As Christmas gifts go, a watch is a pretty safe bet, right? Every man needs one, they’re available at price points from £10 to £100,000, and they don’t require undertaking espionage to assess your recipient’s size – unless it’s steel, of course, in which case some degree of altering is all part of making it unique to you.

And yet, with such a great choice of designs comes great scope for getting it wrong. Because, even though a watch doesn’t take up as much surface area as a suit, it still says a lot about a man. So to help you find the right one this Christmas (whether it’s yourself or someone else you’re treating), we teamed up with Armani Exchange to compile a handy guide to ensuring your watch is in sync with your style. You’re welcome.

The Minimalist

Got a fondness for clean lines and neutral colours? A chronic aversion to prints and patterns? Chances are, you’re a master of minimalism. A man whose wardrobe skews monochrome needs his watch to match. If your idea of on-point style is more stripped-back than stand out, then what you wear on your wrist should follow suit in its simplicity.

Swap the bells, whistles and grand complications of haute horlogerie for a watch that’s as stylishly spare as your wardrobe, like Armani Exchange’s AX2148. A murdered-out watch made for minimalists, the AX2148 features an all-black colour scheme – including its PVD stainless steel case, black PVD bezel and black leather strap – complemented by subtle contrasting gunmetal hands and index hour markers. Because life is complicated enough.

Armani Exchange AX2148 Watch, available at Goldsmiths, priced £149.

FashionBeans x Armani Exchange Watches - The Minimalist
FashionBeans x Armani Exchange Watches - The Minimalist

FashionBeans x Armani Exchange Watches - The Minimalist
FashionBeans x Armani Exchange Watches - The Minimalist
FashionBeans x Armani Exchange Watches - The Minimalist

The Weekender

For the man whose style bridges the gap between smart and casual, a watch needs to work hard: not too formal as to only look good with a suit, but smart enough to pass muster with a shirt and chinos.

The key ingredient? Versatility. A colour and design that makes a watch the sort that’s as well received by your mates down the local as it is meeting your in-laws for the first time. Armani Exchange’s AX2511 hits the sweet spot, combining a brown leather strap (much more versatile than dressier black leather) and a muted gold dial (a touch of polish) with a more casual black ion-plated bezel and chronograph function. Meet your new all-rounder.

Armani Exchange AX2511 Watch, available at Goldsmiths, priced £179.

FashionBeans x Armani Exchange Watches - Smart-Casual
FashionBeans x Armani Exchange Watches - Smart-Casual

FashionBeans x Armani Exchange Watches - The Weekender
FashionBeans x Armani Exchange Watches - The Weekender
FashionBeans x Armani Exchange Watches - The Weekender

The Sartorialist

Time to pull out all the stops? A sartorial statement needs a watch that can hold its own. Whether you’re dialling up your style for party season, or showstopping outfits are the norm for you, it’s time to pack away low-key timepieces and break out the big guns.

More specifically, the gold big guns. Elegant and impactful in equal measure, a gold bracelet watch has presence that won’t pale when worn alongside punchy pieces in jewel-tone velvet and patent leather.

For a style that’s bling yet not brashly so, try the AX2145, a gold-plated case and bracelet watch that grounds its glimmer with a contrasting black dial.

Armani Exchange AX2145 Watch, available at Goldsmiths, priced £169.

FashionBeans x Armani Exchange Watches - The Sartorialist
FashionBeans x Armani Exchange Watches - The Sartorialist

FashionBeans x Armani Exchange Watches - The Sartorialist
FashionBeans x Armani Exchange Watches - The Sartorialist
FashionBeans x Armani Exchange Watches - The Sartorialist

The Sportsman

Hitting the gym? You don’t have to resort to the stuff of sci-fi to stay on track. If you’re a man of athleisure looking for a more stylish alternative to smartwatches, try steering old-school with a classic stainless steel chronograph.

Sturdy, sleek and masculine, the AX2509 combines a polished stainless steel bracelet with a sporty navy blue dial, and while it won’t map your run, count the calories you’ve burned or let you know if you’re in the ‘burn zone’ (surely sweating is enough of a sign?), it does feature a handy chronograph function you can use to time laps. Plus, in an age of incessant selfies, mood-monitors and sleep-trackers, there’s a certain charm in opting for the more analogue option.

Armani Exchange AX2509 Watch, available at Goldsmiths, priced £179.

FashionBeans x Armani Exchange Watches - The Sportsman
FashionBeans x Armani Exchange Watches - The Sportsman

FashionBeans x Armani Exchange Watches - The Sportsman
FashionBeans x Armani Exchange Watches - The Sportsman
FashionBeans x Armani Exchange Watches - The Sportsman

The City Slicker

For the man whose day starts with back-to-back meetings and ends at the bar, a watch needs to work hard. If you’re suited-and-booted most days, your ideal timepiece is subtle enough not to get your boss’ finger wagging but stylish enough to still make an impression.

Strike the balance with a timeless stainless steel design, like Armani Exchange’s AX2177 – a watch that satisfies the office dress code without turning you into a corporate drone. As sharp as the tailoring it’ll pair well with, this classic option features a contrast silver graph check so slick you’ll want it on all your stationery, too.

Armani Exchange AX2177 Watch, available at Goldsmiths, priced £149.

FashionBeans x Armani Exchange Watches - The City Slicker
FashionBeans x Armani Exchange Watches - The City Slicker

FashionBeans x Armani Exchange Watches - The City Slicker
FashionBeans x Armani Exchange Watches - The City Slicker
FashionBeans x Armani Exchange Watches - The City Slicker

Shop the full Armani Exchange collection in Goldsmith stores and online at goldsmiths.co.uk now.

Credits:
Words by Cillian O’Connor
Styling by Luke Todd
Assisted by Murray Clark
Photography by Matthew Shave
Hair and make-up by Olivia Davey
Model: James Sorrentino at Premier Model Management

The Minimalist: Reiss suede jacket; Pringle roll neck jumper; Topman jeans; Balenciaga folio (available at MatchesFashion.com)

The Weekender: Orslow denim jacket (available at MRPORTER.com); Jaeger check shirt

The Sartorialist: Marks & Spencer velvet jacket; Suitsupply shirt; Suitsupply tuxedo trouser; Marks & Spencer bow tie; pocket square – stylist’s own

The Sportsman: Adidas jacket; Falke compression shirt (available at MatchesFashion.com)

The City Slicker: Reiss suit; Marks & Spencer shirt; Whistles pocket square; Fulton umbrella; tie – stylist’s own