Every Type Of Watch You Need In Your Collection

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Great picks at three different price points.

These days, we don’t really use wristwatches to tell time. Or rather, timekeeping isn’t the only reason to wear one, maybe not even the main reason. Collectors love watches for their looks, cool functions, history, and even to represent a lifestyle. So, we’ve rounded up the important genres, every type of watch you need in your collection. We then curated a line-up of three worthwhile models for every category: An entry-level, a mid-level, and an upgrade.

Besides, the more we use wristwatches to check the time over using our phones, the less often we’ll fall into rabbit holes of scrolling and clicking.

Dive Watch

At its simplest, a dive watch is water-resistant at 100 meters (200 for professional diving), and can manage elapsed time, often via rotating bezel. These days, scuba divers use smart technology. As such, contemporary dive watches are either used as a contingency plan, or as a style essential, thanks to Connery’s Bond pairing a dive with his dinner jacket in Dr. No.

 Longines HydroConquest

Entry-Level: Longines HydroConquest

With its generously-sized 12, 9, and 6 markers, the Longines HydroConquest is a distinct diver that looks like it’s been infused with an aviator watch. The sunray dial is subtle in black, adding to the watch’s sophisticated look. And since Longines is known for their ultra-thin movements, the case is less than 12mm tall, which is pretty reasonable for a robust, crisp-bezeled dive. Comfortable wear and good looks aside, that L888 movement flaunts a power reserve of 72 hours, which is a lot more than several models double its price.

  • Retail Price: $1,700
  • Case Diameter: 41mm
Tudor Pelagos

Mid-Level: Tudor Pelagos

Tudor being Rolex’s equally as classy but looser younger brother, the Pelagos gives the classic dive watch template a modern makeover without going too far left. The brushing and applications are still flawless, but the matte, multi-sectioned dial and the signature snowflake hands add a slightly playful touch. Just like the Submariner, it runs on COSC-certified automatic movement, for superior performance. Better than the Submariner, some might say, is its titanium construction, which is just as strong as stainless steel but almost half as light.

  • Retail Price: $4,725
  • Case Diameter: 42mm
Rolex Submariner

The Upgrade: Rolex Submariner

The most famous dive in the world, the Rolex Submariner was, is, and will always be the standard-bearer for all dive watches. The entire design, with its Mercedes hands and lollipop second hand, is legendary and recognizable. Plus, history has arguably set a precedent that allows guys to wear this tool watch with suit jackets. Modern Subs are equipped with all of the proprietary Rolex features, from the COSC-certified movement to the iconic blue Chromalight to its Oystersteel construction that’s just a little shinier and stronger than regular stainless steel. If you’re going for an investment acquisition, the Submariner is one of the few sure things on the market.

  • Retail Price: $8,950
  • Case Diameter: 41mm (40mm prior to 2020)


A chronograph is the result of marrying a timekeeping watch with a stopwatch. Modern versions usually have three subdials, but all a chronograph needs to be a chrono, is the third independent sweep hand used for the stopwatch. This tool is culturally associated with car-racing, aviation, and of course, space exploration.

Entry-Level: Seiko Prospex SSC813P1 Chronograph

Entry-Level: Seiko Prospex SSC813P1 Chronograph

The panda-like dial of the Seiko SSC813P1 Chronograph gives it a unique and coveted look that’s hard to execute without looking like a Cosmograph homage. Seiko fully fills in the sub dials with a lustrous black that stands out against the stark white background. This, and immaculately applied details, like the dark indices and lance hands, put this watch in a league separate from homage territory. A member of the Prospex subline of professional watches, this chronograph has a highly accurate solar-powered movement that boasts a six-month duration, starting from a full charge.

  • Retail Price: $890+
  • Case Diameter: 39mm
Tag Heuer Carrera Automatic Chronograph

Mid-Level: Tag Heuer Carrera Automatic Chronograph

A watch with countless surfaces, the Tag Heuer Carrera Automatic Chronograph’s varied topography gives it an extra sporty and tactile aesthetic. Furthermore, each surface features unique textures. The racetrack sub dials are recessed from the silky main dial, with two subdials sporting mini chapter rings. The indices and middle bracelet links are likewise dimensional, ensuring that the light has several unique places to hit this watch. This real-deal racing chrono runs on a 25-jewel Swiss automatic movement.

  • Retail Price: $4,650+
  • Case Diameter: 41mm
Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional

The Upgrade: Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional

Ever since Buzz Aldrin wore a Speedmaster during the very first moonwalk in 1969, it’s become the watch industry’s most famous chronograph ever. Today’s Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional has virtually no drastic changes outside of modern upgrades. In fact, it’s still the only NASA-qualified watch that can be worn outside of Earth’s atmosphere, inside or outside a spacecraft. The exquisitely-built Calibre 3861, a COSC-certified Master Chronometer, can be admired from the exhibition caseback. This is one quality Omega will always have over Rolex when it comes to satisfying the horologically curious.

  • Retail Price: $7,200
  • Case Diameter: 42mm

GMT Watch

The GMT watch’s namesake, Greenwich Mean Time, refers to the London time zone of which the other zones are based. Functionally, these watches are able to tell the current time in more than one zone. GMT timepieces first came out during the golden age of travel, when they were considered “the jetsetter’s watch.”

Vaer G7 Meridian GMT

Entry-Level: Vaer G7 Meridian GMT

It’s not often you get a good Swiss-made automatic that also comes with a complication for around $1200, but Vaer made it happen with the G7 Meridian GMT. It’s basically an upgraded version of their D7 Dive watch, which means it has 200 meters of water resistance and a double-domed sapphire crystal, which not only adds impact resistance but ensures the watch face doesn’t look distorted at any angle. That glossy aluminum Pepsi bezel can be paired with a complementary leather strap or a classic steel bracelet.

  • Retail Price: $1,199
  • Case Diameter: 39mm
Tudor Black Bay Pro

Mid-Level: Tudor Black Bay Pro

The Tudor Black Bay Pro is unlike most other famous GMT watches out there. Its unadorned 24-hour graduated bezel is fixed, and gives it an almost military look (though the satin brushing gives the bezel a touch of refinement). The dial has two unique diamond-lollipop hands, the yellow GMT adding a pop of color. Of course, we’ve got the snowflake hands and the COSC movement too. Another big plus? Between its moderately-sized 39mm case, small but grippy crown, and tapered bracelet, this Black Bay Pro is an exceedingly comfortable wear.

  • Retail Price: $4,000
  • Case Diameter: 39mm
Rolex GMT Master II

The Upgrade: Rolex GMT Master II

The watch world rejoiced when Rolex took the Pepsi GMT Master II out of retirement in 2018. When the brand switched to their proprietary fade-resistant, scratch-resistant Cerachrom bezels, the material couldn’t be made in red. Several technological advancements later, the Pan-Am Pepsi aesthetic was reborn with an upgraded construction. The original jetsetter watch is now powered by Rolex’s 3285 COSC movement, which is highly shock-absorbent,  and has a 70-hour power reserve.

  • Retail Price: $10,550
  • Case Diameter: 40mm

Dress Watch

Dress watches are designed to partner with formal attire. While there aren’t hard rules about what that means these days, a true evening wear timepiece features a simple dial, is pairable with a leather strap, and has a slim case, so it can slip under a shirt sleeve. Basically, it follows the oldest rule of elegance: Less is more.

Seiko Presage SRPE45

Entry-Level: Seiko Presage SRPE45

Seiko pulls from different dress watch traditions that come together beautifully on the Presage SRPE45. The glossy pressed guilloche pattern adds an ornateness that’s tempered by the rich green dial’s dark gradation and the overall watch’s simple, classic silhouette. Inspired by the font on vintage liquor bottles, the Arabic numerals give the watch a gentlemanly whiskey-and-cigar swankiness about it. Top that off with a vintage box-shaped crystal that excellently frames the whole dial and an in-house automatic movement, and you’ve got one of most bang-for-buck formal timepieces on offer.

  • Retail Price: $425
  • Case Diameter: 38.5mm
Grand Seiko SBGA211

Mid-Level: Grand Seiko SBGA211

The hand-made Grand Seiko SBGA211, aka the Snowflake, is a mix of horology and art, inside and out. The dial is adorned with an impeccably textured pattern inspired by Japan’s Shinshi mountains, and the watch’s body is built with high-intensity titanium. It runs on a Grand Seiko speciality, the 9R spring drive movement, which is powered by a mainspring like an automatic, but has a quartz oscillator which gives it a staggering accuracy of ±1 second a month.

  • Retail Price: $6,200
  • Case Diameter: 41mm
Patek Philippe Calatrava

The Upgrade: Patek Philippe Calatrava

Defined by its understated shape and contours, the Patek Philippe Calatrava is made with precious metals, giving it the same time-honored delicacy of the world’s first dress watches. Depending on the version, its indices might be polished gem-like batons, Arabic numerals, or chic and sharp dagger shapes. Certain variations feature a lovely small seconds subdial. Calatravas are also known for their reliable investment value.

  • Retail Price: $39,030+
  • Case Diameter: 39mm

Pilot Watch

A pilot watch must be large and legible at every angle for at-a-glance time-telling. The oldest aviator timepieces were often paired with leather riveted straps to prevent sliding, and utilized the DIN 1451 typeface, the font used on German road signs. 

Hamilton Khaki Pilot Pioneer Mechanical Chronograph

Entry-Level: Hamilton Khaki Pilot Pioneer Mechanical Chronograph

At first glance, Hamilton’s Khaki Pioneer looks like a timeless pilot chronograph, all the way down to the tropical accents. Upon closer inspection though, you’ll notice a small dose of quirkiness, by way of the mini lollipops accompanying each Arabic hour marker, and the quietly psychedelic pattern on the sub dials. This rugged tool watch is powered by an antimagnetic mechanical movement that’s resistant to intense atmospheric conditions.

  • Retail Price: $2,045
  • Case Diameter: 40mm
Mid-Level: IWC Mark XVIII Pilot’s Watch

Mid-Level: IWC Mark XVIII Pilot’s Watch

IWC is an industry go-to when it comes to aviator watches, and their Mark XVIII Pilot sports the quintessential design language that most timepieces of this genre look to. IWC themselves pioneered the popularity of this aesthetic. The flieger-style dial is protected by a strong convex sapphire crystal, a shape that’s extremely difficult to machine sapphire into, but protects the watch from drops in air pressure. The 40mm dial is versatile, and goes attractively with its stitched calfskin leather strap.

  • Retail Price: $4,500
  • Case Diameter: 40mm
Breitling B01 Navitimer Chronograph

The Upgrade: Breitling B01 Navitimer Chronograph

One of Breitling’s historical models, the B01 Navitimer Chronograph is fashioned after a template drawn up by Willy Breitling himself. It went on to become the official watch of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. The effectively compositioned dial is framed by the distinguished slide rule, which watch experts associate with the original iconic design, and casual fans see as being undeniably unique. The B01 runs on a first-rate automatic, the Breitling 01, which has a 70-hour power reserve and a whopping 47 jewels.

  • Retail Price: $9,100
  • Case Diameter: 43mm

Field Watch

Field watches were the first men’s wristwatches worn by WW1 soldiers, previously considered to be women’s jewelry. They should be dustproof, waterproof, and high-contrast for legibility. Not caught up with complications or fashion, field watches are a distillation of a good honest men’s timepiece, durable and accurate.

Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical Watch

Entry-Level: Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical Watch

One of the ultimate military timepieces, the Hamilton Khaki Field is a disciplined recreation of their 1960s field watches. Ever practical, the 38mm matte case is durable and authoritative-looking, while the dark dial with bold numbers are easy to read in most lighting situations. Importantly, the H-50 movement, which has an 80-hour power reserve, is a mechanical hand-wind, and is sure to satisfy those of you who like tactility in a watch.

  • Retail Price: $495
  • Case Diameter: 38mm
Weiss Standard Issue Field Watch

Mid-Level: Weiss Standard Issue Field Watch

Though microbrands in all markets throw around the word “artisanal” pretty liberally, the Standard Issue Field Watch by Weiss actually fits the bill. The made-to-order watches are handmade, with a sleek but still rugged look. The dial is hand-painted with a naval brass finish, the hands are oxide-treated, and the straps are stitched by hand too. Plus, the subdial at the bottom is charmingly cool.

  • Retail Price: $1,450
  • Case Diameter: 38mm
Rolex Explorer

The Upgrade: Rolex Explorer

Thanks to its understated class and effective design, the Rolex Explorer is the exemplary military timepiece of the watch world. The compass markers and Mercedes hands offer maximum legibility. Its Rolex-specific steel build is extra corrosion-resistant, while the blue Chromalight lasts up to eight hours. As with all contemporary Rolexes, the modern-day Explorer runs on a COSC-certified movement. Overall, it’s sophisticated but simple, and unimpeded by overdesigned characteristics.

  • Retail Price: $7,200
  • Case Diameter: 36mm

Smart Watch

Starting with Seiko’s 1998 Ruputer, followed by the 2010s wearables aimed at athletes looking to track their heart rates, a smartwatch is a touchscreen timekeeper. It can be used to access apps, fitness trackers, and the internet. Arguably, the Apple Watch is the culmination of the wrist computers of the past. 

Timex iConnect Smartwatch

Entry-Level: Timex iConnect Smartwatch

A good sub-100 timepiece is a rarity in the world of wearables, but Timex covers all of the essentials and basics with the iConnect Smartwatch. It tracks your steps, monitors your heart rate, and your sleep and activity. Using the watch’s Sports Mode, you can track your workouts and progress as well. It also has a versatile look, comes in three colors, and is super comfortable and lightweight.

  • Retail Price: $50
  • Case Diameter: 37mm
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

Mid-Level: Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

The Android-powered Galaxy 4 Watch by Samsung not only has a sportier, more futuristic look than its predecessors, but is leveled up in every aspect. It has 16gb of internal storage, which is double the maximum of the Galaxy 3, 50% more ram, and a 25% increase in resolution. This guy is crystal clear. Its touch-screen bezel around the display is sleek and fun to use. On the functional side, the Galaxy Watch 4 features improved sensors, and even suggests exercises you can do while sitting on the couch watching television.

  • Retail Price: $250+
  • Case Diameter: 40mm / 44mm
Apple Watch

The Upgrade: Apple Watch

With its ubiquitously future-simple aesthetic and extensive ecosystem of sophisticated features, the Apple Watch is often considered the gold standard of smart watches. The latest Series 7 is armed with the most advanced health features ever, allowing you to measure your blood oxygen levels, take an ECG from your wrists, measure your current heart rate, and even be alerted of irregular rhythms. The level of intuitiveness is almost eerie, but definitely useful. It’s also way more durable and charges 33% faster than the Series 6.

  • Retail Price: $399+
  • Case Diameter: 41mm / 45mm

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