No matter how cool a watch may look, nobody needs a unidirectional bezel or perpetual calendar at the Academy Awards. And while we live in a world that loves to defy traditional etiquette, there are indeed important style codes for selecting a status watch to wear amid Oscar-night madness and on any awards show red carpet.
The three most important considerations are: Any timepiece worn for a formal event should be thin, so it fits neatly beneath a shirt cuff and jacket. It should feature elegant styling that feels well suited to pairing with a tuxedo. And it should highlight only the time, ideally on a dial that allows the wearer to discern the hour with a discreet check of his wrist.
Watches that fit these criteria are generally two- and three-hand watches (two-hand watches showcase only hours and minutes, while three-hand watches include the seconds) and are sometimes called time-only designs. In recent years, these styles have taken a backseat to models offering an abundance of complications, but they’re still plentiful among high-end brands that understand the role they play in the watch wardrobe of any well-dressed man.
Here’s a roundup of the latest, from ultra-classic pieces to more forward-thinking dials, with a spotlight on a few A-list celebrities who excel at awards-season style.