Do you know when and why the wristwatch overtook the pocket watch in popularity? Turns out that it was one of the many consequences of World War I. Soldiers made the switch to wearing a watch on their wrist because it was easier to check the time surreptitiously — and avoid revealing their whereabouts to the enemy.

Nowadays, you might think that the ubiquity of smartphones (and smart watches) make the classic wristwatch seem outdated. Not so! Read on to learn why the men’s watch is a perfect accessory to give the guy in your life — and how to choose a timepiece he’ll love.

First, a Word About the Watch

Watches — whether for men or women — are a unique accessory. They aren’t purely for aesthetic appeal, nor are they entirely practical. They are both a reflection of the individual’s style as well as a useful, even essential, item to use throughout the day.

This can make choosing a watch difficult, especially once you begin to look at what’s available. There’s such a wide range of watch designs and styles that you can easily get overwhelmed by all of the possibilities. Not to worry; we’re here to help with that very dilemma.

What Kind of Guy Are We Talking About?

Whether you are buying a watch for your husband or boyfriend, your brother or father, or your BFF, you will want to start thinking about who he is and what his lifestyle is like.

Is he the corporate or white-collar type who is invariably dressed for success, and accessorizes accordingly? Is he an adventurous adrenaline junkie who lives life on the wild side? Or are you most likely to find him playing video games at home, down at the corner pub with his buddies, or working out at the gym?

Does your favorite male live in sweatpants, or rock a great pair of jeans? Maybe he’s more fashionable than most of your girlfriends, and always on top of the latest couture trends.

There are mens designer watches of all styles, shapes, and sizes. You can easily find a timepiece to suit each of these men. And believe it or not, there are plenty of crossover styles that might suit several of them!

When Would the Man in Your Life Wear a Watch?

Another good question to ask yourself is when the man in your life would most likely wear a wristwatch. A lawyer, doctor, stockbroker, or another professional man will probably put on his watch along with his suit. Blue-collar guys might leave the watch off during the working day — or choose one that can take a beating.

For some fellows, a traditional watch is a dressy item that replaces their ordinary smartwatch during semi-formal or formal events. Others might feel naked if they are not wearing their rugged field watch, in the same way that some men don’t like to leave the house without tucking their trusty multi-tool or Swiss army knife into their pocket.

One advantage of a wristwatch — which you can point out if your man seems lukewarm on the idea of wearing one — is that he can check the time more subtly. Just as the WWI soldiers couldn’t go digging through layers of heavy clothing to find their pocket watch, pulling out or turning on a phone can sometimes be awkward and attention-grabbing.

Does Your Fellow Need (Or Want) a Specialty Watch?

There are watches that do nothing but tell time (and look good on a man’s wrist), but there are others that offer GPS services, water-resistance, tachymeters, chronographs, altimeters, astronomical displays, and so on. If the man you’re buying the watch for is a tech geek or a gadget guru, these can be a great gift.

Chances are that if the man in question requires a specialty watch for his vocation or his avocation — such as diving, golfing, running, serious cycling, racing, or aviation — he probably already has one. However, there’s no reason you can’t look into timepieces with loads of bells and whistles for the fellow who just fancies himself a latter-day James Bond.

What About the Materials Used in a Men’s Watch?

Understandably, form will follow function in regard to the watch’s materials. A simple, classic dress watch might incorporate leather, gold, titanium, or ceramic into its face and band.

More casual watches, or those suited to adventurers and active guys, might be made of silicone, nylon, aluminum, stainless steel, plastics, or a mixture of several of these components.

Maybe your guy is on a mission to stay woke and save the earth. That’s cool — and there are plenty of watch choices for him, too. You can find timepieces that use materials like cotton, cork, linen, recycled or reclaimed wood, reclaimed parts from luxury automobiles, and even recycled, destructed illegal firearms.

What Type of Movement Is Best?

There are several different types of watch movements. Let’s take a look at each.

Quartz Watches

Quartz watches are powered by batteries. The watch battery sends an electric current through a small quartz crystal. The resulting vibrations power the movement of the watch. Quartz watches are the type that has a visible and audible “ticking” effect.

Mechanical Watches

Mechanical Watches are pretty old-school. They rely on intricate gears – just like the ones you see in antique clocks – to move the hands. These watches must be wound by hand. For some, that’s a distinct disadvantage, but others consider it a nifty plus.

Automatic Watches

Automatic watches use the kinetic energy from the wearer’s wrist to drive the mechanism. You will sometimes see these described as “self-winding watches.”

Solar Watches

Solar powered watches, as you might guess, harness the power of our sun to move their time-telling pieces along.

The type of watch movement is really a personal preference. When in doubt, go with an automatic watch, which requires the least upkeep.

Wrapping Up

Ian Fleming, whose imagination gave birth to one of history’s most elegant (and frequently emulated) men, once said, “A gentleman’s choice of timepiece says as much about him as does his Savile Row suit.” That bon mot remains as true today as it did when James Bond first made his appearance in fiction, and then on the silver screen.

If you take your time when choosing a men’s watch, and be sure to take your fellow’s personality and style into consideration, you’re sure to decide on the perfect timepiece — and the perfect gift!

Have a watch you love? Want to weigh in on your favorite style or movement? Please leave a comment below to start a conversation!