When it comes time to purchase your first watch and start your collection, it can be a little confusing telling each type apart. You’ll quickly learn that there’s more to watches than simply picking the colour and material, so it may help if you start out with a basic understanding of which watch is which.
Here is a selection of the most common types of watches you’ll find, as well as how to tell them apart and where you can expect to wear each one.
A chronograph is typically the most common type of watch, and specifically can be used as a stopwatch (as well as being a normal timepiece). This means that it has a second hand that is independent of the other hands, so it can be started and stopped, and returned to ‘zero’ by manipulating the buttons.
You can therefore use it as a stopwatch without interfering with the regular watch functions.
Chronograph watches come in all shapes and sizes, and most well-known watch brands will offer a range of these types as part of their selection. They can be worn for almost any occasion from day-wear to the office or for a dressy event.
As the name suggests, a dress watch is one designed specifically to match what you’re wearing in a more formal setting. This means that it should complement the suit, shirt or dressy outfit, but not overpower it.
Typically, dress watches are stylish and sleek but are not too large, bright or blingy. They don’t call attention to themselves, but are dressy enough for formal occasions.
Generally, dress watches will be black or dark-coloured through the strap and face, often with leather and metal materials.
Dive watches were originally created to help scuba divers tell how much air they had left in their tanks, but have since come a long way and are now an extremely common type of watch.
Able to resist water for long periods of time at depths of up to 300 metres, these watches are incredibly durable, which is often why they’re so popular even amongst those who will never get more than a spilled glass of water on their watch.
The Rolex Submariner is arguably the most well-known example, and you’ll be able to spot these watches thanks to their one-directional bezels, large luminous numbers, and functional designs.
A sports watch is similar to a chronograph in that it contains a stopwatch, but it will generally also offer a range of extra features on top of that. This includes heart rate monitors, barometers, GPS tracking, altimeters, compasses and more.
These watches will also be hard-wearing, designed to last bumps and knocks as well as the occasional dip in water. Due to this, they’ll be made from hardy materials, often with rubber straps and sapphire casing for the glass.
Plus, sports watches are also increasingly stylish, reflecting an array of trends and fashions for any wearer and any activity.