6 watch style rules from an unapologetic traditionalist 6 watch style rules from an unapologetic traditionalist

6 watch style rules from an unapologetic traditionalist

Adam Reeder

Editor’s note: Adam has some hot takes here. His six ‘watch style rules’ will likely be polarising. Either you will strongly agree or completely disagree, there is no in-between.

Many consider wristwatches a means of personal expression. They say watches offer a way to highlight your style without uttering a single word. Some even suggest that there are no rules governing how and when a specific watch should be worn. This is pure hogwash. Dare I say it even teeters on the verge of outright balderdash. I get paid by the syllable.

As the founder (and sole member) of the Time+Tide Traditionalist Society, I’ve compiled a list of rules and guidelines that shan’t be broken, lest you be shunned by yours truly and the rest of The Society (my mum’s application is pending review). These rules are important to memorise, and strict adherence is a must. While many more errors in style judgment could be highlighted, the following are the most egregious and require immediate mention.

No dive watches with suits

James bond watch rolex omega Casino Royale 845x561@2x

A dive watch is meant to be worn under the water, not under the cuff. While most dress watches are designed with formal or semi-formal fashion in mind, dive watches are designed with the needs of divers in mind. A dive watch is intended to help the wearer track their time underwater as a safety measure. It’s a tool. So to avoid looking like a tool, never wear a dive watch with a suit, unless you’re going for a James Bond vibe. Then it’s perfectly acceptable. Also, at times you may need to change from your suit to a more casual outfit without going home. In that case, go ahead and rock that suit with a nice diver. It can be a stylish way to contrast the formality of your suit with a more approachable twist. Just about any dive watch looks great with a suit, if I’m being honest.

No double-wristing

General Norman Schwarzkopf double wristing

There are no circumstances where having a watch on both wrists is acceptable in polite society. Whether you’re a five-star general managing a multi-front war or you’re just a dude trying to look cool, it’s a major “no-no”. Aside from the fact that it’s an obvious ploy to flaunt what you consider your perfectly proportioned wrists, it’s wholly unnecessary. Does everyone find it hard to decide which of their beloved watches to choose? Of course! Would it be nice to bring two favourites along for an ice cream cone or a walk on the beach? You bet! Should you let others influence how you choose to wear your watches? Hell no! Don’t let anyone tell you what to do with your watches or your body! What was I saying again?

No watches over 44mm in diameter

Dwayne Johnson Ceramic Luminor Panerai GMT

The “size talk” is never a pleasant conversation, as my wife will attest. But it’s one that can’t be avoided. Popular sizes for wristwatches have changed over the decades and will likely continue to do so. One thing we can all agree on is no watch over 44mm should ever be worn. The obvious exception to this rule is for those with larger wrists. In that case, a smaller watch can end up looking a bit ridiculous. So be sure to wear a watch of 44mm or larger if you have tree trunk wrists. Also, some watches simply work better in larger sizes. Most Panerai watches, for example, just feel right in larger sizes. Aside from the increased legibility of the dial, they give off a really robust and durable tool watch vibe that you just don’t get with a lot of smaller watches. If it’s good enough for Dwayne Johnson, it’s good enough for us all.  Watches over 44mm are awesome. End of story

No wearing a watch on the inside of your wrist

Wrist interior

Some people choose to wear their watch on the inside of their wrist, for no good reason. While it’s understandable that the fear of damaging a beloved and/or costly watch is a real problem, it’s something we just live with. Gold watches in particular, while beautiful, are notoriously prone to dings and scratches. While simply rotating the most valuable part of your watch to the most protected part of your wrist is the obvious solution to this crippling anxiety, is that reason enough to break a hard and fast rule? Perhaps. Some of the coolest guys in cinema have also worn their watches on the inside of the wrist. It might be a way to look like an action star, or it may simply be more practical. Depending on how you hold the steering wheel, it might even be easier to see the time when driving. This keeps you safer and could potentially avoid a fiery crash on the side of the motorway. Is that really worth breaking such an important style rule? Yeah, it probably is.

No dress watches with jeans and a T-shirt

A Cartier Tank with Calvin Kleins? Absolutely not! What is this, some sort of lawless hellscape à la Burning Man? A dress watch is for dress clothes. Of course, you may have a need on occasion to wear jeans with a sport coat. A dress watch would then naturally be grandfathered in and a “Society” demerit would be avoided. If you happen to remove the sport coat revealing the t-shirt underneath, just be sure to do so with class. Almost any style faux pas can be converted to a style… genuine pas (?) if you project the proper aura. In fact, the right jeans and t-shirt can actually compliment a classy dress watch, and vice versa, when paired correctly. You do you!

No novelty watches

MB&F HM11 Architect

Novelty watches have become more popular in recent years, much to the chagrin of  “The Society”. Watches should be well-made, functional, and above all, serious. Just because a watch has an incredibly artful execution or a hypnotising design doesn’t mean it belongs on the wrist of a stylish collector. An exception might be understandable if the novelty watch started conversations and furthered a discussion of modern watchmaking and technological innovation. If “inspiration” is the kind of thing you’re into, then by all means, wear a novelty watch. In fact, this can be a great way to connect with other collectors and find out what makes them tick. Life is all about variety, so incorporate as much of it as possible into your watch collection.