The upper echelon of the luxury watch world is a confusing and bewildering place. At this end of the spectrum of unique watches for men, there is a lot more at play than simply choosing a nice watch based on appearance and brand alone.
Enter the speculative investor who trades and monitors watches more carefully than a Wall Street trader. Or the collectors who simply view watches as an appreciating alternative to holding cash. And then we have those new to this exclusive world drowning in an ocean of reference numbers, hype, and waiting lists.
Yet the basic rules of the game are quite simple and intuitive. Leave hype and speculative investment aside, and buy the watch you personally prefer above all others. The world of unique men’s watches is also great fun, a hobby to many starting out on their watch journey, and one they will likely participate in for life.
My top 11 unique watches for men span several different categories and budgets. As a watch is such a personal choice, perhaps pay more attention to the brands discussed as opposed to the specific watch recommended.
A unique men’s watch should be personal to you, a watch you prefer above all others, and while the search may take some time, it will be enjoyable. Purchasing a unique watch to mark a special occasion or achievement is all the more reason to choose something you love.
You’ll likely land on a watch that isn’t immediately available. That proves that (a) you have good taste and (b) you have chosen something in high demand, and therefore a watch likely to retain its value. Aside from the most hyped watches, patience usually pays off eventually.
My top choice for those interested in investing in a unique men’s watch would be a Rolex. I also really admire the innovative timepieces by Nomos, as they offer a slightly edgier aesthetic than some of the more traditional Swiss watch brands.
Our Top Picks
It simply has to be a Rolex. At least, that was my conclusion when I purchased my first luxury men’s watch. Setting aside price and everything I had seen on Instagram, YouTube, or TikTok, I simply ventured onto the online Rolex configurator and chose my favorite watch. The Oyster Perpetual Datejust 41 with a diamond slate-gray dial, white gold fluted bezel, and Oyster steel bracelet.
There are some interesting things to note about the Datejust 41. Launched in 2016, it is quite a lot slimmer and hence more elegant than its predecessors. The fluted bezel is not only immediately identifiable as a Rolex but incredibly sparkly in reality. Even more so, when the sun hits the diamonds and all the colors of the rainbow reflect around the room.
This is fundamentally one of the dressiest unique watches for men. But with its more understated Oyster as opposed to the Jubilee bracelet, it still looks great with lower-key smart casual outfits.
Material: Oystersteel, White Gold | Diameter: 41mm | Strap: Oyster | Colors Available: 15
For those with an interest in cars, the dial of the Nomos Autobahn is immediately reminiscent of that of a car’s speedometer and rev counter. Although quite minimal in its design, this German watch has a distinctive appearance in midnight blue with white and red automotive-style detailing.
The internal automatic mechanism, visible through the glass-cased rear is very attractive, with 27 jewels and a power reserve of up to 42 hours. This watch would look great with a smart casual outfit—think dark tones and navy suede Chelsea boots.
Material: Stainless Steel | Diameter: 41mm | Strap: Woven Textile | Colors Available: 3
Not every unique men’s watch has to cost the earth, and this really cool piece by Benyar is a case in point. Both stylish and functional, this sleek, modern design and high-quality construction is the perfect accessory for any fashion-conscious fella. The water-resistant design makes it perfect for everyday wear, whether you’re at the office or out on the town.
Complete with a chronograph dial and a distressed leather strap, it even features a built-in date calendar. Plus, over ten colorways to choose from. Clearly, this watch offers ample scope for expressing your own personal taste and style.
Material: Stainless Steel | Diameter: 45mm | Strap: Leather | Colors Available: 14
While budget is often not the primary concern in the luxury market for unique men’s watches, there are several brands that punch well above their weight. One such example is Solios, producing unique and minimal solar-powered watches at an affordable price point.
The fact that Solios watches retain 80% of their charging capacity after 20 years is remarkable. Mainly considering how many conventional batteries a regular watch would go through in that time. This all-black solar watch is a clean aesthetic, free of complication, and majoring in minimalism.
Several great digital watches also fall into this category of unique watches for men due to their generally lower price-point in comparison to the predominantly analog luxury Swiss offerings.
Material: Certified Recycled Stainless Steel | Diameter: 36 & 40mm | Strap: Steel Mesh/Vegan Leather | Colors Available: 10+
Cartier is one of the most chic and elegant brands in the world of jewelry and watches. The fact that the late Princess Diana wore a Cartier is perhaps the greatest compliment the brand could ever receive.
The Cartier Ballon Bleu is a unique men’s watch that I have been eying up for some time. With its minimal dial and unmistakably Cartier-fluted crown detail, the Ballon Bleu is the epitome of taste. That goes for any one of its many materials and dial-color combinations. The silver dial chosen is perhaps the most classical and sophisticated—a timeless piece.
Material: Stainless Steel | Diameter: 40mm | Strap: Stainless Steel | Colors Available: 1
As a sister company to Rolex, Tudor watches are beautifully made, albeit viewed by some as the lower-priced alternative. The Tudor Black Bay is strikingly similar to the Rolex Submariner, for example. I have, however, chosen the Royal Date watch, which is completely unique.
This watch features a very unusual bezel with notches that alternate between fluted and highly polished. The Royal Date’s brushed steel bracelet is also unique with its polished intermediate links. The silver sunray dial features eight diamond intermediate hour markers. And together with its unusual bezel and bracelet, it could be said this is one of the nicest watches the brand has ever produced.
Material: Stainless Steel | Diameter: 41mm | Strap: Stainless Steel | Colors Available: 1
How difficult it must be to innovate in the over-crowded luxury watch world, yet Rado has done exactly that. With their extraordinarily svelte and smooth watch designs, the Rado Centrix elevates the brand’s game even further with its diamond watch dial and transparent case-back.
As an automatic watch, the Centrix’s intricate mechanism is nicely detailed, while its steel and black ceramic bracelet is synonymous with the brand’s dark luxury appeal. A watch that can pair with a casual outfit, this piece is perhaps best shown off with a crisp white shirt and dark suit.
Material: Ceramic, Stainless Steel | Diameter: 38mm | Strap: Stainless Steel | Colors Available: 1
In a striking all-black color scheme, the Hublot Aerofusion couldn’t be more stealthy in appearance. You’ll find high-tech ceramic within the internal mechanism of this automatic skeleton watch.
While its ceramic bracelet is uber-cool and beautifully complements the watch’s dial. Think leather-jacket biker vibes for this watch, and you will be onto a winner style-wise.
Material: Ceramic | Diameter: 45mm | Strap: Ceramic | Colors Available: 1
The Zenith brand has been producing unique watches for men since 1865. Famous for their technical and masculine appearance, the Defy Skyline watch is one of the newest additions to their range.
Named after the skyline of cityscapes, the watch is almost architectural in its geometric styling. Particularly its star-shaped internal mechanism. Complete with a choice of a stainless steel bracelet or leather strap, this watch can be worn casually as well as with a more formal outfit.
Material: Steel | Diameter: 41mm | Strap: Stainless Steel | Colors Available: 1
In the world of unique men’s watches, subtlety can be everything, and there is perhaps no brand that epitomizes this more than Patek Philippe. Famous for producing quite simple but exquisitely made classical watches, the brand needs absolutely no introduction. Always one for some intricate detailing. However, I have chosen a particularly eye-catching piece with some very unusual features—the 5205G.
Notice the elevated concave as opposed to the convex bezel. So elegant, as are the hollowed-out sculpted lugs which hold the hand-stitched leather strap in place. The dark blue sunburst dial is absolutely beautiful, with the day, date, and moon phases elegantly displayed.
Being leather-strapped and slightly more subtle than a Rolex, this is a watch that would look great with a smart casual outfit. Those that know will know, as the 5205G’s case design and clasp are unmistakable Patek.
Material: White Gold | Diameter: 40mm | Strap: Aligator Leather | Colors Available: 1
The Royal Oak is arguably the most iconic of Audemars Piguet’s range of unique watches for men. And this particular example, with its skeleton dial, is stunning. This 50th-anniversary celebration piece features the beautiful stainless steel bracelet that the Royal Oak is famous for. Plus, the bracelet is much more eye-catching in reality thanks to its multifaceted links, which constantly catch the light.
The internal movement visible through the glass dial is truly amazing looking, being so intricate in design and with so many moving parts. Not to mention its pink gold hour markers. The beautiful, flush-fitting yet extraordinarily intricate clasp is also a wonder—a real collectors’ piece.
Material: Stainless Steel | Diameter: 39mm | Strap: Stainless Steel | Colors Available: 1
What To Look For In A Unique Watch For Men
Choose a watch that suits your personal style first and foremost. Then worry about investment, rarity, and value as secondary factors.
On the investment side, check out the values of similar used watches to give you an idea of how desirable your personal choice might be. In particular, its investment potential.
Unless you absolutely love the watch, steer clear of less desirable colors and materials. A Rolex with a steel bracelet is generally a better investment piece than a gold watch, for example.
A luxury or unique men’s watch is perhaps the ultimate men’s fashion accessory and can certainly be the most expensive. However, I cannot stress the importance enough of going with your own personal choice instead of what’s hyped or trending in the market.
The more fashionable something is, the quicker it will go out of fashion, and that is often true of watches. A unique men’s watch should be enjoyed every day. It may even be a reminder of a personal achievement or special occasion. This is worth more than any speculative investment piece favored by the fickle mass market.
Rolex makes beautiful pieces that are universally admired, hold their value, and like all good fashion purchases, will make you feel special. Given that I chose a Rolex myself as I embarked on my luxury watch world journey, it’s no surprise that this is the brand I would recommend above all others.
In addition, building up a good relationship with your local Rolex authorized dealer is worth the investment long-term should you wish to trade up to a different watch or perhaps add another to your collection.
By definition, something is only unique if it’s one-of-a-kind. Leaving aside this minor technicality, ‘unique’ can be interpreted in different ways. A watch may be unique to you due to its color, shape, reason for purchase, or perhaps it’s even a family heirloom. More broadly speaking, ‘unique’ is often the word chosen to describe either limited edition or luxury watches by exclusive brands.
In the broadest sense, absolutely. Rolex makes relatively few watches per year, and they are notoriously difficult to source due to the rarity of certain models. Most of all, Rolex are unique in the watch world as they offer a relatively affordable entry point for the novice prestige watch collector, with the safety cushion of also being a great investment that will likely appreciate with time.
Absolutely. Do you, like me, wish to purchase a watch that will retain its value, won’t cost the absolute earth, and will be relatively easy to sell in a few years? Then really, Rolex is your best bet. I would caution heavily against purchasing to sell any watch in a bid to make a profit. You will never be sold one again by an authorized dealer, and a watch should be viewed as something you are likely to keep for five years or more.