Essential Accessories: A Timeless Timepiece

One of the finishing touches for any look is a classic timepiece.

When you are talking about a polished and put together look, the devil is always in the details. Though the little things are often subtle and may sometimes go unnoticed by some—a classy pocket square fold or a properly worn tie bar, for example—they play a vital role in any look’s overall success. Besides, an accessory should never call undue attention to itself and become the topic of conversation. There’s a reason sprezzatura is a word often heard in the context of style. And as far as essential menswear accessories go, one of the best finishing touches for any look is a classic timepiece.

Essential Accessories: A Timeless Timepiece - He Spoke Style

A wrist watch is more than simply an accessory, however—it’s practical. Yes, your phone tells time too, but depending on the situation nothing can be more disruptive, distracting, and disrespectful than someone constantly pulling their phone out to check the time. Though the intent may be to just see what time it is, there might be a text to answer, emails to read, or some other alert pulling you deeper into your phone and out of the environment in which you are supposed to be engaged. In contrast, a quick glance at a wrist watch is subtle and singular.

As with all things style related, choosing a wrist watch is personal. But if you are going to have just one timepiece in your collection, it is important that it be versatile. Having something that pairs with all colors and works in all situations—whether formal, business, or casual—is a must. In this case, a neutral metal such as a silver or gold with a white or off-white watch face is definitely the way to go. A black watch face can also work and is always striking, but if you only see one timepiece in your future, I’d go with a white watch face.

Watch Bands: Maximize Your Watch’s Versatility

Maximize a Watch's Versatility with Different Watch Bands - He Spoke Style
One watch, five ways. As I’ve said before, never underestimate a watch band’s ability to completely transform a look. Beyond that, having at least two options—like a black as well as a brown leather band—is a good idea because even though brown shoes can work with black pants, a brown watch band generally won’t pair well with a black suit. And if you’ve chosen a versatile wrist watch, you can definitely maximize its style and versatility even more by having a few different watch bands to choose from.

If simplicity is your goal, having a black and brown leather band will keep you covered in just about any situation. Another great option for dressing a watch down and getting maximum return for casual looks are nylon NATO G10 straps. They come in a ton of colors and are a breeze to swap out.

Stylishly Yours,

He Spoke Style

Classic Timepiece Options


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  • daniel

    What are your thoughts on a watch with a metal band? Is the leather band the more historically appropriate look? It seems like going with the classic habit always wins the day in the end so I would like to know if there are any rules/preferences for leather over metal watch bands.

    • Brian Sacawa

      This is a good question for the AskHSS video series! Leather v. metal is mostly a personal preference, I’d say. I have both, though I find myself wearing my leather band much more often. This is likely because my watch with the metal band is a gold tone. Brown leather is supremely versatile and, as far as metal, silver is more versatile than gold. To me, leather is a bit more timeless and “gentlemanly,” whereas metal conveys a little more gravitas. Hope that helps! And thanks for reading.

  • daniel

    Yeah those seem like good points. Thanks for your input. I thought a metal band would go with everything so I’d only need one watch. Then I saw your post about swapping out the straps. Amazingly, that never occurred to me, to get the proper tool and swap out the straps on a more or less daily basis. Then getting a pile of different shaded leather straps sounds like fun. Thanks. Your site is great.

  • Seth Nelson

    Great ideas. I only have one watch, and it is a design with both gold and silver colors, so I find it to be quite versatile. But for my next watch, I’ll be looking for one with interchangeable bands.

    I read somewhere that one shouldn’t wear a watch with a tuxedo, or other particularly formal dress in general. Something to the effect that a “true gentleman” should not be bothered with mundane details like the time of day. What do you think about this?

    • Brian Sacawa

      Being able to swap a watch band out is great. As for the no watch with a tuxedo “rule,” I’m not sure about that. Though I do love the rationale!