For some, a modern watch is something that offers an interesting and trendy appeal, while for others, it simply refers to a timepiece with a digital display, or a smartwatch. There is no single definition of what a true modern watch is. Indeed, it is difficult to even set one, given how possibilities are always endless in the watch niche. However, you can technically consider pieces with useful, contemporary watch functionalities as “modern watches.”
From Citizen to Frederique Constant, let us find out more about modern watches and their common features. We have also curated a list of top picks of modern watches in the current market, for those looking to make a purchase today.
20 Modern Watches: Our Top Picks
1. Baltic Aquascaphe GMT
What better way to start this list than with a piece from the young and humble French micro-brand Baltic. Apart from being well-designed, the pieces they produce are reasonably priced. One of their newest products is the handsome Baltic Aquascaphe GMT. It bears vintage design cues but its subtle color combinations and superior features are what makes it a true contemporary watch.
Moving on to the specifications of the watch, it comes in a 38mm case made out of 316L stainless steel case and a sturdy black rubber strap. Instead of putting the markers dedicated for the GMT function on the dial, Baltic decided to place them nicely on the two-toned bidirectional bezel instead. Sticking with its classic concept, this Baltic timepiece has a simple glossy black dial with a neat minute track at its rim. It also features a date window at the 6 o’clock position and a vibrant green GMT hand that matches the color of the bezel.
Many of you might think that this kind of watch is only reserved for frequent travelers but you will surely find the Baltic Aquascaphe GMT useful at some point in your life. Plus, this is a watch that could spice up your look in an instant, making it quite a worthwhile purchase. This Baltic watch retails at just $1,095 USD.
2. Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Aqualand Ref. BJ2169-08E
Next up, we have the Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Aqualand Ref. BJ2169-08E. This watchevokes a commanding and rugged appeal with its striking brushed finish, vibrant bezel, large pushers, and strategic face layout. But more than its look, this 44mm stainless steel watch with a blue rubber strap is packed to the brim with useful features. It comes with a reliable chronograph function, a date window, a 12/24-hour time feature and an anti-reflective sapphire crystal which protects the watch from scratches and bumps. It also features luminous hands and Arabic numeral hour markers that provide excellent legibility, especially in dark conditions.
Apart from sporting a fierce exterior, this timepiece also has the capacity to withstand extreme water pressures of up to 200 meters. Its Caliber B740 movement is equipped with the brand’s proprietary Eco-Drive technology. Simply put, this Citizen Promaster watch is light-powered, and the battery can last up to a few months without charging. If you are looking for something that has cutting-edge features and contributes to a good environmental cause, then this $669 USD Citizen watch is the right one for you.
3. Vincero The Altitude
The Vincero The Altitude is a pilot watch, so you can already expect it to come with functions perfect for people whose life revolves around traveling. For one, it has a mini date display at 3 o’clock that bears black-coloured text against a white background for maximum legibility. If water resistance is a big deal for you, this Vincero watch checks the box perfectly as it can resist water pressures of up to 100 meters. It also comes with a 24-hour function and a dual time indicator, which allows you to simultaneously track two different time zones.
Powered by a Citizen Miyota quartz movement, this Vincero The Altitude watch retails at $200 USD. It also comes in other neutral color choices for greater variety. We would not be surprised if this handsome watch becomes a classic in the future.
4. Frederique Constant Horological Smartwatch Ref. FC-285B5B6B
At first glance of the Frederique Constant Horological Smartwatch Ref. FC-285B5B6B, you would think it is just a simple mechanical timepiece. This is because it bears a refined analog look just like many other traditional luxury watches. However, the best thing about this modern watch is that you can connect it to your smartphone, allowing you to access its other amazing features. These include a Worldtimer function that lets you view 24 different world time zones all at once. It also has sleep and activity tracking functions, which are helpful in monitoring your health amidst your busy life. The brand also placed a date counter at 6 o’clock that adds a clever touch to the timepiece, so it does not look too empty.
Apart from being reliable, this Frederique Constant watch also excels aesthetically. It comes with a 42mm polished stainless steel case, with proportional lugs and a large crown placed beside the 3 o’clock mark. Its cool black dial is adorned with silver Roman numerals, baton indices, and luminous feuille hands. It also has a stunning sunburst finish, making the watch look even more sophisticated than it already is. A chunky stainless steel bracelet completes the watch’s elegant, professional look. Priced at around $1,150 USD, this modern timepiece is for those who love fitness tracking but do not want an overly sporty-looking watch on your wrist.
5. LIV P-51 Rose Titanium Chrono
From the dial and strap composition to the color scheme and finish, the LIV P-51 Rose Titanium Chrono is an actual stunner. It exudes an air of boldness, making it the perfect modern watch for people who prioritize form and function equally.
Released in celebration of the brand’s fifth anniversary, this LIV timekeeper comes in a 38mm rose gold case made from high-grade titanium. This is paired with a matching brown Barenia French leather strap that adds a luxurious touch. The watch also sports a matte blue dial with sword hands and geometric indices, all coated with BGW9 luminescence.
Powering the watch is a Swiss automatic mechanism that has 25 jewels. In terms of its functions, it has a day-date display and three counters dedicated to the chronograph function. You can score this LIV watch for just $1,500 USD.
6. Zenith Defy Tourbillon Ref 40.9000.9020/78.R582
For those of you seeking a futuristic-looking modern watch, the Zenith Defy Tourbillon Ref 40.9000.9020/78.R582 is a great option. This watch has a 46mm platinum case with a clean brushed finish. It features a tough black rubber strap with an embossed alligator leather coating. This strap also has a double folding clasp made out of titanium and white gold so you can firmly secure it on your wrist.
But what is really special about this watch is its eye-catching openworked dial. This skeleton dial comes in a mixture of metallic blue, black, and silver hues, adding a striking texture to its whole look. Apart from the power-reserve indicator peeking out at the 12 o’clock mark, the watch also has two sub-dials dedicated to the 30-minute and 60-second functions. This fantastic watch from Zenith also comes with a double tourbillon, ensuring the watch will stay precise no matter what changes in gravity it encounters. This watch is powered by a 311-component El Primero movement.
This Zenith Defy watch is a limited edition model, with only 10 pieces in the world available. As such, you can expect it to come with a heavy price tag. This ultramodern timepiece costs around $120,000 USD, and is the perfect epitome of the modern men’s watch that truly exceeds expectations.
7. Casio Edifice EF-558D-1AV
Another worthy contender in the best modern watches category is the Casio Edifice EF52RD-1AV. This is a highly functional watch, with a built-in chronograph function that can measure elapsed time of up to 4:59’59, while also keeping an accuracy rating of ±20 seconds per month. Furthermore, it even has a tachymeter scale on its bezel, with small yet readable markings that blend well with the overall look of the dial.
This Casio watch bears a rugged stainless steel link bracelet paired with a 51mm round case that looks great on people with bigger wrists. In terms of design, the watch’s black dial displays baton hour markers and large pencil-style hands, all coated with luminous elements. Apart from bearing a screw-down case back and crown, the watch also comes with a date and day display beside the 3 o’clock mark. What’s more, this quartz-powered watch even has a retrograde dial strategically placed at 9 o’clock, and a 100-meter water resistance rating. This $200-USD Casio men’s modern watch is the perfect piece to get if you want a versatile yet solid timepiece.
8. Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar Ref. T091.420.44.051.00
Let us take a break from the typical analog watches and take a look at this digitized beauty hailing from the famous Swiss brand, Tissot. A single look at its glorious and well-proportioned physical qualities quickly shows that the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar Ref. T091.420.44.051.00 can handle tough situations. As its name suggests, it has a touch screen crystal that you can use to access all of its high-tech functionalities. Such detail makes this modern watch unique and desirable.
This dapper and tough Tissot T-Touch watch has a 45mm black PVD-coated case made out of titanium and a matching gray bracelet with a folding clasp. Its titanium exterior means that this watch is remarkably resistant to scratches while also bearing a lightweight profile. This digital watch is also jam-packed with features, which any wearer will surely appreciate.. It comes with 2 alarms, an accumulator charge indicator, compass countdown timer, and battery end-of-life display. It even has a perpetual calendar, a second time zone, a backlight, and an altimeter perfect for your hiking and climbing pursuits. To top it all off, you can control these functions with just one touch of the dial, giving you a great deal of convenience in your daily life.
With the incorporation of tactile technology and an advanced mechanism that depends on solar power, you will surely get a bang for your buck with this $1,129 USD modern watch.
9. Apple Watch Nike Edition
This list would not be complete if we do not mention a watch from the famous technology giant, Apple, Inc. Their watches break all barriers with their lovely appearances and easy-to-navigate interfaces. One of their best offerings is the Apple Watch Nike Edition, which perfectly redefines what modern watches can do. It mostly appeals to young people and to those who are knowledgeable about the Apple ecosystem.
This 40mm aluminum watch comes with a variety of features, including GPS, retina display, and built-in ECG and Blood Oxygen applications. These apps help you monitor your heart rate in order for you to adjust your workout routines, eating habits and such. It also comes with a Twilight mode for greater visibility during the night. This mode allows you to change the face layout into a brighter, solid-colored one so that you can conduct your runs and workouts perfectly, no matter what time of the day it is.
The Apple Watch Nike Edition is one of the top modern watches to consider if you want a no-frills piece which you can turn into your fitness companion. By just syncing it to your iPhone, you will be able to make use of its many capabilities already. You can grab this timepiece through Apple’s official stores and website for just $460 USD.
10. Grand Seiko SBGA211
Grand Seiko is yet another outstanding watch manufacturer from Japan. They value superior craftsmanship above all, which is why it is no surprise why the Grand Seiko SBGA211 has such impressive quality.
Exuding a crisp and elegant vibe, this Grand Seiko piece for men and women comes in a 41mm titanium case along with a bracelet made out of the same material. The white dial comes with subtle drywall-like textures that gives the watch more edge, as well as with a date feature at 3 o’clock. Despite not bearing luminous components, the hour markers and hands have a shiny finish that makes the watch easily legible in the dark. Besides bearing an automatic movement with a whopping 72 hours of power reserve, this watch also has a sleek power reserve indicator that adds a contemporary kick to the dial. Be prepared to shell out around $6,000 USD if you want to get a hold of this Grand Seiko modern watch.
11. Jaeger LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Réserve de Marche Ref. 1378420
The Jaeger LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Réserve de Marche Ref. 1378420 is a complex, high-tech masterpiece. This watch from Jaeger LeCoultre is created for people who adore clean lines, thin watch builds, and fine luxury watch complications.
This lovely Jaeger LeCoultre Master watch is presented in a 39mm stainless steel case paired with a cool blackleather strap. Aside from the dauphine hands and rhodium-plated hour markers, the silver sunray dial also comes with a power reserve indicator and two sub-dials dedicated to the date and 24-hour features. Making the watch more interesting, the date display is in a 31-day format, as opposed to the simple date apertures you typically see in other watches.
In terms of power, this watch relies on a 41-jewel automatic movement that beats at 28,800 vibrations per hour. You can get a glimpse of this movement at work through its transparent case back. Despite bearing a hefty price tag of around $29,300 USD, you can never go wrong with the dependability this modern dress watch brings to the table.
12. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Minute Repeater Supersonnerie Ref. 26591TI.OO.1252TI.02
Up next, we have a gorgeous minute-repeater watch from Audemars Piguet. The Royal Oak Minute Repeater Supersonnerie Ref. 26591TI.OO.1252TI.02 boasts an insanely elegant design. It has unrivaled acoustic capabilities and a superb performance, which will surely make every watch connoisseur drool.
Apart from bearing the iconic octagonal bezel and a case made out of titanium, the watch also features a salmon-colored Grande Tappisserie dial. The signature luminescent baton hands present in all 1970s Royal Oak pieces can also be found in this model. At 6 o’clock, you can see a small seconds counter with black markers that contrast well with its elegant pink background. Under the hood, the watch runs on the manually-wound Calibre 2959, which has 72 hours of power reserve. In addition, this watch gives off an incredibly soothing sound for its minute repeater feature.
If you want a modern watch with a fancy twist that will remain relevant for years to come, this $400,000 USD watch is the answer to your prayers.
13. Patek Philippe Complications Ref. 5205R
Moon phase watches can be a hit or miss for many. However, this modern moon phase watch from luxury Swiss brand Patek Philippe sets the bar higher and delivers more than a great design. This is definitely one of the classiest and most chic moon phase watches in the market today.
This Patek Philippe Complications Ref. 5205R comes in a 30mm rose gold case with a brown hand-stitched alligator leather strap. The dial sports an opaline white hue and features applied gold hands and baton hour markers. Apart from a moon phase display and 24-hour indicators at 6 o’clock, the watch also boasts date, day of the week, and month windows. In terms of its technical specifications, this Patek Philippe Complications piece runs on an automatic Caliber 324 S QA LU 24H/206, which has a maximum power reserve of 45 hours. On the whole, this posh moon phase watch costs around $53,300 USD. It is perfect for women who want to level up their fashion game with an elegant modern watch.
14. Zenith Elite Moonphase Ref. 16.3200.692/01.C832
Up next, we have another gorgeous moon phase watch, designed for the ladies. The Zenith Elite Moonphase Ref. 16.3200.692/01.C832 gives off a voguish vibe with its gleaming, diamond-studded bezel and stylish blue jean alligator leather strap. The leather strap also has a protective rubber lining that contributes to the watch’s pristine look. This is paired with a 36mm round stainless steel case
Design-wise, the silver dial, with its sunburst finish, features a small seconds sub-dial with no outlines at 9 o’clock and a gorgeous blue moon phase display with white accents at 6 o’clock. Matching the exterior of the watch, its rhodium-plated hands and hour markers also come in a silver hue. This Zenith Elite watch relies on an ultra-thin Elite 692 movement and has a minimum power reserve of up to 50 hours. You can get this luxurious modern timepiece with stylishly muted colors for around $9,000 USD.
15. A. Lange & Söhne Langematik Perpetual Ref. 310.050
Every man should have a fully-functional and dashing leather dress watch in their wardrobe. For those who are on the hunt, this A. Lange & Söhne Langematik Perpetual Ref. 310.050 is an excellent option. The great thing about this luxury timepiece is that it is classic and versatile enough to be paired with any of your chosen attires. Despite bearing a rather complex dial, you can still navigate the elements of its dial easily because of its congruous format and clean spacing.
This watch has a 38.5mm honey gold case with a dapper brown crocodile leather strap. Sporting an intricate layout, its dial boasts a gleaming silver sheen, with honey gold Roman numeral indices and hands that are all coated in luminous material.
The watch’s name already suggests that it comes with a perpetual calendar. That said, this A. Lange & Söhne piece also has some additional features which you will be thrilled to know about. It has three different sub-dials for the month and leap year indicators, small seconds and moon phase features, as well as day-of-the-week and 24-hour displays. Under the 12 o’clock marker, you can find a large, commanding date aperture. If you want a nice modern watch with flair, consider this limited edition A. Lange & Söhne Langematik watch that retails at $108,120 USD.
16. Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronometer Annual Calendar
This next contender would undoubtedly make a good addition to your diverse wardrobe. Despite bearing a bold color, the Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronometer Annual Calendar can easily match any style and outfit.
It has a 43mm stainless steel case with a shiny silver-colored bezel. Boasting a colorful but versatile theme, the watch has a navy blue rubber strap that matches its sunburst blue dial. Apart from bearing humongous Roman numeral indices and luminous silver hands, the face of this watch also comes with a small-second counter and a small, circle-shaped date window. At the bottom of the dial, you will find a big annual calendar sub-dial with striking white and red accents. As a member of the Marine collection, this Ulysse Nardin watch has a water-resistance rating of 100 meters. As such, you can take it for some casual diving and even for snorkeling. This gem costs $13,600 USD. It is one of the best-looking modern watches for men today.
17. IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Spitfire Ref. IW387902
For our next watch, we have this laid-back IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Spitfire Ref. IW387902, which exudes a retro and smart air. It is a product of IWC, a world-class brand known for manufacturing reliable and powerful aviator pieces.
This IWC Pilot’s watch boasts a 41mm bronze case and a matching brown calfskin leather strap. This is paired with a fancy, dark green dial. Powered by a 33-jewel, 231-component in-house automatic movement called the Caliber 69380, this watch is packed with numerous functionalities. These include a small hacking seconds function, a date and day window, and a chronograph feature. The watch can last up to around 2 days when fully-wound, and has luminous elements all over its dial. If you are looking for a modern watch that can spark instant conversations, then do not hesitate to try this IWC timepiece out. It retails at around $7,580 USD, making it more affordable than the other ultra complicated modern watches included in this list.
18. Citizen Eco-Drive Ref. AT8110-61L
Next up is another sporty and bulky piece from Citizen. With the release of the Citizen Eco-Drive Ref. AT8110-61L, the brand was able to outdo itself once again, with this fresh and innovative modern piece..
It has a 42.7mm stainless steel case paired with a bracelet made out of the same material. Sticking with its contemporary design, the dial is in a deep blue hue and has few black and silver accents, adding a touch of cool variety. Its dial also boasts luminous baton hour markers and dauphine hands. These allow you to tracktime accurately even during low-light conditions. What’s more, this Citizen watch has a chronograph function, a World Time feature that displays 26 cities at once, 12/24-hour time, a power reserve indicator and a date aperture. It is powered by Citizen’s Eco-Drive technology, so it relies on light sources for power. This watch will set you back by around $469 USD.
19. Montblanc Star Legacy Orbis Terrarum
Next on our list is a watch from the well-esteemed German luxury brand Montblanc. This is a brand that offers various products ranging from jewelry, pens, headphones, and bags, among others. Their watches all bear a classy and sophisticated vibe, just like their other offerings.
Right off the bat, you will notice that the Montblanc Star Legacy Orbis Terrarum is not just your ordinary timepiece. Enclosed in a 43mm stainless steel case, this watch has a polished crown, fixed bezel, lugs, pusher, and a pretty blue leather strap. Oozing with refinement, this watch also has a blue-colored dial with white markings all over its surface and a world time feature that displays 24 time zones at once. It also has an integrated day and night display, giving you the best timekeeping experience you could wish for, especially if you are a frequent traveler. This Montblanc Star Legacy watch runs on an automatic MB 29.20 Caliber that beats at 28,800 vph. Retailing at $7,200 USD, it has a high-quality sapphire crystal back and a handy 50-meter water resistance rating.
20. Patek Philippe Grand Complications Ref. 6104R
For our final watch, we have the Patek Philippe Grand Complications Ref. 6104R. This modern watch demonstrates the brand’s attention to detail and overflowing passion for creating astronomical watches. It boasts a classic round rose gold case that measures 44mm in size, a studded bezel, and a black alligator strap with hand-stitched parts.
What makes this watch extraordinary is its outstanding dial that simply draws the eye. It has a sky chart in the center that allows any wearer to admire the exact condition of the star-speckled sky in the northern hemisphere, as well as the phases of the moon. Meanwhile, the ellipse-shaped hands with vibrant red accents will let you know the part of the sky that is visible from Geneva. Instead of pointing towards the regular time, the two other skeleton hands let any user know the hours and minutes of the current mean solar time.
This modern watch reportedly costs $331,000 USD, making it one of the most expensive pieces included in this list.
6 Features to Watch Out For in Modern Watches
1: Power Reserve Indicator
Many modern watches feature a power reserve indicator which, in layman’s terms, displays the remaining amount of energy stored in the watch.
Think of this feature in the same way you think of your vehicle’s petrol gauge. Just as your petrol gauge lets you know when it’s time to fill up the tank, a power reserve indicator will let you know when it’s time to replace the battery or wind the system.
2: Chronograph Functionality
On top of its time-displaying capabilities, chronograph watches facilitate timekeeping. The face of a chronograph watch will display seconds, minutes, and hours.
The built-in stopwatch functionality is a feature that can be used in various applications. Most people use chronograph watches to time races. But other uses include monitoring cooking times, tracking billable hours, timing meetings, and more.
3: World Time
Most modern watches are able to display more than one time zone at once, but only a world-time watch can tell you the time across all 24 time zones at a glance. Because this feature can often result in a complicated, cluttered-looking face only serious globetrotters opt for watches with world time functionality.
World-time watches display two time zones at once and allows the wearer to track the time across all zones. This feature is especially handy for purposes, ranging from adjusting time displays due to traveling to new time zones to figuring out when is a good time to call your friend who lives overseas.
In addition to telling the time, some watches double as a calendar displaying the day, date, and month. Perpetual calendar watches can even indicate leap years! Annual calendar watches are the most popular type of calendar watches as they display all the date information you need. Annual calendar watches need to be manually set once a year, while perpetual calendar watches don’t.
Because the calendar feature is such a handy tool, many modern watches include this feature. A prime example of an annual calendar watch is the IWC Portugieser Annual Calendar Automatic watch. The best of the best in perpetual calendar watches is the Patek Phillipe Grand Complications Perpetual Calendar watch. Interestingly enough, the first-ever annual calendar wristwatch was patented by Patek Phillipe in 1996.
5: Moon Phase
While the days of using the phases of the moon as a calendar are long gone, moon phase watches still have a special place in the world. A moon phase watch displays the moon’s current phase as it is in the sky at that very moment.
As opposed to merely telling the time, a watch that displays moon phases gives you an insight into the inner workings of the universe. Moon phase watches aren’t mainstream watches that adorn the wrists of just anyone. Rather they are worn by artists, skywatchers, fishermen, and those who appreciate the marvel that is moon phase watches.
6: Atomic Timekeeping
Not many modern watches have atomic timekeeping capabilities because the feature is not that sought after by consumers. It might not be popular, but it is innovative! The appeal of atomic timekeeping is that it keeps the most accurate time on the planet, thanks to radio-controlled synchronization.
There is no need to manually set or adjust the time or date on an atomic watch because it does so automatically. It’s done via low-frequency radio signals emitted from atomic clocks such as the one found in Colorado. A prime example of a watch boasting atomic timekeeping capabilities is the Casio GW-9400J-1JF.
All in all, there are many modern watches out there at different price points. You just have to clearly determine what your needs are, what budget is okay with you, and what functions are the most significant to the lifestyle you practice. Whatever your perception is about them, all modern watches are solidly built to provide convenience and keep you company for a long time. Equipped with numerous cutting-edge features and durable mechanisms, these modern watches are surely worth donning on your wrist. We hope you have found some great options through our comprehensive list.
Photos from the aforementioned brands’ official websites, unless stated otherwise