Watch Basics

Different Watch Styles

There are a huge variety of different watch styles, and knowing which particular watch style you prefer will help narrow down what watch you want to purchase. This guide will go through all the major watch styles so you can find the watch you want much quicker, or give ideas as to what watches you might like to own.

There are a huge variety of different watch styles, and knowing which particular watch style you prefer will help narrow down what watch you want to purchase. This guide will go through all the major watch styles so you can find the watch you want much quicker, or give ideas as to what watches you might like to own.

Bauhaus

The history of the term Bauhaus comes from 1919-1933 when Walter Gropius an architect from Germany founded the Bauhaus, a school of thought and design. “Form follows function,” was the phrase which explained the concept of Bauhaus. Meaning that when it comes to designing a product, they should first primarily focus on being functional, with any design complimenting the function of the watch. With that in mind, Nomos and Junghans line of watches have often been described as Bauhaus style of watches.

Complication

A complication watch can be as complicated to as simple as what you are searching for, but they are usually a sub category to dress watches. They will most of the time keep the same style as a dress watch and add a complication such as a moonphase, tourbillions or day/night indicators. A giveaway to what the watch style might be, can also be distinguished from the name such as “grand” or “complication” when describing their model.

Chronograph

The chronograph was invented by Louis Moinet in 1816. It is a specific type of watch with a stopwatch functionality combined with it. It will usually have an independent second hand, that can be started, stopped or returned to zero by pressing the buttons on the side of the watch.

Digital

A digital watch is pretty self-explanatory, sometimes these watches can also be a hybrid and have some analog watch functions as well. Meaning the watch can have the hour and minute hands but then also have a digital display. The functions of a digital watch are really up to the manufacturer as it can have alarms, world time function, stopwatch and many more other functions.

Dress

Dress watches are the simplest of watches in terms of functionality and also arguably the most elegant. These watches are meant to be worn in a formal setting. In the purest definition of a dress watch it should be thin, have no complications (or one simple complication such as a seconds sub-dial) and in a leather strap and usually the case of the watch is made of a precious metal (gold, rose gold & platinum).

Diver

These watches are designed for underwater diving, and are usually identified by their very high water resistance and a rotating bezel. Although the rotating bezel might not be always the case, the water resistance will always be greater than 10atm, which is 100m (330ft). The strap of the watch will usually be metal or rubber, and they are made of to be used as a tool, it will also usually have a very bright lume so that divers can see the watch when there is no light.

Field

Field watches were originally designed with the thought in mind of being used by the military on the field. The interpretation from this are watches that usually have a black dial, very easily legible numbers and a very simple watch. These watches are also usually given a nylon strap. These watches should be thought of as the opposite to a divers watch, as these are still considered a tool but they are used on land.  

Open Heart

These watches are usually showing the tourbillon of the watch, but cheaper watch brands and alternatives have now the term open heart to show the balance wheel instead. These watches are usually in a sub category to dress watches and so usually are found more in elegant and classy style of watches.

Pilot

These watches are also considered a tool watch, while a diver is used for the sea, and a field watch for land, the pilot watch is for the sky. They are usually on a leather strap or metal strap and have a feature or complication that will help with navigation. They are usually considered to have very busy dials, meaning there are a lot of features such as tachymeter, chronographs and even altimeters.

Skeleton

These are sometimes looked under the category of dress watches, but now they would be more defined by their own category. The main feature of this watch that through the face of the watch, the owner can see the inner mechanism of the watch. These watches are usually paired with a leather strap as they are usually on the dressier side of watch styles.

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