We might rely on our phones to tell time, but one thing our devices can’t do is accessorize our wrists the way a watch can. Watches are timeless pieces of jewelry that combine fashion with function, but shopping for one presents a lot of questions. Choosing the right size, deciding between digital and analog, and debating how much to invest are all things to consider.
We consulted sales experts Margot Grinberg at Movado Group and Isabella Proia at Phillips in our quest for the perfect timepiece. After researching dozens of options and evaluating each on material, clasps, quality, and band type, we found the watches that you’ll never want to take off.
Ahead, the best watches that keep excellent time and are incredibly stylish.
Nixon Small Time Teller
Say hello to your wardrobe’s new best friend. This dainty timepiece may look like it keeps a low profile, but its beautiful design won’t go unnoticed once you start wearing it with everything you own. We love how the brand scales down the size to turn a traditional menswear watch into an elegant time teller. It might be hard to pick between silver, rose, gold, and black, which is why we’re particularly fond of the option that mixes metals.
Price at time of publish: $100
Materials: Stainless steel | Face Size: 26 mm | Band Type: Metal link | Clasp: Double locking
A New Day Women's Rubber Unibody Strap Watch
If you find loose wristwatch straps annoying, you'll love this option. The comfortable silicone band on this Target watch will make you forget you’re wearing one at all. Its affordable price doesn’t stop the watch from boasting a sleek design and chic face that’ll work well with any outfit. We’d say choose from rose gold or black, but why not buy both at this price?
Price at time of publish: $15
Materials: Silicone, gold, alloy | Face Size: 30 mm | Band Type: Silicone | Clasp: Buckle
Missoni M1 Joyful Knit Dial Bracelet Watch & Leather Strap Set
Investing in a designer watch doesn’t mean you have to purchase something simple. Gen Z maximalists will obsess over this option. Missoni plays with fabrics by incorporating a metallic zigzag knit on the face of this colorful watch, and we're here for it. Choose from a metal link strap with a similar chevron pattern for a dressed-up look, or opt for the classic black leather strap if you’re keeping things casual.
Price at time of publish: $770
Materials: Steel, leather | Face Size: 34 mm | Band Type: Metal link and leather | Clasp: Butterfly and buckle
MVMT Minimal Sport Ocean Plastic Atlantic Green Watch
Sheryl Crow told us to soak up the sun, and that’s exactly what this eco-friendly watch does. Ditching a battery for a solar-powered panel and using upcycled ocean plastic for its case, strap, and buckle, the MVMT Atlantic Green makes sustainability its number one feature. But, there are a few other aspects we like about this watch, like how it achieves the sporty-chic look with its ultra-stylish nylon band, mod-style face, and squiggly watch hand.
Price at time of publish: $188
Materials: Nylon, recycled plastic | Face Size: 38 mm | Band Type: Fabric | Clasp: Buckle
Timex T80 34mm Stainless Steel Bracelet Watch
Kind of like a good workout video, there are some things from the 90s we never want to leave behind, including the design of this Timex. We can see Sporty Spice wearing this digital watch alongside her Adidas tracksuit, but the updated look gives it a home in the 21st Century. Rock the retro vibe with its metal link bracelet, rectangular face shape, and two-toned color options. Fashionable and functional, the watch also features the date and has a built-in alarm clock.
Price at time of publish: $69
Materials: Stainless steel, brass, acrylic | Face Size: 34 mm | Band Type: Metal link | Clasp: Self adjusting
Movado SE Watch
Will there ever be a time when you don’t need to tell it? This show-stopper from Movado SE, made from high-quality stainless that lasts a lifetime, argues a case for investing in a luxury timepiece. It features a breathtaking mother-of-pearl dial and face framed in diamonds; our only con to this watch is the neck ache you’ll get from looking down at it all day.
Price at time of publish: $1995
Materials: Stainless steel, diamonds | Face Size: 32 mm | Band Type: Metal link | Clasp: Butterfly
Breda Pulse Metal Bracelet Watch
We sometimes think of digital watches as the no-frills velcro strapped ones we find our dads wearing, but Breda changes the perception completely. The brand designs this elegant bracelet watch with a metal link band and discreet case that almost completely covers the face, except for a small window displaying the clock. The sneaky little slit is perfect for those who aren’t typically watch people and want a time teller that disguises itself as fine jewelry.
Price at time of publish: $185
Materials: Stainless steel | Face Size: 26 mm | Band Type: Metal link | Clasp: Push button
Best Apple Watch Strap
Tory Burch Double-T Link Band for Apple Watch
This strap silences the “Can you wear an Apple watch to a formal event?” discourse once and for all. The adjustable link bracelet band is a timeless touch to your tech that argues your digital device belongs at workouts and weddings.
Price at time of publish: $135
Materials: Stainless steel | Band Size: 20 mm | Band Type: Chain | Clasp: Lock clasp
Fitbit Luxe Fitness & Wellness Tracker
Normally, we’re checking the time out of stress or impatience, but the Fitbit Luxe gives us several better reasons. Along with tracking your fitness activity, it features tools to improve sleep and manage stress, and you can connect it to your phone for call and text notifications. The waterproof watch has a five-day battery life and packs all these impressive tech tools in a slim design with a silicone buckled band.
Price at time of publish: $130
Materials: Silicon, metal, glass | Face Size: N/A | Band Type: Silicone | Clasp: Buckle
GUCCI G-Timeless Bracelet Watch
Call this the Goldilocks of watches because we can’t confine it to a single style. Nodding to the classic menswear watches of its past, the luxury brand reinvents its signature look for a more feminine one that you'll love for years to come. We can’t imagine the chic bracelet band and round pearlescent face ever coming off your wrist. The ornate design replaces numbers with signature symbols from the brand, like the heritage bee, for a look that will outlast any trend.
Price at time of publish: $1650
Materials: Stainless steel | Face Size: 36 mm | Band Type: Metal link | Clasp: Deployant
Freestyle Shark Classic Clip
We’ve added plenty of 90s-inspired staples to our wardrobe, but buckle up for this seatbelt-strap watch from Freestyle because it might just be our favorite. Color-blocked with light lavender, teal, and raspberry hues, the playful design is reminiscent of a retro bowling alley or something we’d spot Stephanie Tanner sporting. It has night vision, a built-in stopwatch, and is water resistant, so you never have to leave the decade behind again.
Price at time of publish: $65
Materials: Nylon | Face Size: 38 mm | Band Type: Nylon | Clasp: Clip
G-SHOCK Baby-G BA110PL-7A1 Watch
We thank Gen Z for the return of 2000s fashion and some of our favorite Y2K watch styles, like this one from G-Shock. But the chunky white resin design won’t only satiate the trend-setting teens—anyone with an active lifestyle will love its techy features. From having a polarized screen you can read in the bright sun to being water and shock-resistant, the watch is super practical. It even understands us so well to know we never get up after the first (or third) alarm and includes five daily alarms plus a snooze button. Add to that the daylight savings on/off switch and access to 29 different time zones, and this watch sets you up for success.
Price at time of publish: $130
Materials: Resin | Face Size: 46.3 X 43.4 X 15.8 mm | Band Type: Resin | Clasp: Buckle
Best Mesh Strap
VANNA Eclipse Emerald Watch
Vanna designs this watch with a comfortable and adjustable mesh bracelet band, but it’s only part of what elevates it from a time teller to a fine piece of jewelry. We have stars in our eyes after noticing the round case resembling an eclipse, and can’t look away from the watch’s emerald-green face. Its half-moon appearance gives the watch a sophisticated and celestial style. If you’re looking for something a little more down-to-earth, consider removing the band and swapping it for the Eclipse Gold Leather Strap.
Price at time of publish: $325
Materials: Stainless steel, 23K gold plating, brass | Face Size: 30 mm | Band Type: Mesh | Clasp: Lock
Lacoste Chronograph Silicone Band Watch
Lacoste nails the tenniscore trend with this watch for when we want to look sporty but (almost) as stylish as Serena Williams coming off the court. The texturized silicone band tricks the eye into thinking it has a fabric finish, and its monochromatic design adds to a sleek look. Sitting sweetly next to its signature smiling crocodile are three sundials on top of the actual watch. While we’re fans of the Kelly green option for its pop of color, the watch also comes in solid white, navy, and black.
Price at time of publish: $160
Materials: Silicone, stainless steel | Face Size: 44 mm | Band Type: Silicone | Clasp: Buckle
Best Oval Face
BREDA Jane Watch Jane Watch
Sometimes opting for an oval face watch over the classic round one gives it a more modern style, but we love the vintage-inspired look of this one from Breda. Attention to detail, like its woven mesh band, shiny gold-toned case, and champagne mother-of-pearl dial, elevates what would be a simple watch to an impressive piece of arm candy. The pearlescent face gives it a glow for an elegant finishing touch.
Price at time of publish: $170
Materials: 18K gold plated | Face Size: 23 mm | Band Type: Mesh | Clasp: Quick release
Best Rectangle Face
Anne Klein Ceramic Diamond Dial Watch
You’ve watched the two-toned trend takeover hair, manicures, and now our jewelry. Anne Klein created a cheeky watch that has fun playing with colors by contrasting gold against lavender, green, and navy. The monochromatic rectangle face, framed in metal, balances out maximalist features. The polished design is complete with a dainty diamond accent near the top and a ceramic link bracelet.
Price at time of publish: $110
Materials: Diamond, ceramic, | Face Size: 32 mm | Band Type: Link | Clasp: Jewelry
Best Leather Strap
Shinola Detroit The Bike Lock
There's no better choice than leather for achieving a classic style. Shinola Detroit was only founded in 2011, but based on its timeless pieces and impeccable craftsmanship, you’d think the brand has been around for much longer. The Italian calf leather strap only gets better with—you guessed it—and is durable enough for everyday wear. The unique case takes inspiration from Shinola's two-wheeled products and combines oval shapes for a minimalistic design.
Price at time of publish: $650
Materials: Stainless steel, leather | Face Size: 20 mm | Band Type: Leather | Clasp: Buckle
Best Wrap Strap
Fossil Raquel Three-Hand Date Latte Eco Leather Watch
Even though the watch's face typically gets all the attention, it’ll have to share the spotlight next to the strap on this Fossil watch. The elongated wrap strap is made from durable eco-leather and wraps twice around the wrist for an eye-catching design. And we know the selling point of this watch is its strap, but we can’t overlook the whimsical tie-dye-like face feature on the taupe version. If you’re searching for a more evergreen look, the watch comes in black with a classic white and gold face.
Price at time of publish: $150
Materials: Leather, stainless steel | Face Size: 23 mm | Band Type: Leather | Clasp: Buckle
Kendra Scott Alex Gold Tone Stainless Steel 35mm Watch
Reigning supreme on RushTok as the brand du jour for classic jewelry, it’s no surprise Kendra Scott makes the quintessential gold watch. Between its neutral shade of gold that pairs well with any color palette and its delicate metal link bracelet band, this watch is the perfect everyday accessory. We see a mix of masculine and feminine touches like the men's style round casing which contrasts nicely against the shimmering mother-of-pearl face.
Price at time of publish: $248
Materials: Stainless steel | Face Size: 35 mm | Band Type: Metal link | Clasp: Butterfly clasp
Vitae London Iiesha Petite Silver Mesh Bracelet Watch
If you have cool undertones or just prefer the look of silver jewelry, Vitae London makes a deco-inspired watch for the 21st Century. A square face houses large Roman numerals to convey a slightly edgy look that balances well against the delicate mesh strap. While we think this watch would pair well with leather, it’s versatile enough to match a mix of styles.
Price at time of publish: $199
Materials: Stainless steel | Face Size: 25 mm | Band Type: Mesh | Clasp: Deployant
Los Angeles Apparel Cubano Watch
Get ready to say, "Thanks, it's vintage," while wearing this one-of-a-kind watch. The deadstock vintage piece features bright colors gleaming between bedazzled round and baguette cuts on the shiny strap. Whether you choose the black or gold face, you’ll make the whole room shimmer with each wrist flick.
Price at time of publish: $34
Materials: Metal, crystals | Face Size: N/A | Band Type: Metal link | Clasp: Lock
ARMITRON Jelly Chrono
Armitron’s Y2K-inspired jelly watch takes us back to everything we love about the 2000s, starting with the color palette. Available in six colors, we think the two-tone bright pink and baby blue is our favorite for the nod of nostalgia to some of the era’s iconic outfits (think: Juicy Couture sweatsuits and airbrushed tees). This waterproof watch doesn’t miss a beat with durable resin straps, a lap time feature, an alarm, and a dual time function.
Price at time of publish: $25
Materials: Plastic, acrylic | Face Size: 37.5 | Band Type: Plastic | Clasp: Buckle
Meet the Expert
What to Look for in Watches
“When shopping for a watch, you want to make sure it sits comfortably on your wrist while also assessing the design for high-quality craftsmanship,” says sales expert at Movado Group Grinberg.
Finishing and Closure
Grinberg recommends looking at the finishing on the dials for how it catches the light, and she adds, “for a secure closure to ensure it stays on your wrist.”
Which types of watches are trending?
According to Proia, trending styles include “versatile watches from marquee brands that fit active lifestyles.” She explains that the iconic watches you know and love, like Cartier’s Tank, Rolex’s Datejust, or Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak, will always top buyers’ lists. She explains, “as awareness of watch collecting has increased, more and more people who weren’t into watches before have become drawn to these models.”
What are the most popular watches?
“Consumers are looking for modern, versatile options,” says Grinberg. Consumers also seek out a "strong, contemporary design that combines modern minimalism with a bold edge,” she adds.
How do you care for your watch?
Grinberg recommends taking your watch off before you shower, storing it in a dry, room-temperature space, and placing it in the watch box for safety. She tells us to store bracelets with integrated straps on a watch pillow and to lay leather straps flat.
Why Trust Byrdie
Contributing writer Jessie Quinn has a Bachelor’s Degree in Fashion Journalism from the Academy of Art University. At Byrdie, Jessie covers everything from unique jewelry accessories to the latest denim trends to the best shoes for any style. When researching the best watches for women, she considered everything from classic styles to modern trends, narrowing down her search based on the quality of fit, face shape, metal type, and details like finishing and closure.
Irene Richardson is a writer with over five years of experience covering fashion and beauty trends. She helped research options, read reviews, and looked into today’s trends to curate the best watches for this list.