What Watch to Wear to a Job Interview

 In FAQ

On the internet, you can read a lot of threads like “There’s this and that occasion, which watch should I wear?” Some might think that’s a horrible case of not being able to make a simple decision. However, some of us are plagued with perfectionism.

A job interview is an occasion where details matter. Usually, the answers to someone asking for help in choosing a watch for this event are something like “whatever you like, no one’s going to look, let alone judge.”

In the case of job interviews, that’s not true. You’re talking to a person representing the department you might be working in. Meanwhile, someone from Human Resources stares at every detail of your behavior and appearance from behind thickly framed glasses, armed with the fearsome HR Clipboard of Judgement. So…yes, you will be judged there. Let’s not kid ourselves.

For example

Only recently, I had a job interview. Writing for Waha is a side job, a hobby, and a passion of mine. However, I needed a new day job.

The day before the interview, the kettle and the tea mug were getting a lot of use — tea after tea after tea. The matter of choosing the outfit and the watch was helpful. It had my focus shifted to watches. The fact of being a WIS and writing for Waha have made it into my CV. I had to emphasize that with the right watch.

Dress watch, or something else?

If you’re wearing a suit, you’d probably want to accessorize with a watch that’s as dressy as it gets. I don’t mean boisterous. Sometimes less is more. The simple, Bauhaus thing might be just what you’re looking for. Something like a Junghans Max Bill could be a good choice.

German watches

Junghans Max Bill MEGA. Photo by Junghans.

Sports watch aficionado’s dilemma

I’d advise staying away from sports watches. An Omega Speedmaster surely makes a conversation piece, and in these modern times, nobody cares that it wasn’t designed to be paired with a suit. Well, that excludes racing driver’s suits and spacesuits.

Of course, if sports watches is all you have, you don’t have a choice. Just go for the one with the most conservative design. A diver’s watch is, IMO, not a good idea. You’re not James Bond.

Of course, a diver’s watch is perfectly fine if you’re applying for a job in marine archaeology or any other work that includes SCUBA diving.

Vintage dress watch guy’s dilemma

For someone with a collection of vintage three-hand watches, it’s simple. In theory, at least. I, for example, had the difficulty of choosing from some strong contenders. In the end, I asked for some advice. Remember that there’s nothing wrong in doing so. I’m confident that none of the contenders would have been a bad choice. Still, when you need to keep your thoughts from racing, some peace of mind can be priceless.

I went with presumably the most versatile watch that I own. A 1952 Eterna ref. 106BDT, with Eterna’s in-house calibre 520U inside. It’s understated, but neither not enough nor too much. Just a simple watch in excellent condition. It doesn’t go unnoticed, but it’s not an attention magnet, either.

Eterna dress watch with Eterna 520U movement

Conclusion

Choose what goes best with the outfit that you’re going to wear for the interview. If you own sports watches, choose the least flashy one. In case of dress or casual watches, go for the “midpoint” between very simple and very dressy. You can’t overdo it with simplicity.

Remember that the line of thought I’m presenting here is that of choosing the universally safe option. Often, the nature of the job can be nicely accented with something not along the lines of what I’ve written.

There’s no such thing as the perfect advice or the ideal choice. Just use common sense, and you can always ask the opinion of someone you trust.

What watch did you wear to your job interview? Let me know in the comments below.

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Showing 2 comments
  • Chayal M L
    Reply

    Hi Michal,
    Long time ago when I faced an interview, it was hmt Janata, white dial, black strap. It was simple and gracious. Actually, we in India had limited options in those days!
    One more thing, I was as nervous as you were and the kettle and the tea mug, wow! how could you be so simple and accurate in the description!

    Chayal.
    (HMT, Hindustan Machine Tools, Hindustan means India. Janata means public, masses, an affordable watch made for masses).

    • Michał Kolwas
      Michał Kolwas
      Reply

      Thanks, Chayal. I checked out the HMT Janata and it looks nice in most of its versions. In fact, if I had one, I wouldn’t have any problem wearing it to a job interview. As to tea, never underestimate its importance in keeping the mind in line.

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