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A Guide to Watch Types

A Guide to Watch Types

When it comes to buying a watch, the amount of choice can be overwhelming. There are so many movements, designs and styles that a collector can choose from. Avid, lifelong watch collectors may eventually own one of each kind of watch, but a new collector faces many choices. It is important that someone purchasing a watch takes the time to research each kind of movement and style to properly assess what will suit them, their style and their lifestyle. This guide to watch types will explain the differences between different watch types and styles and will offer recommendations for each. This will aid collectors in choosing their next perfect timepiece.

The Different Types of Movement

Automatic Mechanical

Automatic movements tend to be the most popular kind amongst watch collectors. They are favoured as they do not often require manual winding and do not use batteries. Automatic watches have a rotor, a kind of weight, which oscillates freely within the watch case. The natural movement of the wrist causes the rotor to spin, creating energy that will wind the mainspring. The mainspring stores the energy that powers the watch. Therefore, the gentle and natural movements of the wrist will keep the watch powered. However, automatic watches can be wound manually. This must be done if the watch has not been worn in a long time and its power stores have run low.

A Guide to Watch Types

ORIS Big Crown ProPilot Big Date Bronze Case 01 751 7761 3164-07 3 2003BRLC

This ORIS model is powered by an automatic movement. The movement uses a frequency of 28,800 A/h and 26 jewels to power the watch, providing it with a power reserve of up to 38 hours. This movement is housed in a stylish bronze case that measures 41mm in diameter. The watch features a matt black dial with white luminescent Arabic indices and hands. The luminescent features ensure that the time can be read easily, even in the dark. This model exhibits a date aperture in the 3 o’clock position to provide the wearer with additional functionality. This timepiece is secured on the wrist using a brown fabric strap which will ensure for comfortable wear. The watch is water resistant up to 100 metres.

Hand-Wound Mechanical

Hand-wound watches have been on the market since the very first days of the horological industry. They were the first watches to be invented and their design was heavily influenced by pocket watches. Hand-wound watches work using a thin strip of steel around a central stalk which is encapsulated in the mainspring barrel. This is then rotated when the wearer winds the watch causing the spring to coil up very tightly. This spring is incredibly powerful, so the release of energy is controlled using wheels and pinions within the movement. This means that the spring unwinds at a specific rate, causing the dial to display the correct time. It is important to know how much a watch needs to be wound in order to avoid overwinding and potentially causing damage to the movement.

Junghans Max Bill Hand-Winding Sapphire Glass 27/3700.02

This luxurious timepiece is powered by a hand-wound movement. When fully wound, this movement will provide the watch with a power reserve of up to 42 hours. The watch exhibits a matt silver plated dial with baton indices. The hands and hour markers are treated with an environmentally friendly luminous substance. The dial is protected by domed sapphire glass and framed by a stainless steel case. This case measures 34mm in diameter and 9mm in height to ensure that it sits comfortably on the wrist. This watch is finished with a timeless black leather strap that fastens using a stainless steel buckle.


Quartz watch movements are some of the most affordable and accessible on the market. They are used by many affordable watch brands, but are also often found in the portfolios of more luxury brands. The first ever quartz watch was created by Seiko in 1969 and the movement has grown in popularity ever since. These watches use a small battery which sends an electric current through a piece of crystal quartz. The quartz then vibrates at an incredibly high frequency and the vibrations are converted into one pulse every second. The pulses drive the motor which keeps the hands or digital display moving to show the correct time.

A Guide to Watch Types

Swatch NEW GENT | BLA_DIV | Bio-Ceramic SO32B705

Swatch is famed for the reliable quartz movements that are used to power a great many of its models. This watch features a white dial with a black outer edge. The hours are denoted by luminous dot and batons. The black hour, minute and second hands each feature luminous detailing to ensure that the dial can be read in the dark. This timepiece features a weekday and date aperture at 3 o’clock on the dial so that the wearer can always keep perfect time. The dial is framed by a black bioceramic case. This case houses the quartz movement that powers the watch. This model is secured on the wrist using a black strap that is made from bio-sourced material.

Solar Powered

Solar powered watches use light energy as a power source. These kinds of timepiece often have solar panels built into the dial to harvest the light. Under the dial of a solar watch, there is a dial that converts light energy into electrical energy. This energy is then stored in a rechargeable battery that is used to power the watch. Solar powered watches can use both natural and artificial light as power sources, making them very versatile and adaptable. As long as the watch is receiving light, it will keep ticking. This means that a solar powered watch does not need to be worn especially regularly or wound to keep it powered. Every solar powered watch is different in terms of how long it takes to charge and how long a single charge will last.

Citizen Men’s Moonphase Black PVD Stainless Steel BU0057-54E

Citizen is well-known for its famed Eco-Drive technology. The brand uses these movements in many of its watches and they are well-loved by fans of the brand. This model is rather unique as it features a day, date and month display as well as a moonphase indicator. Moonphase displays are incredibly desirable and sought after amongst avid watch collectors due to their beauty and intrigue. These features contrast the dark black dial of the watch beautifully. The dial is adorned with rose gold baton indices and rose gold hour, minute and second hands. A black ion-plated case frames the dial and houses the Eco-Drive movement. The watch is finished with a matching black ion-plated stainless steel bracelet. This timepiece is water resistant up to 100 metres.

The Different Watch Types and Styles

Pilot Watches

The pilot watch was invented by early 20th century pilots. The watch was born out of necessity. Pocket watches were the fashion of the time, but they could not be used by pilots as they needed to have both hands on the controls. They were unable to remove a pocket watch from their pocket to check the time. Some pilots began using specially designed straps to attach their pocket watches to their wrists to ensure that the time could be read mid-flight.

Louis Cartier created the first pilot watch for his friend Alberto Santos-Dumont. The watch was named the Cartier Santos and grew to great fame as it was the first ever wristwatch. Over the years, more elements and complications have been added to the iconic pilot watch design to make them more comfortable and useful for pilots. However, nowadays the design is favoured by many collectors and not just pilots.

A Guide to Watch Types

Laco | Saarbrucken Erbstruck | Pilot Watches | Leather 861933

Laco’s Pilot watch is the most iconic model in the brand’s portfolio. This model takes inspiration from its vintage predecessors and has been deliberately aged to be even more reminiscent of an original timepiece. The watch features an aged black dial with gold-coloured luminous Arabic numerals. The design of this dial is based on the original Baumuster A model. Anti-reflective sapphire glass protects the dial and ensures that it can be read under bright lights. The dial is framed by a stainless steel case. This case has been deliberately aged, so every model will be entirely unique. The case houses an automatic Laco 24 ETA 2824.2 movement. This model is finished with a closed loop pilot’s brown calf leather strap for a traditional pilots watch design.

Diving Watches

Diving watches were first developed so that divers could keep track of how long they had been underwater and how much oxygen that they had left. They have some very distinct characteristics that make them perfect for the purpose that they are designed for. Each diving watch will have a high level of water resistance to ensure that it can withstand being underwater for extended periods of time. The watches will have clearly legible dials and a rotating bezel. Additionally, diving watches often have very durable straps so that the watch can withstand being exposed to water. Some diving watches are built to a higher standard than others, so a collector ought to assess their own unique needs before purchasing a model.

Tissot Seastar 2000 Pro | Powermatic 80 | Blue Dial | Steel T1206071104101

This Tissot Seastar watch is water resistant up to 600 metres, making it incredibly resilient to being underwater. The watch features a screw-down crown to aid in the water resistance rating. The timepiece features a blue gradient dial with a unique wave design. The dial exhibits dot and baton indices with silver hour, minute and second hands. A date aperture is positioned at 6 o’clock. The dial is protected by sapphire glass and framed by a black unidirectional bezel that is made of ceramic. A stainless steel case houses an automatic movement that provides the timepiece with a power reserve of up to 80 hours. The watch is secured on the wrist using a robust stainless steel bracelet. This timepiece also features a Nivachron balance spring and a helium valve to ensure the longevity and durability of the watch.


Smartwatches are a relatively new entry on the horological scene. They are a great way for tech-lovers to incorporate this passion into their daily styling. Smartwatches are essentially small computers that are worn on the wrist. They can be connected to a smartphone to increase their functionality and keep the wearer connected to their contacts and other devices. Many smartwatches can receive and display message and call notifications. Some smartwatch companies incorporate fitness tracking features into their smartwatches. This enable the wearer to be able to track their workout and rest periods and keep track of their fitness journey. This kind of watch is great for the modern watch wearer who requires more functionality from their timepiece.

A Guide to Watch Types

TicWatch | GTH | HR | Blood Oxygen | Skin Temperature Monitor | 147828

This watch provides a multitude of smartwatch features for a very accessible and affordable price. This model features a 1.55″ high-resolution colour touchscreen display which ensures that the watch is easy to use. The watch can receive notifications and support phone calls to keep the wearer connected. This model has a variety of sensors to track fitness and activity and is equipped with TicMotion to proactively track activity and rest periods. Additionally, the watch features TicBreathe and TicSleep to track all aspects of a daily routine. This timepiece is compatible with both Android and iPhone and can provide up to 10 days of use on a single charge. The watch exhibits a black metal case and a high quality black silicone strap that will ensure the watch is comfortable to wear for long periods of time.

Hybrid Watches

A hybrid watch is a fusion of smartwatch features in a classic watch design. These watches tend not to have a touchscreen and rely on a traditional analog display. These kinds of watches are a great alternative for someone who is not willing to sacrifice traditional horological style for new smart features. They are also a great addition for those who are unsure of smartwatches but want to explore some of the features that are available. Many hybrid watches have a small display or sub dial that can display the smart features to the wearer. Every hybrid watch uses a different combination of smart and traditional features, so a collector ought to assess what they need in a watch before making their choice.

Withings Scanwatch 38mm Rose Gold Hybrid Smartwatch With ECG HWA09-MODEL 5-ALL-INT

This model provides all of the desirable features of a smartwatch in a chic design of a rose gold and grey colour scheme. The timepiece does not sacrifice traditional horological style and incorporates the smart features into a traditional analog design. This watch can provide ECG readings and can record a medical-grade electrocardiogram and detect signs of atrial fibrillation. It can also perform blood oxygen readings and is equipped with a respiratory scanner that monitors oxygen saturation. The timepiece comes equipped with a workout mode for over 30 sports and can be paired with the free Health Mate app to keep track of health and fitness analytics. This model features a white dial with rose gold hands and indices. The dial is framed by a rose gold coloured stainless steel case and is secured on the wrist with a grey fluroelastomer strap.

Field Watches

Field watches are essentially simple military watches. They were originally named ‘trench watches’ as they were popularly worn by soldiers in World War I. When wristwatches were first invented, they were considered to be a feminine accessory. Men favoured the pocket watch as a more masculine timepiece. However, pocket watches were not convenient for the chaos of the trenches, so an alternative had to be found. By the time of World War II, field watches were standard military issue. They were designed with large dials with indices in a contrasting colour to ensure that the time was easy to read with a mere glance. The design of these watches has become very popular throughout the decades and is now a favoured choice amongst collectors.

A Guide to Watch Types

Hamilton Khaki Field | Mechanical | 42mm | White Dial H69529913

This watch is a prime example of a field watch as it has a white dial with large, black Arabic indices. The dial is also adorned with black hour, minute and second hands that each feature a luminous section that makes them easy to track around the dial, even in the dark. Scratch resistant sapphire glass protects the dial to ensure that the watch will be durable and long lasting. A stainless steel case houses a Hamilton H-50 hand-wound movement that provides the timepiece with a power reserve of up to 80 hours. This watch is finished with a green NATO textile strap for a traditional field watch design. Additionally, the timepiece is water resistant up to 50 metres.

Digital Watches

Digital watches use an electronic display to show the time in terms of numbers. This kind of display replaces the traditional hands and indices. This means that a digital watch is incredibly quick and easy to read at a glance. Digital watches also tend to be much slimmer and more lightweight than a traditional analog watch as they do not require movements, and are instead powered by a small battery. The designs of digital watches can be much more playful as they do not need to adhere to standard analog style.

Lorus Women’s Digital Watch Black Silicone Strap R2363NX9

This Lorus Women’s digital watch displays the time clearly and simply using an electronic display. The display also exhibits the date, weekday and some chronograph functions. These features are powered by a quartz movement to ensure that they are as reliable as possible. An acrylic lens protects the display and a black plastic case surrounds it. This case measures 36mm to ensure that it will sit comfortably on the smaller size of a woman’s wrist. This timepiece is secured on the wrist using a black silicone strap. The watch is water resistant up to 100 metres.

Pocket Watches

Many collectors choose to buy a pocket watch as they are the inspiration behind the whole of the modern day horological industry. At one point, they were the most common form of watch in the world. There are several types of pocket watch, so a collector ought to consider what they want from their pocket watch before selecting one. These variations affect the case of the pocket watch and refers to how covered the watch is. Some pocket watches do not have a cover over the front, whereas others have a case that opens on both the front and back sides. Pocket watches have retained their popularity as they are respected for their classic design and vintage style.

Tissot Savonnette Mechanical Pocket Watch T83440212

A Guide to Watch Types

This Tissot pocket watch has a classic silhouette and a traditional design. Tissot has been creating and building watches since 1853 and has been creating pocket watches since its conception. This model features a white dial with black Arabic indices in a vintage-style font. Gold leaf-shaped hour and minute hands are set at the centre of the dial. A small seconds sub dial is positioned at 6 o’clock to provide additional functionality. The dial is protected by hesalite mineral crystal and a decorated full hunter case. The case is made from gold plated stainless steel and measures 50mm in diameter. This pocket watch is powered by an automatic movement with a power reserve of up to 46 hours.

Dress Watches

Dress watches are stylish and elegant timepieces that have been designed to be paired with smart suits or tuxedos. In modern fashion, dress watches are not limited to smart occasions and are often favoured as a simple, everyday timepiece. Dress watches tend to have a slimmer case design to ensure that they will sit comfortably underneath the cuff of a formal shirt. These watches tend to have clean and minimalistic dials to enhance the elegance of the timepiece and not distract from the style of the wearer’s outfit. A dress watch tends to be finished with a leather strap for a traditional look.

Daniel Wellington Petite Sheffield 24mm Black Leather Strap DW00100443

This dress watch has all of the elegance of a traditional dress watch but with a very affordable price tag. The watch has a white dial with rose gold baton indices and rose gold hour and minute hands. This is framed by a rose gold plated stainless steel case that perfectly matches the rose gold hue of the details on the dial. This case measures 24mm in diameter to ensure that it looks elegant on the wrist. This watch is finished with a black leather strap to provide the timepiece with a traditional dress watch appearance. This watch is powered by a quartz movement.

What did you think of our guide to watch types? Which kind of watch have you got your eye on? Let us know in the comments!

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