First, let’s get this out of the way: it’s okay to love watches. It’s the only piece of jewelry a man is supposed to wear, and that’s a good enough reason to invest in a couple. Or three. Or five for that matter. Anything more is okay only if collecting watches happens to be your hobby. Otherwise, owning three to five is just about the right amount. I wouldn’t recommend having only one. Wearing the same watch every single day doesn’t make you cool because you seem pragmatic, rather, it makes you look like you’re too strapped for cash to the point of self deprivation of the good life.
I’ve read somewhere that a good rule of thumb is that your best watch should cost roughly your paycheck for three months. Some of you may think that’s too much, but again I tell you, it’s okay. Stay within that budget and you can shrug off the guilt of splurging. The great thing about watches is that they’re timeless (oxymoron?) unlike other expensive things like gadgets that quickly go obsolete or cars that rapidly depreciate and break. With care and minimal maintenance, any decent watch should last you for decades, and that my friends is one helluva ROI.
So what is a “decent” watch? Anything that’s both Swiss and mechanical falls into that category. Automatic is standard, but get a hand-would ticker if you can. Hand-would is the horological equivalent of driving stick (read: cooler). Would I recommend certain brands? To each his own, really. Though I could recommend brands and models to avoid: Tag Heuer, Rolex and Omega (which are quality brands by the way, no doubt about it). We are not communists in uniform; do you really want to own something that everybody else already has? Sorry to burst your bubble if your dreaming of spending your commission on a Seamaster.
Chronograph or Diver’s watch? I say neither, unless you race at BRC or dive for corals in Bohol. Let’s not be pretentious folks; forget that steel Submariner you’re saving up for. Most of us spend our weekdays in cubicles, or are in sales, or wear a corporate barong everyday to the office. For us, there is the “senator” watch: that of thin profile and leather strap.
A good example is the Certina DS-1. The best thing about the DS-1 is its superb value. I’m 100% sure it fits anyone’s 3-month salary budget rule, unless you’re on minimum wage.
Another handsome senator watch to wear at the office is the Tissot Visodate. It’s in the same price range as the DS-1 and is therefore a bargain.
If I get into meetings with a middle manager wearing a quartz I tend not to take him seriously. A firm handshake with eye contact leaves a good and lasting first impression, but if I see a funky DKNY on your wrist with its second hand jerking you’ve lost your cred immediately and completely. Avoid quartz like a plague; life’s too short wear a crappy watch.
But this rule has an exception: The Casio G-Shock. It’s the one quartz watch you’re allowed to own. In fact, everyman should have one. It’s like saying everyman should have a pair of jeans; it’s one of life’s essentials. Hitting Boracay this long weekend? Going on a photo walk? Having booze and barbecue at a friend’s backyard (or garage)? The G-Shock is your appropo timepiece.
Think choosing a watch is difficult? It’s quite simple, really. It’s just like buying a pair of sneakers, the best pick would be one that’s comfortable and looks good on you at the same time. Also, remember that only you will be wearing the watch and no one else. So when deciding, only your opinion matters. Don’t consider anyone else’s. That includes your wife/girlfriend, your closest buddy or even me with this blog. A paradox, eh? Most importantly, it has to feel right when you wear it. How does “right” feel? You’ll know it when you feel it.
So go ahead and spend that bonus on a nice piece. The gratification of having a tiny, living mechanism on the wrist is truly an inexplicable joy. Letting everyone know how much you’re worth and that you’re a man of substance without saying a word is just an extra perk.