How To Choose The Perfect Watch To Suit Your Personal Style

Three NET-A-PORTER style experts share their tips for selecting an investment timepiece that will complement every outfit you own. By CHARLIE BOYD

Whether your look is feminine, more androgynous or somewhere in between, there’s a classic watch to suit your style

Harriet Haskell-Thomas, global head of styling

“A watch should become part of your uniform, so think about what that uniform is – whether it’s denim or suiting, or if it’s more feminine – and use that as a starting point. I like the idea of having a watch with straps that can be changed, and I love the look of a leather strap – it’s definitely a bonus if you can change the color from time to time. As far as jewelry is concerned, I often wear a lot of mixed metals, so would love to invest in a piece that incorporates gold and steel, such as Cartier’s ‘Ballon Bleu’.

Personally, I like to make unexpected styling pairings; I think it’s what really makes an outfit sing: a beautiful diamond evening watch worn with jeans and a white tee, for example, or an elegant evening outfit offset with a more masculine watch and chunky gold jewelry. Different timepieces can play different roles within your fine jewelry wardrobe, so don’t always go for the most obvious choice.”

Libby Page, senior market editor

“I am a very classic, simple dresser. I love neutral tones, white shirts, tailoring – all those great wardrobe staples – so, for me, the color of my watch has to work well with that aesthetic. I wear a gold ‘Heure H’ watch by Hermès Timepieces with a white leather strap – to me, white feels fresh but still classic. I love that I can change the strap, too, so I have invested in a black version for the winter months. I also take the jewelry I wear into account when deciding on a watch – I’m always wearing gold earrings, so I wanted a timepiece that would complement them.

I firmly believe that just one watch can work for every outfit, but it must be well thought-out. A strap that’s changeable, or a style that effortlessly echoes your fine jewelry, is a great place to start. If you are a feminine, delicate dresser, for example, then a bracelet strap makes a beautiful complement. However, if you are a little more masculine or gender neutral in your style, then a leather strap feels on point. That said, I do love an oversized watch with a chunky bracelet, so, sometimes, it really does depend on the individual piece. It’s always worth taking the time to experiment and play around with pieces that gel with your most-loved wardrobe staples.”

Megan Logue, acting senior fashion features editor

“As someone with quite a streamlined wardrobe, I would assert that there definitely is such a thing as a watch that works with every look. There are a few key details to consider, though. Does your wish-list watch work with your daily downtime style? And does it also complement your usual after-dark look, too? A leather strap can actually provide a beautiful and compelling contrast to eveningwear, particularly if you opt for the ‘Klikti’ watch by Hermès Timepieces, for example – a clever hybrid that is entirely set with diamonds.

After deliberating for a few seasons now, and recently celebrating a milestone birthday, I am finally about to purchase my first watch. For my first fine timepiece, I’ve decided to opt for a bracelet strap that features both yellow gold and stainless steel, so either Cartier’s ‘Panthère de Cartier’ or the ‘Tank Française’ – but the jury is still out! The classicism that underpins Cartier’s designs is the perfect complement to my closet, which is dominated by elevated essentials cast in a relatively neutral palette. At the moment, I’m exclusively wearing yellow-gold jewelry, as opposed to white gold; however, I want a timepiece that will complement the rest of my jewelry collection – whichever precious metals I gravitate towards over the coming years.”