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A brief word of warning to all the true-blue, dyed-in-the-wool watch fanatics out there: the following list of “the best watches for men” probably isn’t what you’re picturing. It isn’t brimming with all of the most gloriously complicated, exquisitely designed, exorbitantly-priced timepieces to be birthed from the immaculate workshops of age-old Swiss masters this year. We do plenty of that kind of watch coverage elsewhere on our site—particularly in Wes Lang’s monthly column and Cam Wolf’s Watches of the Week roundup. Instead, we’re here today to celebrate the other kind of watches that we love here at GQ: the attainable ones, the knockabout ones, the ones that mere mortals can actually afford.
Don’t get us wrong: there are plenty of beautiful, well-made watches in this article—some of them even are the kind of tickers that’ll get a watch snob’s heart rate up. But none of them require all that much extra effort to find and acquire, or are all that “rare” in the collector’s sense of the word. If you’re after something special like that—maybe something vintage, or custom-built, or just plain out-of-the-norm—we’ve got an excellent guide to doing just that for you here. But if you scroll down, what you’ll find are your everyday drivers: watches you can live in, work in, and add to your cart to buy online without having to haggle over the price with a snooty midtown jeweler. So, without further ado, here are the 21 best watches for men.
On a tight budget? Believe it or not, it isn’t hard to find a totally functional, truly handsome timepiece for less than an SUV’s worth of gas. In fact, we’ve got 16 more great optionswhere these came from.
Concerned a gold watch will feel too flashy on your wrist? Take this $40 icon out for a test drive.
VOID specializes in uncomplicated watches (we mean that as a compliment) that don’t look like anything else on the market today. If you want a watch that guarantees you’ll get asked “who makes that?” every time you wear it, this is it.
Timepieces at the $500 level maybe aren’t up to full-on Swiss luxury standards, but they’re attractive enough to wear everyday and solid enough to last a lifetime.
Seiko Presage Cocktail Time SRPB46
When it comes to affordable watches that watch snobs will actually respect, Seiko is the undisputed king. Take this particular model, for one: behind that head-turning sunburst dial is a high quality automatic movement that features a stop-seconds function, can be hand-wound if desired, and is visible in motion via an open caseback.
Okay, fine, maybe you don’t actually have an office to go to at the moment. But strapping on a work-appropriate wristwatch might be just the thing to keep you locked in and focus from 9 to 5 while you’re WFH. We chose three tickers on the affordable end of the spectrum to include here—if you’re after more of an executive level timepiece, we’ve got plenty of suggestions for those, too.
Seiko stainless steel solar powered watch
Straight from the era of power lunches and giant mobile phones, this watch’s mid-’80s vibe might conjure contrast-collars and suspenders, but it’ll fit in nicely with some crisp jeansand a chore coat here in 2020.
Owning a vintage watch is great, except when you have to take it off to wash your hands or bring it in for repairs. This faithful update of a WWII-era design has everything you’d want in a vintage watch without the actual hassles of owning one—including a water-resistant case.
The Marlin is a reissue of a ’60s-era timepiece from Timex that looks extremely right now. A lot of that has to do with the case: the smaller—by today’s mack truck sport watch standards—34 mm case size is something we’re feeling at the moment. That, and the fact that it’s just a handsome AF design, makes this guy a no-brainer buy.
This watch, named for the undulating lines on its bracelet, technically launched in the late 1970s, but the design was so ahead of its time that it became ubiquitous in the decade that followed. There’s still nothing else like it.
Whether you’ve had your scuba license for decades or you’re a certified landlubber who just likes the look, these dive watches will deliver serious style and practical performance without breaking the bank.