There are plenty of great reasons to wear a watch and one of them is this: cool watches for men just look great.
UPDATE: This list was updated June 20, 2018. We replaced a couple models (they lost their cool but were replaced by even cooler) and updated pricing.
A watch makes a big impact, which is almost counterintuitive because, a) watches are small, compared to all the other fashionable parts of an ensemble, and, b) watches are worn on the wrist, which, let’s face it, is almost an afterthought of a body part. Nevertheless, when an important fashion detail like a watch exudes cool, it makes a statement.
But we’re not here to talk about the merits of wristwatch wearing. Our mission is to spotlight ten of the best, cool watches for men. First, a couple of ground rules.
Cool Watches: Our Criteria
Who, indeed, defines cool? While our quiet, lifelong desperation to achieve cool has not always been…cool, it is a place to start: we are all about the cool watch and we’ve scoured around to bring you 10 solid pieces.
For this list…
We’re not focusing on luxury watches. Yes, some of the pieces in the list are expensive watches. High-end luxury brands like Rolex or Hublot? Not in this list. But some of the pieces are on the higher end of the dollar sign.
We’re not venturing to the edges of fashion, with something wild that features five sub-dials.
We’re not focusing on smart watches. If you want to count steps or know your pulse rate, we applaud you. That said, we’re not against the cool digital watch.
We are going for watches that are within what we’re calling a “totally normal range of appearance.” They may have unique design elements, but we’re not going for over-the-top.
We’re after a piece that is good looking and has a big hand and a little hand, and it may have a digital component: classic and cool and, importantly, a piece that is a quality watch.
By the way, we do think that there’s another, entirely separate sub-set of cool watches: water resistant watches. If you’re interested in something you can dive or swim or shower in, take a look at our 10 Best Waterproof Watches for Men: A Buyer’s Guide 2018. In addition to a great lineup of time pieces, you’ll learn precisely why “waterproof” is not a word that should be used when describing a wrist watch. (Fun fact: the United Nations actually plays a part in this.)
So, yeah, we know you don’t need a list of reasons to wear a watch. We know you already know that they’re a great fashion touch and that it means you don’t have to check your phone to tell the time. And after checking out this list of the 10 Best Cool Watches for Men, we know that you’ll know what to buy. Don’t forget to spread the cool love by sharing this list with those who either are cool, or need cool.
1. Stuhrling Original Men’s Sport Aviator
This piece has got just the right amount of classic appeal mixed with unique, modern touches. And it has the perfect amount of discount: at one point this watch was listed around $185, so it’s a steal right now.
The Stainless Steel Sport Aviator features a leather aviator band, which gets a great, masculine look with stainless rivets attaching the band to the case. The day-date function is unlike any other watch in the list, and it’s easy to get the info with a quick glance.
If you’d like something other than the brown band, black is available — in which case the dial is also black with yellow/cream markings. For ten bucks more you can get the green band. This cool men’s watch also features luminescent numbers, so your slick new timepiece will still be noticed at night.
Stuhrling, based in Brooklyn, is named for Max Stuhrling, a Swiss watchmaker in the 1800s.
2. Fortis Official Cosmonauts Automatic Men’s Watch
We’re following an aviator’s watch with a cosmonaut’s watch. No kidding. Fortis has been producing this piece for Russia’s space program since 1994. If that doesn’t qualify this as a cool men’s watch, we don’t know what does. Besides the out-of-this-world pedigree, it’s simply great looking and it comes with some great features.
- Swiss automatic movement
- It’s extraordinarily shock-resistant (cosmonauts land on land, you know)
- Unidirectional rotating bezel
- Engraved with Russian space authorities logo
The band is black calfskin and the diameter of the watch case is 42mm.
A key point about this watch is that Fortis pieces are usually well into the four and five figure range. So a three-fig price like this is a good find and you should feel cool for getting it at this price.
There is another watch on Amazon — the Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch — that was made for astronauts, but there’s a significant jump in price from the Fortis.
3. Timex Fairfield Weekender
Bringing things back to earth a bit, this great looking cool men’s watch is the most affordable on the list. And our position is that Timex is a near legendary brand — yes, built on the idea of providing affordable time pieces — that is top-notch reliable. Plus, the Timex Fairfield Weekender is easily as attractive as any of its nine cousins (which you’ll see when you follow the link).
This award-winning beauty is on the bigger side with a case size of 41mm. The styling on this piece is very simple, no day or date with the white face and silver numberless hash marks. Completely classic and traditional from Timex, this unit is a great example of the company’s emphasis on contemporary style.
There is almost limitless variety with the Weekender: the band is very easily swapped out so you can coordinate your band and watch with whatever fit you’re rocking. Barton offers a huge array of bands at less than 12 bucks each.
One last point about the Timex: it was offered recently at more than $50, so it’s good deal time with this one.
4. Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Navihawk Atomic Timekeeping Watch
Talk about an amazing piece of equipment. Yeah, we’re calling it equipment because this watch does just about everything but the laundry. If you’re not already a watch geek, the ton-of-features with this watch might easily turn you into one.
- This chronograph is an atomic timepiece, meaning it’s extraordinarily accurate because it receives Universal Coordinated Time radio signals anywhere in the world
- There’s a small digital feature that lets you see the time in 43 cities across the globe
- Like all Citizen Eco-Drive pieces, this one is powered by the sun (that’s the “Eco-Drive”), so no need to wind, charge or replace batteries
- Has two alarms and a 99-minute countdown timer
- Power reserve indicator
- Pilot’s rotating slide rule dial ring
- 1/100-second chronograph measures up to 24 hours
- Water resistant to 660 feet
Bargain alert: If all that wasn’t enough, it’s on sale at more than half off.
Price: $312 (52 percent off MSRP)
5. Casio G-Shock Men’s Urban Trainer Watch
Although I don’t own one, I’m a huge fan of the Casio G-Shock. It’s a legendary watch that hit the market in 1983 and has sold millions since then. It’s not just resistant to tough use. Check the reasons G-Shock’s called G-Shock:
* Electric shock resistance
* Gravity resistance
* Low temperature resistance
* Vibration resistance
* Water resistance
* Shock resistance
This Urban Trainer watch is part of a new line that Casio just introduced (the Training Timer series). It features Bluetooth connectivity that you can use to track fitness activity (or non-fitness activity as you walk from the couch to the fridge). It is a step counter and it has five timers with 20 timer combinations. Download the G-Shock app and get even more feature-rich use outta this great looking, masculine watch.
If you’re budget’s a little — okay, a lot — bigger ($850), check out the Casio G-Shock Rangeman, which is a solar-assisted GPS navigation watch that features Bluetooth, 39 city world time and more. Also cool.
6. Claude Bernard Men’s 80095 Classic Automatic
And swinging our Top 10 pendulum in the opposite direction from digital to analog, this very traditional Claude Bernard piece is a Swiss made automatic. With elegant, thin black Roman numerals on a white face, it’s the classic look of the watch that qualifies it as a definitively cool men’s watch with a long history dating back to the 16th century.
Like every Claude Bernard watch, this one is hand made. It’s an automatic wind, meaning your hand movement will keep it going indefinitely. If the watch sits for a bit, you can rely on the 38-to-42 hour power reserve (and, of course, you can easily manually wind it). If you’re looking for that Swiss quality, simple-yet-sleek look, this stainless steel specimen is the cool watch you want.
Discount alert: This watch was initially priced at $424, so you’re saving almost two hundred bucks.
7. Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Stainless Steel with Brown Leather Strap
Another fantastic watch from Citizen. This watch gets superb reviews: out of more than 360 customer comments, it averages a 4.5 out of 5-star rating. It’s a super good looking watch with the contrasting white stitching on the beautiful brown leather (calfskin) band — all of which contrasts very well with the stainless steel case. This cool watch for men features:
- Eco-Drive (powered by light)
- Luminous hour, minute and second hands
- Date indicator at 3 o’clock (with three-date display)
- Water resistance to 330 feet
Citizen calls the look a “throwback aviator style,” and I couldn’t agree more. Of course, this is the Eco-Drive, which means that the watch is powered by light, so you don’t have to worry about battery or winding. Case size is 45mm, so it’s a bit on the larger side, but not too large.
8. Seiko Men’s SNK809 Seiko 5 Automatic Stainless Steel Watch with Canvas Strap
No offense to any of the other great watches on this list, but we’re putting this one in a bit of a different category because it’s a somewhat legendary model from an extremely reputable, long standing watchmaker. The Seiko SNK809 is a very simple watch, and that’s a big part of its cool appeal.
Discount alert: the price is fantastic, especially for a Seiko. It was previously offered at $112, so you’re almost saving half.
Some of the features:
- Automatic movement
- Hours on an inner ring and minutes (in five minute, or seconds, intervals) on the outside
- Display (see through) back
- 37mm stainless steel case size
- Luminous hands
The fact is, Seiko by itself is cool. At this price — and with these good looks — it’s double cool.
9. Tissot Men’s T-Sport PRS 200 Chronograph Watch
Tissot has a long history — starting in Le Locle, Switzerland in 1853 — and is decidedly up to date and on-trend with very contemporary styles and sponsorships. The PRS 200 is a great looking member of the cool watches for men category. Especially because it’s a chronograph with the black dial and bezel, accented by the red hands and indices.
Bargain alert: This watch is 39 percent off. A great buy right now.
Some of the other features of this watch:
- Swiss quartz movement
- Chronograph with three subdials (30 minutes; 1/10 seconds; 60 seconds)
- Strong water resistance: 660 feet
In addition, the watch band is a five-link stainless steel with a fold-over safety clasp. Case size is 42mm. If you’re looking for a stainless steel piece that is definitely masculine with some very elegant dynamics, the PRS 200 is your watch.
Price: $335.09 (39 percent off MSRP)
10. Victorinox Swiss Army Men’s Base Camp Watch
This is a great price on a super strong Swiss brand. Victorinox has been doing its thing since 1884, when it became one of two Swiss companies to provide Swiss army knives for the…wait for it…Swiss army. Lucky for everyone, they entered the watch making game in 1989.
- Polished black sword hands with luminous orange accents
- Date indicator at three o’clock
- Enrgaved logo on crown
- Swiss quartz movement
The case size is on the smaller size, at 40mm. The strap is black silicone and the water resistance is 100 feet.
I happen to own this watch — I bought it for myself earlier this year because, frankly, it’s a great deal. Finding a Victorinox at this price is a great find. Beyond the price, the looks are superb. The orange is really striking.
- 10 Best Waterproof Watches for Men: A Buyer’s Guide 2018
- 20 Best Men’s Watches Under $100
- 10 Men’s Watches Under $200: A Buying Guide 2018