In the April 2006 issue of GQ, featuring Victoria’s Secret model Adriana Lima on the cover, The Style Guy (aka Glenn O’Brien) tackles, again, the question of which watch to wear with a more formal suit.

Question: At Christmas I received a stylish watch as a gift. Right after I tried it on, my sister informed me that it was a casual watch: not to be worn with suits, etc. What exactly differentiates a suit watch from a casual watch?

Answer: This is perhaps one of the most ignored distinctions out there: the dress watch versus the sports watch. A dress watch is supposed to be small and discreet, whereas a sports watch is supposed to be visible at 300 meters and glow in the dark. But today most people choose their watches not on discretion or appropriate utility but just the opposite. Why were a little gold thing easily hidden by one’s shirt cuff when you can wear a diamond-studded watch bigger than an Oreo cookie, calling everyone’s attention to you apparently limitless disposable income? So the question is, fundamentally, are you a gentleman or a playa or some attempted hybrid of the two? I think the sports-watch trend started with extended wear of the Rolex Submariner. Men aiming for a dashing image wore their diver’s watches to the office, sending out the message “I may lease industrial washing machines Monday through Friday, but on weekends I stalk the Great Barrier Reef.” In their dreams, of course–but isn’t that what most sartorial imagery is about?

Let the bloodshed discussion begin…


6 thoughts on “GQ and Watches”
  1. This seems to be part of the larger discussion about oversized watches vs. the more traditional sub-40mm mens watch size. Perhaps in 15 years people will be arguing about those new gawd-awful 38mm watches that are so out of proportion with the standard 46 mm JLC Extreme World Chonograph. What about strapping those big honkin’ chronos on the “outside” of one’s shirt sleeve? In a couple of decades this could be traditional. Be the change.

  2. Yes. Tastes change. There is no right or wrong here. Anthing less than 43mm just looks wimpy to me these days. And bellbottoms look like sick joke.

  3. The wearing of a watch 45mm or less in size just appears as though you have mistakenly picked up your wife’s timepiece an strapped it to your wrist. So when Dan states that “anything less thanb 43mm just looks wimpy to me” he is bang on right down the high street correct! The bigger the better I say. The only thing that would be obscene would be if you were to proffer your arm at 90degrees to your body and shove your huge timepiece under the nose of the individual who is asking you “what time is it?”

  4. What is the deal? Italians still decide what’s hot or not…. And Italians still prefer worn out oyster and jubilee bracelets on their vintage Subs, GMTs and even Date-Justs over Panerai or any other +40mm watch 🙂

  5. Wrist size has a vote in this also. A guy with really slim wrists wearing some huge Rolex with eight links taken out of the bracelet looks like… a wimpy nerd trying to look manly (and failing).

    In a casual environment there is more flexibility, but in a serious professional environment, a watch is one of only three or four acceptable items of jewelry. As such, and as the largest item of jewelry, it deserves some consideration, not just a blanket “larger is better” approach.

    For professional occasions, I go with a St. Moritz Titan II, black face and titanium bracelet.

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