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A guide to help the average man... look less average

Filtering by Tag: rolex

The wristwatch - part 1

Mark Kwak

 Image Source: Rolex

There's no secret about it. I love watches.

In fact, I'm so fascinated with watches that I've been intentionally holding off on writing a post about them. Truth is, I have no idea where to start. Contrary to popular belief, there is actually much, much more to watches than their simple ability to tell time.

Just take a gander at Watchuseek.com. This behemoth of a site is solely devoted to watches, and it's perpetually overflowing with information. Self-titled "Watch-Idiot-Savants" gather there to discuss their horological passion in gruesome detail, and of course to flaunt their latest five-digit purchases.

Anyway, all this to say that when talking about watches, things can get hyper-detailed and overtly complicated. So instead of inundating you with confusing info, like the intricacies of gravity-defying tourbillons, I figured I'd start with the basics, and simply answer the three most overwhelmingly common questions I get asked about watches:

1. I have a cell phone, what do I need a watch for?

2. What watch should I get?

3. How many watches do I need?

Let's start today with question #1. "I have a cell phone, what do I need a watch for?"

watch and phone

Well good sir/miss, you ask a very loaded question that I have a difficult time answering. Why? Because it makes me want to stand on a pedestal, clear my throat, and initiate a speech longer than a Rand Paul filibuster. In the interest of time and your attention span though, I'll try to keep things relatively short.

First off, let me clear the air and say that I don't think there is anything wrong with using your phone to read the time. It's convenient, logical, and obvious, and I do it all the time. However, this question makes the presumption that there is no more significance to a watch than its mere ability to tell the time. I very much disagree with that presumption, and will go into it in more detail below. However, before I start, let me first outline a couple trivial, but tangible reasons for why a watch is still good to have around, even when you own a cell phone.

1. Watches are often waterproof, cell phones are not.

2. Some watches will take a beating far better than a phone will.

3. Watches are much better at keeping their battery life.

4. A flip of the wrist is more convenient than a struggle to get your phone out of your pocket.

5. Watches are aesthetically pleasing.

6. You can more easily check the time without looking rude.

Now, if the reasons above aren't enough to persuade you to strap a watch onto your wrist, allow me to to go a little deeper.

As I've already said, I believe a watch's purpose is far greater than just its practical functionalities. In our society, a watch can embody multiple traits, and in many ways, takes on the role of (inhale) social status symbol, fashion statement jewelry, subtle indicator of punctuality and effort, up-leveler of classiness, family heirloom, and brilliant display of human craftsmanship. See below for more detail:

Social status symbol: A nice watch has the potential to subtly show others that you're of some worth. That maybe you're important in some way, and that you can appreciate the finer things in life. Please don't flaunt your watch, or really even mention it, but there's no harm in wearing something that helps improve others' perception of you.

Fashion statement jewelry: Let's be real, a watch is acceptable man jewelry. What is jewelry's purpose? To bring your look to the next level. You can consider a watch as the cherry on top of your already stylish outfit.

Subtle indicator of punctuality & effort: Believe it or not, just by strapping a watch on your wrist, you subconsciously give people the impression that you are both punctual and hard-working, even if you're not.

Up-leveler of classiness: If you wear a proper watch, you're almost effortlessly up-leveling your classiness. You look and generally feel more like a gentleman, and the opposite sex probably agrees.  If anything, it shows that you care.

Family heirloom: Unlike most men's clothing or accessories, watches are very appropriate heirlooms that can be passed down from generation to generation. I mean, imagine being passed down your grandfather's Omega Speedmaster Professional, aged with the perfect patina. Glorious.

Brilliant display of human craftsmanship: Whether it's a simple Mickey Mouse quartz watch, or a full-out tourbillon chronometer, a watch is quite a fascinating device. It crams hundreds of small moving pieces into a tiny chamber that mechanically keeps the time as accurately as a computer would. I've seen videos on the making of a Rolex watch and am enamored by the precision and skill it takes to build one of these things. It's a shame most people don't know what goes into the process.

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Well, so much for keeping things short huh?

Of course, at the end of the day, it's completely your choice as to whether or not you want to wear a watch. All I'm trying to say is that there are a plethora of reasons as to why you should, and those reasons shouldn't be ignored so easily. Do yourself a favor and buy yourself a timeless timepiece (pun intended). If anything at all, it will up your style game.

 

Style rules - part 2

Mark Kwak

Welcome to the second installment of simplerman's commentary on Ralph Lauren's Rules of Style. Gentlemen, it looks like today is all about accessories. Let's do this.

You know, it's very strange. I didn't use to be a fan of tie bars. I actually thought they gave off a bit of a pretentious look that I wasn't fond of. Well thank God, because the times have changed and I'm now very much on-board the tie bar train. I want to slap my old self for thinking the way I did.

Anyway, yes, definitely make sure your tie bar is shorter than the width of your tie, as otherwise, it can look ridiculous. I recommend having the tie bar hit at least the middle of the tie, but don't feel the need for it to extend all the way out and match your tie's full width. 1 and 1/2 inches is a good length I'd say. Also FYI, I only shop at one place for tie bars: it's The Tie Bar.

Sigh, I love watches so much. This particular accessory has a special place in my heart, and I promise to you that I'll be writing about them soon enough.

The interesting thing about this rule for me, is that I agree with it wholeheartedly, but think that you can make one exception. I'll get into that exception in just a second, but yes, you shouldn't be wearing digital watches to any formal event (or any event that isn't extremely casual, in my opinion). As a general rule, larger/thicker watches are for more casual events, and slimmer, smaller watches are for more formal events. The ideal dress watch is slim, simple, analog, on a black or brown leather band, and under 38/40mm in diameter. Casio G-Shocks should be left for going hunting or hiking, and blingy/oversized fashion watches should be left for... never.

So the exception I'm talking about is regarding the ability to use a nice diver watch (metal band, a bit thicker and bigger than a normal dress watch) in dressier situations. Big watch snobs will tell you that you should never do it, but I disagree. I think a nice diver watch, as long as it's not too thick or loud-colored, can look amazing underneath the cuff of a nice suit. Just my humble opinion.

So this rule is pretty self explanatory. Just like the rule about watches, this one is about wearing your accessories appropriately. Don't pair a business casual outfit with Nike Wrap Sunglasses. Save that for when you're wearing a track or wet suit. Trendy hipster glasses probably aren't the best fit with a semi-formal/formal outfit either. Use common sense on this one, and remember, the less flashy the eye/sunglasses, the more appropriate they probably are in most situations.

Leave loud colors and patterns for casual-wear, and stick with tortoise, black, or metal-colored frames for formal-wear. I recommend just buying a pair of Ray Ban Aviators or Wayfarers and calling it a day. Those classics work in basically all situations.

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So there you have it- some rules to keep when wearing accessories. Basically the main takeaway is that you should consider how your accessories will work with the rest of your outfit. Matching/pairing appropriately will make a huge difference, and it's important to remember that.

Really quickly, I'm also going to say that I believe less is more in the case of men's accessories. It's definitely cool to "up the game" of your outfit with some nice accessories, but sometimes, I say it's okay to put down the pocket square, eyeglasses, diamond studs, and bracelets. Just put on a wristwatch and call it a day.

Two prices, one outfit

Mark Kwak

At the end of the day, you are really the only one who knows what you're wearing. That is, unless you're going around obnoxiously shouting what brands of clothing you wear and the prices you paid. If you're doing that, please stop; no one likes a showoff. Anyhow, because of this, sometimes it might make sense to skip the designer stuff and pay a bit more reasonable prices for your clothing. Note: remember that I do always encourage quality > quantity, but hey, different strokes for different folks.

I got the idea for the picture above off of a guy named jdbee on reddit, where he posted one outfit at two different price points. The aesthetic outcome of the outfit may be comparable, but the prices are astronomically different.  Without watches considered (since the Rolex price is a numerical outlier), you could pay a total of $315 for the outfit above or a whopping $3480.

You may be wondering which side I chose from? Well, let's just say there's a bit of mix and match going on, and I'll let you guess.