Pairing exactly the right watch with your outfit, whatever the occasion, can make all the difference when it comes to achieving the perfect look. For men especially, who wear relatively few accessories compared to women, being aware of some the guidelines can make all the difference to their wardrobe.

There are as many different styles of watch as there are types of occasion and, strange as it may seem, selecting the right timepiece can make or break your outfit. Watches have always been an outward expression of your personality, and so the one you choose to wear in a specific context speaks volumes about you.

As a general rule, the watch needs to match the formality of the situation.
At one end of the scale, there are still those who balk at the idea of wearing a watch at all with dinner jackets or evening gowns, as checking the time at the sort of functions where you would be in eveningwear is considered the height of rudeness, implying you have somewhere else you’d rather be! More modern attitudes have softened and prefer a simple, classic style dress watch. A black leather band is acceptable for men’s watches in order to match the tuxedo. (It seems a certain well-dressed secret agent has been getting it wrong for years.) For women, who have more options when it comes to formal wear, an elegant watch with a splash of colour can liven up a more sober outfit.

For less stately occasions, a good rule is to match metal to metal. Coordinating the colour of your watch’s case with the metal accents of your other accessories creates a more harmonious look. So, a gold watch would compliment a gold ring, for example.
For men, another handy reference is to twin the colour of the watchband to your shoes and belt; a black band with black shoes and belt, a brown watchband with brown. Gold watches go best with clothes in earthy tones, such as beige and tan, whereas silver matches better with blue, black and grey.

As there isn’t a single watch that suits every setting and every outfit, from royal garden party to squash court, most people prefer to keep a range, in different styles. However, if you’re going to pick just one, a slightly dressier watch is preferable. It won’t look out of place in a more casual setting, whereas a casual watch can ruin a smarter look.

Your watch is a highly visual symbol of your individuality and, intentionally or not, says a lot about you. There’s no better accessory to make an outfit feel complete. Hopefully the hints in this article will help with your selection.