Man in a business outfit looking at his watch


Fashionable restraint and a business dress code have a lot to do with each other. The more jewelry a man wears, the more likely he is to attract unpleasant attention from his superiors. Some experts say that more than a wedding ring, cufflinks, and a wristwatch with a complementary watch case for men are not possible in the business context. The cufflinks are not even counted as jewelry. They are considered a necessary accessory that closes the folded cuffs on the business shirt. However, you can certainly turn them into jewelry if you let them be conspicuously noble, for example, but this is not the order of the day in the business sector. The glasses are also regarded as a fashion accessory, the necessity of which, however, puts them outside the rule. But here, too, it is better to show restraint if a strict business dress code applies. A conspicuous, overly individual pair of glasses should be avoided in professional life. You shouldn’t be recognizable as a bohemian or a super nerd.

Which dress codes apply in professional life?

Accessories for men If you look around the upper management floors, you will often discover signet rings in addition to the permitted wedding ring and gold or silver tie pins in addition to the permitted cufflinks. Whether you can afford this or whether you are offending because of it depends on your position in the hierarchy and the industry. Whether you can stand out as a man with a golden earring or a visible piercing is also handled differently from industry to industry. Not every industry has a specific dress code that prescribes a business suit. If you want to make a career, you should refrain from such things as far as possible. Even a youthful sin such as a tattoo in the wrong place or a double lip piercing can leave clear traces that can not be erased again and again. It may not matter to a gas station attendant, but never to a banker, broker, or manager. Increasingly, there are also women on the upper management floors, for whom rules also apply regarding the jewelry worn. The most important basic rule for the business outfit of both sexes is seriousness. This is characterized by stylistic confidence, a certain neutrality, and fashion restraint. The classic business look is the order of the day.

Dress codes and watches

For both sexes, a wristwatch is an accessory that is generally allowed. Just like the accompanying daily planner, it signals a good sense of time, punctuality, or reliability. At the same time, however, it also speaks for the existence of further appointments, good time management, and organized action. In business, the watch should also signal seriousness and stylistic restraint. Women should not stand out as luxury females, and men not as bohemians or sons of rich parents. But nobody should get carried away with a fashionable cheap watch. Recognizable value is important when choosing a watch. It doesn’t necessarily have to be an expensive Rolex. In business, you are most likely to score points with a simple wristwatch with a black leather strap. Every conspicuous model should be avoided, especially newfangled inventions that attract the attention of the other person as a technical gimmick or show-off. Unusual for the modern man, because a bit too old-fashioned and individual, is a pocket watch. However, if this is an heirloom and is used by a supervisor, that’s fine. Those who are at the top of the hierarchy occasionally shape their own rules. He sometimes signals his high status through an unusual beard, an individual shape of glasses, or an exceptionally valuable watch. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, can afford such trademarks. A manager in middle management would be offended.

Black goes best with black

Accessories for menIf one of your subordinates like to use black belts and leather folders and carries a matching purse with him, he should also prefer a black leather strap for his watch. A metal watch strap would certainly fit the overall impression. But it would be more noticeable. If you have a penchant for brown-grained leather, you look for accessories that are matched accordingly. It is important that the permitted jewelry, the worn clothing, and the other accessories are coordinated in color or style. Metal link bracelets on a watch should therefore find optical equivalents on another level. The frame of the glasses, the cufflinks, the wedding ring, and the belt buckle must harmonize with it. However, it is taboo to combine several different metals with each other. Under no circumstances do you wear a gold watch with silver glasses and cufflinks made of titanium.

No self-staging, but the seriousness

Men’s WristwatchIn addition to its function as a timepiece, the watch is often also a status symbol. This is especially true for men. For women, a watch is more of an ornamental piece of jewelry with utility value than a status symbol. In view of the fact that today you could read the time from a smartphone and manage your appointments on the tablet, a wristwatch would no longer be absolutely necessary. During an important meeting, however, you do not leave the smartphone in the visible area. With the watch, however, you signal your value in the company, your status, and your style. This allows the other person to see who he is dealing with. That’s exactly why some people want to make an impression with a striking luxury watch. Others try to embezzle their status with a too-modest one or treat themselves to a rather prollish or ostentatious watch slip with a business suit. Too much understatement damages the career as well as fashion exaggeration. With the little jewelry that is allowed for a man, you can make an astonishing number of mistakes. The watch jewelry should be adapted to the status of the man without being too eye-catching. For the ladies, for example, there are striking details such as rhinestones, colorful dials, or striking watch straps that can minimize the serious impression. The lack of visual seriousness, in turn, reduces the impression of competence. The reason for this evaluation is that you are visibly setting the wrong priorities for your counterpart: The interests are not primarily the goals and values of the company but put a person in the limelight. This is precisely what is not desirable in a company. You are always the representative of the entire company, whose values and seriousness you represent, among other things, through the dress code.

The effect of jewelry on others

With a super-expensive watch or noble cufflinks, as an intern who comes from a good family, you unconsciously signal his arrogance. At the owner of Ikea, a cheap watch would fit his image. With a new BMW manager or the head of Deutsche Bank, however, it would be considered inappropriate. It is not important from which manufacturer the wristwatch comes. It is much more important than the worn pieces of jewelry radiating value and matching the rest of the outfit. A woman may well wear different watches to put on fashionably matching pieces of jewelry. But the man always wears the same wristwatch. At best, he changes the cufflinks that should match the color of the tie. Their basic color should match the colors of the rest of the accessories – for example, the metal tone of the belt buckle or the glasses. The leather watch strap, on the other hand, should match the belt and shoe color. The look worn in the business should be harmonious and harmonious.


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Different dress codes per occupational field

It is well known that the dress code is looser in creative professions. Accordingly, the watches and cufflinks may also fall somewhat out of the usual frame. What is not possible in any professional field is that the watch emits an acoustic signal at certain times. In professional life, ladies are advised to prefer discreet colors and serious notes to the perceived Christmas tree hanging on jewelry. High-touped, strongly blonde, and hairspray-glued hair is just as absurd as a sophisticated appearance or upbeat girlie outfits. Fashionable extravagances do not belong in the workplace. Again, the wristwatch should harmonize with the rest of the accessories and jewelry. Less is definitely more in the office. But it’s not that you can’t show your personal preferences or individuality. As long as you do this with all restraint, no one will say anything against it.

Gentleman etiquette for the wristwatch

The wristwatch is both a status symbol and a timepiece, as well as an indicator of status or personal taste. Nowadays, hardly anyone leaves the house without his watch. As basic rules for the well-dressed man, one can summarize some points. They are:

  • Understatement is always right. A harmonious overall appearance leaves a better impression than an ostentatious or plush watch that betrays style uncertainties. Fashionable accents may be set as long as this is done cautiously. Quality comes before appearance.
  • The wrist circumference defines the watch size. For narrow wrists, large watch cases look too ostentatious. In the case of hairy giant paws, a watch chosen that is too small looks out of place or even effeminate.
  • Chronographs or diver’s watches do not belong in the office. The sportier the watch looks, the more likely it is to belong to the “casual business” dress or the leisure outfit. So-called “dress watches” are chosen for a formal occasions. They are characterized by a restrained design and relatively small housing dimensions.
  • All jewelry or accessories that have metals must be matched to each other. Belt buckles, watches, rings, cufflinks, and glasses must match, as must shoe leather and belt. Classic black and white dials are preferable for business watches.
  • Leather bracelets look more discreet and restrained than gold or silver link bracelets. Leather watch straps can even look very elegant, provided you don’t see their age and degree of wear. It becomes problematic if you want to wear brown shoes with a black watch strap. Here, the metal bracelet is clearly at an advantage, at least as long as it has been matched to all other metal buckles and frames.
  • Whether a watch is worn on the left or on the right does not matter. Out of habit, most watch wearers wear the watch on the left, the rather passive hand. However, it is important that it does not disturb you in any activity. In addition, you should be able to easily read your wristwatch and wind it well, unless it is a solar or radio watch.
  • A businessman never wears a loosely looping watch, worn on the back of the wrist or slipping sideways. For the ladies, it may also be a jewelry watch on a chain or a loose bracelet. It is ideal if the wristwatch sits in such a way that you can just slide a little finger under the watch strap. A watch sits too tightly if you have a watch imprint on your skin after unbuckling.
  • As a stylistic means of expression, a watch may only serve in moderation in a business context. In addition to all the dress codes and style regulations, watches and other accessories still have to consider the personality of the wearer. You can have your own line, as long as it takes place within the bounds of what is permitted. Strict dress codes and formal occasions limit the possibilities of design, and relaxed conditions or “business casual” outfits allow greater leeway. Here, the personality or the individual taste of the watch wearer may rather come into play.

A little digression about the cufflinks

Men’s WristwatchIn the choice of the shirt as well as in the selection of cufflinks, the career-conscious man should put more effort into it than the average man does. Given the wide range of options, good advice is often expensive. Therefore, many men leave the style advice to their partners. It would be better to orient yourself on the Internet using business dress code etiquette. Apart from the fact that the cufflinks must match the outfit, you should arm yourself in the office with discreet models. The design of the cufflinks should harmonize in particular with the wristwatch. High quality is also the rule here, despite all visual restraint. Inferior or inexpensive standard cufflinks can be recognized by the layman by the fact that they are simply inserted through the cuff hole with a folding pin. On the high-quality models, the underside looks exactly like the top. The button that passes through the cuff hole is just smaller.

And what about the cuff?

With a strict dress code, you never wear a sports cuff with one or two buttons. You always choose the classic business shirt with a cuff. A Viennese cuff or combination cuff with buttons and cuff hole should at least be worn to a job interview and to out-of-home business appointments. The most elegant is the envelope or double cuff, which is closed with a business-friendly cufflink. The stricter the dress code and the more festive the occasion, the more likely cufflinks are to be worn on a double cuff.