Watch Etiquette and Fashion

Watch Etiquette and Fashion: Which Watch for Which Occasion?

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From casual Fridays at work to weekend-warrior dinner plans with friends, watches have become an accessory that people regularly wear on their wrists. Are there certain watches that are only appropriate for work? What about when you are going out on the town?

It is worthwhile to invest in multiple watches for different occasions: 

  • A leather-strapped field watch is great for casual days. 
  • A sports watch is perfect for when it is time to go into the office. 
  • A designer watch is good for attending black-tie events. 

The watch is an accessory that can be worn to any occasion, but it is important to know which watch you should wear for which event. The watch you choose will say a lot about your fashion sense and watch etiquette. Keep reading this article to find out what watch is right for each situation!

Which Watches Are Best For Formal Events?

A watch that has a classic look is the best watch to wear for formal occasions. Not only will it be appropriate, but it will also match your outfit perfectly. Many watch brands have designed watches specifically for this purpose! 

When you choose an elegant watch, other people can see how much thought and effort you put into choosing what watch to wear. They know that you care about making a good impression and having your attire pulled together because of your choice in timepiece!

Which Watches Are Best For Casual Occasions?

If you want to wear a more casual watch, then there are many options! You can choose from rubber or leather straps if you are striving for an athletic look. There is also the option of choosing an oversized watch face, so it fits nicely around your wrist. 

In other words, there is no limit to how creative you can get when picking out what type of watch would suit your personality best when going out casually! The following is a list of features to choose from when choosing a casual watch:

  • Popular watch brands
  • Style of watch case – There are many options, including vintage 
  • Type of band
  • Type of metal
  • Type of watch face

Which Watches Should You Wear For Work? 

When considering a watch for work, you will need something that is more professional-looking for an office job. You can choose from leather or metal bracelets which add an elegant look, especially when paired up with the right watch case!

Wearing a watch to work is part of anyone’s watch etiquette. However, how do you know which watch for which occasion? That is the question we are going to answer here today!

The watch you wear at work is a great indicator of professionalism and respectfulness. It shows that you care about being on time and looking put together every day! Of course, this watch needs to be appropriate with whatever outfit it accents, too – so let us see which watch goes best with your work attire. 

If you wear a suit and tie to work, a watch with the following features will be in fashion for work:

If your work requires less formal attire, you should look for the following features in your watch: 

  • The metal band comes in different colors, such as silver or gold, so you can pick one depending on how dressy you want it to look. These bands also come in leather options but make sure not to pair them too often. Otherwise, people might think of it as cheap-looking instead of high fashion. If possible, go for a stainless steel watch that looks elegant enough without being too flashy 
  • One with a minimalist and a clean watch face is most suitable for less formal occasions. Look out for cases that have more of a square shape rather than the circle ones, which are quite popular right now because they are trendy. Big watch faces can also be paired with casual wear to give off an artistic look on your wrist

Which Watches Are Best for Business Casual Occasions?

If you are going to wear a watch that is more appropriate for business casual occasions, then we recommend choosing something sophisticated and luxurious. The best material for this type of occasion may be stainless steel. 

Stainless steel will add some weight to your wrist without the risk of it weighing down on your clothing, all the while creating an elegant and sleek look! 

Another option includes opting for a leather strap with subtle stitching details along the sides, so it does not take away from your casual dress shirts or blazers.

When you are pairing a watch with your casual attire, you want to avoid the following things:

Instead, selecting something simplistic is the way to go when pairing your watch with your casual attire. Let the watch speak for itself by selecting one with subtle details, so you do not overshadow what you are wearing! 

Typically, when you are pairing the watch with your more formal attire, the watch should be sleek and sophisticated for a clean-cut look. This means that the watch face is simpler in design and does not have too many numbers or dials on it. 

The watch band (the strap) also needs to go along with this style by being simple as well, with no flashy metals or gaudy colors! 

It is best if the watch has either silver metal accents or gold metal accents, so it matches better with what you are wearing.

What Size Watch Is Right for the Occasion?

When you are shopping for a watch, you want to pick the perfect size watch to fit your wrist.

The size of the watch case will vary depending on which watch you have purchased. 

The following list should help clarify what size watch fits best for each occasion:

  • Extra Small to Small Face Watch (Face diameter below 29 mm) – These watches are great for all occasions because they will not be too gaudy for a formal event but are a great size to be hidden away at a casual event. 
  • Small to Medium Face Watch (30 mm -34 mm face diameter) – A medium-sized watch face is perfect for all occasions. These watches will fit on any wrist nicely and blend well because of that. 
  • Medium to Large Size Watch (greater than 34 mm in diameter) – A large and showy watch is best for formal or fancier events. 

Large watches are very suitable for formal occasions, and both medium and large sizes can get overwhelming when used under casual circumstances. To complete an outfit for any given event, make sure that the watch size complements the rest of your outfit. 

If you want your watch to steal the show, opt for a larger watch face and tone down your other accessories. 

Can You Be Over Dressed Because Of Your Watch?

When you are choosing a watch to pair with your outfit or for a special occasion, you should always keep style and watch etiquette in mind. Wearing a watch can set the tone of your outfit, so it is important to consider which watch works best for the occasion you are attending or what ensemble you will be wearing.

The watch strap is an often overlooked but important factor to consider when choosing your watch. To help ease this process for those who may not be as familiar with wristwatch trends or fashion in general, we have put together a list detailing what watch style goes best with different outfits and occasions. We’ll discuss everything from casual Friday at work up to black-tie events! 

Watches are meant primarily as a functional accessory rather than other jewelry or accessories. Your watch is there to compliment your outfit, not take away from it.

If you do want to wear your watch while swimming or diving, make sure that you invest in a waterproof watch. 

There certainly is not anything wrong with mixing up styles now and then so long as everything matches together nicely, but some watches simply go better with specific clothing choices than others do.

The Best Watches Based on Watch Type

There are many watch etiquette rules watch wearers need to be aware of. When you wear a watch, it is important to know the right timepiece for the occasion – whether it is casual or formal. The type of watch can also make an impression on those around you; it could show your: 

  • Social status 
  • Occupation 
  • Lifestyle

With this new wave of watch popularity comes rules for watch etiquette as well as suggestions on how to pair different styles with certain outfits. It is no longer just about knowing whether your watch has two hands or three but also about understanding why some watches are better paired with certain watch straps.

No matter the occasion, there are a few different types of watches you will come across when shopping. You want to choose the type of watch that suits you the best. And that may vary based on your taste.

The following is a table of different types of watches, how they can be used for different occasions, and some of our favorites:


Type of Watch Description of Watch Available Options
Dress watch A dress watch is a watch that should be worn to the office or other business meetings. It should also be taken off before physical activities such as sports and exercise. The watch should not have any scratches on it, or it will lose its value. You may even want to keep this type of watch in its box when you are not wearing it because it is easy to damage if dropped. Men’s Watches Ultra-Thin Minimalist Waterproof – Fashion Wrist Watch for Men Unisex Dress with Stainless Steel Mesh Band
Sport watches These types of watches can withstand more strenuous activity than your average watch but still look very nice with their modern design variations for casual wear—especially since many sporty timepieces come equipped with chronograph subdials. These watches are great for active people who need something durable enough to handle outdoor adventures. Sports watches generally refer to timepieces designed for activities like running or cycling. They are made from materials such as rubber or plastic that allow you to wear them while sweating and working out in the gym without worrying about ruining their finish. At least one watch company has even taken things up a notch by creating water-resistant sports watches! The only downside with these might be a lack of comfort. Men’s Digital Sports Watch LED Screen Large Face Military Watches for Men Waterproof Casual Luminous Stopwatch Alarm Simple Army Watch
Dive watches Dives watches are great for any type of work where you may end up underwater. Some of these can be a little more expensive than your average watch, but they will serve you well for many years to come—especially if you are someone who likes going on underwater adventures. Reef Master 300M Automatic Diver Watch
Statement watches These types of timepieces are best suited for events where formal attire is required, such as charity balls, black-tie affairs, and other similar functions. They usually have very simple dials without any complications because their main purpose is aesthetics rather than function. The downside with these watches, though, is that they can be easily damaged since most people do not wear them while doing strenuous activities like exercising–so treat them kindly! Men’s marine star chronograph watch Stainless Steel Japanese Quartz Dress Stainless-Steel Strap, Silver, 22 (Model: 98H37)
Designer watches A designer watch is just that, made by a large, well-known designer company. These watch brands are usually more expensive than watch brands that do not have designer names attached to them. However, the quality of these watches is often higher, and they will theoretically last longer. Lexington Chronograph Stainless Steel Watch
Racing watches The racing watch is a watch that is water-resistant and sporty. These watches are usually equipped with a stopwatch function, which can be perfect for those who like to run or jog as well as participate in other sports activities such as biking and hiking. This type of watch typically has a strong, reliable clasp (because you do not want your watch flying off while trying to catch the bus). Men’s The Minimalist Stainless Steel Slim Casual Quartz Watch
Pilot or aviator watches These watches are a style of watch with a large watch face, often with extra dials and functions. The style became popular in the 1930s as technology advanced enough to make accurate aviation instruments possible. Watches Men’s JY8078-01L Promaster Skyhawk A-T
Field watches Field watches are among the most casual of watch types. This watch is traditionally a watch used by soldiers or other military forces, with the watch face being designed in a way that makes it easy to read at night when in use. Men’s Watches Cool Black Blue Business Casual Waterproof Quartz Analog Wrist Watch for Men Swiss Brand

As you can see, many different types of watches could be used for all different occasions. 

But there are also two broader categories of watches that are just as important as watch type, and those are:

  • Analog watches – An analog watch is a watch that has a clock face with its hands set in the traditional circular pattern rather than at right angles to one another. This is sometimes called a “traditional watch.” Analog watches are most often seen as the standard for formal or business attire and can be quite expensive when they use precious materials such as gold
  • Digital watches – Digital watches were first introduced in 1975 by Pulsar Time Corporation, although they did not take off until Casio made digital timepieces affordable enough for the general public. Since then, we have seen an enormous increase of different watch styles being produced using this technology–from children’s plastic “flip” watches up to expensive designer brands with state-of-the-art functions designed specifically for professionals.

And you can always pick the best type of watch for every occasion. For example, the following are occasion and watch type pairings to get your fashion ideas flowing:

  • Casual watch for a casual day: Watches with stainless steel bands and simple, clean faces are perfect for casual days. These watches can also be worn to dress up an outfit if you pair them with jeans or slacks instead of shorts.
  • Dress watches for work meetings: Sometimes, the only time you will wear your watch is when attending business meetings at work–so make sure that it looks nice! Instead of wearing something cheap like plastic, opt for a silver metal-banded watch so you look put together, even though this meeting may not require formal attire.
  • A watch with a leather watch strap fits perfectly in most situations where men traditionally wear suits (or sports jackets). 

A Quick Rule Book for Pairing Your Watch with the Occasion

When it comes to choosing a watch that will fit your specific occasion, it is best to go by some fashion and etiquette rules. An average watch wearer may not consider these rules when choosing a watch, and it may result in an unintended fashion faux pas. 

To avoid any unwanted hiccups or blunders in terms of style, etiquette, and fashion, use the following rules about watch pairings:

  • Casual leather wristbands work best in most cases where sporting activities will take place (i.e., tennis matches) though they can also double well for purposes such as low-key dinners out with friends or dates that require something extra special without being too over the top.
  • If you do not own a sports watch, then be careful about wearing dressy or casual watch styles with your suit – instead, select the dressy watch for formal occasions such as weddings or business meetings but avoid these watch types for other more relaxed events such as pool parties and beach days. 
  • One rule is to always wear a watch when you are dressing up. With the advent of mobile phones, this may seem like an old-fashioned notion; however, it is still considered good form to put on a watch and always look presentable.

Match Your Watch to Your Other Accessories

When you are choosing a watch based on the occasion, if your outfit consists of multiple accessories, this is a place to start.

For example, if you choose a watch with a leather strap and gold face, you want to make sure any other metal accessories you are wearing are also gold. This can include any of the following:

  • Belt buckle
  • Cuff links
  • Decorative rings or other jewelry
  • Shoe buckles

If you are wearing a watch with a brown leather strap, you would want to match the following items, so they are all the same color leather:

  • Belt
  • Jewelry
  • Shoes
  • Watch strap

In Summary: There is a Watch for Every Occasion

No matter what, you can find a watch that fits your needs and is a style you love. And it makes a difference when you can choose one of the watch options you like and wear it to the event or occasion.

It is important for watch wearers to also be aware of watch etiquette, so they can ensure they are not making an unintended mistake with their watch choice. It is just a matter of matching styles and knowing which watch suits which person and situation.