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7 Types of Watches You Should Know (A Brief Guide)

7 Types of Watches You Should Know (A Brief Guide)

Mar 12, 2024

Do you have multiple Types of watches? Well, if you do, I believe that you actually only need one or, maybe, two of them. So, why did you buy many watches? The only possible and reasonable answer is that you want it. There are many types of watches available in the market and you want one or two pieces for every type. The decision to have many watches is indeed acceptable as different types of watches can offer different features. 

Some of the most common type of watches include pilot watches, dive watches, GMT watches, military watches, and so on. As the name implies, every type I mentioned offers different features and watch complications, such as dive watches with high water resistance and bezel while pilot watches would have a big crown.

With that in mind, it's no wonder that some of us have more than just two timepieces -- as the watchmaking industry has abundant choices. Besides, several types of watches are made for different purposes, including the place and occasion you are about to go to. Once you are aware of this matter, you will know and understand why we are keen to buy several types of watches.

In this article, I'm going to share some popular types of watches along with my personal recommendation for each category. So, let's get straight into the discussion.

Dive Watches

There is a significant reason why I put the dive watch on the first list of types of watches. Dive watches are considered the most universal type that compromises every basic feature of a good watch -- durable, robust, versatile, and equipped with impressive features. Therefore, If you plan to buy only one type of watch, you better go with a dive watch. 

As the name implies, a dive watch is a timepiece specifically designed to be your diving buddy. With that in mind, a timepiece should possess features to withstand the water environments, such as underwater pressure and resistance. The minimum number for a good dive watch is 100m of water resistance. 

A dive watch will have a screwed-down crown to ensure water from entering the case and damaging the movements. In addition to that, dive watches will mostly be equipped with a highly legible dial applied with a luminous substance, a rotating and count-up bezel for timing, and a solid bracelet. 

Seiko Prospex 62MAS 200M Automatic Black Ref. SBDC101

For a dive watch, Rolex Submariner might be the most popular and iconic one among watch enthusiasts. But, here I would like to give you another option with the Seiko Prospex 62MAS 200M Automatic Black Ref. SBDC101 -- a well-received favorite in the Seiko community.

Read more: 8 Best Vintage Dive Reissued Watches for your Collection

Pilot Watches

You might now hesitate to have one but pilot watches are initially designed as timepieces for pilots. This type of watch is specifically made to fulfill pilots' needs so that they feel at ease when wearing a timepiece while working. At this point, you might be wondering, why would you need a timepiece made for a pilot?

However, as time goes by, the pilot watch has evolved with various designs while still preserving its main features. It goes from just a simple timepiece as presented in the 1940s and 1950s to a complex dial with chronographs

There are some main characteristics of this type of watch. Most of them are oversized watches and have a big crown so that the pilot can operate them with ease while also wearing a glove. Also, the watch has good legibility and is able to withstand air pressure.

If you ask for the most iconic pilot watches, I would vote for the Breitling Navitimer B01 with a chic and distinctive look. The enchanting three sub-dials with a crisp white background against the black dial. Yet, if you ask for the legendary pilot watch, the IWC Automatic Spitfire is my favorite -- a classic timepiece with a fascinating history.

GMT Watches

GMT watch is one of the popular types of watches with a high level of craftsmanship. It goes beyond the basic function of time-telling but also displays time in two different time zones. Many say that the GMT watch is as useful as the GMT, especially for people who travel a lot, such as air crews, pilots, and businessmen. 

Steinhart Ocean 1 GMT Black/Red

In simple, the GMT watch allows the wearer to tell the local time and GMT. It is mostly available in two different scales -- 24-hour and 12-hour timescale. Despite its complexity, the GMT watch becomes more affordable as the watchmaking industry finds a better solution to provide watches for everyone. 

Thanks to the availability of third-party movements, many watch brands can produce GMT watches in a more affordable price range. If you're looking for an impressive GMT watch at affordable prices, the Steinhart Ocean 1 GMT Black/Red and Squale 30 ATMOS Walnut GMT Ceramica could be choices for your best option. 

Squale 30 ATMOS Walnut GMT Ceramica - 40mm

Read more: Travel at Ease with A Multi-time Zone Watch on Your Wrist

Racing Watches

Different types of watches are mostly designed to fulfill the needs of certain groups of people or professions. You might not expect this but a racing watch is produced for racing enthusiasts, especially the Formula 1. Unlike other field watches, the racing watch works as a timekeeper to measure distance, speed, and time. 

Le Jour Le Mans Chronograph Blue Ref. LJ-LM-003

As such, racing watches will be equipped with a tachymeter bezel and chronograph with high precision. In addition to that, most racing watches are designed boldly with contrasting and flashy colors. In addition to that, the main characteristics of racing watches are high contrast dial.

Racing is a high-speed sport and the driver can only take a quick look at the watch. Therefore, a contrasting dial will enhance the watch’s readability. Racing watches are considered to be the luxury collections as you can see in the Hublot Classic Fusion Ferrari GT that costs $17,359 USD.

Yema Speedgraf
Yema Speedgraf

Yet, you can always opt for more affordable pieces with a good performance, such as Le Jour Le Mans Chronograph Blue Ref. LJ-LM-003 and Yema Speedgraf.

Read more: Five Coveted Steel Sports Watches for a Glamorous Collection

Field Watches

The next type of watches is the field watch which is designed based on military watches. As such, field watches are made to be durable and reliable at the same time. The field watch has been a well-known type since the World Wars that accompany soldiers and provide them with reliable accuracy. 

Generally, field watches appear in a simple and chic design with fixed bezels. Designed in mostly black colors, the dial also consists of simple elements -- white indices and numerals. Yet, you can always rely on this type of watches as it is available for every type of budget, allowing everyone to have it in their collection. 

When it comes to field watches, the Rolex Explorer is probably the most popular one. It is the first timepiece that joined the Everest expedition and reached the peak of the mountain. But, if you're looking for decent prices, the Hamilton Khaki Field collection is my way to go. 

Read more: 8 Rare Vintage Military Watch Recommendations for Veterans

Dress Watches

As the name mentions, a dress watch is mostly used on formal occasions when you only have a meeting or chat at a gathering. There are no exact characteristics to categorize a timepiece into dress watches. However, they mostly have a clean dial and are relatively thin.

Mido Baroncelli 20th Anniversary Inspired by Architecture

In addition to that, it appears to be in small size and simple -- I'd say simpler than field watches -- with mostly white or cream dial, hour indices, and hour markers. So, basically, it only functions to tell the time and as a fashion statement to give elegance to the wearer. 

My favorite pieces for dress watches are probably the Mido Baroncelli 20th Anniversary Inspired by Architecture Limited and Hamilton American Classic Intra-Matic Auto Fume Black.

Hamilton American Classic Intra-Matic Auto Fume Black

Read more: 7 Best Seiko Dress Watch for an Everyday Beauty Companion

Chronographs Warches

In a simple definition, a chronograph is a stopwatch equipped with a timepiece to measure periods of time. If you ever notice two additional buttons protruding at the side of the watch case -- aside from the watch crown -- they are the pushers to start and stop the chronograph functions. 

Seiko Prospex Speedtimer Chronograph Blue Ref. SBDL087

This type of watch can be easily identified with the two or three sub-dials on the dial. Most chronograph watches can record for up to 30 or 60 minutes. Nowadays, a chronograph in quartz watches appears to be quite popular as they are less expensive. But, the mechanical ones would always have a special place in the heart of their enthusiasts.

The Seiko Prospex Speedtimer Chronograph Blue Ref. SBDL087 and Hamilton Intra-Matic Chronograph White are among my favorites.

Hamilton Intra-Matic Chronograph White - Bracelet Ref. H38416111

Knowing the types of watches are important before purchasing a timepiece, especially if you just start a watch collection. Now, that you know many different types of watches, deciding which one can be much easier. After all, many of us buy a timepiece to fulfill our needs. So, understanding which type is the best-suited one can be more fulfilling in the end.

You might also like: Through the Looking Glass: The Different Types of Dials Out There

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