Which Watch Should You Wear for What?

The central aim of etiquette is to put others at ease, ideally in a way that looks effortless and unpremeditated. But what does that have to do with which watch you wear where?

Dressing is a cornerstone of etiquette. We may not change into black tie for dinner anymore, but we’re not quite at the point of abolishing “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service.” Your watch plays its part. 

Remember: the goal is to look harmonious with the setting, but still like yourself. The most important thing—above all and as ever—is that you wear something you like. If you’re not happy with your choice, don’t expect anybody else to love it.

At Work

Assuming you’re neither a deep sea diver nor an Olympic track referee, you don’t need a specialized watch for the occasion. What you need, in fact, is something subtle. Flashy is not ideal in most workplaces. I’d recommend something without too many complications. If you miss a bit of adornment, try a guilloché dial. 

Natty Recommends Regalia.

For Sport

The obvious priority is a watch that keeps up. For the ultimate in dandy appeal, look for an analog watch that lets you time a run, check your heart rate, and see the dial in the dark. Connecting with your progress without a screen doing the work for you is deeply rewarding. If your favorite sports include golfing or racing, you may want a slightly less rugged watch that still stands up to active contact.

Natty Recommends Nikos.

For Travel

Give the most leeway to comfort and utilitarianism during travel. Consider a traveling watch that is easy to read and easy to match with lots of different outfits. If you plan on traveling somewhere off the beaten path, choose one that is relatively inconspicuous and durable enough to weather the typical bump and bustle of transit.

Natty Recommends Macedon.

At Leisure

A watch for your time off should be elegant but versatile, like your leisurely dress—think polo shirts and a casual pressed pair of pants or something more unique to your personality, like white jeans and desert boots. You want a watch you can put on a table before jumping into a swimming pool and then wear out to dinner after rinsing yourself off.

Natty Recommends Chieftain.

For Special Occasions

A night on the town demands a watch that won’t distract from your outfit, but still garners compliments. Choose a watch relative to your favorite polish or finish. For instance, if you favor gold cufflinks, your watch’s bracelet or case should be goldtone.

Natty Recommends Sophisticate.


Natty shares his piquant observations on timelessness, trends, and fine living through style. A little vanity never hurt anyone—you included.