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Can you get a decent watch for less than $1,000?

The question

My husband has the kind of job that requires him to meet with dignitaries and corporate biggies. They all wear watches that cost as much as our car. What sort of watch can he wear that will do the job without crossing the five-figure (or even the four-figure) mark?

The answer

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Bejewelled and ultra-accurate watches are not signs of social status or power. They are signs of lots and lots of money, which is a very different thing.

If I see a guy in a watch worth more than $1,000, I admit I first assume he's a bit of a jerk – unless I know for sure that he has already donated significantly to charity and already owns a great deal of original art.

The technical side of watches – their accuracy, water resistance, their stopwatches and alarms – are all unnecessary to men with actual power (who have assistants to tell them how soon lunch is and engineers to run their machines).Expensive watches are simply jewellery, and jewellery, generally, should be minimized on men.

Furthermore, I highly doubt that your husband's associates are going to judge his professional capacities or his character by his watch. They haven't got to where they are by worrying about things like that. All he needs is a sturdy plain Seiko with a leather strap.

Russell Smith's latest novel, Girl Crazy , was recently published. Have a fashion question? E-mail

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