Top 3 Types Of Watches Categories To Know

What watch do you wear on your wrist? It’s an important decision, and we’re here to help.

This blog post will take a look at the top three types of watch categories. We will focus on the different types of watch styles, watch movements, and watch functions.

So whether you’re interested in a dress watch, or an automatic watch, or even a chronograph.

We’ll explain all of the different types of watches you’ll find when you’re looking for that next watch.

Types Of Watches

  1. Watch Style
  2. Watch Movement
  3. Watch Function

1. Watch Styles

The style of a watch refers to its look and aesthetic. There are 5 different styles of watches we mainly divide watches into. 

Watch StyleWatch Style Overview
Dress WatchThe simplest and most elegant watch.
Originally made for formal attire.
Casual WatchThe most common style of watch made for everyday use.
Luxury WatchWatches made by luxury watchmakers with long, prestigious
histories in the art of watchmaking.
Sports WatchA durable watch built for playing sports.
Fashion WatchA watch made by a fashion brand that doesn’t have
watchmaking capabilities.

Dress Watch

Credor Dress Watch (Image : Seiko Boutique)

The simplest and the most elegant of all watch styles is the dress watch.

They’re watches that compliment an outfit and only tell the time. They usually don’t have any complications. Except maybe they might show the date.

Dress watches mainly feature a leather band.

The dress watch was designed to be paired with formal attire. With its fuss free, minimalist look. However, now due to the growing casual nature of clothing. Dress watches are often worn with many types of outfits.

Except a dress watch should never be worn in rough scenarios, where it could get knocked i.e. playing sports.

These watches should be treated with care, as they show off the art of watchmaking.

Yet, they’re a dying breed. And watches are often labelled dress watches when they’re not.

Casual Watch

A casual style of watch is often regarded as a timepiece with a metal bracelet.

A metal band is usually considered less formal. Metal band timepieces are very popular nowadays and suit the majority of outfits.

This style of watch is the most common, and is designed for everyday use.

They’re also the most affordable style of watch.

Luxury Watch

Rolex – Datejust (Image : Rolex)

These watches are produced by watch brands that have a long and prestigious history in watchmaking.

Luxury watch brands are from around the world. However, Swiss watch brands take up the most in terms of luxury watch companies.

Luxury timepieces are often handmade, created in-house, and produced in smaller amounts. This creates the allure of these timepieces and makes them more valuable.

Check out the top ten luxury watch brands to find some of the best luxury watchmakers around.

Sports Watch

Four watches from the Royal Oak collection from luxury sports watch collection (Royal Oak) by Audemars Piguet.
Luxury Sports Watch – Royal Oak (Image : Audemars Piguet)

A sports watch is a very popular style of watch. Built to handle physical activities that can be rough.

Durable timepieces, compared to dress watches. They can handle a few knocks and are made from tough materials.

They also often have a level of water resistance.

Plus they regularly come with complications. Meaning they can do more than just tell the time.

Also these timepieces have to be easily read. With a big, clear dial and easy to read indices. And quite often feature luminous hands and indices too.

There is such a thing as a luxury sports watch. With Swiss watchmaker Audemars Piguet pioneering this category in the 1970s with their Royal Oak collection. This was the collection that igniting the love for luxury sports watches.

Fashion Watch

A fashion watch is regarded as a watch produced by a brand that doesn’t specialize in watchmaking.

Fashion brands without watch expertise, sell fashion watches.

Usually there is much more focus on the look of the watch. Rather than the quality of the watch’s movement or functionality.

Often these fashion brands buy cheap, but accurate, quartz movements. Then apply their branding to the timepiece and sell them off at a premium price.

If you’re just after the aesthetic of a watch or brand, and not after the watchmaking capabilities. Then a fashion brand is an alright purchase.

2. Watch Movement

The movement of a watch is what makes it go. It’s the timepieces’ engine.

Learn more about these watch movements in our article on the difference between mechanical and quartz watch movements.

Watch MovementWatch Movement Overview
AutomaticSelf winding, by harnessing energy from the natural motion of the wearer.
ManualRequires hand winding on a regular basis.
QuartzPowered by a battery.

Mechanical Movement

Mechanical watch movements use a clockwork mechanism to power the watch and measure time.

These watches are not bought for precision. They’re bought by watch lovers.

Mechanical watches are considered pieces of art, and mini feats of engineering.

And mechanical timepieces come in two forms.

1. Automatic Movement

Photo of the inside of a automatic mechanical watch movement.
Inside of a Automatic Mechanical Watch Movement

An automatic movement is a mechanical watch movement that is self-winding.

Meaning that the watch is wound through kinetic energy from being worn. The natural motion an automatic watch experiences will power the watch.

This is due to the addition of a swinging pendulum that we call a rotor.

2. Manual Movement

Photo of the inside of a manual mechanical watch movement
Inside of a Manual Mechanical Watch Movement

A manual movement is a mechanical watch movement that needs to be hand-wound on a regular basis.

You must manually wind the watch’s crown to keep a hand-wound mechanical watch working.

As it’s the only way to get power into the watch’s movement, and keep the watch telling the time.

However, be careful to not over wind your manual watch!

Quartz Movement

Photo of the inside of a quartz watch movement.
Inside of a Quartz Watch Movement

A quartz movement is a movement powered by a quartz battery.

It caused a big stir in the watchmaking world when it was introduced by Seiko, in 1969. The release of it caused the quartz crisis.

A quartz movement is always more accurate than mechanical timepiece.

This movement causes the watches hand to tick. Instead of moving in a sweeping motion, like that in a mechanical watch.

3. Watch Function

Many watches are built to fulfill a specific function. Often referred to as tool watches.

All these types of watches feature complications.

A complication is a technical watch term. Complications refer to functions that a watch has besides telling the time.

Watch FunctionWatch Function Overview
ChronographA watch that can measure and record time intervals. 
Dive WatchA watch designed for underwater diving.
Pilot WatchA watch built for the needs of a pilot.
GMT WatchA watch that allows you to display 2 or 3 time zones at once.
Through a 24 hour format.
Field WatchA military watch designed to be water resistant and durable.
Moonphase WatchA watch that displays the 29.5 day lunar cycle.


A chronograph in its simplest form is essentially a watch and stopwatch combined.

However, there are many different types of chronographs out there today.

Types of chronographs include:

  • The simple, and first, Monopusher Chronograph
    • Stop, start, and reset with just one button
  • Two button Chronographs are more popular today
  • Split-Second Chronograph
    • A device to time two separate events at once

Chronographs are very often paired with many other complications. To create some truly complicated masterpieces.

Dive Watch

A dive watch is made for divers. Their tough watches that can handle some extreme water pressure.

They’re also equipped with a bidirectional rotation bezel. Meaning it can rotate clockwise and anticlockwise. This is an essential feature to help divers track how long they’ve been underwater.

Dive watches have different levels of water resistance. Ranging from 10 atm to up to 100 atm. Atm is a unit of measurement of pressure. 1 atm is equal to the pressure of 10 meters of water.

Dive watches are not essential for divers now. Yet they remain a hugely popular type of watch due to it’s durability and aesthetic appeal.

Pilot Watch

A watch made for those who fly planes. Pilot watches are still a popular type of watch. Also they’re often referred to as Aviation watches too.

They’re very popular among those who travel frequently, especially business travelers.

A pilot watch has some key features:

  • Legible and large dial
  • Luminous indices and hands
  • A large winding crown
  • Dual time or GMT functions

GMT Watch

A GMT watch features a GMT complication. A GMT complication allows the wearer to set 2 or 3 time zones. Done through a 24 hour format.

Check out the video below to understand this type of watch works.

Field Watch

The Field Watch is a military timepiece. These watches were once called trench watches.

They were born from the time of the world wars of the twentieth century. As soldiers needed an accurate and durable watch that could replace the outdated pocket watch.

The Field Watch features include:

  • Large, easy to read indices that often glow in the dark
  • High contrast dial for easier readability
  • Often equipped with NATO straps
  • Stainless steel cases

Moonphase Watch

Moonphase watches have grown in popularity of late. They’re watches that have the function of tracking the 29.5 day Lunar cycle.

CWard Moonphase Watch (Image : CWard)

The phase of the moon is displayed in a gap within the dial of the watch. Displaying where the mini moon is on its cycle.

They’re very accurate, and often look very beautiful.

To Sum Up

These 3 types of watch categories (style, movement, function) help us breakdown the types of watches available today.

Now, check out watch water resistance and learn why you need understand it before investing in your next timepiece.