There is a kind of watch owner out there commonly referred to as the ‘One watch guy’. Whether due to sentimental attachment, thrift or a single-minded love of a specific reference, they strap on the same timepiece day after day regardless of the rest of their attire or the social situations the day will bring.
I have deep admiration for the ‘One Watch Guy’ to doggedly ignore or remain oblivious to the ocean of horological possibilities is darn difficult – though it does simplify the morning routine – but I will never be him, I love watches too much, my tastes are too wide, the acquisitive urge too strong and maybe I am just too indecisive.
That said, being the ‘Way Too Many Watches Guy’ allows their owner to play a different game, that of using your watch purely as an accessory to the rest of your outfit. At first I wondered if this might be just a personal weakness but a steady trickle of images from Twitter and Instagram lead me to suspect I am not alone.
What follows are not a set of rules, they are your watches – wear them how you like. This is more an exploration of coordination, purely for fun, that might tempt a few more of you to admit that you do take that extra moment of thought in the morning and match either clothes to watch or vice versa.
There are some basic principles that most wearers already follow even if unconsciously. Simply matching the metal of a watch case to your belt buckle, wedding ring or cufflinks is a start – closely followed by strap leather matched to belt and shoes.
Straps offer up a world of possibilities. The range of shades and tones on offer both from brands and custom makers allow you to follow themes from shirts, suits ties or socks. The current popularity of the NATO, available in a rainbow of regimental colours, takes this further, allowing you to match strap to watch and outfit at the same time.
Matching a strap is quite straight-forward and it is a moment’s work to change a strap should mood and fashion so dictate. The next level has to be matching the dial, sub-dials or hands. Given that changing these on a whim is near enough impossible this will be a clothes-to-watch match or choosing from a wide selection of watches. Why not pick out a single dial feature such as a coloured chrono second hand and use it to make a statement? That said, maybe matching the multi-coloured weave of a shirt cuff to the jewels and wheels of an exposed movement might be a step too far.
For the detail obsessives amongst us (and which watch-nerd is not detail obsessive?) this is a fun way to enjoy the tremendous work that goes into producing all the disparate elements of the watches that we love. It is also a great excuse to add to your watch collection with the endless number of niches to fill, be it colour, metal or style, and, working for a watch auction house, that is something I can only be in favour of.
Contributed by Adrian Hailwood who is the Watch Business Manager at Fellows Watch Auctions.