Best Watches for Young Professionals

What are the best watches for young professionals? That depends, as jobs vary, workplaces vary and most of us want a watch that reflects our unique sense of personal style. That’s a lot of variables! But there are some truisms in choosing watches for work. Let’s take a deeper dive into some of the best watches that might pair well with young professionals.

It Fits in the Pecking Order

Unless you’re lucky and someone who inherited the family business, you probably work in a place with a defined hierarchy. You have a boss; your boss likely has a boss and so on up the chain. And there’s an old adage that you don’t dress for the job you have; you dress for the job you want. Forget that. It’s terrible advice when it comes to work watches for young professionals.

No, the young professional wants their timepiece to fit right into a middle range when it comes to best watches. It’s not a whimsical thing you picked up at a kiosk in the mall. It’s not a timepiece a high roller would sport on a late-night gambling jag at the finest casinos in Las Vegas. In between, a young professional’s watch neither upstages nor fails to get noticed.

For Those After the Corner Office

We have a few rule-breakers in here for best watches, as these brash young professionals are apt to show up the boss, or at least take things close enough to the line. They’ve been broadcasting their dreams of corporate domination since majoring in finance and that internship on the 35th floor. Be they in banking, real estate or law, they want a watch with a Fortune 500 vibe.

closer view of Rolex Oyster Perpetual 114300 Grape watch

Best to go classic if you’re taking it to the brink of too much flash around the office. Something from the Tudor Black Bay collection has enough style and heritage so as not to get you labeled as an upstart. Or take things up a notch with a Rolex, but keep it conservative and select a timepiece from the Oyster Perpetual line.

For the Creative Types

Maybe, nobody saw these comers as “professionals,” some hosting websites in funky dorm rooms and others doing spoken-word death-metal sets at late-night cafes. But now, they’re out in the work world and they’ve got some pretty cool media jobs in some pretty cool office spaces. Their watches can reflect a bit of that creativity in the air (or is that someone cooking fish in the office microwave again?).

If there are two things that these up-and-coming creative types are most drawn to, it’s 1: tech and 2: vintage style. Combine the two and the post-Millennial pack can’t resist.

The Frederique Constant Horological Smartwatch is one of the least smart-watch-looking smartwatches out there. It seems just like a classic throwback, even somewhat unobtrusive, dress watch. But it also tracks daily activity, manages phone calls and texts, and backs up data on the cloud.

Frederique Constant Horological Smartwatch Ref. FC-285B5B6B watch on its side

Consider a loose work environment where office walls are splashed with color. Popcorn is plentiful and the Friday happy hours have spawned some gossip. The office mates should love the old school charm of the Adidas CYPHER_LX1, stamped with the famous logo that’s adorned sportswear across America for decades.

Exuding that same vintage feel but this time from Italy, U-Boat’s Classico 7797 Men’s Swiss-Automatic is perfect for the young casual office worker. The Italian watchmakers offer up a wonderfully clunky retro style that might spark a new conversation by the water cooler.

In the Under $150 Club

Orient has made some game-changing inroads when it comes to affordable dress watches, backed by Seiko’s history and heritage. That long watchmaking tradition is masterfully on display with the Bambino. This is the go-to watch when looking for a low-cost, high-end feel. It’s clean, classy, and plays well in nearly any work situation.

When talking about the best watches, you also can’t go wrong with a classic Timex dress watch on your wrist. Well, maybe if you’re the CEO and it’s not the annual company barbecue. But for the rest of us in the workplace hierarchy, Timex fits right in. For women that could mean something like the subtle Waterbury Classic, pitch-perfect for dress casual on a deep blue leather strap. For men that might mean a Standard XL, with a 43mm profile that shows some boldness, downplayed by minimalistic leanings on its basic black-and-white face.

For the Digital Nomads

An increasing number of professionals are finding themselves in an ever-growing number of non-professional settings. You may drop into a bistro-cafe and get some work done on your tablet. There’s a midday meeting at an office, but other than that, your day is corporate-space-free.  This watch wearer wants to show the world that they’ve got no strings tying them to an office and no timecard to punch.

To go with an untethered feel, think aviation watches. Going aviator with a dressy design takes you into some interesting territory. It’s where we find the IWC Big Pilot’s Heritage, with big bold titanium cases and simple high-contrast dials. The Big Pilot loves a hearty leather strap and somehow retains its finer side despite the bulkiness.

IWC Big Pilot Ref. IW501005 watch on its side
IWC Big Pilot

Whether you’re making your way up the ladder to corporate success or navigating the day-to-day of your first professional job, there’s a wonderful work watch out there waiting for you.

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