Time to Upgrade to a Men’s Watch

Whether you just finished college, recently got hitched, or just celebrated your Bar Mitzvah, you are now officially a man. While your $20 Timex Ironman has been reliable, it is past time to retire it.

You know the watch I’m talking about…the one you got from your Aunt on your eight birthday; the one with twelve different features (most of which you never used).

You’ve spent five times the original cost of the watch on battery replacements, and the nylon band, well, it smells pretty rank. Pay attention, because these will be the deciding factors while trying to decide which men’s watch to buy.

Is it Practical?

First and foremost, purchase a watch that is practical. It sounds like I’m joking, but I’m not. When contemplating the complexities of purchasing a watch, consider both your lifestyle and the usefulness of the watch. Below is a watch that I think you will find—umm, rather useless.

Black Movado watch leather

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New Year’s Resolutions: Tools to Up Your Fashion Game in 2014

wingtip

The dawn of a New Year has a habit of shedding light on those parts of ourselves that we’d like to tweak and change. “A New Year, a new you:” a common mantra in support of creating and going after attainable New Year’s resolutions. Are you looking to dress the part of a new and improved version of yourself?

I am going to give you some tips on developing your style for the workplace without radically altering your look that will make keeping your New Year’s Resolution simple. The name of the game is accessorizing. Most men balk at the term, but accessories are one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to really polish off your style, and I know of a few essentials that you’ll be glad to have stowed in your arsenal.

Shoes

Surprisingly enough, shoes tend to be one of the first things women notice about a man. If you’re shuffling around in a beat up or scuffed pair of department store kickers, you’re drawing far too much negative attention to yourself. When it comes to dress shoes, stick to natural colors and patterns – you can’t go wrong with plain, laced up leather shoes in black, brown, or cordovan (burgundy). I prefer shoes without buckles, because I feel buckles limit the versatility of the shoe. To add some flare I like wing tips: think Mad Men style. High quality shoes do not necessarily have to be expensive. Consider shopping at places like Nordstrom Rack for great deals on designer shoes such as Johnston and Murphy Wingtip Oxfords for around $150.

Watches

The style of a man’s timepiece gives a brief but in-depth look at his personality, and a good watch makes a fine first impression. Trust me; watches are the one subtle accessory that will always get noticed. Not to mention, whereas other accessories will wear out and require replacing over time, a real high quality wristwatch will serve dutifully for a lifetime, after which it can be passed on as an heirloom. Even if you can’t afford to drop a few G’s on a timepiece, a watch at an entry level price will still make a great statement in the workplace.

A professional-looking watch should be understated and classic. I like watches where the dial matches the wrist band, but have seen many beautiful pieces with a leather strap and silver/stainless dial. It all comes down to personal preference. As a rule of thumb, stay away from brightly colored faces and straps – unless they are refined, elegant, and match your suit well. And unless you are in a high up executive position with a large company, a wristwatch in solid gold will make you look ridiculous. Stick to stainless steel and silver; rose gold for more casual work environments, and classic leathers.

While it is true that some entry-level watches from brands like Omega can cost upwards of $2,000, a good quality watch like Stuhrling from ShopHQ, will suit your purposes well and set you back only a few hundred dollars. A price frame between $300 and $1,000 usually implies that the pieces are mass-produced, but that’s not to say that they aren’t well made. In general, a watch made in Switzerland, Japan, or the USA can be trusted to be of higher quality and good value.

Tie

There are many distinct ways to wear a tie – numerous tie variations, knots, sizes, and diverse situations in which a tie could be worn – that giving general tie advice is the best course of action here. First, make sure you are able to tie multiple knots, from half Windsor to Full Windsor to a Shelby knot. The best way to learn is have someone who knows teach you, or watch YouTube videos and practice. A few general guidelines for dressing with a tie at the office:

1) Do not wear loud colored ties to work or, more importantly, a job interview, and stay away from bright reds exclusively.
a. Bright, obnoxious ties in general are just annoying; it is better to wear a subtle tie that will get you taken seriously.
2) Do not wear novelty ties. Ever.
3) Ties should fall to just above the beltline, no shorter or further.
4) The tie should not match the shirt’s color exactly. Experiment with contrasting colors that go well together, like black and white, or patterned button-up where the tie’s color can be found in the shirt’s details.

As with other accessories, creating a stylish wardrobe shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg. In reality, a $200 Armani tie will not function better than a $50 Donald Trump tie from Macy’s. I have had great luck in scoring some really nice ties from thrift stores for under $5!

Pocket Squares

Pocket squares aren’t for everyone, but maybe that is because not everyone is capable of pulling them off. Your pocket square should carry a color from either your shirt or tie, but not both. As with a neck tie, there are multiple ways to fold the fabric, including the Straight Fold, One Corner Fold, and Puff Fold, all of which are incredibly straightforward and can be demonstrated on Youtube. Again, cost hardly depicts the quality of a pocket square; go for one that is a stunning match to your suit, not one that boasts a designer label. If you really want to save money, you can even try making your own. This way, you get to select the fabric that best complements your suit shirt or tie.

Fountain Pen

My personal favorite accessory is one that can really set you apart from the crowd: a good fountain pen. Nearly every time I bust out my pen to sign a receipt or write a note, I get compliments and questions. It is a great conversation starter, especially as most people have never even seen a fountain pen! Like watches, fountain pens can be very pricey – some Mont Blanc fountain pens cost over $3,000, and fine heirloom quality pens are abundant around a price point of $500-1,000. Most pens in the $500 and up price range will have at least a 14K gold nib; that being said, an impressive-looking pen with a stainless steel nib, like the Cross brand at Office Depot, can be had for as low as $50 at most office supply stores. Though stainless steel nibs do not write as well as gold nibs, the stainless steel nib does write much better than an everyday roller ball or gel pen.

Take your look to a new level this year by adding some subtle accessories that will set you apart in the workforce and show a little bit more of your personality. Use these guidelines as a starting point as you develop your own tastes and preferences. If you have suggestions on where to get high quality pieces or if you know of lesser known brands, leave a comment!

  

2013 Holiday Gift Guide: Guy Stuff

Guys are pretty easy to shop for. Most of the time you can just get stuff you’d buy for yourself. Yet sometimes, when you’re shopping for your dad, brother or any other guy on your shopping list, you have to cast a wider net as tastes obviously vary. But at least you can pick up some stuff for yourself as you’re browsing.

Click on the image next to each item to purchase it online, and for more gift ideas, check out the other categories in our Holiday Gift Guide.

Watches

A nice watch is the ultimate accessory for men, and the right watch can make any man look good.

Tendence Gulliver Round Urban Men’s Watch

Here’s a slick and trendy new watch featuring a black silicone band and a black, round face with stylized white numbers. It’s a trendy look that’s not too extreme and should appeal to a wide variety of consumers. It’s great for a night on the town but also for everyday use. It’s the kind of watch people will notice, and you can check out other round watches from Tendence for other colors and styles.

Leather Strap Watch from Calvin Klein

If you’re looking for something elegant but with beautiful understated design, check out this Calvin Klein Stainless Steel Case Leather Men’s Watch. The silver, stainless steel face of the watch contrasts nicely with the black leather band. The watch is also water resistant up 100 feet. It’s a perfect watch for business or evening attire.

Luxury Sport Watch from Tommy Hilfiger

Most guys would love to have a nice sport watch, and this Sport Luxury Chronograph and Stainless Steel Bracelet Watch from Tommy Hilfiger offers a great choice. It has a stainless steel case and bracelet, and black chronograph dial for a sporty but elegant look that can be worn anywhere. It’s water-resistant to 165 feet and features a durable mineral crystal to protect the watch from scratches. It’s a high-quality item for a reasonable price.

watches

Dakota Watches

Much like that other watch company named after a certain archeological discovery, Dakota has been providing quality wristwatches at respectable prices for several decades. Ranging from sports watches to elegant timepieces, Dakota’s unique collection has something for every personality, gender and age. One of the more popular styles – the Dakota Spider – resembles a high-end luxury watch at a fraction of the price, with 330 feet of Stingray water resistance, mineral glass crystal and a stainless steel band. (There’s even a cool Rose Gold variation that’s perfect for the special lady in your life.) The collection also includes digital watches for those who lead active lifestyles, leather bands for formal and casual settings, and an entire rainbow’s worth of eye-popping colors. But most importantly, Dakota makes great watches that you can depend on, and until that changes, you won’t find a better gift for that friend or family member whom you’re not sure what to buy.

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The Future of Watches, Brought to You by the Future In Free Market

In a prior article on the Instagram Camera, I said that the potential legions of fans that the prototype would draw should probably take to Kickstarter.com, in a mob like fashion, to make that invention a reality. I meant that somewhat jokingly. Well, in just a short time fund raising on that very site, tech developer Eric Migicovsky, along with his “dream team”, and their invention The Pebble Watch have pretty much guaranteed that no one will be making jokes about Kickstarter ever again.

The Pebble watch, which raised an almost unfathomable $2.5 million in just three days on Kickstarter, is a smart watch that works with iPhone and Android devices. It’s essentially an evolution of the inPulse smart watch, also designed by Eric Migicovsky and Co., which worked with Blackberry devices. The Pebble takes certain apps and functions of your smart phone, like controlling your music playlists or providing a heads up when you receive a text message or phone call, and transfers them to the face of the watch. It has an e-ink display, is waterproof, scratchproof, keeps its’ charge for seven days, and even functions with an app developer program.

I’ve got to confess. As nice as all of that sounded, I wasn’t  particularly impressed with the device at first. Or at least I didn’t understand how a “smart watch” could garner so much interest and cash in such a short time. But to truly appreciate the Pebble’s uses, you have to see the video that accompanies the product on Kickstarter.

 

No this isn’t a world changing device. That would be the smartphone. Instead this is a rare device that realizes that if you can’t beat the smartphone, you could do worse for yourself than to become its’ best friend. The Pebble is practically designed for joggers and bicyclists, as it allows you to do things like view your distance traveled, control your music, and manage incoming messages and calls without ever once having to break your motion. Even for pedestrians or drivers, the Pebble’s benefits of being able to access some of the most practical apps of your phone, without having to reach for it, actually brings your phone back  to being a convenience and not a burden. Not to mention this finally makes the modern watch more than just jewelry, and also brings us one step closer to the sci-fi staple all purpose “wrist computer” (think Fallout’s Pip Boy device).

But really, the Pebble itself isn’t the story here. That belongs to Kickstarter. The idea of a program that could essentially allow consumers to choose the products they really want, without designers having to wade through the machine of corporate funding or personal loans for a project, was merely a vague notion whose successes have been treated as exceptions and novelty stories. But the Pebble has managed to raise over $10 million so far through Kickstarter  (10,169% of  its original goal), which is such an absurd figure that the developers are now pleading with people to stop contributing money as they have too much of it and can no longer meet demand.

Whatever success the Pebble watch has from here on out will be tied directly to Kickstarter. As word of the sites potential spreads, only time will tell if its’ bazaar of ideas will change certain foundations of commerce. But considering many people will be telling that time on their new Pebble watches, my guess is it’s got a pretty good shot.

  

New Sport Watches from Phosphor

Watches always make great gifts, and these new sport watches from Phosphor offer a great option. The styling is aggressive and unique so they might be a great option for someone on your holiday shopping list.

In support of its debut, Bullz-Eye is giving our readers a chance to win one of these awesome watches in each color. Click here to enter the contest.

Sleek, modern and tech-savvy, the new World Time Sport is the latest E Ink watch from Phosphor’s successful World Time line. Debuting a state-of-the-art buttonless touch operation that allows you to change modes with a simple finger swipe across the case, the World Time Sport also features a high-contrast display that is easily read in direct sunlight. It also offers the ability to select from 24 time zones from one display mode, while optionally displaying a second time zone simultaneously.

Initially available in three colored versions – black, white and orange – the World Time Sport also features a lightweight, flexible silicone band and durable plastic case.

Check out our Holiday Gift Guide for more great ideas.

  

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