I undervalued watches after studying abroad in Spain in college. I had worn one up to then, but the general ethos of the place, in which punctuality was accepted to be flexible, inspired me to go watchless. (I was impressionable, and still am.) Since beginning to wear a watch again a couple of years ago, I've really come to love and respect its utility. A watch is a great accessory to have, makes me feel like an adult, and I keep it set 10–15 minutes fast so I'm not (as) late.

1. MVMT White/Tan Leather

The founders of MVMT, which launched earlier this year, set out to make watches out of high-quality components and materials at a more affordable price point than the majority of the market. They surpassed their original $15,000 Indiegogo goal by almost $200,000, so I'd say they're off to a great start. They have six watch face/band colorways, but my eye is on the clean look of this white/tan leather combination. Made with Japanese quartz movement and hardened mineral crystal case, and with the ever desirable (in my opinion) date window, this watch looks much more expensive than it is.

Available in six other face/band colorways @ MVMT ($95)

2. MWC G10BH 50m Water Resistant Military Watch

MWC (Military Watch Company) has long been supplying government agencies with high-performance watches for military and police use as well as aeronautics. They make reliable, no-nonsense products that project both seriousness and cool. This particular watch employs battery power, which has been less and less used in modern watch construction. While MWC offers plenty of automatic options, I'm more attracted to this model for its long battery life and storied longevity. The sun-charged backlit feature reminds me of the original Timex Indiglo, but that's a good thing (I'm so used to that convenience). MWC also has many non–battery-powered watch options with a variety of price points; it's hard not to like a watch that is this solid.

@ MWC ($152 before shipping)

3. Uniform Wares 104 Series

Uniform Wares has earned a lot of fans by creating watches inspired by midcentury design. With a shape reminiscent of Dieter Rams's work with Braun, and a face inspired by the utilitarianism of factory wall clocks, the watches in the entire Uniform Wares series are instantly desirable. The 104 series pieces have great color coordination, and being a fan of orange I was instantly attracted to this watch, which features Swiss-made quartz movement, a matte case, and mineral crystal.

Available in three colorways @ A+R Store ($280)

4. Tissot Ivory Chronograph Sport Watch

The chronograph face of this watch brings me back to my earliest memories of watches and what they looked like, so despite my penchant for minimal design, I'll make an exception here. This watch's stunning appearance is thanks to its color palette – the ivory face, steel case, and brown strap all mesh well, and I especially like the blue highlights on the hands and numbers. Also, the face isn't too cluttered, and would look stylish with a suit or a sweatshirt.

It also has pretty high-end features for its price point, such as Swiss-made quartz movement, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal (a step up from a mineral crystal), luminous hands, tachometer, and water resistance to 100 meters.

@ Tissot ($375)

5. Tender Co. ‘Hands-On’ Mechanical Wrist Watch

If you want seriously cool clothes, accessories, and pottery, look no further than Tender. The design's roots are in antique British Steam Age workwear, and the production is of the highest quality.

This Hands-On wristwatch's most unique feature is the watch face, which has been rotated 45 degrees, an innovation from the early 20th century to make it easier for drivers to keep their hands on the steering wheel but still be able to read the time. The 17-jewel Swiss movement and one-piece oak bark–tanned leather watch strap are nice perks as well. There aren't many other watches that resemble this one, which is not something easily achieved in the watch world.

@ The Trestle Shop ($673 after 20% VAT discount but before shipping)

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