Sure, we spend a lot of time looking at the stunning, almost art-worthy watches that a man can choose from. But for some, a watch is about little more than telling the time — the easy way, by looking at your wrist, rather than pulling out a cell phone from your skinny jeans. For those guys (the skinny-jeans wearing, young ones), there’s an important question to ask: How cheap is too cheap?
If your wrist is indistinguishable from the average 8-year-old with Happy Meal swag on his wrist, that’s too cheap. There are certain things that, as an adult man seeking a modicum of respect, are not worth sacrificing: Every man should wear his watch on a steel or leather band. Those trendy fabric straps may work for now, but no enduring classic will ever rest on plastic. You can quote that. It also is nice — and useful — to have a date on your watch, but even that rule has it’s own exceptions: The gorgeous Rolex 14060M doesn’t have a date sub, but it’s a dive watch. Yet, if you wear a Rolex and don’t know what day it is, you might have bigger problems at hand.
Bottom line is this: The mechanics of it all, or the question of whether your timepiece has a tourbillon doesn’t really matter when you’re on the street, and a woman asks you for the time, and you’re too embarrassed to pull out your Blackberry. Watches don’t have to cost three-months’ salary to put you at ease in that situation, because “cheap” isn’t really about the price you’re paying — it’s about the aesthetics you get in return. There are many insanely inexpensive watches from Timex, Seiko, even Swatch that are just as stylish and classic as their pricier brethren.
But if you want to truly go budget, the one to know is Casio. You’ve seen the watch since your skateboarding years, sure. But it’s also recently been on the wrists of folks at fashion shows, and it costs less than a movie for two. Better yet: a nice steel bracelet, a decent stopwatch function, and no need to file an insurance claim if you leave it on a hotel nightstand. Is this the watch you pass down to your son when he turns 10? Probably. But at least you can keep everything else for yourself.