Race cars and luxury watches have a lot in common. Both are precisely engineered machines that are revered most when demonstrating an understanding of the latest technological innovations and a personalized approach to craftsmanship.
Both are symbols of traditionally masculine power and prestige, and both take pride in their accuracy and responsiveness. In that context, it’s only natural that racing watches would become such symbols of prestige. But making a racing watch look suitable means dressing in a way that accents it.
Here’s everything you need to know about building a style around your luxury racing watch.
What Are Racing Watches?
The history of racing watches is rooted in practicality. In the earliest days of automotive racing, competitors and judges found it hard to find a way to time racers down to precise fractions of a second. That created difficulty not just in judging races but in the process of training and tuning vehicles.
By the turn of the twentieth century, an entire boutique market was built to provide stylish and accurate watches for drivers. And the celebrity position of these drivers meant that racing watches earned a prestigious role as symbols of status. Today, the market is filled with racing watches. Still, they can run the gamut from highly precise and dependable watches explicitly designed for racers to those that merely maintain a racing watch’s aesthetic sensibilities.
An authentic racing watch will always have a few properties. While they don’t include the complex measurement systems you’d find in a pilot watch, the quality of a racing watch can primarily be measured on its tachymeter’s effectiveness—used for calculating speed—and its chronograph—used for more precise stopwatch measurements when running laps. Other standard features are an angled design and high contrast dial so racers can read the dial even with their hands on the wheel.
Not For Formal Wear
A good racing watch can undoubtedly be defined as a luxury watch, but that doesn’t mean that it’s fit for formal occasions. In other words, don’t use it as a substitute for a proper dress watch when you’re at a black-tie or tuxedo event.
That said, racing watches aren’t informal. A stylish racing watch can be a sensible choice for business wear. There are certainly racing watches that are prestigious enough to stand out even when paired with the most expensive and perfectly tailored Armani suit.
Best Suited to Smart Casual
If “smart casual” isn’t a phrase you’re familiar with, you should be.
It’s an approach that sticks to most of the traditional conventions of business dress but leaves enough room for more personalized and playful acts of expression. The advantage of a smart-casual aesthetic is how adaptive it is. A bright casual look is appropriate for everywhere from the office to the bar to all the ordinary daily life activities.
The smart casual dress gives off an air of professionalism while still maintaining a feeling of confidence and expressiveness.
Racing watches typically sport bold designs, but the contrasting color schemes are about readability as they are flashy. That said, these are statement pieces, and that means that they’ll likely be the anchor for the other accessories you wear. Let the color scheme of your racing watch define the colors and materials you use in other accessories like jewelry.
Fortunately, there are a lot of racing watches on the market. While big names like TAG Hauer and Citizen dominate the market, there are plenty of smaller upstart manufacturers making waves on the market too. Be sure to explore your options and check out the innovative racing watches offered by Jack Mason.