Along with the many other style trends that hipsters have resurrected, hipsters have started to popularize the practice of keeping several nice watches, too. A good watch can be a defining feature of any man’s (or even woman’s) outfit, but in the age of smart devices and smartphones, they have become less common.
5 Hipster Watch Trends for the Watch Lover in You
We can thank hipsters for reasserting that watches can make an excellent accessory for a high-class outfit and that they can be reachable for those of us that aren’t filthy rich, too. In the sections below, we’ll go over some of the best hipster-friendly watches to wear (and the best ways to wear them) in this modern age.
What Makes a Hipster Watch?
What defines a “hipster” watch is a bit hard to pin down and define. After all, aside from women’s and men’s watches, they don’t come in too many different styles.
Most formal watches have a large, flashy timepiece and a band made of one or more materials. These watch bands can be made of things like:
- Precious metals
- Non-precious metals
- Leather (or leather substitutes)
While hipster watches aren’t defined as one material or finish, there is one thing that sets the style: affordability. Most hipsters aren’t keen on spending exorbitant amounts of money on their accessories – that is, unless they’re born into wealth and have too much to do with it.
Instead, most hipsters prefer to purchase handmade or secondhand items, with the understanding that they’re boycotting large corporations in the process. By buying handmade or small-batch items, hipsters support the small businessman instead.
While the price isn’t as crucial if that requirement is met – hipsters are just as capable of wearing expensive items as long as they don’t support “big business” and other objectionable things in the process – secondhand and thrifty items are still an essential part of hipster culture.
Part of the reason for this emphasis on secondhand items is hipsters’ attachment to the environment and ecological preservation. Many hipsters are all about saving the animals, the forests, and the endangered species of the world.
While hipsters don’t necessarily have to be concerned about the environment – more often, it’s environmentalists that are called hipsters instead of the other way around – many hipster trends support this idea. Veganism, going green, and sustainability all synergize with the word hipster, too.
The word “hipster” is a vague enough term that none of the above need to be true. Just because the above buzzwords tend to trend along with the term hipster doesn’t mean that they’re synonymous.
However, the critical thing to take note of here is that these sustainable beliefs tend to impact and influence hipster fashion. And that’s what this article is about, after all.
Hipster Watch Faces
There are two primary components of a good hipster watch: the band and the face. Some watches come with the two pieces integrated together (like some metal-banded watches), but others are meant to be interchangeable.
The benefits of an interchangeable watch face are apparent. Like with a Fitbit or Apple Watch (two tech-forward options that hipsters enjoy), you can buy one working unit, but accessorize it with hundreds of different outfits by changing out the band.
The downside of an interchangeable watch is that some styles can look less cohesive together. In the same way, individual styles of bands just aren’t compatible with an interchangeable watch.
The watch faces on interchangeable watches tend to be simpler than those with permanent bands. The purpose of this is so that the watch face will match with more bands, of course, while a watch with a matching band can be styled more accurately to match.
As such, if you’re looking for an intricate-looking watch, you’re better off buying one with a matching band. If you’re looking for something a bit more subtle that will match with more outfits, an interchangeable watch is for you.
That being said, hipsters tend to gravitate towards either simple and modern or historical and secondhand watches. Some hipster watches combine both styles or align with neither, but this is an excellent place to start.
Lightweight Watch Bands
Fortunately for watch-wearers, bands come in hundreds of different materials, finishes, and types! A good, versatile watch face can play into hundreds of different outfits and styles with some careful accessorization choices.
We’ve listed some materials that these watch bands can come in already, but did you know that these bands can be broken down even further? Even just within lightweight leather band options, some of your options include:
- Tooled leather
- Leather with contrast stitching
- Monogrammed leather
- Dyed leather
- Suede leather
- Animal leather, such as snakeskin or ostrich
- Synthetic leather
As you might imagine, equally many options exist for the other types of watch bands out there. Cloth bands come in hundreds of different finishes from synthetic to renewable fibers, and metal bands can come in yet more designs and combinations.
When you think about the stylistic differences between male and female watches, you’re faced with even more options to consider. While some male watch bands and faces are neutral enough to work on females (and vice versa), there are hundreds of options on either side of the spectrum, too.
Matching Watch Bands
When a watch comes with a band that’s meant to match, you can still sometimes take it off and replace it with some careful tinkering. However, it’s usually best to leave these watch bands in place.
After all, these watches and watch bands were created to go together, and they’ll do their best work together. There are some looks that you can only accomplish with a permanent watch band, too.
Think of finishes like:
- Linked metal watch bands
- Linked wooden watch bands
- Rigid metal watch bands
While many hipsters prefer the rugged look of leather or cloth, they can easily pull off shiny metal bands, too. Moreover, wooden linked watch bands offer an excellent compromise between upscale design and rugged appeal that no other band can match.
Typically, when we talk about matching watch bands, we’re referring to these heavyweight watch bands. Because of the way a linked watch band works, you may need something with a specific shape to replace the band, or other bands might not match as well with the watch itself when you change it.
Smartwatches are a different species of hipster-friendly watches. While some hipsters prefer the rugged, earthy look that comes from a vintage or modern watch, others enjoy the convenience and prestige that comes with a smartwatch.
There’s no denying the advanced function of a smartwatch. While a wristwatch can, at most, tell time and maybe compute a few functions, smartwatches can do myriad things like:
- Read and answer text messages
- Make and field phone calls
- Run limited applications
- Monitor your heart rate and blood oxygen level
- Set timers and alarms
- And much, much more
Essentially, a smartwatch functions a bit like a smartphone, but on your wrist. While not all smartwatches have the capabilities of a smartphone – Fitbits, for example, have more exercise-related functionality and less smartphone functionality – all modern smartwatches function as an extension of your phone, in addition to their watch functions.
Many hipsters are very up-to-date with current technology, and as such, smartwatches present an exciting compromise between function, form, and cutting-edge tech.
Watch Band Materials
We’ve touched on several materials for watch bands already in this article, but there are several that haven’t gotten enough credit. Metal and leather watch bands are incredibly popular (and versatile), but cloth bands can work the same way, too.
Cloth watch bands come in many different materials, weaves, and patterns. One of the best things about cloth bands is that you can very carefully choose which fibers your band is made of.
If you want, you can even choose multiple materials to use in one watch band. Many people prefer to have a sturdy nylon watch band lined with soft suede, for example.
Fabric watch straps can come in hundreds of different materials – honestly, the sky’s the limit when it comes to these. Some example options include:
- Perlon (a type of nylon)
Don’t forget that other materials, such as rubber and some synthetics, can make excellent watch bands, too. While they tend to be more utility-focused than cloth, leather, and metal, they’re still a valid and useful choice.
If there’s anything you’ve learned from this article, it’s one thing: hipsters will take any opportunity to wear a stylish watch. While watches have fallen out of use since the rise of the smartphone, they’ve seen a resurgence due to their utility and accessory potential.
After all, a well-chosen watch and band can add professionalism and style to just about any ensemble. The right accessories, such as an attractive watch, can turn a flannel shirt and jeans from casual wear into quite the upscale outfit.
Regardless of how you choose to wear your watches (if you do at all), take some pointers from the hipsters out there. Don’t be afraid to accessorize with watches to your heart’s content!