A watch is like a man's handwriting. Look at the watch, and you immediately know who is standing in front of you. It's the first thing that he puts on in the morning, and the last thing he takes off. I'm sure you know the feeling: when you don't have your watch on, you feel totally and uncomfortably naked.
First of all: does the watch fit the outfit? If you're in a suit and you're wearing a shirt with French cuffs and cufflinks, a diver's watch, a Rolex, or anything chunky, is just not on (unless you're James Bond). It would be like wearing a Piaget Ultra Thin to the gym. Really you need three watches: one that suits your job, a dress watch for formal gear, and a sports watch for leisure time and pursuits.
The watch that suits your job is the eloquent one. A world time watch with multiple time zones, for example: enough said. You're either ultra-familiar with the world's airlines, or you're always on the phone with people thousands of miles away.
Apart from the watch itself, the strap speaks volumes. Leather is straightforward simplicity, and the knowledge that the best things improve with age. A steel mesh band, and you're at home with modernity.
But let's have a look at a few of the latest watches to find out what they say about you.
IWC Ingenieur Automatic Carbon Performance
IWC is definitely a macho brand. They don't even contemplate women's watches (actually, quite a few women wear IWCs – "that's OK, as long as they buy their own and don't steal their partner's" is what they say about that), and their classic series such as the Big Pilot's Watch, the Portuguese and the Portofino are all tough, sports watches. The new Ingenieur series is all about Formula One looks. Wear the Carbon Performance, and what you're saying is that you like winning, you love new technology, modern style, and speed. A bit like driving an AMG Mercedes.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Grande Complication
If you wear an AP, you're deep, man. There are many strings to your bow. You appreciate both the beauty of classicism and tradition, and the modernity of tough engineering. Gerald Genta's octagonal design with exposed bolts has become a classic, but it is still different enough from the normal watch to attract a second glance. And if it's the Grande Complication, you're special in many ways. Perfect timing is your forte. And planning ahead.
Breguet Classique Grande Complication 5347 Twin Rotating Tourbillons
Secretly, you're a dreamer and a philosopher. You know that the tourbillon is a superb tour-de-force of watchmaking, but as unnecessary today – or necessary, according to your point of view – as mechanical watches (when compared to the precision of quartz). The tourbillon is part of the dream, and a piece like this Breguet has a sort of hypnotic beauty, with its two tourbillons that slowly glide around the dial, taking the hour hand with it. You're a connoisseur, a lover of good French wine. Your favourite city? Paris, of course.
Panerai Luminor 1950 3 Days Chrono Flyback Automatic
You'll accept no nonsense. You like Italian design flair and Swiss precision, steel instead of gold, and you're ready for whatever sport, whether it's flying, skydiving, motor-racing or scuba diving. You have a sort of MacGyver ability to put your hand to anything and come up trumps every time. But you're not a daredevil: you calculate the risks and take all the right decisions to ensure your safety. Rather like the Panerai trademark protective device for the crown.
Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Contemporaine retrograde day and date
You're different. You like looking at things from your own point of view, and so you love this watch with its retrograde hands that jump back to the beginning after reaching the end of the month, and week. You're very, very busy, and so you like the calming simplicity of the dial. And the clear indication of the day of the week, something that you have a tendency – given your frenetic lifestyle – to forget.
Christophe Claret Dualtow
You're a tongue-in-cheek techie; you love miracles of technology, like this Christophe Claret piece which combines traditional watchmaking features such as tourbillon and monopusher chronograph with the truly original belt indicators on either side of the dial to indicate hours and minutes. The design influences, including the Bugatti alloy wheels and the tank-inspired belts, intrigue you every time you look at it. Be careful: people will start asking you advice like "I've forgotten the password to my iPad, can you help me break in?"
These are just a few examples. The range out there is enormous, and so you can choose exactly the watch that suits you and your lifestyle best. It's not about money: the price fork for mechanical watches starts at under €1,000 and reaches €1 million and more. It is a really personal thing. That watch on your wrist has a tiny beating heart, the balance wheel and its spring, and it's going to beat in resonance with your own, for a lifetime.