flashing lights, and all that sparkles in favor of following the process that will pay dividends. You will see right away there are massive price differences in every category so it’s a certainty which every style is for you, there’s also a price point to suit everyone’s pocket.

Five Watch Styles

Top 5 Style Concepts are Dress, Field, Dive, Pilot, and Racing Watch so let us take a look at them in order.

Dress Watch

For those special occasions where less is considered more, a gentleman should have a well-presented Dress watch to complete his look. Ever since the early days of horology when gentleman wore a pocket watches, it’s always been a sign of good taste and restrained exuberance to have a fine luxury timepiece suggesting wealth and success yet maintaining an air of subtlety.

Today this art is practiced using the Dress Watch although the rules these days are not so strict, there are some guidelines that should be followed if you want to pull it off.

Simplicity married to sophistication is the key to wearing a Dress Watch successfully, which is made possible by sticking to the guidelines of a slim, narrow beveled case constructed from precious metals like gold, silver, platinum that slips neatly under a shirt cuff.

The shape of the case is the least important aspect so it can be circular, square, or rectangle although the dial or face need to follow certain rules. The face should be very simple displaying simple hour indexes, Roman numerals, or small Arabic markers. The hour and minutes hands should also be simple, the seconds hand not a necessity. Additional features or complications should be minimal such as a date window or perhaps a moon phase display

Lastly, the strap should ideally be leather although a metal mess is sometimes acceptable.

Remember, it’s a Dress Watch for a reason so you’ll only want the wear this at formal functions and very smart casual occasions but don’t try wearing casually because it’ll look out of place and make you look clumsy or ignorant.

Orient $100                                                     Cartier $2,400DW-Orient-Cartier

Field Watch

The Field Watch has a dark history and also a direct link to the Vintage Watch market where individuals may collect models that represent military action in specific theaters of war relating to family history. Primarily issued to offices coordinating trench warfare, these wrist watches needed to be rugged, hardwearing, with reliable functions visible in low-level light situations. Today their modern descendants continue with the militaresque look and feel together with the rugged, functionality, and style.

The features that make a Field Watch today a small to medium case that’s more manageable than a large case while doing battle typically constructed from stainless steel or titanium for ruggedness. The face or dial should be super easy to read at a quick glance using numerical indexes commonly on a white dial with black markers although the converse can be seen occasionally. The hands-on Field Watches more often than not will illuminate to enable time checks and calculations at night or poor light. Straps should be leather or canvas such as the NATO strap as the standard metal bracelet is considered too heavy for some situations.

In terms of functions or complications, the Field Watch typically has very few, perhaps a date window, but a very special function that some Field Watches may have is the “hacking seconds“. Have you ever wondered how your favorite action heroes synchronized their watches in action films? This is a function that allows the seconds hand to be stopped by pulling the crown out making it easy to set the watch to a reference marker or synchronize it with another Watch.

Wearing a Field Watch is a very forgiving experience the leans itself to all manner of situations from Jeans to business casual. For someone that doesn’t have a need to dress up, this is probably one of the most versatile watch styles out there.

Lum-Tec $899                                        Timex Weekender $30


Diver Watch

Possibly the most common of Watch styles in the Luxury watch market and seen on many celebrities wrists, real and imaginary, the most famous of these Diver watches being the Rolex Submariner introduced back in the 1930s as the Rolex Oyster and leading Diver design ever since. The Diver Watch is a very technical piece of kit with the ability to withstand very high pressures, some even having helium release valves and the ability to descend to 20,000 ft, the record set by Swiss Military with their DeepSea Sea-Dweller in 2008.

The key feature of the Diver is the water resistance that typically stands at 100m for entry-level Diver Watches, and seeing as it will spend most of its life below or around water materials offering corrosion-resistance like stainless steel, titanium, rubber, and silicone are used for the bracelet and case. The case should be medium to large with a rotating bezel allowing a diver to quickly check their dive time and the face or dial should be bold to give easy visibility in low light situations. Easy to read markers are important and often using Arabic markers

Easy to read markers are important and often using Arabic markers although the 12-hour numerals are often replaced with hash marks, with the seconds displayed in 15-second increments. Topping the face and helping to protect the watch from high pressure is a sapphire or hardened mineral glass. As you can imagine only the most important information is needed when you are 100m down, so complications are kept to the minimum and limited to a date window in most cases.

Wearing the classic Diver Watch has very few limitations, accepted in all circles as a sign of good taste and all the other connotations that go hand in hand with this classic design. With a classic design, iconic heritage, the Diver Watch is a suitable everyday wear watch for sports, casual, business casual, and even business formal wear. This is a real winner with universal approval,

Citizen Promaster $200                      Rolex Submariner $5,000


Aviator Watch

Back in 1904, Louis Cartier created the iconic Santos watch the first Aviation watch for his pilot friend, fast forward to today and Aviator Watches are still based on this original design making timekeeping easy for pilots taking off into the unknown. Since this seed was planted Breitling who initially made Chronographs for Royal Air Force aircraft so pilots could determine their speed, distance traveled, and fuel consumption decided to create the Breitling Chronograph in the 1940s and placed it in a wristwatch. This set the mold for the future of Aviator Watches.

The features of a modern Aviator Watch vary but there are some common elements to look for. The size of the case and dial are medium to large for ease of reading, the face design should be easy to read at a glance if a pilot is sat in a dark cockpit so an oversized dial with clean luminous hands and markers are common. The strap or band is often longer than a standard strap to allow the pilot to wear over a flight jacket.

Complications on an Aviator Watch can sometimes be overwhelming with Chronographs, Tachymeters, Multiple Time Zones, Multiple dials displaying Analogue and Digital readouts, found on some of the more expensive models, but the most common feature would be the Chronograph.

Wearing an Aviator Watch doesn’t dictate you have a plane or a pilots license but it would nice to have either, right? The Aviator Watch is a bold statement as it’s often complicated and oversized but as a casual wear, it can be a real winner if you’re not trying to be subtle and blend out. This is a standout type of Watch that will get you noticed, and provided you have yourself a good quality Aviator you should be proud to be noticed.

Citizen Navihawk $400                        Breitling Navitimer $5,500


Racing Watch

It’s obvious that race car drivers need a good time keeping to determine the winner of any race and today it’s no different, it’s just that timekeeping is done digitally rather than by a man standing at the roadside with a stopwatch. It began back in the 1930s with Rolex equipping the top drivers with their famous Oyster model but that change as TAG Heuer created a new standard for racing watches by adding a chronograph and tachymeter. Through the years TAG has introduced celebrity endorsement most notably the king of cool, actor Steve McQueen, and still today TAG is the official timekeeper for race track globally.

The features of a Driver Watch are a medium to large strong stainless steel case, a large dial to place the Chronograph and a clear readable dial with clear Arabic markers that are often presented in bright contrasting colors. The strap can be metal or leather, that’s a personal choice, so whatever feels comfortable. Common complications would be the Chronograph and possibly a Tachymeter and a Date window.

If you’re a fan of Racing Watches that come in all price points so you can select from a large number of offerings and wearing one can be a lot of fun. They are bold and masculine and probably just as flash as an Aviation Watch so really good for casual setting without too many restrictions. Real head turners, just make sure you don’t buy fakes because it will ruin the whole idea.

TAG Heuer Carrera $6,300              Timex Intelligent Quartz $100


Which style do you think suits you? Do you plan to fly or drive, or do you want to attend some fancy parties? If you don’t have plans to go partying on a regular basis the more versatile styles would probably be more your style, then you need to decide if you like formal or casual. For casual setting an Aviation or Racing Watch would be cool, for a more formal setting you could consider a Diver Watch, but only look at the Dress Watch if you place to go formal on multiple occasions because they are not versatile in any way.

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carl scutt
carl scutt
Carl's the founder and editor of discountwatchstores.com. His background's in Technology and Internet Marketing. He currently lives in southern Spain. Learn more about him here, and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+.