Preppy watches are notorious for making statements regarding the wearer’s quality as a person and can apparently open doors that you may not know existed. Additionally, preppy watches can greatly improve your style and status. When you are in the office, you want to tell people that you are both reliable and conservative with just a flash of your watch.
If you aren’t quite sure where to start when it comes to buying a preppy watch, this article will surely help you. We know what it means to be preppy, so we have compiled a short list of the best 10 preppy watch brands. As a preppy individual, it’s a good idea to own at least three watches; one for casual wear, one for the office, and one for fun.
You won’t want the watch to be junk either. You will want a timepiece that has the following qualities:
- Only Swiss or Japan-made
- High-quality movements
- Mineral or sapphire crystals
- Reputable brand
Here are some of the best preppy watches we found:
- Rolex – Best Overall Preppy Brand
- Citizen – Best Inconspicuous Smart Watch for Preps
- Seiko – Best Consumer Brand
- Tag Heuer – Best Entry-Level Luxury Brand
- Timex – Most Affordable Preppy Watch Brand
- Chronoswiss – Best Luxury Brand
- Zenith – Most Reputable Watch Brand
- Michael Kors – Best Enthusiast Brand
- Mido – Best Quasi Luxury Brand
- Casio – Most Affordable Brand
Top 10 Best Preppy Watch Brands
1. Rolex – Best Overall Preppy Brand
Rolex began in 1905 when its founder Hans Wilsdorf created the world’s first waterproof wristwatch known as the Oyster. At the age of 24, Hans founded a company in London that specialized in precise wristwatches. Not only were the watches elegant, but they were reliable as well. He was determined to convince the public of the reliability of his timepieces that were equipped with small, precise movements that were crafted by a Swiss watchmaking company.
Today, all Rolex watches have proven to be reliable in even the most extreme conditions. Whether you’re diving deep in the ocean or climbing the highest mountains, Rolex watches are undoubtedly at the top of the list in popularity, style, reliability, and status. Some of the world’s most notable humans wear Rolex watches on their wrists. If you know anything about watches, you know that Rolex timepieces aren’t cheap.
The Oyster Perpetual 41 is the most preppy watch you will find on the list. It fits all of the categories that make a preppy watch the best for a preppy. It’s luxurious, classic, and made with only the highest quality materials. It features oyster steel, which is highly resistant to corrosion and belongs to the 904L steel family. The Oyster bracelet is robust and comfortable and fitted with an Oyster clasp. It can be replaced with a Rolex Oyster Perpetual band by Horus to add more colors to the timepiece
Additionally, it’s equipped with a caliber 3230 movement that has been developed and manufactured by Rolex. This is a self-winding mechanical movement and is resistant to shocks and magnetic fields.
If you’re a preppy woman looking for a beautiful Rolex, check out the Pearlmaster 39. This has more sparkle and shine than you could ever need. It’s set in 18 ct white gold with a diamond-paved dial and a diamond-set bezel, case, and signature Pearlmaster bracelet. The watch also features the distinctive Cyclops lens. It magnifies the watch’s emblematic date display two and a half times for easier reading. Lastly, the watch is equipped with a new generation movement, the caliber 3235, which is certified by a Swiss chronometer by COSC
2. Citizen – Best Inconspicuous Smartwatch for Preps
Citizen was founded in 1930 by Japanese and Swiss investors. It had taken over Shokosha Watch Research Institute. The brand was first registered in Switzerland by Schmid in 1918 for watches sold in Japan. The development was supported in the 1920s by Count Goto Shinpei with the idea that the watches could become affordable to everybody. It wasn’t until 1993 that the company launched its first atomic timekeeping watch, which remains a pioneer to this day.
In 2010, Miyota of Japan introduced the UHF 262 kHz movement that uses a three-prong quartz crystal for the Precisionist or Accutron II line. This quartz watch has an ultra-high frequency that’s claimed to be accurate +/- 10 seconds a year. Additionally, Citizen makes smartwatches that would make a preppy man or woman proud to wear, even though not many preppy people like to wear them.
This watch is called the CZ SMART. It’s not a bland square watch such as the Apple Watch, it’s a beautifully crafted watch that’s powered with Wear OS by Google. It’s compatible with iPhone and Android phones.
The buttons that change what your watch does are similar to a traditional watch and not set in the side of the case as with Apple or Samsung watches. If you change the watch face to look like a regular Citizen watch, nobody would ever notice. With this watch, you can track your activity with untethered GPS, see your calls, texts, emails, monitor your health and wellness, control music, and so much more.
3. Seiko – Best Consumer Brand
Seiko began in 1881 when Kintaro Hattori opened a shop selling and repairing watches in Tokyo. In 1892, he created the Seikosha factory. It was here that the first clocks were produced and the journey to being the world’s most important manufacturers of timepieces began. In 1895, they created a pocket watch, which was called the Timekeeper.
Unfortunately, in 1923, the Great Kanto Earthquake struck and the factory burned down. Seiko had to start all over again, but created a new watch that went on sale in December of 1924. In 1964, they created the first wristwatch that had a stopwatch built into it, which was the same year as the Tokyo Olympics. So far, they’ve created digital watches, watches with computer functions, radio watches, divers watches, and much more.
Their most popular preppy watch for men is the Seiko Men’s SNKN37. This 43.5mm stainless steel watch features a cushion-shaped Hardlex dial window and an automatic self-winding movement with analog display. It’s water resistant up to 50 m and suitable for short periods of swimming, but not diving. It’s complemented by a distressed leather band.
Their most popular women’s preppy watch is the SXDG98. It’s a very elegant watch that’s both simple and stylish. It features the ever-so-popular Japanese quartz movement encased within a Hardlex glass. The case material is stainless steel and has an analog display type with the date at the 3 o’clock position. It’s beautifully complemented by a leather calfskin strap and is water-resistant up to 100m.
4. Tag Heuer – Best Entry-Level Luxury Brand
Tag Heuer was established by Edouard Heuer in 1860. It was based on two foundations-family leadership and technical innovation. He was only 20-years-old when he opened his first watch-making shop on the family farm. In 1864, he moved the company to Brugg where it operated under the name Edouardo Heuer & Compagnie. It wasn’t until 1869 when he created his first patent, which was a pocket watch with a crown-operated, keyless winding system.
1958 was a huge era for Heyer. Jack Heuer became the fourth generation to manage the company. This decade would see new chronograph models and legendary stopwatches. In 1969, he introduced the world’s first automatic chronographs with the Autavia, Heuer Carrera, and Monaco models. The Monaco would be the official watch of Steve McQueen, a famous race car driver.
Today, their most popular preppy-style watch is the Formula 1. It’s not cheap, but it’s one of the preppiest watches you’ll find. This watch features a battery-operated quartz movement inside of a brushed stainless steel case. The bezel is made from black titanium carbide and there are luminescent hands and hour markers. You will find a tachymeter scale feature as well as a chronograph feature with the date. Additionally, it has a stainless steel bracelet to keep it secured to your wrist. It will come with a certificate of authenticity.
If you’re looking for a preppy women’s watch, check out the Aquaracer. This is a beautifully crafted watch with a Mother of Pearl dial enhanced by luminous silver-tone hands. It’s encased with a stainless steel case and features a quartz movement and uni-directional bezel. Protecting the dial is a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. It’s water-resistant up to 1000 feet and has a date display at the 3 o’clock position.
5. Timex – Most Affordable Preppy Watch
Timex is a brand known by just about everybody, even the preps. They started with mantel clocks 167 years ago and the rest is history. They were known as the Waterbury Clock Company in 1854 and instead of using wood, they used metal to make the gears. It wasn’t until 1901 when their first pocket watch was crafted and it only cost $1.
Their watches were affordable, durable, and stylish by the 1960s and everybody wanted one. Records show that every third watch purchased in America was a Timex. Women began purchasing Timex watches and they soon became known as the symbol of independent women. Time flew by and the brass springs were quickly replaced by quartz crystal so the watch would never need to be wound.
The Unisex Timex Weekender is an affordable watch for preppy individuals. It’s made in the USA and comes in 17 styles. This is a silver-tone 38mm brass case with a mineral glass crystal. Inside of the glass cover is an indiglo light-up cream dial with full Arabic numerals with 24-hour military time. It’s water-resistant up to 100 feet and can fit up to an 8-inch wrist circumference. The strap is a comfortable and adjustable nylon slip-thru style.
6. Chronoswiss – Best Luxury Brand
Chronoswiss began in 1983 when quartz timepieces were gaining popularity. It was founded by Gerd-Rudiger in Munich and he had a firm belief in the timeless fascination of timekeeping mechanisms. This was the first company to miniaturize the regulator into a wristwatch format. They then crafted a whole collection around it.
This brand was known for many firsts. They created the first automatic, serially manufactured skeletonized chronograph, the world’s first tourbillon with a regulator dial, the world’s first automatic chronograph with an off-center display of hours and minutes, plus much more.
One of their preppiest watches is the Resec Classic. It’s made from stainless steel with a screw-down case back and satin finish. There is a polished screw-down bezel with full thread and side knurling with an anti-reflective sapphire crystal covering the galvanic black dial. The dial features super-luminova inlays and central hours and minutes. The hands are operated by a Caliber C. 302 automatic movement and a rhodium-plated rotor.
7. Zenith – Most Reputable Watch Brand
Zenith was created by George Favre-Jacot, a watchmaker who strived to bring innovation and modernity to the heart of the tradition. He established his brand in 1865 and he wanted to create the perfect watch, one that would be the finest, most precise, and most reliable timepiece in existence. In order to do so, he had to unite all of the various crafts of watchmaking under one roof. He was able to connect his workshops to the train station of Le Locle to receive his raw materials directly.
In 1900, Zenith was awarded the Grand Prix for the Zenith Calibre at the Paris Universal Exhibition. Charles Vermont was another Zenith employee who unknowingly played a massive role in its legacy. He was one of the original watchmakers who worked on the El Primero movement when it was premiered 50 years ago. When management decided to remove it from production in 1975, he was appalled. He knew how important the watch was and hid the components to make it in the attic of the manufacturer.
To this day, the El Primero watch is still one of the most popular pieces amongst the preps. It features a stainless steel case and a silver dial under a sapphire crystal for protection. The watch runs off of a Swiss automatic movement and there are chronograph features including a small seconds hand at the 9 o’clock position. It’s all beautifully paired with a leather band and is water-resistant up to 100 meters.
8. Michael Kors – Best Enthusiast Brand
Michael Kors began building his company in 1997 and continued into 2004. He was the creative director of Beline, a renowned French luxury brand. He was noted as having a significant impact on restoring the brand’s luster. During that same period, he launched his own brand called Michael Kors Men in 2002 and MICHAEL Michael Kors in 2004.
Michael Kors focuses on giving back. For over 25 years, he has been a supporter of God’s Love We Deliver, which is a non-profit organization that cooks and delivers meals to individuals living with serious illnesses in and around New York City. He now creates menswear, womenswear, and childrenswear at decently affordable prices for those who are luxury accessory enthusiasts.
Since this started as a women’s brand, we’ll start with a women’s watch. The Pyper watch is a classic preppy watch that brings elegance to all who wear it. It features a quartz 3-hand movement encased in a round stainless steel case and scratch-resistant mineral crystal glass. The dial is a jet black color and complemented by gold hands and markers with crystals. Additionally, it’s water-resistant up to 50 meters and comes in a variety of band styles.
A popular preppy men’s watch by Michael Kors is the Slim Runway model. This masculine timepiece features a 44mm jet black stainless steel case with a round sunray dial under a hardened scratch-resistant mineral crystal glass. There is a 3-hand quartz movement and a bracelet strap with deployant closure. This watch also comes in a variety of styles and is water-resistant up to 50 meters.
9. Mido – Best Quasi Luxury Brand
In 1918, Georges Schaeren, who was an experienced and ingenious Swiss watchmaker, founded MIDO G. Schaeren & Co. He created the first women’s watch in 1920. They featured coloured enamelled-shaped cases and modern straps. Additionally, there were visually attractive watches for men.
One unique piece of this brand was the fact that they produced watches that were in the shape of radiator grills that matched those of Buick, Ford, Bugatti, Fiat, and more. It wasn’t until 1930 when they concentrated on the production of scroll-free functional and water-resistant watches. This was a rare feature back then. In 1967, they created the smallest women’s watch ever manufactured in an assembly line. Since then, their innovation has soared and they have created some of the most popular watches known to man.
We thought that the MIDO Men’s Analogue Automatic Watch was one of the preppiest pieces we saw from the brand. The watch has a unique anthracite dial color in a stainless steel case. There is a date display, luminous indices, hands, digits, and a central second hand, all protected by sapphire glass. It comes with a nice beige leather band and has the date displayed between 4 and 5 o’clock.
If you’re looking for a preppy women’s watch, consider the Baroncelli Analog Display Watch. This watch features a Swiss automatic movement in a stainless steel case with a stainless steel bracelet and bezel. There is an elegant white dial with Roman numeral hour markers protected by a sapphire crystal. There is a date display between 4 and 5 o’clock and the piece is water-resistant up to 50 meters.
10. Casio – Most Affordable Brand
Casio was founded in 1946 by Kashio Seisakujo in Mitaka, Tokyo. They began as a company making calculators and typewriters. It wasn’t until November of 1974 that they created the first electronic wristwatch. In September of 1978, they created the first wristwatch equipped with Casio LCD. After that, they just kept creating better watches and other electronics.
We love this brand for several reasons. For instance, they make some of the most affordable preppy watches on the market. You can find them in stores such as Walmart and Target, no need to special order on their website. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and with different features. Their most recent watch creation is the Solar G-SHOCK which is equipped with Bluetooth and hybrid GPS as well as radio-signal time reception.
The Casio Men’s Solar Powered watch is both rugged and preppy-like. This watch has a stainless steel case with an analog display and quartz movement. The display is covered by a mineral glass cover. You will find a day and date display at the 3 o’clock position as well. The band is made from fabric, but may be paired wonderfully with any attire. This is one of the most affordable watches that match your preppy lifestyle.
Most of the Casio women’s watches are square, digital, and downright gaudy, but we did find one that even the preppiest of preps would wear, which is the LQ139B-1B. This watch is round and black with printed indices, a fluted crown, and a polished bezel. It has a resin case with a resin glass dial window and the watch is operated by a quartz movement. It’s simple, elegant, and will go with any outfit or occasion.
Buying Advice For The Preps
There are a lot of junk watches on the market and the preps only buy quality pieces, so it’s ideal to be aware of what’s actually high-quality or poor quality. Quality doesn’t always be expensive either, but most of the time they are.
If you turn to Amazon, you can find high-quality watches at affordable prices, but you need to know what to look for.
Where Was The Watch Made?
It’s important to look at where the watch is made. A true prep will only want a watch that comes from Switzerland or Japan, not China. Chinese-made watches are generally cheap. The brand will give you some insight as to where the watch was made. Seiko and Citizen watches are made from Japanese materials and they are well-known for their reliability and quartz movements.
Japanese watches are made in Japan or have Japanese movements that are high-quality. These types of watches are generally more affordable than their Swiss counterparts, but they will last as long as you allow them to if properly cared for. There are Casio watches that cost $25 that last longer than $300 watches.
Swiss watches, on the other hand, are known for being the best in the world. They are generally made from surgical-grade steel for their gears and pins. Most of them are crafted by hand and can be easily serviced by a watchmaker.
What Makes The Movement?
What is the movement made from? This is a question you’ll want the answer to before you pick that perfect preppy watch. There are three movements; quartz, manual, and automatic. Manual watches require daily winding and automatic watches wind themselves. Most preps choose the high-end automatic watches to ensure they are ready to wear at all times.
The watch face is covered by one of three materials; plastic, glass, and sapphire. Preps never buy watches with plastic coverings. Plastic is the cheapest and is prone to scratching. Any watch with a plastic covering is generally cheaply made. Glass is the next grade up. There are several hybrid glass crystals such as Sapphlex, Gorilla glass, and Hardlex. These are the most common amongst mid-range preppy watches. Lastly, there’s sapphire crystal. Watches with this covering are highly recommended as they belong on all preppy men’s watches.
Styling Rules For Preppies
Preppy men and women enjoy being around water, especially during the summer months, so their watches should be water-resistant. This is why digital watches are not recommended as part of a preppy person’s wardrobe. Not to mention, digital watches aren’t stylish, except for certain smartwatches.
Additionally, preps usually like to stick to classic styles. A classic diver style or luxury watch with a black or brown leather band matches just about anything they wear. There are also bands that have colorful canvas straps that are acceptable for a prep to wear. It’s a good idea to match the watch band to the accessories being worn.
A good rule of thumb is to match your leathers and metals from top to bottom. Leather watch bands should match your belt and/or shoes.
We hope that this article has helped you pick out the perfect preppy watch. It’s a good idea to remember that you don’t have to spend a fortune to dress like a prep, especially when it comes to your watch. Classic watches with sapphire crystal are a great go-to for any prep.
If you’re on a budget, we suggest a nice Casio watch. If you don’t have a budget, then the Rolex is your safest bet, but Rolex watches are thousands of dollars.