In recent years, watches have almost vanished from the wrists of men.
Young men see them as dated, old-fashioned, and even obsolete... "my smartphone tells me the time, so why would I need a wristwatch?"
And it's sad.
The wristwatch has been such an important part of history:
Buzz Aldrin wore one in the Apollo 11, MLK wore one when he spoke with President Johnson, and countless US presidents have worn them during their inaugurations.
...And here's the thing:
Today's great men, like Bill Gates, Bono, Elon Musk, Warren Buffet, and Pope Francis, all still wear watches.
Now... they all have smartphones, so why do they wear a wristwatch?
Wearing a watch is one of the most important things that a man can do for himself... and below, I'm going to show you 10 powerful reasons why.
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10 Reasons You Should Wear a Wristwatch
10. Watches dramatically improve your style and instantly make you look put together
The power and importance of dressing well has been very clearly proven. Studies show that men who dress well:
Want to know one of the quickest and easiest ways to dramatically improve your style?
Add subtle, classic, male-fashion accessories (like a watch) to your outfit. As proof of its power, take a look at these two men:
Which man looks more stylish to you?
It's clearly the second guy, right?
...And which man looks more put together to you (like they put more time and thought into their outfit)?
Again, it's clearly the second guy.
Here's the bottom line: Not only does a watch make you look instantly more stylish... but it makes you look dramatically more put together.
9. It's the easiest, and best accessory for men to wear
You can see that adding an accessory instantly improves your style and makes you look more put together...
...but as men, there aren't many fashion accessories we can wear.
Think about it:
Outside of professional accessories (like a tie and pocket square), what accessories can men really wear?
Scarves? Suspenders? Gloves?
Most guys (myself included) feel like they're trying too hard wearing these. But a watch feels natural and comfortable to almost all men and here's why:
Watches are traditionally stylish... not trendy or currently in fashion. Great men have worn them throughout history. They're subtle. They don't draw attention to themselves, but impress when they're noticed.
In other words:
Watches are a timeless and classic accessory, that's a no-brainer addition to quickly improve any man's appearance.
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8. A watch is an investment... that's incredibly versatile
No one buys a watch to wear it once... you buy a watch for today, tomorrow and for the foreseeable future. In other words, it's a low-cost (around $100) investment in yourself and your style.
With any investment, you want a high return on your money. So... what makes a watch a good investment?
Not only will a good watch will work for the foreseeable future, but it is incredibly versatile:
1. One minimal watch goes with every look
Whatever you wear (a suit, sport coat, jeans and a tee, etc.)… a minimal watch (like this one) always 'works' and helps you to look better.
As proof, check out these three incredibly different looks:
See how the watch goes with, improves, and completes each "look"?
2. You can switch bands to completely change a watch's look
By changing the watch band (on the same watch face) you essentially have two different, unique watches.
Pretty cool, right?
Here's the takeaway:
Not only will a watch look great on your wrist for the foreseeable future, but will adapt to you and your style as they change.
Here’s something we can both agree on:
James Bond is a complete badass.
He's highly intelligent, can do anything, always gets the girl, and somehow, always looks timeless and elegant doing it.
Now... imagine this:
A beautiful woman asks Bond for the time, and he pulls out his cellphone out of his pocket (or worse a huge, bedazzled watch from his tuxedo).
It's almost... painful to imagine, right?
...And if you're somehow not convinced, think about how uncomfortable it would be if someone pulled out their phone in these situations:
- On a date, especially a first date
- During a speech/presentation
- When a gorgeous girl asks you for the time
- In a movie (or anywhere your phone’s bright light would disturb others)
In short: be a timeless man like Bond... if you want to know the time, check your wrist over your phone.
6. Using it to check the time stops you from getting "stuck" on your phone
Not only is it more elegant to check the time with your watch, over your phone, but it also helps from getting "stuck on your phone".
What do I mean by stuck?
Well... we’ve all been here:
Someone checks their phone mid-conversation and then stops and stares at the screen (for longer than a few seconds), and you wonder:
Did I just lose them to Facebook? A text from someone else? Was I boring them with my company?
It’s confusing, annoying, and, honestly, rude.
...And we've all been on the other side of things, too:
You go to check the time on your phone, but then get distracted and lost in your notifications. It's a bad habit, that a watch dramatically helps improve.
Will a watch completely stop you from getting "stuck" on your phone?
No. But considering the average American checks their phone 46 times a day, it makes a big difference.
5. Wearing a good watch means you’ve reached adulthood
Did you know:
Watches are one of the most common gifts for men who’ve reached a new level of adulthood (for example: graduation, wedding, etc.).
Watches cost money (a good watch will cost you at least $100). People don’t spend that on a 9-year old because he’ll just destroy it…
…and they don’t want to spend it on a high school freshman because he won’t appreciate it.
Wearing a watch shows you’re adult enough to take care of and appreciate a nice accessory.
...And when you wear one, not only do you show people this, but you start to acknowledge it in yourself. You'll take care of your watch, become proud of it, and start to notice others who wear them (spoiler: they'll be very predominantly adults).
Here's the bottom line:
Wearing a good wristwatch is almost like a secret club... that you only find out exists after you consistently wear one for a few months. Wearing one won't turn you into a man, but it will show others (and yourself) that you're old enough to care for and appreciate one.
Throughout this article, I've talked about watches, and I want to be clear that when I say, "Here are 10 important reasons to wear a watch," I'm not talking about smartwatches.
Smartwatches are an incredible, technological advancement... but they're not watches.
I originally touched on this in our Primer to Watches:
I read an article from the Atlantic that perfectly summarizes what it is, “The Apple Watch is a watch in as much as a DVD player or a microwave is a watch.” […] “It is ultimately a device that helps you decide whether to look at your phone.”
When you wear a watch, you’re making a statement. Which statement would you rather make: timeless and classic or hip and current?
...And to help illustrate this, let's go back to the James Bond effect:
Imagine if a beautiful woman asked Bond for the time and, from his well-fitted suit, he pulls out a brightly-lit Apple Watch, that notifies him about a new text message from Q and a missed call from M (both of which he glances at before giving her the time).
Would you see this Bond as classic, elegant and refined?
Do you know what makes your watch tick?
The mechanisms that help your watch tell the time are tiny, highly complicated, and incredibly cool.
...And once you understand how your watch works, it will help appreciate it hugely more.
We covered watch mechanics in-depth here, but here's a quick overview:
Watches are powered by their movements (which are basically tiny motors that make the handstick). There are two main types of movements:
- Mechanical movements
- Quartz movements
Movement #1: Mechanical
Mechanical movements are powered by a tiny spring, inside the watch, that slowly unwinds.
Originally, this spring was wound by hand (manual watches)...
…but in the early 1900s, a watchmaker ingeniously added a mechanism that uses the kinetic energy generated from your movements (like moving your wrist or arm) to automatically tighten the spring (automatic watches).
While technically made obsolete by the quartz movement, mechanical movements are still really cool (and are still used in luxury watches today like Rolex, Patek Phillipe, and A. Lange Söhne).
Movement #2: Quartz
In quartz movements, the spring (that's used in mechanical movements) is replaced by a battery.
To power the watch, the battery first sends an electrical charge through a quartz crystal. This electrifies the crystal and causes it to vibrate. These vibrations then power the motor that drives the watch's hands.
Because they don't have as many mechanical-moving parts, quartz watches last (almost) forever and require no maintenance (other than changing the battery every 4-5 years).
Here's the bottom line:
The inner workings of watches have been incredible for over a hundred years... and will still be incredibly cool for hundreds of years to come.
2. Wearing a watch connects you to history's great men
Great men, throughout history, have worn wristwatches.
Buzz Aldrin wore one during the Apollo 11 mission (above), Martin Luther King Jr. wore one when he met with President Johnson (below)...
...and even though watches have become technically obsolete, great men continue to wear them:
So... why do great men continue to wear wristwatches?
Reason #1: It's a subtle show that you, and your style, are timeless... that you're not a man who's trendy, and jumps on every new fad that comes around.
Reason #2: Wearing a classic wristwatch is a nod to history. It's what your father and your grandfather wore. Wearing one connects you to them, with great men throughout history (Buzz Aldrin and MLK), and with the great men of the future (Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, and ?).
1. It reminds you to keep your priorities in order
Time runs our lives.
Meetings, dates, waking up, working out, going to sleep… we assign deadlines to every part of our lives. It’s how our society functions.
A wristwatch will obviously help keep you on time for your appointments… but, to me, its real value is much, much greater than that.
Here's how I look at it:
The sole purpose of a watch is to tell the time. It doesn’t let you look at a webpage, check your email, text your friends… it, plain and simple, tells the time.
Now, in having such a basic, and specific function, it begins to symbolize that function... in other words:
A watch begins to symbolize time.
It becomes a silent reminder of the inexorable march of time... that time is constantly moving, and that you better make the most of every second of it.
The invention of the smartphone doesn't mean that men should stop wearing wristwatches. Wearing a watch is a man's connection to the past, his connection to time, and a hallmark of his style and who he is.
Great men have worn watches for hundreds of years... and will continue to wear watches for hundreds more.