It’s interesting to note that of all of the fashion accessories available for men, the most popular is arguably the most classic, namely the wristwatch.
The best everyday watch occupies an important place in the market. By definition, it should be a timepiece you are comfortable wearing on a daily basis and not overly worried about minor scratches or damage. Also not a watch of such value that you are constantly checking your wrist to make sure that it’s ok, or at the very least, still there.
Luckily, there is a universe of choices regarding everyday watches for men, but on the flip side, choosing a watch is an extraordinarily personal decision. Hence, while I have recommended particular watches in the categories below, perhaps pay more attention to the brands than the specific watch chosen. Each company offers a myriad of styles and colors, and it’s unlikely that my own personal taste will perfectly mirror yours.
Not that such an eventuality would be a bad thing, of course. If anything, it would be a cause for celebration of your newly discovered and finely tuned, discerning, and sophisticated eye for detail and beauty. Well done you. I jest…
Price is rarely an indication of good taste, and more often than not a function of a brand’s desired or perceived positioning in the market. Sure, broadly speaking, watches at the highest price point tend to be of incredible quality. But in the best everyday watch category where most watches are less than $500, that is less likely to be the case. Go with your personal preference rather than perceived brand prestige.
Pick an everyday watch that can be used every day—i.e., not something so specific in color or style that it can only be worn very occasionally. Have fun with it. Eeveryday watches usually aren’t super expensive so why not opt for two inexpensive watches rather than one really expensive timepiece? It could be the start of your all-new watch wardrobe.
My top choice for the best everyday men’s watch is the Apple Watch. Coming in a close second is the Luigi watch by Emporio Armani—an incredibly cool and classy-looking watch for the price. And for a classic staple with multiple leather strap options, Monofore won’t let your wrist down.
Our Top Picks
My choice for the best overall men’s everyday watch was actually quite simple. It’s the watch that is completely classless and as likely to grace the wrist of a billionaire as it is a student. It is also ageless, albeit given the pace at which technology moves, not quite timeless. It is of course the Apple Watch, now in its 8th generation.
The fact that the Apple Watch has a multitude of incredibly useful tech and fitness features and integrates so seamlessly with all of your other Apple devices is almost beside the point. It epitomizes the everyday watch in its minimal styling, versatility, and customization with an abundance of colors, finishes, and straps being available.
My personal choice would be the classy stainless-steel cased version with a silver Milanese loop strap. This watch would look equally well styled with a formal suit as it would a casual streetwear outfit. Swap out the Milanese loop for a cool
Material: Stainless Steel | Diameter: 41 & 45mm | Strap: Stainless Steel | Colors Available: 9
You’ll notice most of the watches mentioned feature battery-powered or Quartz mechanisms. It’s typical for watches under $1,000. However, if you would really like an automatic men’s everyday watch, then the ‘Tetra’ by Nomos is a beautiful piece with an even nicer in-house-built automatic mechanism.
The Nomos Tetra has a power reserve of 43 hours and looks super classy with its square dial, gold hands, and velour-leather beige strap. This watch would look really nice with an oatmeal fine-knit polo-neck sweater, cream trousers, and gold/beige suede Chelsea boots.
Material: Stainless Steel | Diameter: 27mm | Strap: Leather | Colors Available: 3
If you are looking to spend a little more on a high-end everyday watch, then Tag-Heuer is always a solid choice. Their ‘Carrera’ model is one of their most famous, and this example with a 42mm blue chronograph dial is particularly distinctive.
Turn the watch around, and you will see the internal workings of the Tag’s beautiful automatic mechanism through the glass case. The beveled glass face and minimal bezel lend the watch an elevated and classy appearance, perfect for formal or special occasions where a dressy outfit is the order of the day.
Material: Stainless Steel | Diameter: 42mm | Strap: Stainless Steel | Colors Available: 1
I have always loved skeleton watches ever since I was a kid. Seeing the intricate workings of an automatic skeleton watch is so mesmerizing that it is a wonder that such watch mechanisms are usually hidden. One of the best everyday watch brands that offer such an insight into the internal workings of their timepieces is also one of the most affordable.
I once owned a now discontinued Swatch called ‘body-and-soul,’ which was perhaps the most beautiful skeleton watch the company ever produced. But this example is also unique, its minimal strap contrasting with the intricate dial. Skeleton watches, by their very nature, are usually super dressy but the white/transparent color of this one makes it easier to wear with anything. This particular example strikes a more casual aesthetic that would look great with an edgy casual streetwear outfit.
Material: Plastic/Silicone | Diameter: 47mm | Strap: Silicone | Colors Available: 7
Best Budget Everyday Watch
You will be spoiled for choice in this category, so I have recommended 3 watches, 2 of which I previously purchased myself. That was before I got notions and bought myself a diamond Rolex.
My first of the three recommendations is arguably the coolest and was trending so heavily in recent years that at one point, everybody in my barbershop was rocking one, including me. Some people even knew the reference number by heart. The watch in question? The vintage gold Casio—a vibe and a statement piece, which is unusual for something so inexpensive.
Best paired with a vibey streetwear fit. Especially the wide baggy trousers, oversized hoodie, and bucket hat aesthetic, this digital watch is a versatile choice.
Material: Stainless Steel | Diameter: 33mm | Strap: Stainless Steel | Colors Available: 1
My second choice is also a watch that I personally own. The Skagen is distinguishable from the crowd by its super-thin case and minimal design.
The ‘Holst Chronograph’ is a particularly cool watch, with its darkened metal finish and stainless-steel mesh strap. The strap is also pretty innovative with its simple adjustment mechanism whereby the clasp can be moved up and down for a perfect fit.
Material: Stainless Steel | Diameter: 42mm | Strap: Stainless Steel | Colors Available: 1
My final choice is a piece by the brand Void. Incredibly affordable watch with a super slick classic face with a rolling date dial. It is a very classy watch that would look great with a black leather jacket, biker denim, and leather Chelsea boots or white sneakers.
Material: Stainless Steel | Diameter: 38mm | Strap: Leather | Colors Available: 20
Best Everyday Watches under $500
Similar to the budget category above, there is an absolutely massive selection of watches on offer for under $500.
My top choice in this category for the best everyday watch is a really unique watch by MVMT, a company founded in 2013 to disrupt the overpriced watch industry. This ‘Blacktop II’ watch in hornet green is super slick and minimal in design, with a 42mm dial incorporating three chronographs.
With a highly polished dark metal finish and intricate detailing such as the crown wheel and date window, this watch would look equally well with a suit as it would with a fine-knitted sweater as part of a more smart casual look.
Material: Stainless Steel | Diameter: 42mm | Strap: Stainless Steel | Colors Available: 6
My second choice is this elegant Daniel Wellington watch, available in three sizes and looking super fresh with its turquoise blue dial, very similar to that of the uber sought-after Rolex Oyster Perpetual with its Tiffany blue face.
The Daniel Wellington ‘Iconic Link Capri’ is great value, with a minimal design that nicely complements its bright blue dial.
Material: Stainless Steel | Diameter: 28, 32, & 36mm | Strap: Stainless Steel | Colors Available: 5
My final choice in the <$500 best everyday watch category is the ‘New York GMT’ by IOTA. With a super-thin round white dial and a navy blue strap, this watch would look great with a crisp white shirt in the office and has a youthful and fresh aesthetic.
Material: Stainless Steel | Diameter: 40mm | Strap: Stainless Steel | Colors Available: 1
Best Everyday Watch under $1,000
At the higher price point of $500-$1,000, the choice widens further to encompass some really cool watches by brands such as Tissot.
My first choice is the Tissot Seastar 1000 with its distinctive cobalt blue dial and bezel, not dissimilar from the Rolex Submariner, albeit in a slightly smaller 36mm size.
With its interchangeable bracelet and a choice of three colors (white, blue, and black), this Swiss-made stainless steel watch looks fantastic, particularly a size smaller than traditional watches of this style. With a white bezel and dial, this watch could be worn with a minimal casual or formal outfit. For a more sporty look, try the blue or black face.
Material: Stainless Steel | Diameter: 36mm | Strap: Stainless Steel | Colors Available: 2
My second choice in this category of best everyday watches would be this slick ‘Luigi’ watch by Armani, which I owned myself for several years.
With its minimal dark gray dial and super dressy polished metal case, mesh strap, and stylish clasp, this is a really eye-catching watch for the office. It’s also a remarkable value for such a high-quality and elegant piece.
Material: Stainless Steel | Diameter: 46mm | Strap: Stainless Steel | Colors Available: 18
Another great choice at this price point is a similarly styled watch by Solios. Although, as the name might suggest, a watch with a very different mechanism. With a power reserve of six months and a Quartz mechanism powered by natural and artificial light, this watch is a great sustainable choice. Even after 20 years, the company claims that the battery will still retain 80% of its charging capacity, which is genuinely impressive.
Material: Stainelss Steel | Diameter: 36 & 40mm | Strap: Mesh Metal/Vegan Leather | Colors Available: 10+
Finally, we have this really unique rectangular 41mm watch by Monofore. This super menial watch even has a crown that is hidden under the dial, so it’s invisible from above. The watch also has a tiny date window which is a nice and useful touch.
Although the watch comes with a blue leather strap, an additional color can also be purchased if you’d like to change things up depending on your outfit of choice.
Material: Stainless Steel | Diameter: 41mm | Strap: Leather | Colors Available: 8
What To Look For In The Best Everyday Watches
Choose everyday watches for men from a reputable brand that will be of sufficient quality to withstand everyday use. There are a lot of very fancy, inexpensive, but terribly poor-quality everyday men’s watches out there.
The best everyday men’s watch watch will suits your personal style. Choose something that’s versatile enough to wear with several different outfits and occasions.
If you are going for a smartwatch, it’s always best to go for the latest generation. Although older generations will be cheaper, think how outdated the tech will be in three or four years’ time. By purchasing the latest generation watch, it will be fresher and up-to-date for longer.
If you require a men’s everyday watch that is as classless as it is recognizable, the Apple Watch is the one to go for. With a versatile design thanks to its interchangeable straps and a myriad of case colors and finishes, it can be dressed up or down. The high-tech features integrating so seamlessly with all of your other apple devices make it a no-brainer.
However, for those who deem the Apple Watch a little too ubiquitous, there is a universe of choice available for less than $1,000, $500, or even $250. A great deal of these choices is thanks to up-and-coming brands such as Suivos and Skagen, keen to disrupt the notoriously expensive watch markets. And there’s still an almost limitless array of high-quality timepieces by established companies such as Swatch or Tissot.
My advice would be not to spend the earth on a men’s everyday watch but rather buy something creative, personal, and unique. A watch you don’t mind changing every few years for something different. Spending a fortune on a watch should be something reserved for a super special luxury timepiece, perhaps even a gold number. An everyday watch should be just that, something you can wear and enjoy every day, at least until you tire of it and fancy changing things up.
Just because you can, doesn’t necessarily mean you should. It is sometimes fun to rock a cool bracelet to change things up, but an equally great choice is to wear a different watch everyday just like your sneaker rotation… Variety is the spice of life after all.
As a Rolex owner, I would actually say no for two main reasons. A Rolex is an incredibly special piece and wearing it every day will mean that watching it twinkle at the end of your wrist will become less of an occasion with time and familiarity. A Rolex deserves more. Not to mention the fact that you’re going to be terrified of scratching it. I did once. Still haven’t recovered.
Absolutely. It will probably thank you for it, too, as automatic watches depend on movement to work. As I try to preserve my automatic watch for more occasional use, it needs to be wound after every 3 days of rest. Never ask somebody with a Rolex for the correct time. Guaranteed to be wrong. The great irony of Rolexes—one of the most accurate time-pieces on the planet, rendered inaccurate by their occasional wearers who inaccurately reset the watch every time they use it.