Best Mens Watches for 2014
Best Mens Watches for 2014
Updated January 6, 20142014's best men's watches, compiled by category: see how up-and-coming brands fare out against old favorites in new categories like rubber watches, cuffs and men's casual!
Find the right watch for the right occasion and outfit: take a look at the year's best sporty, casual, formal and luxury watches constructed of everything from silicon to stainless steel and titanium.
Mens Watches that Complete the Look
What's Your Style?
From casual watches that color-match your t-shirt and sneakers to bold, formal watches that complete a classy outfit for an important function -- 2013 has already seen its share of innovative new textures, colors and styles in the realm of mens watches. Technomarine, Converse, G-Shock and Diesel continue to evolve their sporty lines while the "rubber" fad continues to explode. Citizen, Seiko and Pulsar dominate the market with universally fashionable mens watches for sport or formal wear.
Casual vs. Dress
Always know that there is a difference between the two. You wouldn't wear a Movado Fiero to the ball game, nor would you wear a Seiko Sportura to your retirement dinner. Casual watches are for everyday use, such as work and recreational events; whereas dress watches are for special occasions.
Remember Your Wardrobe
What kind of clothes do you wear the most? How about colors? Select watches that match best with the outfits you commonly wear -- that especially goes for watches that were designed with a specific solid color or a two-tone pattern. For instance, an all-red G-Shock resin watch goes great with that pair of equally red Adidas shorts and white stripes. Choosing colored watches that match the majority of what's in your closet is the best and more economical choice.
Casual & Sport Watches
Causal Watches Wear Great, Anywhere
It's the "run of the mill" style that's safe to wear for practically anything: office work, hanging out or formal occasions, making 'casual' be most sought-after category of mens watches. Owning one made by a quality manufacturer will mean years of uninterrupted use. Seiko and Citizen continue to dominate the market, quickly followed by other powerful brands like Tissot, Invicta and Bulova.
Which Watch Features Matter?
What's A "Chronograph?"
Watches that have chronograph functionality will feature three readout dials and a bezel (outer ring that encircles the watch dial) that is capable of counting to 60. In essence, it is a stopwatch feature that can be used to time events. In field applications, they are used primarily in yachting, aeronautics and auto sports. If you're not into those, then your chronograph is pretty much nothing more than an attractive design around your watch dial.
Mechanical vs. Quartz
Quartz technology was developed in 1969 and popularized in 1980. Quartz watches pass vibrations through a quartz crystal, creating a signal that is extremely precise. After being introduced to the world, the technology was in such high demand that several watch brands who hadn't adapted it, such as Invicta, practically went out of business. Any quartz watch, right off the bat, is a quality product.
Swiss? What's That About?
When a watch is advertised to feature "Swiss movement," know that this phrase isn't simply 'sales talk.' It's an official certification given to a watch by the Swiss FH (Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry), if, and only if the watch meets three ground rules: 1) its movement is Swiss, 2) its movement was cased in Switzerland, and 3) the manufacturer inspects the watch in Switzerland. Having the "Swiss movement" designation is a highly prestigious title.
Colorful Rubber Watches Make Bold Statements
There's no doubt that the biggest trend in 2013 is in rubber -- that is, watch cases and bands made entirely of the stuff. It's kind of a retro-revival of the 80s, meeting the updates of the modern day. Big brands have caught on to the hype, and it has never been easier to find a complimenting watch for whatever outfits you wear most. Diesel and G-Shock are the big winners this year, alongside Nixon, Adidas and Converse. They're mainly for the younger crowd (teens to 30's) and highly favored for color-matching sneakers, t-shirts and other clothing color accents.
What Does Water-Resistant Mean?
Dispelling common beliefs about the term
To free up any misconceptions, "water-resistant" is a term vaguely stamped on watches, although most people aren't exactly sure if it should be taken literally. In general, it gauges the water depth/pressure level that a watch can survive in, but it does NOT gauge the depth in which water will enter the watch's internal parts (which most people commonly confuse the term with).
As a rule of thumb: don't dunk your watch under the water, EVER, unless it's actually waterproof, or specially made for diving purposes.
Water Resistance Depths
Here are some general benchmarks for the different water-resistant marks. Please always keep in mind that it's never recommended that you "chance" putting your watch underwater:
- 50m/164' - The watch should survive casual hand-washing
- 100m/328' - The watch should survive surface swimming
- 200m/656' - The watch should survive scuba diving at 30m/98' deep, max.
- 1000m/3280' - The watch should survive pressure at this depth.
They Don't Get Any Wider Than This
Cuff watches are aptly named because their strap is literally a cuff that encircles your whole wrist while continuing under the watch bezel. It's a unique style that fits many personalities -- cuff watches can range in motifs from western to modern to even steampunk, and they go well with distinct casual attire. They have a lot of attitude and are set far apart from more traditional men's watches -- it takes that same kind of guy to wear them well. Check out some of this year's best entrants in the cuff category:
Cost vs. Quality
What's In A Brand Name?
A $100 watch and a $1,000 watch will both work the same. However, the $1,000 watch is built to last, and then some. It is also precise enough to never deviate within minutes of keeping the time, as less expensive watches always do in the long run. Generally, the old adage "you get what you pay for" is true.
Watches Priced to Last
You pay for the brand name, but you also pay for the quality that particular company has worked so hard to attain, to earn writing that amount on the price tag. That's why your $25 Timex lasts a few years, and the $2,700 Omega Seamaster watch lasts your entire lifetime (and your next several generations afterward).
The Big Deal About Luxury Watches
There's a more meaningful reason as to why the most discerning mens watch fanatics stick with high-cost brands like Rolex and Omega. The watches are simply made better on an entirely different level. For instance, Rolex's patented "Oyster Case" is literally the most tighly-sealed watch case on Earth.
Even if desired, you'd have to take it to a specialty Rolex repair shop just to get it open. These watches also contain less inner-parts, yet, have vastly more precise funcionalities than any other common watch on the market. They also last nearly forever, and many times, are constructed with real gold, titanium, ceramic, and even diamond accents.
Dress Watches for Dress-Down Occasions
There's a saying about wearing the right thing for the right occasion, and that's where men's dress watches come in. Sometimes, casual can't do, and something more elegant and sophisticated is needed -- a black tie event, wedding, 50th anniversary party or retirement dinner always come to mind. A good dress watch should be in every man's drawer, even if these special events are far and between as the year goes by. The best dress watches in the world don't necessarily have to cost a fortune, but should look the part while having a build quality you can count on for years (self-winding also helps, considering you'll be wearing the sporadically throughout the year).
Luxury: The Example of Supreme Quality
Mostly sought after by those who have "made it," or simply anyone looking for that one 'investment' watch they'll wear for the rest of their lives, only to be passed down to the next generation: luxury watches are high priced but high quality. They're engineered differently, using better parts, sophisticated techniques, and are made to accommodate a different set of customer expectations. Much like how a Honda Civic can't be compared to a Lamborghini Aventador, a luxury watch is in an entirely different class in and of itself -- but it comes at a cost. Luxury's best watch brands continue to point toward Rolex and Omega, but don't shy away from these other models that have piqued this year:
Adjusting Watch Bands
Mandatory for your new link-bracelet watch band
Any watch band that is not a buckle strap will have to be re-sized for your wrist. This especially goes for higher quality watches, which are packaged with oversized bracelets. Adjustments can be done at any hole-in-the-wall jewelry shop for about $5, give or take. Just make sure that they give you the links back, and keep them in a safe place.
Adjusting Watch Bands At Home
You can simply use a watch band link remover to perform a lifetime of adjustments at home for your watches, or your family's' and friend's watches, too. Don't worry, they're usually around $5.