From sporty to dressy, cheap to expensive, subtle to outrageous, we’ve painstakingly scoured the watch world from Switzerland to Sydney to bring you our guide to the 60 best watches for men on the market right now.
Watches are jewellery for men. While women get to play around with makeup, jewellery and other accessories, the one universally socially acceptable accessory men get to enjoy (other than ties and funky socks) is watches.
But that’s not a bad thing – far from it. Simply put, watches are one of the most complex, innovative and intriguing pieces of engineering humanity has ever come up with. Watches aren’t just tools for keeping track of time; they’re multidisciplinary works of art. They combine the best of art, science, metallurgy, sports, engineering and fashion all in something small you strap to your wrist.
They’re also a potent expression of their wearer’s personality. They’re conversation starters, statement pieces, celebrations of achievement and deeply emotional totems… They’re something you can pass down to your kids and a rare example of a made-to-last product in a world that’s increasingly disposable. Perhaps that’s why blokes obsess over watches so much.
Of course, the other reason why watches can become an obsession is because there are just so many watches out there and there’s always something new, clever and exciting happening in the watch world. With hundreds of watchmakers and thousands of models on the market right now, it can be hard figuring out what pieces are worth investing in from each brand.
Never fear: we’ve come up with an exhaustive guide to the best men’s watches on the market right now from the world’s most interesting and desirable brands. There’s something for every sort of man in this guide.
Our research & why you should trust us
Our research process for selecting these best watches for men is based on our previous experience trying on and owning these watches for ourselves. We have over 15 years of experience in the luxury watch space.
- We have tried on a majority of these watches and rigorously tested their functions, features and wearability, and we regularly update this article.
- There’s no product placement in this article – this is our pure, unadulterated opinion informed by years of experience writing about watches.
- Some of these watches on this list are watches we own ourselves – we’ve put our money where our mouths are.
- While this list (as well as DMARGE’s broader editorial focus for watches) focuses on luxury watches, we’ve provided a diverse mix of price points, materials, case sizes, aesthetics and brands in order to provide a thorough cross-section of the best men’s watches on the market.
- All of the watches included are manufactured by reputable, established brands that have been in the watch business for many years. No dodgy microbrands here!
- We regularly attend watch fairs in person such as Watches & Wonders as well as visit boutiques both officially and off the clock in order to stay up-to-date on the watch industry.
Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN Edition “Lake Tahoe”
IWC Schaffhausen is famous for its pilot’s watches, and this one is the cream of the crop – in our humble opinion. The white ceramic case of the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN Edition “Lake Tahoe” is inspired by white US Navy uniforms and the fascinating winter landscape around Lake Tahoe. The bold white case and rubber strap contrast perfectly with its ultra-legible black dial.
What Jamie says: IWC are the masters of ceramic and this stark white chronograph is incredibly eye-catching. This is a chrono that’s a cut above the rest.
Royal Oak "Jumbo" Extra-Thin
Few timepieces are more iconic than the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. First released in 1972 and designed by the legendary Gérald Genta, the Royal Oak was the world’s first luxury sports watch: bold, purposeful yet incredibly refined, with a killer integrated bracelet, it redefined haute horlogerie and remains one of the most sought-after timepieces on the planet.
The “Jumbo” Extra-Thin is the purest version of the Royal Oak available today, closely resembling the original Royal Oak ref. 5402: no seconds hand, an ‘AP’ logo at 6 o’clock and a classic blue “Petite Tapisserie” dial. At 39mm in diameter and 8.1mm thick, it’s dressy and eminently wearable… But also totally unmistakable.
What Jamie says: AP make a million and one different Royal Oaks but you just can’t beat the OG. It’s a grail watch for many, including myself.
Cosmograph Daytona "Panda"
The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona hardly needs an introduction. Introduced in 1963, the Daytona was created to meet the singular demands of the professional race car driver. Today, it’s easily Rolex’s most coveted model – one of the most coveted watches in the world, in fact – and a byword for luxury and success.
2023 saw a major update to the Daytona range, with Rolex introducing a subtle aesthetic change (the Daytona’s ceramic bezel now has a metal lip) as well as a new movement, the in-house calibre 4131, which features a patented Chronergy escapement, a blue Parachrom hairspring and retains the 4Hz frequency and 72h power reserve of the previous generation. In short, the Daytona has never been better.
What Jamie says: The Panda Daytona is an absolute icon. The waiting lists are long for a reason.
BR-X5 Black Steel
Bell & Ross has always stood out as one of the most stylish watchmakers on the planet. Famous for their square watch designs, which are modelled after instruments found in aircraft cockpits, the French brand is a rather aesthetic outlier in an industry dominated by same-y designs and a lack of artistic flair.
The BR-X5 is their most technically competent watch. Powered by a COSC-certified Kenissi movement (similar to those found in Tudor and Breitling watches), it features a unique aerospace-inspired case with weight-saving ‘fillets’ in a sandwiched construction.
What Jamie says: Bell & Ross have always been stylish but with the BR-X5, now they’ve got a bit of substance. This is a very high-tech-looking timepiece that’s not too ostentatious nor too outrageously expensive.
Seamaster 300 Co-Axial Master Chronometer
A modern reincarnation of the original OMEGA Seamaster 300 from 1957, this 41mm retro dive watch features a traditional design complemented by vintage Super-LumiNova. Flip it over, and a transparent sapphire crystal caseback reveals its Co-Axial Master Chronometer Calibre 8912, a movement 50s divers would have killed to have in their watches…
What Jamie says: Vintage watches look cool but they can be a hassle to own. This very vintage-looking OMEGA has all the charm of an old-fashioned sports watch but with a very modern and impressive movement under the hood. OMEGA is one of my favourite brands and this Seamaster is simply a stunner.
As you might have guessed by this watch’s name, Bausele is an Australian watch brand. Designed in Australia and made in Switzerland, every Bausele timepiece features a signature hollow crown that embeds an actual element of Australia into it, including red earth from the Outback, sand from one of the country’s finest beaches, or ‘Aussie diamond’: opal.
The Sydney Diver is their latest creation: a dive watch built to US Army MIL-W-46374F specs and partially assembled by US veterans. Its crown is filled with soil from US military forts, and its face features glow-in-the-dark old radium Super-LumiNova hands and numerals. A springy tropical strap and black IP-coated case mark it out as a tough cookie.
What Jamie says: Many ‘Australian’ watch brands feature derivative designs, crappy movements and simply play the patriotism card to get Aussies to buy their watches. Bausele, however, is an Australian watch brand with real substance. The Sydney Diver is a cracking watch, especially in this delightful sand colourway.
Navitimer B02 Chronograph Cosmonaute
Breitling is a brand that’s closely associated with aviation, but did you know they’ve also provided watches for astronauts? Indeed, Breitling was officially the first Swiss wrist-worn chronograph in space when Scott Carpenter blasted off in the Mercury-Atlas 7 spacecraft wearing the Navitimer Cosmonaute in 1962, a variation on the iconic Navitimer with the addition of a 24-hour dial to distinguish day from night in the darkness of space.
Thankfully, you don’t need to be an astronaut to wear the Navitimer B02 Chronograph Cosmonaute, which perfectly blends old-school pilot’s watch aesthetics with Space Race vibes. Luxe upgrades like a platinum bezel and open sapphire crystal caseback which exposes its Breitling manufacture B02 movement further distinguish this bad boy from other Navitimers.
What Jamie says: The Breitling Navitimer is one of the most legendary pilot’s watches ever made – they’re a must-have for any aviation nut. The Navitimer B02 Chronograph Cosmonaute also shines a light on an oft-forgotten part of watchmaking history. Space is cool.
The Aquanaut from Patek Philippe is a luxurious sports watch known for its distinctive faceted case and comfortable rubber strap. Crafted in rose gold with a brown dial and strap, it exudes elegance and sophistication while offering 120m of water resistance and an immaculately finished self-winding movement. A true blend of sportiness and refined craftsmanship.
What Jamie says: Everyone goes nuts for the Patek Philippe Nautilus but I’ve always much preferred the Aquanaut. It’s sportier, more youthful and dare I say better looking. I love the modern Aquanaut’s subtly globe-shaped dial design and sans-serif numerals – plus the rubber strap is super comfy.
The Zenith Defy Skyline is a bold new take on the integrated bracelet luxury sports watch. Its most unique feature is its 1/10th of a second indicator at 9 o’clock – a superficially useless yet fun complication that cleverly hints at the famous El Primero movement that powers the watch. Its dial treatment, too, is deceptively complex: a three-dimensional effect constructed of tiny stars.
What Jamie says: Zenith is a real sleeper of a brand and the Defy Skyline is a brilliantly executed alternative to more expensive integrated bracelet pieces that won’t leave you feeling like you’re missing out. The skeletonised dial version of this one is sick, too.
HM8 Mark 2
British Racing Green
The HM8 Mark 2 from MB&F (which stands for Maximilian Büsser and Friends) is a horological masterpiece that resembles a futuristic sports car. Time-telling is done via a speedometer-style display on the side of the case that recalls the daring and futuristic design of 1970s vehicles, while its stunning movement is on display through a complex, sculpted “double bubble” sapphire crystal display on top of the watch.
What Jamie says: One of the most interesting independent watchmakers on the planet, Max Büsser is a mad genius. Any of his watches could make this list, but as a revhead, I particularly like the HM8 Mark 2, especially in British Racing Green and titanium.
First introduced in 1969 in honour of the Monaco Grand Prix, the Heuer Monaco was the world’s first square-cased automatic chronograph and was an immediate hit among watch fans. Its popularity only intensified after Steve McQueen wore one in the 1971 film Le Mans. The modern TAG Heuer Monaco features octagonal chrono pushers; a thick, faceted sapphire crystal and is powered by TAG’s workhorse in-house Heuer 02 movement, which promises an 80h power reserve.
What Jamie says: As a kid, I always thought the Monaco – with its chunky case and unique square look – was such a cool watch. As an adult, after trying a few on for myself, I’ve come to the same conclusion. It’s a must-have for motorsports lovers.
Alpine Eagle 41 Gold
The Alpine Eagle 41 Gold from Chopard is a truly luxurious and sporty watch. Crafted in ethical gold, not only does its integrated bracelet resemble a swathe of gold bullion dripping down your wrist, but the super-cool dial – modelled after an eagle’s iris – is mesmerising to look at. It beats to the rhythm of a silky-smooth chronometer-certified movement.
What Jamie says: The Alpine Eagle just screams money, especially in gold. While it’s perverse to describe a luxury gold watch as good value, Chopard’s value proposition is pretty damn enticing.
Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic Diver
The Captain Cook High-Tech Ceramic Diver from Rado combines vintage design with modern materials. Made from high-tech ceramic, it offers superior scratch resistance and durability, combined with 300m of water resistance and an 80-hour power reserve.
What Jamie says: Rado is a criminally underrated brand that specialises in ceramics, and the Captain Cook is a similarly underrated dive watch with boatloads of history and charm. Combine those two and you’ve got a winner.
Santos de Cartier
The Santos de Cartier is a timeless classic from the renowned jeweller and watchmaker Cartier. With its rectangular case, Roman numerals, and blue synthetic spinel crown, it exudes elegance and sophistication. It might look old-school, but it’s surprisingly forward-thinking: its bracelet features a “SmartLink” adjustment system, which makes it easy to add or subtract links without tools, and is also fitted with a “QuickSwitch” quick-change strap-swapping system.
What Jamie says: The first watch designed to be worn on the wrist, the Santos is nothing short of an icon. I think it looks particularly classy in two-tone.
Nicholas Hacko is Australia’s only living master watchmaker, and his firm has a bold mission: to singlehandedly revive Australian watchmaking and not just repair or adjust watches in Australia, but make watches in Australia. Not only are they succeeding in that mission, but they’ve also pioneered techniques few watchmakers have ever attempted or accomplished.
The Mark II is their latest creation and features a stainless steel case that houses a truly impressive Grade 5 titanium anodised base dial with a guilloche “Curl Curl waves” pattern. Not only is this a beautiful watch, but buying one is to invest in the most exciting horological project in the Southern Hemisphere (and maybe even the world…)
What Jamie says: Nicholas Hacko is a legend among Australian watch aficionados and his watches are next level.
READ MORE: 7 Australian Watch Brands To Know In 2023
Black Bay Pro
The Tudor Black Bay Pro takes the Swiss brand’s super-popular Black Bay dive watch and blends it with the aesthetics of the original Rolex Explorer II ref. 1655. A GMT watch with a fixed steel bezel and a COSC-certified in-house movement, the Black Bay Pro features a matte black dial with aged lume and a yellow GMT hand as well as a retro-styled faux-riveted bracelet with Tudor’s “T-Fit” micro-adjustment system.
The cool thing about its MT5652 calibre is that the date display is coupled with the local time hand so that when setting the time and passing midnight in retrograde, it instantly jumps to the previous day. Water-resistant to 200m and boasting a 70-hour power reserve, it’s totally weekend-proof.
What Jamie says: After seeing this Tudor in the flesh at Watches & Wonders 2022, I knew I had to get one… And now, the Black Bay Pro is my favourite watch in my collection. Yes, it’s very thick, but it’s also very wearable. The T-Fit system is also one of the best micro-adjustment systems in the game.
ProPilot X Kermit Edition
Rugged yet quirky, the Oris ProPilot X Kermit Edition is a collaborative take on the brand’s tech-y ProPilot X that features a stunning green dial as well as a unique date wheel that swaps out the 1st of every month with a cheeky little Kermit the Frog emoji. Playful and eye-catching whilst also being subtle and serious, it’s no technical slouch: featuring a 39mm multi-piece titanium case with a sporty knurled bezel, slick bracelet and plane seatbelt-inspired ‘LIFT’ folding clasp, it’s powered by the Oris in-house automatic calibre 400, which is highly anti-magnetic, features a 120-hour (5-day) power reserve and 100m of water resistance.
What Jamie says: This unexpected collaboration was the surprise hit from Watches & Wonders 2023. Many pop culture watch collaborations are pretty ghastly, but there’s just something so fitting about this collab. Any Muppet association aside, the green treatment on this watch’s dial is truly amazing; very effervescent. It’s a pretty watch in its own right.
Italian brand Panerai is famous for its dive watches, and the Submersible is its most dive watch-y watch. A slightly more modern, utilitarian take on the Panerai formula, the Submersible is one tough cookie… But this one is both tough and luxurious. Panerai’s Goldtech is a unique alloy of gold, copper, and platinum that boasts a lustrous bronze-like red hue while being resistant to any oxidisation and corrosion when exposed to sweat or seawater – perfectly suited for aquatic adventures. It boasts a three-day power reserve, 300m of water resistance, an Incabloc anti-shock system and a classic Panerai locking crown mechanism.
What Jamie says: Some might say wearing a dive watch out of gold defeats the purpose of wearing a tool watch, but Panerai’s Goldtech is more robust than your average gold… It also just looks amazing.
A. Lange & Söhne is a highly prestigious firm that has a long history of producing some of the most refined, complicated and stylish timepieces in horological history. The Odysseus Chronograph is the brand’s first-ever automatic chronograph, and its new L156.1 Datomatic calibre also has quite a novel way of recording elapsed time: like a double chronograph (a type of watch Lange is famous for), it’s got two chronograph hands: a red one to track seconds and a lozenge-tipped silver one to track minutes.
What Jamie says: Deceptively simple yet totally amazing, Lange has really outdone itself with this one. It’s total unobtainium, sure, but I’m just glad Lange was bonkers enough to make this thing. Definitely has to be seen to be believed, but good luck ever seeing one in your lifetime…
The Riviera from Baume & Mercier is a contemporary and sporty watch with a distinctive design. Its stainless steel case, smoky black dial with a subtle wave pattern and its integrated bracelet create a harmonious, modern look. With its automatic movement and water resistance of 200 meters, it’s a watch that combines style and functionality seamlessly.
What Jamie says: Baume is super underrated and the Riviera is a real contender. The perlage on its Baumatic movement is particularly impressive, as is its 120-hour power reserve.
Polaris Perpetual Calendar
Jaeger-LeCoultre is often called “the watchmaker’s watchmaker”, not only because they’ve traditionally created watch movements for some of the world’s most prestigious brands, but also because their approach to watchmaking is levels above everyone else – and they’re a brand beloved by true watch fans. The Polaris Perpetual Calendar demonstrates JLC’s uniqueness perfectly: a tough dive watch with a compressor-style internal bezel, made from gold and featuring a full perpetual calendar.
What Jamie says: This Polaris is kind of bonkers, which is why I really like it. I can’t tell if it’s totally impractical or the ultimate tool watch.
The Legend Diver 41mm from Longines pays homage to the brand’s iconic diving watches of the past. Its vintage-inspired design, with a black dial, applied indices and a compressor-style bezel is alluring – yet a modern 72-hour automatic movement keeps it ticking and helps it achieve a 300m water resistance rating.
What Jamie says: I’m a sucker for a compressor bezel. For my money, this is the best watch in Longines’ huge repertoire, and looks especially good on a mesh bracelet.
Manual Winding Tourbillon Rafael Nadal
Richard Mille makes some of the most high-tech and expensive timepieces on the planet, and they’re all pretty mental – but this is our favourite. Named for Spanish tennis legend Rafael Nadal, the RM 27-04 has, instead of a dial, a single woven steel cable strung across the interior of the watch, both aesthetically and literally like the way you’d string a tennis racket. The movement is then suspended from the mesh under high tension, apparently capable of withstanding accelerations of over 12,000G’s, with a skeletonised titanium baseplate underneath to support the structure. Its case is made out of TitaCarb, a carbon fibre-reinforced polymer that’s super light and super tough.
What Jamie says: Picking a single Richard Mille for this list was hard, but I think the way the movement is suspended from the tennis racket-like mesh is not only technically impressive but also a very fitting nod to Rafa. I’ll just need to win some Grand Slams myself if I want to get one for myself…
Overseas Dual Time
A jet-setting take on this famous luxury sports watch, the Overseas Dual Time from Vacheron Constantin is a versatile companion for travellers. Its stainless steel case, silver dial, and interchangeable straps offer a blend of elegance and adaptability, while its dual-time complication is exceptionally user-friendly. Flip it over and you’ll find a beautifully finished Poinçon de Genève-awarded movement with a 60-hour power reserve
What Jamie says: I love GMT or dual-time complications and Vacheron’s is particularly well-executed, with that cool single pusher at 4 o’clock. I’m also just a big fan of the Overseas in general. If I won the lottery, this would be the first watch I’d buy.
"Shunbun" / "Cherry Blossom"
The Grand Seiko SBGA413 “Shunbun” (which has also been dubbed the “Cherry Blossom” by fans) is a limited edition watch that captures the beauty of Japan’s iconic sakura season. Its subtly textured light pink dial, inspired by cherry blossoms, is complemented by a titanium case. Distinctly Japanese and meticulously crafted, it’s a timepiece that celebrates nature’s fleeting moments.
What Jamie says: There’s nothing quite like the butter-smooth sweep of a Spring Drive movement. The light pink dial is super versatile, while titanium makes this watch super light – and its Zaratsu-polished surfaces are captivating. An absolute stunner.
Fifty Fathoms Automatique
Ref. 5015 1130 52A
The Fifty Fathoms Automatique from Blancpain is an iconic diving watch with a rich heritage. With its thick ceramic dive bezel, sail fabric strap and water resistance of 300 meters, it’s a watch that combines classic design with exceptional functionality.
What Jamie says: The Fifty Fathoms was arguably the world’s first modern dive watch and remains a stylish and capable tool for men of action. It’s a great alternative to the Rolex Submariner – yes, it’s more expensive, but it’s also more refined and unique.
PRX Powermatic 80 Ice Blue
The Tissot PRX is one of the best-value Swiss-made watches on the market today and offers 70s integrated bracelet cool at a fraction of the price of bigger brands. Its Powermatic 80 automatic movement not only looks high-end but features an impressive 80-hour power reserve – outperforming the vast majority of high-end watch movements. Its bracelet, too, is not only supremely comfortable but features a proper push-button deployant clasp as well as a quick-change system, which makes it a cinch to swap in a rubber strap.
What Jamie says: There’s a reason watch nuts are going mad for the PRX: it’s just such a great value proposition. It also comes in quartz variants for those who want to save even more coin as well as smaller sizes, but we reckon you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t get the automatic. The ice blue variant is particularly hot (or should that be cool?)
The T50 from German tool watch purveyors Sinn is a dive watch designed for precision and reliability. Crafted from bead-blasted titanium treated with Sinn’s Tegiment hardening technology, the T50 is one tough cookie – and looks the part, too. A minimal black dial and contrasting white markers ensure excellent legibility, while its Ar‑Dehumidifying Technology enhances functional reliability and provides freedom from fogging.
What Jamie says: Sinn has a long history of providing tool watches to the German armed forces and emergency services. The T50 is a perfect example of form meets function – it’s also the only ‘nice watch’ I’ve ever seen a real diver wear, so there’s that, too.
Bulgari might be best known for their jewellery but they also make exceptional watches. Swiss-made but designed in Italy, they’re a great choice for those looking for something a little different. The ever-stylish, architecturally-inspired Octo Roma has long been prized by watch lovers for its versatility and unique aesthetic. The latest take on the Roma boasts a Clous de Paris dial. Also called a hobnail dial, this texture is a hallmark of Swiss haute horlogerie that perfectly matches the stark, octagonal and very Italian case of the Octo Roma. It’s the perfect Swiss-Italian blend – but also gives the Octo Roma an energetic new look.
What Jamie says: There’s lots to like about the Octo Roma, but my favourite element of the watch is its bracelet. Thin and slinky yet undeniably bold, it shimmers in the light and looks like a million bucks.
The UR-100V Magic T from Urwerk is a super-futuristic timepiece that reinvents time-telling. Essentially, each of the three hour-depicting ‘satellites’ work as retrograde minute hands as they make their way across the bottom of the dial. As one satellite makes its way past 60 minutes, the next satellite takes over minute duties. Then, once the 60th minute has been reached, the minutes hand vanishes and reappears as a kilometre counter, illustrating the 555 kilometres travelled every 20 minutes by every inhabitant of planet Earth. Spacey stuff. A sandblasted titanium case just adds to its extraterrestrial appeal.
What Jamie says: Urwerk is one of the most consistently innovative independent watchmakers on the planet. I’ve got a soft spot for the UR-100V Magic T: it looks like something someone from 3023 would wear.
Khaki Field Mechanical
The Khaki Field Mechanical from Hamilton is a military-inspired watch with a rugged and utilitarian design. Modelled after field watches supplied to the US military in the 1960s, the Khaki Field is tough, simple and no-nonsense, powered by a robust hand-wound movement and mounted on a NATO strap.
What Jamie says: The Hamilton Khaki Field is one of the best value propositions in watchmaking, in my opinion. A Swiss-made watch with a mechanical movement for less than $1,000? That’s a winning formula. If you want a field watch, this is the OG and best.
The Promaster Diver from Citizen is a professional-grade dive watch with a sleek and functional design. While there are many different versions of this watch, this one’s a standout, featuring a titanium case and bracelet; a green sunray dial with a day-date window; 200m of water resistance and a crown at 8 o’clock.
What Jamie says: I love my Promaster Diver – it’s one of the most comfortable and versatile sports watches on the market, especially at this price point. You’ll struggle to find a titanium dive watch this cheap elsewhere… And look at that green dial!
Hermès is yet another luxury fashion house that also makes some surprisingly technical and delightful watches. Case in point, the H08: a 70s-inspired square men’s watch with a tasteful satin-brushed titanium case coated with matte black DLC and an in-house movement. Hermès also make this watch with braided glass fibre composite cases, which are pretty cool, but we like this clean titanium model – especially on an Hermès orange strap.
What Jamie says: Whenever I try and explain the concept of watch waiting lists to people who aren’t familiar with watches, I explain that they’re like Hermès’ Birkin bags. Thankfully, the H08 doesn’t have a waitlist as long as a Birkin does.
The small Saxon village of Glashütte is the epicentre of the German watch industry and is home to many of Germany’s most famous watch brands: A. Lange & Söhne, Moritz Grossman, NOMOS Glashütte and of course Glashütte Original, which make delightful pieces with a distinct mid-century look, like this Sixties Chronograph. Demure and dapper, this chrono oozes old-school cool.
What Jamie says: Glashütte was trapped behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War, yet this is exactly the sort of watch I’d imagine Don Draper or another Mad Men character would wear.
Streamliner Tourbillon Vantablack
H. Moser & Cie is the enfant terrible of Swiss independent watchmaking, known for their cheeky approach to watch design – but when they decide to behave seriously, they make some seriously good watches, like the Streamliner. Retro-futurist, its design pays homage to the first high-speed trains from the 1920s and 30s that sped across swathes of the United States, as well as the bio-mechanical forms of H.R. Giger.
The Streamliner Tourbillon Vantablack, as the name implies, features a huge tourbillon at 6 o’clock and a dial coated in Vantablack®, an innovative coating used in astrophysics and taken from the aeronautical industry that is one of the darkest shades of black known to man. The Vantablack dial itself is striking, but also lets the tourbillon take pride of place. A red gold case and matching fully integrated, lug-less bracelet add even more luxury.
What Jamie says: The Streamliner is one of the most beautiful watch designs on the market today, and this ultra-luxury incarnation just dials up the cool factor.
Freelancer GMT Worldtimer
Raymond Weil’s Freelancer GMT Worldtimer is a verdant world time watch with a delightful green colour scheme and a nifty compressor-style internal bezel. Its bronze bezel will age and patinate over time during your travels – reminding you of where you’ve gone, and where you’re going next.
What Jamie says: Raymond Weil is an overlooked brand that’s got much to offer the watch aficionado. To my eye, this Freelancer GMT Worldtimer resembles a much more expensive Chopard L.U.C Time Traveller One – except Chopard doesn’t make that watch in green, and the Raymond Weil is easier to read and use.
Super freaky! The Freak ONE from Ulysse Nardin is the latest take on the brand’s innovative Freak formula and the most interesting, legible and wearable yet. If you’re unfamiliar with the Freak concept, the entire gear train of the Freak ONE (which features a flying tourbillon) rotates and serves as the minute hand, with a floating ‘mystery’ hand serving as the hour indicator. You’ll also notice that it has no crown: instead, you unlock and twist the bezel to change the time.
What Jamie says: Recent Freak models, which have completely eschewed hour indicators, have made it hard to tell the time, but the Freak ONE’s more oblique, lume-tipped hands and 12, 3, 6 and 9 indicators make it a much more practical (and dare I say more aesthetically pleasing) proposition. It also makes it less garish. This is a Freak I’d actually buy.
Essentially a military test instrument that civilians can buy, the MB Viper from pilot’s watch-focused brand Bremont is the coolest thing to come out of the firm’s collaboration with ejection seat manufacturer Martin-Baker. It boasts a matte black DLC-treated titanium case with an orange anodized aluminium top bezel, a trademark white dial and unique chevron-decorated hands whose pattern nods to the signature ejection pull handles seen on fighter plane ejection seats.
What Jamie says: Bremont’s MB watches have always been cool, but this is the coolest MB watch yet. It’ll make you feel like a fighter pilot.
Founded in 2005, Christopher Ward is an English-Swiss watch brand that used to be considered a ‘microbrand‘ – but has since become so successful, that label doesn’t really make sense any more. A purveyor of eclectic, innovative, finely-crafted yet affordable timepieces, Christopher Ward is a darling of watch aficionados across the globe. Their latest creation, The Twelve, is their first integrated bracelet watch in well over a decade, and we reckon one of the best men’s watches on the market right now.
The Twelve’s dial is easily its best feature, featuring a texture constructed of plus-shaped ‘moguls’ which both reference the Christopher Ward logo as well as the Swiss flag. Powered by the tried-and-tested Sellita SW200-1 movement, this is a finely-crafted yet reasonably-priced piece of kit.
What Jamie says: Christopher Ward makes great watches and this is their greatest watch yet. Simple as.
Souveraine Chronomètre Bleu Tantalum
The only three-time winner of the Aiguille d’Or grand prize from the Fondation du Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG), master watchmaker F.P. Journe’s namesake brand has become a byword for watchmaking perfection, as well as exclusivity. The Souveraine Chronomètre Bleu is perhaps his best-known model: a simple time-only piece, this version is crafted from tantalum, a metal rarely used in watchmaking because it is very hard and difficult to work with but also has extremely high resistance to corrosion and wear.
What Jamie says: Making a watch from tantalum is a huge flex, and only a few watchmakers are capable of doing so. Journe is a genius, and while his watches are even harder to get than Rolex, AP and Patek’s, they’re truly special pieces and more than deserve the hype.
German luxury brand Montblanc is best known for its pens and leather goods, but they also make great watches – especially since they acquired famed Swiss watchmaker Minerva in 2007. Celebrating the 160th anniversary of Minerva, the Montblanc 1858 Geosphere is a unique take on a world timer watch that is dedicated to the Seven Summits Challenge – the holy grail of climbers.
On the dial, the world’s seven summits are marked with red dots on two turning globes and are also engraved on the case back. The timepiece features a new manufacture world-time complication with two domed globes, turning in opposite directions, that complete a full rotation in 24 hours. Both are surrounded by a scale with 24 time zones, along with a day and night indication in contrasting colours.
What Jamie says: Montblanc ain’t no slouches when it comes to watches and this Minerva-made beauty is proof positive of that. I love how it really captures the pioneering spirit of the early days of mountaineering while offering a novel time-telling mechanism. It’s modern and traditional all at once.
Big Bang Unico Black Magic
There’s no mistaking a Hublot. The iconoclastic Swiss brand makes lots of different Big Bang models but we like this Unico Black Magic, which features a sleek black ceramic case paired with titanium hardware and a sporty rubber strap. An openworked dial reveals its HUB1280 UNICO self-winding flyback chronograph movement, which is a joy to behold.
What Jamie says: Say what you like about Hublot (I mean, I really like the brand, actually) but they certainly make distinctive watches, and this Black Magic is pretty slick.
Midnight Planétarium Watch
The Midnight Planétarium from Van Cleef & Arpels is a mesmerizing timepiece that showcases the movement of six planets. The shooting star indicates the time, while the dial reproduces the Sun in miniature, together with the five planets visible to the naked eye from Earth: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Thanks to an exclusive module, each planet moves on its own disc according to its real-life rotation time.
What Jamie says: A bougie watch for those with astronomical bank balances.
Laureato Green Ceramic Aston Martin Edition
A watch designed for true car lovers, the Girard-Perregaux Laureato Green Ceramic Aston Martin Edition reimagines the popular Laureato in sleek dark green ceramic and swaps out its hobnail dial for a cross-hatch design, a diamond-like pattern found on Aston Martin logos from the 1920s as well as the quilted seats found in some of the car marque’s high-performance vehicles.
What Jamie says: I think even people who don’t give a toss about cars would like this Laureato. The dark green ceramic is truly luscious and surprisingly versatile. The Aston Martin connection is just a cherry on top.
Classic Tourbillon Manufacture
Frédérique Constant was founded in 1988 by a Dutch couple who named it after the names of their great-grandparents. Since its founding (and subsequent takeover by Citizen), the Swiss watch brand has carved out a niche making classically-styled, robust and finely-crafted timepieces largely with in-house movements and at a fantastic price point.
The Classic Tourbillon Manufacture, however, is Frédérique Constant showing off. It is equipped with the hand-wound FC-980 in-house calibre, which has a big ol’ tourbillon at 6 o’clock and is immaculately finished with all the hallmarks of traditional watchmaking such as bevelling, beading, circular graining, straight-grained flanks and mirror polishing. A rose gold case and onion-shaped crown add to the watch’s traditional vibes.
What Jamie says: Frédérique Constant has long been a champion of affordable luxury but this game-changing piece shows that they can do high-end shit too.
SevenFriday is an independent Swiss watch brand that has never even heard of the word ‘conformity’. Each one of the brand’s watches rocks a unique dial that will require the use of the manual to understand how it tells the time. The P1B/01 takes inspiration from cogwheels and heavy industry, boasting a six-layer multi-level stainless steel dial finished with matt, brushed and circular cut silver, rhodium and black discs. The hands appear to float above the dial’s surface – it’s very futuristic.
Another cool thing about SevenFriday watches: they have an NFC chip embedded in the caseback, which allows secured authentication and registration via the SevenFriday app.
What Jamie says: Haute horlogerie looks on a Kontiki tour budget.
Engineer III Marvelight Chronometer
American-Swiss watch brand Ball was founded in 1891 to make watches for train engineers, and over 130 years later, they’re still making high-quality engineer’s watches that all feature tritium lume – which, unlike the Super-LumiNova that virtually every other watch brand these days uses, doesn’t require sunlight to activate and will be luminescent at all times. The Engineer III Marvelight Chronometer features 14 tritium gas tubes across its indices and hands, which combined with this model’s bright orange enamel dial, makes this watch hard to miss.
What Jamie says: This is essentially just a better Rolex Oyster Perpetual ‘Stella Dial’ for less than half the price… The tritium lume is a really unique selling point.
First released in 2020, the Casio G-Shock GA-2100 was quickly dubbed the “CasiOak” by watch fans thanks to its Audemars Piguet Royal Oak-esque octagonal bezel, although that’s about where the similarities end. Unlike the Royal Oak, this is an ana-digi quartz watch without an integrated bracelet – but it’ll beat all but the most complicated Royal Oaks as far as complications are concerned. Being a G-Shock, it’s also damn near bulletproof.
What Jamie says: You’re not going to fool anyone into thinking it’s an AP, but the CasiOak is a handsome-looking and exceedingly practical watch that’s cheap as chips.
Destined for the global traveller, the NOMOS Glashütte Zürich Weltzeit is arguably NOMOS’ most impressive watch and is a truly unique world timer. Clean and minimal, it features all of the world’s major cities set on a recessed sub-dial. It’s a rather unique look. A 40mm stainless steel case houses its innovative in-house DUW 5201 NOMOS calibre with automatic winding and a power reserve of 42 hours, which lets you check the time in multiple cities at the push of a button.
What Jamie says: text The masters of Bauhaus cool, the Zürich is the most unique, technical and good-looking watch NOMOS makes. I love it.
Tradition Quantième Rétrograde
A true masterclass in contrast, the Tradition Quantième Rétrograde from Breguet features a stunning exposed movement that contrasts brilliantly with its small offset dial; the purity of the dial paying homage to designs of old while the avant-garde movement epitomises Breguet’s modern know-how. Its mechanisms are both beautiful in their symmetry and impressive in their complexity, with the large retrograde date complication given pride of place. It would be worth staying up until midnight on the 31st just to see that date hand fly back to the 1st on this stunning watch! Its uniquely-shaped rotor, viewable through its crystal caseback, also pays homage to Abraham-Louis Breguet’s first automatic watch designs.
What Jamie says: There’s wealthy, and then there’s Breguet wealthy. No other brand is quite as ‘old money’ and no other Breguet is quite as cool as this one.
The first Chinese-made watch to win an award at the GPHG, the CIGA Design Blue Planet is a stylish, well-made and thought-provoking timepiece that has a novel approach to telling time. It utilises a proprietary asynchronous time display which takes a bit of time wrapping your head around: the earth is actually the hour hand, and rotates in 30-degree intervals, while the minutes ring completes full 360-degree rotations around the outside. The compass on the topographically-engraved globe itself functions as the hand for both hours and minutes.
What Jamie says: This is the sort of watchmaking you’d expect might cost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars… But it’s actually less than $2,000. This is a historic piece of watchmaking that’s sure to get you plenty of compliments. I’ve got one, and it always delights me whenever I wear it – and it’s easily the watch I get the most attention for wearing.
The Casino Tourbillon from Jacob & Co. is a high-roller’s dream timepiece. Crafted from 18ct rose gold, it features a roulette wheel complication activated by a minute repeater-like pusher at 8 o’clock, which sends a ceramic ball whizzing around the outside of the watch. Mental stuff. On the underside of the case, its tourbillon can be admired, as well as the unique winding and time-adjusting mechanisms.
What Jamie says: Jacob & Co. have never been accused of being subtle, but this Casino Tourbillon might just be the most wearable watch they’ve ever made. The roulette complication is objectively cool and totally unique.
Looking for a luxury sports watch that’s a little bit different? Look no further than the Piaget Polo. Its design, which features a cushion-shape dial in a round case, is at once both genteel and dynamic. This Polo is particularly sporty, with its black ribbed dial and ultra-comfy rubber strap.
What Jamie says: The Polo is a great luxury sports watch, but something more people don’t talk about is how good its rubber strap is! It’s probably the best I’ve ever had the chance to wear.
"A perfectly useless afternoon"
Mr Jones Watches is a cult British brand known for its whimsical designs that are designed “to make you think differently about time”. None of their designs is more famous than “A perfectly useless afternoon”, which was devised by Belgian designer Kristof Devos and named after a quote from Chinese philosopher Lin Yutang: “If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly useless manner, you have learnt how to live”.
How do you tell the time with this watch, we can hear you ask? It’s surprisingly straightforward: the relaxed figure’s stretched leg shows the hour, the tiny plastic duck floats around to show you the minutes, and the tiles around the outside mark the hours. Very clever. This model is available in both quartz and mechanical variants, with this new mechanical version slightly larger at 40mm than the original quartz version, which is 37mm.
What Jamie says: The watch hobby can seem quite nerdy and esoterical from the outside – but watches like these remind us that watches can and should be fun and whimsical, too.
No guide to the best watches for men would be complete without Seiko. It’s hard to just pick one Seiko for this list, but we reckon it’s pretty hard to go past the iconic Seiko Prospex “Arnie” – as worn prominently by Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character Dutch in the famous 1987 action film Predator, hence the nickname. The ‘Arnie’ is a hybrid quartz watch with analog and digital time displays (which you can use for a dual-time readout), a chronograph function, an alarm, and a calendar. Unlike the watch Schwarzenegger wore, this modern version contains a solar-powered movement. How good’s not changing batteries?
What Jamie says: It’s not a tumour! At almost 48mm in diameter, the Seiko “Arnie” is not for the faint of wrist. However, it’s super-tough, packed full of features and has genuine Hollywood cred.
Essence Leggera Forty-Three Forged Carbon
Black NATO Strap
Formex’s Essence Leggera Forty-Three is one of the most complete packages in independent watchmaking. Not only does it feature a case made out of a proprietary carbon fibre composite and Formex’s patented spring-loaded, shock-resistant Case Suspension System, but its Sellita SW200-1 movement is chronometer-certified. Thanks to the forging process, every carbon fibre dial is unique.
What Jamie says: A forged carbon fibre case at this price point is unheard of. This is an extremely technically competent watch that’s got everything a watch lover could ask for.
Tonda PF Sport
The favourite watch brand of King Charles, Parmigiani Fleurier is an independent Swiss brand that punches far above its weight – indeed, it’s one of only a handful of independent watch brands to have a major booth at Watches & Wonders. Much of its recent success is thanks to their Tonda sports watch, of which the Tonda PF Sport is its sportiest variant. Featuring a classic tri-compax layout and a dial decorated with a hand-guilloché ‘triangular nail’ pattern, this is one refined chrono.
What Jamie says: The perfect blend of elegance and functionality, this Parmigiani is perfect for timing how long you have to wait for your chicken parmigiana order at the pub.
Ref. 8889 T G SQT BR
The Franck Muller Giga Tourbillon features the biggest tourbillon in the world ever seen in a wristwatch, mounted inside a classic rose gold Franck Muller ‘Cintrée Curvex’ case. That’s more than impressive in itself, but it manages to combine such a monstrously power-hungry complication with a 9-day power reserve. 9 days! This is a true statement piece for horological connoisseurs.
What Jamie says: At 44mm wide, 60mm tall and 14mm thick, this is a big boy’s watch, in every sense of the word.
Antarctique Passage de Drake
As Czapek put it, there’s more to haute horlogerie than virtuosic complications – and the Antarctique Passage de Drake demonstrates that. An integrated bracelet luxury sports watch executed to perfection, this svelte piece’s ‘Stairway to Eternity’ combed lamé dials is one of the best in the business, and its stunning in-house automatic movement – with its thick 100% recycled platinum micro-rotor – is a joy to behold.
What Jamie says: Watch nuts go wild for movements with micro-rotors and the one in this Czapek Antarctique Passage de Drake is probably one of the most beautiful on the planet. There’s a reason these sell like hotcakes.
Bioceramic MoonSwatch ‘Mission to the Moon’
Last but not least, we have the MoonSwatch: the most hyped watch release of the 2020s and arguably one of the most important watches either Swatch or OMEGA have made in decades. Modelled after the famous OMEGA Speedmaster Moonwatch, the MoonSwatch comes in 11 different colours that each represent a planetary body in our solar system – but it’s the ‘Mission to the Moon’ that most closely resembles the original OMEGA. Featuring a case made out of Swatch’s signature sustainable Bioceramic in grey and mounted on an astronaut-spec Velcro strap, this quartz chronograph is remarkably faithful to the Moonwatch.
What Jamie says: This watch was nothing short of a masterstroke from Swatch and OMEGA. It’s all the looks of a Moonwatch at a fraction of the price. What more can I say?
READ MORE: OMEGA x Swatch Watch’s Chaotic Sydney Launch