Which Watch Should You Buy Your Groomsmen?

A buddy of mine from high school just got married! Can’t believe that dork finally found someone who will put up with his nonsense. Anyway, he decided he wanted to get the rest of the groomsmen and I a watch in celebration and as a reminder of his big day. After some brainstorming and research, we put together a list of a few considerations we deemed to be some of the best watches to buy for your groomsmen on your wedding day. 

To cut the chase, he ended up going with the Seiko Cocktail Time. We felt it was classy and tasteful enough for a wedding, and fit his budget. Not to mention it’s an absolutely gorgeous timepiece that wouldn’t look out of place with even everyday outfits, like a nice shirt and jeans.

There were a couple more criteria we used to determine which would be the best watch to wear for his wedding. While yours might vary, these should at least give you a good starting point, and don’t worry, I’ll provide a few more options we considered after. 

Things to Consider When Buying a Watch for Groomsmen 

  • Dress watch: It had to be formal enough to wear with a suit and/or tux. Of course, a wedding is typically one of the most formal occasions one needs to dress for, and almost anything other than a dress watch would seem out of place.  
  • Color: It had to match our suits. For his wedding, we were wearing navy blue.
  • Quality: Had to be a quality, highly regarded brand, and not a cheap fashion brand. We both wanted a watch that would hopefully last for the rest of our lives and serve as a reminder of his big day.
  • Budget: He only had a couple of groomsmen, so he didn’t mind spending a little more on each one. He wanted to spend no more than $300 per watch, but your budget may vary. I’ll include some options at a bunch of different price points, even some that are much cheaper.
  • Versatility: We wanted this to be a watch that was handsome, but could still be worn regularly, day to day. This ruled out some extra dressy options. 
  • Bracelet vs. Leather Band: While leather bands are typically seen as the more formal, dressy option, they’re also warmer, and not the best choice for a hot summer day. Keep in mind, though, that you can swap a leather band onto almost every watch, so it’s not a very big deal either way.
  • Thickness: Some people want their dress watches to be as slim as possible, to easily fit under the cuff of a sleeve. Definitely, something to keep in mind if you think it’d bother you or your groomsmen, having a slightly thicker watch. 

The Best Watches for Groomsmen

  • Seiko 5 – The best mechanical watch on a budget. Tons of different options and they all look great, especially paired with a leather strap.
  • Orient Bambino – A somewhat traditional looking dress watches with a slightly larger, modern sizing. 
  • Seiko Cocktail Time – Our pick for the best watch for groomsmen with one of the most beautiful dials ever. Somewhat expensive compared the others.
  • Seiko SARB033/SARB035 – Best everyday option as it looks great on literally any type of strap. Being discontinued and becoming harder to find. 

Seiko Cocktail Time

Seiko Cocktail Time by lecocktailtime

It’s impossible to deny the beauty of the Seiko Cocktail Time. It has one of the most gorgeous dials I have ever seen. It comes in either sunburst silver or navy blue, depending on which version you get. Both are equally gorgeous, and I can assure you, pictures don’t do it justice. The domed crystal gives the watch a unique touch you don’t often see in modern dress watches and in my opinion adds to the charm.

One of the biggest downsides is the hardlex crystal. At this price, you’d expect a more durable sapphire glass, which is a bit of a disappointment. The crystal is tall and domes over the watch, so it’s not the slimmest dress watch. Overall we’re extremely happy with the decision. It’s an absolutely gorgeous watch and looks great on wedding day.

Seiko 5

My vintage Seiko 5 SNXS79 on a red alligator strap

Looking for a great quality watch for your groomsmen that also happens to be one of the best entry-level affordable automatic watches you can buy? Look no further than the Seiko 5.

While not the most dressy, it certainly gets the job done, especially if you swap the included bracelet for a leather strap. Each Seiko 5 model is different, but the average case tends to be on the smaller side, usually around 37mm, depending on which model you get.

It’s a great watch that won’t break the bank and there are literally hundreds of different Seiko 5 you can choose from. Some of my favorite “dressy” Seiko 5 models are my Seiko 5 SNXS79 (pictured above) and the SNKL41/SNKL45. Slap on a black leather strap, and you’re ready for the wedding!

You can also take a look at the SNK809 or the SNZG15 models if you’re looking for something a little more unconventional and casual. Either way, you can’t go wrong. With a simple leather band, you’ve got yourself a winner that’ll look great not only on the wedding day but for years and years to come.

Orient Bambino

The Orient Bambino is one of the most formal and dressy options on this list. It’s also one of the thinnest. It’s a beautiful watch, but because we felt it lacked versatility, we ultimately decided it wouldn’t be as suited for regular wear, and thus decided to overlook it. The price, however, is hard to beat. At under $150 you can pick yourself up a great quality watch, with a variety of different styles and colors. They even have a rose gold option, if that’s your thing. 

Seiko SARB035

Seiko SARB033 by mrbwong

The Seiko SARB035 is not only a great looking watch but also amazing quality. It has a sapphire crystal that’s much more scratch resistant than every other watch on this list. Inside is a 6R15 movement, the same as in their more expensive Seiko Prospex line. It’s absolutely gorgeous and at 38mm, small enough to function as a dress watch, but still sporty enough to be worn as an everyday watch.

Seriously, this thing is one of the most versatile watches ever and looks great when wearing just about anything. It also looks great on a variety of straps, from leather to NATO. The SARB035 would look way more appropriate with say, shorts and a t-shirt than the previously mentioned Seiko Cocktail time.

It has recently been discontinued so is getting harder and harder to find, and also more costly. But if you can get your hands on one for a decent price, it’s definitely worth a look.

Leather Band or Bracelet for a Wedding?

Hopefully, these choices helped you narrow down a watch to get your boys, or even yourself, for the big day. But if you’re still stuck deciding between a watch with a leather band or a metal bracelet, let’s discuss some pros and cons of each.

Pros and Cons of a Leather Watch Band

A leather band is a great choice when giving someone a watch as a gift since its size is adjustable on the fly. You won’t need to break out any fancy tools or take it to a jeweler to have it adjusted. It’s also considered the dressier option and maybe more appropriate for your wedding.

A couple of downsides are that you can’t get it wet, at all. Water most likely will ruin any leather strap. They also tend to run on the warmer side and can be uncomfortable to wear on a hot summer day. 

Pros and Cons of a Metal Watch Bracelet

Metal watch bracelets, on the other hand, are kind of your “jack of all trades”. They’re appropriate to wear with anything, from a suit and tie, down to a t-shirt and jeans. They’re also usually rather comfortable, depending on the quality and style of bracelet, of course. Their metal links mean they’re usually cooler to wear on warmer days, not to mention their water resistance. You can take a metal bracelet into the water no problem, which is why most dive watches usually come on a metal bracelet, if not a rubber strap.

Read more about dive watches here!

The one downside of a metal bracelet is that it’ll need to be resized to fit the wrist of each groomsman. You can take it to a jeweler or order the tools online and do it yourself. Either way, it should only cost a couple of bucks a pop, but the added preparation could be a factor to consider, to make sure you have the watch back, properly sized, in time for the wedding.

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