Types of Watches Guide: 5 Watches You Need in Your Collection – GQ

The watch market has never been hotter. Prices are skyrocketing for all types of watches. Funky models from the past are back in the limelight. And the spectrum of styles available to the average enthusiast—one without a summer bonus to blow on a hunk of Swiss-made metal—has never been wider. Unless you’re John Mayer, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the deluge of options—to say nothing of the wonky technical jargon used to describe them. (And if you are John Mayer: Hello, sir! Thanks for reading. Like and subscribe.) 

So for the latest episode of the GQ Recommends Show, we went deep on the only five watch types you really need to know, whether you’re a budding horology buff looking to build out your collection or an avid watch nut with a frighteningly deep knowledge of the last decade’s reference numbers.  

To help illustrate our point, we called in approximately $115,000 worth of options from some of the biggest watchmakers in the business, and broke down point-by-point what makes their timepieces so special. In the video below, you’ll hear exactly why we dig them and a little (okay, a lot of) background on their pedigree. Give it a peek to figure out which type is right for you, and which type you should commit to before common sense—and that impending rent invoice—makes you second-guess your decision. 

See something you like? Keep scrolling to ogle each model up close—and maybe even scoop one for yourself. 

Watch The GQ Recommends Show: The Best Watches for Every Budget Right Now

1. The Dress Watch

Slim in profile, made with fine materials, and outfitted with a leather strap, dress watches are designed to sync up with your swankiest tailoring—and tend to be priced accordingly. 

Timex Marlin watch


Todd Snyder

Longines flagship heritage watch



Cartier Tank Must watch



Vacheron Constantin Patrimony watch


Vacheron Constantin

2. The Dive Watch

Dive watches were formally introduced in the ‘50s to help scuba divers monitor their air supply underwater, but today they make for some of the most reliable everyday watches on the market. 

Seiko Prospex watch



Tudor Black Bay watch



Rolex Submariner watch



Omega Seamaster ultra deep watch



3. The Racing Watch

Racing watches are chronographs that typically include a tachymeter—a nifty complication used to measure the wearer’s speed—by the bezel. These are timepieces that help your wrist go zoom

Omega Speedmaster watch



Tag Heuer Monaco watch


Tag Heuer

Rolex Daytona watch



4. The Pilot’s Watch

Defined by their prominent, easily legible numerals and hefty crowns, pilot’s watches were designed to handle the turbulence of an exposed cockpit back when flying was a plein air experience. Today, though? No goggles, no gloves, no problem.  

Bell & Ross 03-92 watch



Breitling Naviter watch



IWC Big Pilot watch


Mr Porter

5. The Field Watch

Rugged, durable, and plenty suited to mundane, non-combat situations, field watches have long since endeared themselves to civilian collectors across the globe. 

Marathon general purpose mechanical watch



Hamilton field mechanical watch



Montblanc 1858 Geosphere watch



Rolex Explorer II watch



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top