Oversized bezels have become de rigueur in men's watches, but let's face it: Unless you're a Miami rapper, it's tough to pull off that much bling. And who really needs it? European brands like Cartier and Asprey didn't build their reputation on chunky slabs of steel, and now you can find real innovation in minimal, no-frills mechanical timepieces that harken back to the classics. Their craftsmen manage to incorporate state-of-the-art technology, such as chronographs or perpetual calendars, and pack it all into the thinnest, lightest case possible. If you're going to invest in one, choose a model that's smart enough to go with any outfit, and easy to pass on to the next generation.
Clockwise from top left: watches by Cartier, $7,400; Asos, $48; Tommy Hilfiger, $145; Asprey, $15,270; Omega, $3,600. Photography by Koji Yano. Styling by Christopher Stone.