The best watch for a suit is . . . any watch you like. Who cares what watch snobs think? If James Bond can glower at someone questioning his horological taste, so can you. (Note: U.S. License to Kill valid only in Texas.) The idea that there’s a “best” watch for a suit is as silly as . . .
insisting that you wear a “pilot’s watch” while eating airline snacks, a sports watch for getting in and out of a golf cart, a Patek Philippe for impressing your bank manager, a Moonwatch for visting the International Space Station or a vintage watch for summering in a Newport mansion.
Granted, if you are wearing a suit, your watch does send a message to onlookers. That’s the key to this horological conundrum: what does your watch need to say? [NB: While Alexa-enabled smart watches add a range of possible answers, I’m restricting this list to traditional timepieces.] Keeping the psychological factor firmly in mind, here are my top three picks for the best watch for a suit.
Mr. Jones Number Cruncher – $425 (no commission on link)
If you’re wearing a suit you’re doing something serious right? As the Joker asked (wearing a blue suit with over-wide lapels), why so serious? Anyone in a suit wearing a serious watch – such as any Rolex other than the Oyster Perpetual 39 – is trying to project power and status. Which means they feel the need to do so. Which means they’re insecure. Which means they don’t have the power or status that they’re trying to project. Not really.
The Mr. Jones Watches’ Number Cruncher tells the world that you’re a destroyer of cities – in a fun, post-modern, ironic way. In fact, it’s the watch the Grand Seiko Godzilla wanted to be, but didn’t dare. Sartorially speaking, the MJ Number Cruncher’s silver bracelet compliments any suit. (Not literally, unless you’re on acid.) The watch’s bright dial adds a welcome dash of color to suit-wearing wonks, a flourish usually restricted to the strangulation device known as a tie.
Mondaine Essence – $175 (no commission on link)
I love Mondaine’s stop2go watch. Once every minute, the second hand stops for two seconds at the 12 oclock position. The minute hand jumps forwards. The second hand then starts another round of 58 seconds. Are tickets to that show worth $650? NIMHO. Besides, the stop2go only comes with a red strap. While tiepedia reckons a red tie shows diligence and concentration, a red watch strap is easily mistaken for a suicide attempt.
The 41mm Mondaine Essence is the model to wear with a suit. (Style tip: unless you’re Prince Charles, don’t pull on your cuff.) The Mondaine Essence tells the world you know the most important thing for business or romantic success: showing up. On time. (Note to Germans: feel free to laugh now. Really. It’s funny.) Also, black and white goes with everything – except a race riot. Not a great place to wear a suit, anyway.
Haldimann H8 Flying Sculpture – $150k (no commission on link, sadly)
You may have noticed that the first two watches cost less than a good pair of shoes. One good shoe, actually. The Haldimann H8 Reduction is so expensive their website doesn’t bother mentioning money. I assume the watchmakers wear Berluti Alessandro Eclair Whole-Cut Leather Oxford Shoes.
All you need to know about the Haldimann H8: it has no hands. Which makes the temporally-challenged timepiece the ultimate power watch to wear with a suit. I’m so above-it-all that I consider time a psychological construct with no real meaning, aside from what I give it. This meeting is over when I say it is – if only for me. Besides, I can see that clock just fine, thanks. Lunch?
I really like the two accutrons I added a while back. One is my first Swiss watch – a 214 Spaceview and the other is a US-made 218 Railroad approved model. Both are small and slide under a cuff. The Railroad approved blends right in on a nice handmade strap, while the Spaceview is a bit flashier with a vintage Spiedel folded metal bracelet.
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Why is it so unusual to see a centered tourbillon? A gracile tourbillon no less. I like that. And being above constructed time. And having a tourbillon without pretending it has anything to do with telling the time on a wristwatch. So uncomplicated. Best wrist sculpture I have ever seen. What do they call that? Kinetic Sculpture or something like that.