The market is full of watches in all kinds of different shapes, styles, and designs. Different watches are suitable for different occasions, and therefore, it’s important to choose your watch according to your outfit and the occasion. Just like you need to be mindful about how you select and match your other accessories such as belts and shoes, you need to be mindful about the watch you wear.

The wristwatch is often called the only jewelry a man can wear, and to a large extent, that is true. Therefore, you should not only wear a watch with a suit, but you should pay close attention to it.

Is wearing a watch with a suit mandatory?

Wearing a watch with a suit is not mandatory, however, it is an excellent opportunity for you to enhance your look and elevate your overall appearance.

If you’re serious about your style, then wearing a watch with a suit is certainly recommended.

How to wear a watch with a suit

Should you wear a watch with a suit? Absolutely! Your outfit will not feel completed otherwise. And a wristwatch allows you to enhance it. But should you wear just any watch with a suit? No.

Wearing a watch together with a suit starts with understanding which types of watches will look good together with a suit, and which ones are a big no-no.

Here are the most important tips and ”rules” that you should bear in mind when wearing a watch with a suit.

1. Be careful with sports watches

When you wear a suit, you’re looking for a formal style. As such, wearing a sports watch may not go well with your outfit. For instance, you wouldn’t wear running shoes with your formal outfit.

There are exceptions to this rule where sports watches may work exceptionally well with formal outfits. The Rolex Submariner, for example, has proven to be exceptionally versatile and works just as great with a suit as with a t-shirt.

But if you’re inexperienced and don’t consider yourself a fashion-or-watch guru, it’s advised that you stay keep to the things that you know work rather than trying to experiment.

And on this topic, you want to opt for a classic dress watch.

Classic dress watches are the most suitable choice for a suit and are most associated with formal occasions. Just like your outfit, dress watches are sleek, elegant, and classic. The purpose of a dress watch is not to steal everyone’s attention, but rather to complement your outfit.

With that said, unless you’re going to a casual event or know how to mix and match, you may want to steer clear from sports watches on formal occasions.

At casual events, you may get away with sports watches. But on black-tie events or really formal occasions, a sports watch may risk looking misplaced.

2. Opt for a classic, discreet choice

A suit is one of the most classic and traditional outfits you can wear. And as mentioned above, the purpose of a watch is to complement your style, not steal the show. Having said that, your starting point should be something simple and refined.

Dial color: Firstly, we have the dial color, which naturally plays an important role in its design. Here, you want to look for traditional and classic colors. These include black, silver, white, and dark blue.

Simple design: This does not have to mean that the watch has to be boring without any functions. There are plenty of dress watches with moon phase functions, date displays, and more. At the same time, minimalism goes a long way with a suit.

But the most important thing is that the overall design of the watch is clean and refined. Not bold and clumsy. To a great extent, this has to do with the case design and case shape. And so this brings us o the next point.

3. The size of the watch

The size of the watch is always important. But it is perhaps even more important when wearing a watch with a suit.

Wearing a too large or clumsy watch with a suit will risk looking strange.

WRISTPORN by phillips.com

A general first rule is that your watch should slide under your watch cuff without any issues. If the watch can’t do that, is too thick.

Most men wear watches between 36 and 44mm, and we cannot say exactly which size you should have because it depends on your wrist. But what we can say is that the watch you wear together with a suit should not be too big. It’s better if the watch is too small than too large.

Most watches for men that are meant to be worn with a suit are today 36-40mm, so unless you have tiny or huge wrists, then that is likely what will work best for you.

The thickness is not just about the diameter, either. A thin watch is to be preferred when you wear a suit as it will be able to slide under the cuff effortlessly.

4. Pay attention to the occasion

How formal of a watch you should wear ultimately depend on the occasion. Yes, you may wear a suit, but you may also pair it with some sneakers and a t-shirt to achieve a more casual look. On these occasions, the strict requirements of a dress watch are certainly not as important as on a black-tie event. 

Having said that, you always want to think about the occasion, and then opt for a watch that you think reflects the level of formality.

5. If unsure, always go classic

If you are unsure or confused about which watch you should opt for a formal occasion, it is always best to go classic. On formal occasions, you can never go wrong with a simple, elegant, and minimalistic timepiece.

6. Think about the watch strap

It’s not only the watch itself that is important. The watch strap or bracelet is another feature of a watch that affects its look.

Most dress watches are fitted with leather straps. The point of a watch strap for a dress watch is to complement the watch without standing out.

Therefore, you want to opt for a leather strap in a classic color for the occasion. Black, brown, and other toned-down colors tend to be the most common as well as the most appropriate choices.

The best tip for choosing a leather strap is to match the color of your strap with other accessories you are wearing, namely the belt and the shoes. Matching the color of the strap will create a more coherent look that enhances your overall impression. It’s truly the small details that make the difference.

Some dress watches are presented with metal bracelets and depending on the occasion and its design, these may or may not also be appropriate. Whilst a bulky steel bracelet may look misplaced, an elegant mesh bracelet in gold may just be the perfect complement to the watch.

For wearing a suit on a formal occasion, you want to avoid casual sports straps such as NATO straps, perlon straps, or racing straps.

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