People tend to behave and present themselves differently depending on the specific situation. The intrinsic nature of a person does not change however he/she might be perceived differently for example at formal event vs an informal party with close friends or family. The difference in perception is essentially driven by two elements: the behavior itself and the presentation/look of the person. In fact people tend to define their look depending on the specific occasion while always keeping to certain extent a link to their overall personal style.

Jewelry and watches are an integral part of the look of a person and as such they are generally chosen based on both the personal style and the specific occasion. Some people might even be able to afford a collection of watches to use in different occasions. The people who cannot afford a collection tend to buy a watch that fits their personal style and tends to be versatile enough to be used for multiple occasions. For simplicity we frame the different kind of watches based on the three main styles (columns in below table) and the three main occasions (rows in below table). However, reality is much more complicated and styles/occasions don’t always have a clear cut.

watches style and occasions


Notably the people with a sporting style tend to use the same watch for multiple occasions or sometimes they just use sport watches of different quality/manufacture for different occasions. The following sections underline the differences between the different types of watches.


Fashion / Designer Watches

The fashion or designer watches can be generally used in a variety of informal situations. They may or may not have a fashion brand or designer name attached to it (e.g. Gucci watches) and most of the time they are associated to a specific classic style. Some people might use those watches also in formal situations. In this category, the Italian designers are among the most appreciated and they often leverage Swiss manufacture in order to combine the best of two worlds. The fashion / designer watches tend to be very noticeable watches and they are often used by the wearer to make a clear statement.


Dress Watches

The dress watches are generally understated at first glance, though they tend to be high end time keeping machines (e.g. Patek Philippe). They should not overshadow but just compliment a business suit or formal wear.. For this reason the dress watches are generally well proportionate to the wrist (oversize watches are generally not part of this category) and they leverage classic tones to be easily paired with the other accessories, apparel and shoes. Simplicity is the general rule both in terms of case and bracelet structure and also decoration. Dials are very simple and complications are limited. The straps tend to be in leather but metal is not excluded.


Luxury Watches

Luxury watches sometimes referred to as Haute Horlogerie are meant to showcase what is possible to achieve with the passion of the most traditional watchmakers. Those watches have exquisite handcrafted complications that are often housed in cases made of noble materials and decorated with precious gems. Those pieces are noticeable at first sight and they tend to be very recognizable. Some of them, like the diamond watches, are more a piece of jewelry than a time machine (e.g. Graff watches).


Everyday Watches

The everyday watches are generally the most affordable ones. They tend not to have any specific feature a part from a more or less original design – though most of the time their design is a homage to well known brands (e.g. Invicta watches). In a nutshell those are the low key and low investment watches.


Field Watches

The field watches are what is supposed to be used in a battle tactical field and as such they are generally rugged and robust. For this reason, most of the time their structure is entirely in metal though sometimes they have the strap made of textile/canvas which is lightweight and easy to replace in case of damage (e.g. NATO strap). The field or tactical watch must be easy and fast to read, even under low-light or night conditions and for this reason they generally have a great color contrast between dial and the hands (generally black dial and white hands) which also leverage luminescent material and display numbers in big font size.


“Design” Watches

Differently from the so called designer watches, the “design” watches are generally made by original designers who tend also to operate in fields different from fashion. For example Botta Design is a design agency that also develops original watches. The watches developed by those designers tend to be more extravagant and are fashion accessories used to make a statement.


Sport Watches

This is a class of watches that are meant to be used for sport occasions though often they are used for any kind of occasion by sporty people. Depending on the specific sport they tend to have different features but in general they are robust, lightweight, resistant to water and easy to clean. Most of them have a rubber strap and some are even made with a plastic case. The three most common types of sport watches are: the divers watches specially designed to withstand the pressure of sea diving, the pilot watches structured to meet the navigational needs of pilots and racing watches which generally showcase a chronograph. Notably the smart-watches tend to be part of this type of watches because the many measures they can take and that are meaningful and relevant for a sport watch.

Diver Watches

The main characteristic of diver watches is their water resistance with models able to reach depths as great as 2000 meters. The most traditional divers watches also have unidirectional rotating bezel to keep track of the amount of oxygen left in the tank and excellent luminescence in hands and dial to allow readability in the depth of the sea. This type of watch is among the most common and often used also for formal occasions thanks to the democratization of high end divers watches operated by brands like Rolex and the endorsement in movies like James Bond.

Pilot Watches

Similarly to the field watches, the pilot watches need great contrast for fast reading even in low light conditions. On the other hand, the pilot watches tend to have a greater number of features or complications. Most of them have chronograph and also tachymeter to measure speed – others have a second hour hand to indicate GMT or a second time zone if not even multiple time zones indicated with the “world time” method. Those watches generally have either a leather or metal strap but some can also use canvas. In this context it is worth mentioning the Flieger style of watches developed by Luftwaffe in the 1930s in which the dial showcases large minutes in the outer circle and hours in the inner part.

Racing Watches

The key characteristic of racing watches is the presence of a chronograph combined with a tachymeter in order to allow the wearer to measure lapsed time and speed. Some of those watches are inspired by car racing and as such might have the look of cars speed indicators and can be decorated with more bright colors as in the case of racing cars.



Those are the main types of watches, but distinction is not always “black and white” and some watches might easily be classified under multiple types. For example the first collection of Todd & Marlon watches #YOURTIME 24-hour could be classified as “Design” watch (winner of the A’Design Award 2016) or as fashion watch. 



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