5 types of watch every enthusiast should own

Thinking of starting a watch collection? This is where you should start

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If you've developed a passion for watches (hopefully by reading T3's rather excellent watch coverage) and want to start a collection you've come to the right place.

All you have to do is look at our long list of best watches for men and you'll start to feel a little overwhelmed, there's a lot of choice out there. 

We think if you can narrow it down to five simple categories, based of the type of watch and occasion you'll be wearing them, it'll make your purchasing decisions a lot easier.

So, with that in mind, here are fives types of watch every watch enthusiast should own, as well as some examples for every budget.

Dress Watch

  • An understated watch to wear at formal occasions

The first style in our list is a dress watch, which has the sole job of complimenting formal wear or a business suit.

For that reason, dress watches are usually very plain, simple, and understated.

Dress watches should be correctly proportioned to your wrist, thin enough to slip under a shirt cuff, and follow the standard rules for matching metals, leathers, and colours.

Here are some examples: 

Dive Watch

  • The most versatile watch you'll own

A dive watch is one of the most versatile pieces you'll own. They are smart enough to be worn with a suit (á la Bond) and casual enough to be worn at the weekends.

The defining characteristic of the dive watch is the uni-directional bezel, which enables the diver to quickly and clearly see how long they've been underwater.

Of course, water resistance is also key, as is accuracy.

A true dive watch will conform to the ISO 6425 standard, which ensures water resistance to at least 100 meters. Although, the more you pay, the deeper the watch will be able to go.

The watch band must also been made from a corrosion resistant material, so stainless steel, titanium, silicone or nylon are often used.

Here are some examples: 

Chronograph

  • Weekend warriors

A chronograph is the perfect watch to slip on at the weekend, especially if a dive watch it a little too understated for your taste.

Chronographs are essentially stopwatches, with feature either a sweeping second hand or multiple secondary dials to measure seconds, minutes, hours and even tenths of a second.

There's something incredibly satisfying about a well-designed chronograph dial (such as the Omega Speedmaster above), as it's capable of conveying a lot of information whilst still being aesthetically pleasing.

Chronographs are not to be confused with Chronometers. The later is timepiece which has been tested and certified to meet a certain a precision standard.

Here are some examples: 

Field Watch

  • Doing the gardening? Throw on a durable field watch

Field watches were first developed for the military at the turn of the twentieth century. They quickly became a popular style for civilians as well.

Due to their history, a field watch much be rugged, usually made from stainless steel or aluminium, lightweight, and highly legible, with a high contrast dial and large lettering.

Field watches tend to have canvas or leather bands, which are easy and cheap to replace if damaged.

Here are some examples: 

GMT Watch

  • The ultimate piece for a jet setter

The GMT watch was first developed by Rolex to give Pan Am pilots a way to keep track of time, both at their destination and at the location they departed.

The iconic Rolex GMT-Master with a “Pepsi” bezel was born, featuring a “GMT hand” that points to the 24-hour time scale on the red and blue bezel. 

This complication quickly became popular (and still is popular) with business travellers, who could keep track of the time on a work trip as well as the time at home.

Most GMT watch feature an extra hand that is able to display time in the 24-hour format, while some have an extra dial with hour and minute hands to display an extra time zone.

Here are some examples: