The right watch is more than just a perfect fashion accessory, time to smarten up your wrist wardrobe, gentlemen.

The term “fashionably late” is actually an oxymoron. If you want to make the right impression, whether it’s in business or on a date, being on time will always mean you start on the right note. It’s the ultimate accessory, one that helps you in every single facet of your life. To make sure you make the right sartorial choice, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. If you have a specific and distinct style, like if you’re a tweed-wearing hipster, striped-covered prepster or black-turtleneck adorned minimalist, you should chose a watch that suits your style. But failing that, you can opt for a simple, function-free watch with a white or black face and conventional leather strap, because it’ll go with everything. “Since the downturn in the world economy, oversized watches have rapidly lost favour amongst a certain clientele,” explains Bester. “The phrase ‘less is more’ seems to be the way forward for now – and the focus has shifted back to more classical-sized dress watches and sport pieces for men.” When it comes to formal events, your watch should slip easily under your cuff and it shouldn’t create a solar flare every time it catches the light. “My preference would be to choose as thin a wristwatch as possible, as I’ve seen too many large watches damaged by collisions against walls, door frames and tables,” says Arzul. “A thin timepiece is much less liable to get damaged, and the thinner the watch, the more elegant it is.” Ultimately, the choice is a subjective one and you should choose one that suits your lifestyle and personal taste. Just keep in mind that a formal watch should keep the time, not flash it. It shouldn’t be the centre of attention, but rather something that complements your overall look.

1. Maurice Lacroix les Classique

A sleeper hit of a watch brand, these watches are always under-stated pieces of ticking beauty. The thin, 38 mm, stainless steel case, supple alligator strap, small date function and white dial create the perfect dress watch: subtle, elegant and uncomplicated. R7 950,, 011 372 6000

2. Cartier Tank Francaise Large Automatic

Shaped like their army namesake, the small, rectangular Tanks have been on the wrists of presidents, retired generals and more recently, movie stars. The thin, elegant style is perfect for any suit-wearing gentleman that wants to be seen as an individual. R44 200,, 011 666 2800

3. Baume & Mercier Capeland Automatic Chronograph

With a tri-compax layout and satin-finished copper-coloured face, it’s a perfect, subtle blend of retro influences and modern design. Its unique character sets it apart from its more staid peers. R32 100,, 011 317 2600

4. Frederique Constant Classics Manufacture

A thin, lightweight rose-gold plated masterpiece, complete with a stellar build quality and crocodile leather strap, this quietly whispers sophistication. Perfect for any formal event. R24 995,, 011 669 0500

5. Emporio Armani Classic

Renowned for their sharp suits and fashion, their watches don’t disappoint, especially considering the value for money this watch offers you. This classic has a large case with small, subtle markers and a bicompax layout. R4 999,, 021 938 1966

6. Breitling Transocean

Arguably one of the most beautiful watches, the sleek lines and classic, understated face was created to cross oceans and time zones in style, but excels in boardrooms and formal events too. R46 135,, 021 418 4515