Category: Style (page 1 of 2)

The Best Men’s Watches Under $500 in 2019

Looking for a stylish timepiece? You don’t need to break the bank.

We have done the research, and have weeded out anything too tacky or flashy. Here are three examples of the best men’s watches under $500 (a reasonable amount to spend, considering it’s on your wrist all day long).

OK, yes, don’t need a watch.

Keeping track of the time is not an issue anymore – these days, everyone carries a smartphone. So what’s the point?

An analog (mechanical) wristwatch is one of the most stylish accessories a man can have. It is a personal statement. There’s often a story associated with a watch – perhaps it was received as a present for a special occasion, or inherited as a family heirloom. My own watch was given to me by my friends at an important time in my life.

Watches are also a reminder of our analog past, an era that has all but slipped away with the revolution of personal computing. When it was first developed and refined, the wristwatch had major implications for humanity – we welcomed a future where everyone could be “on time” and activities could be compartmentalized into neat chunks of hour increments.

Man wearing a wristwatch

A great looking, understated watch can complete the look

There’s also the matter of complications. I know, I know… the blog is about simplicity. But I refer to the complications inside automatic watch movements – those elaborate combinations of springs, gears, and levers that add functionality such as timers, moon phase trackers, power reserve indicators, and more. As an engineering nerd, these inventions fascinate and impress me for their ingenuity and precision. Every automatic watch is a reminder of what we have been able to achieve without using any electronics or circuits (and in today’s crazy world, that kind of nostalgia is welcome).

Curious about how an automatic watch works? Watch this video (from my favorite watch channel on YouTube).

I think there’s a time and place for both kinds of watches – the traditional and modern. Apple Watches are great when you’re at the gym or on the trail – but a real, automatic (self-winding) watch can serve as a personal statement the rest of the time. When I’m out and about, I don’t want to worry about having to charge my own watch – there are enough devices to keep charged as it is!

Finally, I believe watches can actually help us slow down and simplify. Instead of checking the smartphone (which is sure to hit you with dozens of other notifications), simply glance at the watch once in a while. Choose mechanical over electronic. Make it work for you as part of your fight against information overload.

Watches range from the deceptively cheap to the absurdly expensive, and come in all shapes and sizes. Things to consider when buying a watch:

  • Case material (plastic, stainless steel, silver, gold, platinum, etc.)
  • Dial pattern/style (crosshair, enamel, meteorite, skeleton, etc.)
  • Dome (plastic or sapphire)
  • Band (rubber, steel, leather)
  • Case diameter (larger watches will look better on bigger wrists)
  • Weight
  • Water resistance
  • Lume (whether it glows in the dark, and how brightly)
  • Movement speed (beats per hour, e.g. from 3,600 to 36,000)
  • Country of manufacture (Switzerland, Germany, Japan, etc.)
  • … and much more!

It will ultimately come down to a personal choice, but I have selected three of my personal favorites that cost less than $500:

1.) Tissot Visodate Heritage Automatic

Tissot Visodate Automatic wristwatch

Tissot Visodate Heritage Automatic (Amazon link

We start with a watch from Tissot – a classy (and Swiss Made!) timepiece. This is retro, understated style – a versatile casual/dress watch that won’t break the bank.

It has a domed sapphire crystal on top, which makes it look even better in person – and makes it very easy to read.

Case width: 40mm
Movement: ETA 2836-2 (automatic)
Power Reserve: 38 hours
Water Resistance: 30 meters

Features: seconds, day of week, date, and a transparent display case back so you can see the movement underneath.

Retails for: $400-$450 (see more pictures and reviews on Amazon).

2.) Seiko SRPB55 Black Ion Prospex Automatic Dive Watch

Seiko SRPB55 Black Ion Prospex Automatic Dive Watch

The Seiko SRPB55 Black Ion, otherwise known as the “Samurai” among Seiko fans

Now for something completely different – a classy dive watch from the wizards at Seiko. The SRPB55 is making waves among watch fans for its unique look and bold ion plated gunmetal case.

The watch comes with a Seiko rubber strap with buckle closure. The watch is protected via a Hardlex mineral crystal (not sapphire). Solid case back. Notice the hands are modeled after the Seiko Orange Monster (mentioned below).

Case width: 44mm
Movement: Seiko 23 jewel automatic (4R35)
Power Reserve: 41 hours
Water Resistance: 200 meters

I think this is a great looking watch that balances style and function perfectly.

Retails for: $400 (see more pictures and reviews).

Note: this slot used to be occupied by one of my favorite Seiko watches of all time, the infamous “Orange Monster”  (Amazon link). It has recently crept up to the $550-600 price point, which is why it has been replaced with the watch above. Generally speaking, it’s really hard to go wrong with a recent Seiko automatic of any kind!

3.) Junkers Bauhaus (Ref. 6060-5)

Junkers Bauhaus 6060-5 watch

The Junkers Bauhaus – a true vintage look

We’ve heard from Switzerland and Japan – now let’s see what the Germans have in store for us. Turns out there’s a very classy vintage-style automatic available for a hair under $500 from Junkers (famous for producing aircraft that served in both World Wars).

Behold: the Junkers 6060-5, a homage to Bauhaus (modernist) design principles. A beautiful watch that goes with just about any outfit you can think of.

The dome is made of Hesalithe Glass, and the watch features a transparent crystal case back. Beige dial. On the dial: sweeping seconds, 24 hour display, stop seconds, date, and top it off – a power reserve indicator!

Case width: 40mm
Movement: Citizen/Miyota 9132
Power Reserve: 40 hours
Water Resistance: 30 meters

Made in Germany. Retails for: $500 (see more pictures and reviews).

Note: the more knowledgeable among you are probably wondering why I didn’t mention the infamous Junkers Max Bill – which practically has a cult following in the watch world. It’s a great looking watch, but unfortunately doesn’t meet the price cutoff (it’s typically $800-$850). So if you’re willing to dish out a bit more, check it out.

Bonus: Vintage Watches

The 60’s, 70’s and 80’s were great decades for horology – companies such as Omega, Longines and Rolex were producing great looking watches with simple, eye catching designs.  These can now be found for sale on auction websites (eBay) and in specialty vintage watch stores.

Vintage watches can also be very expensive, partly because it’s difficult to find them in good condition. There’s no guarantee you will be able to find a good one for under $500, but there are some great deals out there.

If you decide to go this route, do your research first – start with the vintage sections of forums such as Watchuseek and Timezone. Make sure you’re buying the real thing, not a well made replica.

The Best Men's Watches under 500 dollars: vintage Longines watch

A classic (very thin) Longines dress watch from the 60’s

Before buying a watch, try it on in person. Watches often look better in pictures than they do in real life, and some just won’t “feel right” on your wrist. Try a few on before making a decision.

P.S. Please do your own research online for accurate prices and retailer information, especially when it comes to used/vintage goods. Always look for reputable dealers with good feedback and reviews.

Minimalist Men’s Style: The 8 Most Versatile Men’s Clothing Items

Can you be a minimalist and stylish at the same time?

Actually, the two concepts go hand in hand. This is because you don’t need a lot of clothing to build a great wardrobe—you just need the right pieces to make it all work well together. This is a quick guide to some of the best things you can buy to pull off classic, yet minimalist men’s style.

Let’s get started.

TL;DR: limiting yourself to just a few items will force you to keep only the best. Start thinking in terms of outfits, not individual pieces.

There are many great styles and designs out there, but some kinds of clothing are more versatile than others. They can be worn in many different settings and are invaluable if you want to build a great wardrobe with as few items as possible.

These are my eight clothing choices for minimalist men’s style (with a bonus item at the end):

1.) Grey V-Neck Tee

Minimalist men's style: Grey V-Neck

Minimalist style begins here

The grey tee is a must have in any man’s wardrobe. A well fitted tee can be worn as an undershirt or underneath a dress shirt (the grey makes it barely visible when used as a layer). It also works great by itself, paired with a jeans, trousers or shorts. No harm in keeping 2-3 of these in rotation.

Some great fitted tees:

2.) Dark blue jeans

Minimalist men's style: Levi's 511 jeans

Levi’s 511s. Classic.

Slim fit, straight leg, unwashed.

A good pair of jeans goes with just about anything. Keep it classic with simple designs—no fancy washes, distressing, rips or ridiculous stitching. Wash every two weeks, hang dry.

Many companies produce great denim. If you want to get a great pair without breaking the bank, here are my recommendations:

  • Uniqlo Stretch Selvedge Slim-Fit Jeans
  • H&M Slim Straight Jeans
  • A pair of Levi’s that fits you best (try in store). Quick guide to Levi’s cuts: 511 for skinny guys, 513/514 for average people, and 508/501 for a more relaxed fit (or for guys with big thighs).

Tip: if buying online, always read user reviews before purchasing, as the fit and sizing may be different from other brands you’re used to. Denim sizing is all over the place.

A note on expensive (and “raw” denim): this is a rabbit hole, and I advise you to stay away. It’s a hipster obsession and not worth the time/money. It’s denim—don’t overcomplicate it.

3.) Dark Brown Cap-Toe Oxfords (dress shoes)

Minimalist men's style: Alden Oxfords

Killer cap-toe oxfords by Alden

Often overlooked, shoes are arguably most important—they can make or break an outfit.

A quality pair of brown lace-ups is indispensable. Pair them with jeans or khakis for a smart casual look, or combine with a custom suit (see below) to turn up the class. If you are serious about quality, aim to spend at least $250 on a good pair. Don’t skimp here.

If you’re buying good shoes, make sure you invest in a cleaning/care kit (often available from the manufacturer). Buy shoe trees to absorb moisture. Clean and shine shoes regularly, and try not to wear the same pair two days in a row (alternate your shoes).

If you’re looking for great value for money, I recommend going straight to Allen Edmonds Park Avenue Cap-Toe Oxford.

Don’t balk at the price—as long as you take good care of them, quality dress shoes will last you a lifetime. More expensive options: take a look at what’s on offer from Crockett & Jones, Edward Green, or Gaziano & Girling.

Tip: when buying any pair of dress shoes, it’s a good idea to buy a matching belt (same color, same leather). If you want to save a couple of bucks, check out Cole Haan or Meermin for formal belts.

4.) Casual leather belt (for jeans and khakis)

Minimalist men's style: Tanner Goods Belt

Leather belt from Tanner Goods

No more flimsy belts with buckles that fall off. Get a solid leather belt (1.25” – 2” wide) and wear the hell out of it. The leather will age well, and it will only look better with time.

A good belt will easily last five years or more. Just wipe it with a soft rag and warm water once in a while.

A couple of recommendations:

  • One casual belt to wear with almost everything: go for Levi’s or LL Bean (great value), A Simple Leather Belt Co. (mid-range), or Tanner Goods (a bit more expensive, but my personal favorite).
  • One formal belt (covered above in #4): ideally, get a belt made by the shoe manufacturer—this way, the leather matches perfectly. In other words, a dark brown Allen Edmonds dress belt to go with your new dress shoes.

5.) White OCBD

Minimalist men's style: Oxford Cloth Button Down

The OCBD in action

Whether you are on a safari or at the office, the white Oxford Cloth Button Down (OCBD) gets the job done. Make sure it fits perfectly and the rest will take care of itself.

It looks good in any season. It looks good worn with jeans, or with a suit. If in doubt, throw one on and you’ll probably be dressed just right for the occasion.

Just make sure there are no visible logos on it (yes, that includes horses and crocodiles).

The OCBD buying guide:

  • Low-end/budget: Goodthreads Men’s Slim Fit Oxford
  • Mid-range: Lands End Tailored Fit Solid Supima Hyde Park or Spier & Mackay (for Canadians)
  • High-end: Brooks Brothers and Gitman Vintage

Alterations highly recommended. Tip for alterations: talk to a local dry-cleaner to see if they can handle a shirt job, and test them out with an older baggy shirt to see if they do a good job. If it works out, you’ll save lots of cash in the long run (vs. going with a professional tailor).

While you’re at it, you might as well pick up a light blue OCBD too. Almost as versatile, and just as good looking.

6.) Gingham shirt (blue or purple)

Minimalist men's style: Gingham Shirt

Hipsters got at least one thing right

Instant smart casual look. Making appearances in popular culture since the 60s, the gingham shirt is always a good choice. Works in the office, during lunch with the parents and for keeping it stylish on a first date.

You can find these at any reputable clothing store. You can’t go wrong with something fitted from Brooks Brothers.

7.) Charcoal suit (two-button)

Minimalist men's style: James Bond's charcoal suit

Bond is rarely seen without one

A tailored two-button charcoal suit is truly versatile. Sharp enough for a fancy dinner party, serious enough for a job interview, formal enough for a wedding and somber enough for a funeral.

Don’t skimp here. Make sure you look for good materials (super 100s wool or above), length (sleeves should reveal half an inch of shirt cuffs), and fit.

Fit is so important that it’s worth it to get a suit custom made. Failing that, go with good off the rack suit and bring it to your local tailor for alterations.

There’s a dizzying array of customizations that are possible when buying a suit. If it’s your first suit and you just want something modern and functional, I would go with the following:

  • Color: Charcoal grey (grey adds years, while a Navy suit makes you look younger)
  • Material: Super 120s wool, twill, not blended with polyester (i.e. 100% wool)
  • Jacket style: single-breasted, two-button, notch lapels, with moderate quartering, two straight pockets, sleeves with 4 standard (non-functioning) buttons, and twin vents
  • Trouser style: slim fit, no pleats, no cuffs, slanted side pockets, single rear pocket. Single belt loops.
  • No elbow patches
  • No contrast color on lapels, back collar, or buttonholes
  • Monogram: up to you

As far as off-the-rack brands, there is simply too much to cover here (this really deserves its own post…)

With that said, here are some recommendations at various price ranges:

  • Budget (~$250 on sale): J Crew Slim Thompson
  • Mid-range (<$500): Suit Supply Blue Line
  • Upper-end (~$750-1000): Suit Supply MTM (Made to Measure), or Kent Wang
  • High-end ($1500 and up): full canvas offerings from Oxxford, Tom Ford, Brunelli Cucinelli, Ermenegildo Zegna (not Z Zegna), or Brioni. You can’t go wrong with any of these, really.

Unless you know your exact size, don’t blindly buy a suit online. Go into a store and get measured. 

8.) Wool crew neck sweater 

A fitted crewneck sweater looks good with just about anything

When the temperature drops, throw on a nice merino sweater. They’re great for wearing over a button down. This is a chance to introduce some variety into your wardrobe—experiment with color and material.

Start by trying out darker shades of grey, burgundy, and navy.

Most good shirt brands will also carry decent sweaters. A couple easy recommendations:

  • Uniqlo Extra Fine Merino Crewneck
  • J. Crew Cotton Cashmere crewneck

BONUS: Plain white pocket square 

Fold a pocket square into four, tuck into your front suit pocket and voila! Class. Works with suits, blazers and sport coats alike. A timeless accessory.

Here’s a $10 option that will get the job done in style: Fine White Silk Pocket Square. If you want to get a little fancier, check out the fine selections from Howard Yount.

Tip: if you don’t want to shell out the $10 or so for a pocket square, go to your local fabric store. They should be able to cut you a square piece of cloth for a couple bucks.

Minimalist men's style: Sean Connery

A pocket square completes the look

When put together, these items alone are enough to build a solid wardrobe. Get quality pieces that last, make sure they fit you, and begin your own journey of dressing well with less.

PS. What about watches? If you’re going to get only one accessory for your wardrobe, a stylish watch is the way to go. Read on to discover three classic men’s watches that won’t break the bank.