Watch out: Your choice of watch can be telling


This should be an easy call. If you want to be a smart lawyer, then your choice of timepiece should be …

A smartwatch …

But it’s not so simple, apparently. Suppose you forgot you set an alarm on your smartwatch — to remind you to watch “Better Call Saul” that night — and it goes off right during your closing argument in a class-action suit against a noise-polluting airport.


Indeed, smartwatches pose all kinds of potential hazards. You could be tempted to check sports scores — right in the middle of a high-level staff meeting.

Lebron scores, you don’t.

Some lawyers have given watch choices considerable thought. Some worry that smartwatches and sports’ watches aren’t dressy enough. They don’t carry enough heft. This applies to women as well as men. There’s apparently a fine line between being too casual and too uppity. 

Fashion experts note that watches remain a vital accessory even in this day and age of smart phones, which, of course, also tell time. (And they never run slow or late … Nor do you have to wind them …) But pulling out a smartphone can look tacky and unprofessional, they argue.

Plus, they can be distracting — even more so than a smartwatch — because of all the features they have.

Apparently, when it comes to lawyers and watches, there are unwritten rules, one of which was written about by the author of an article on the website, How to Dress Like That. That article, called “What watches do lawyers wear" notes:

“The first unwritten rule is to never, ever wear a watch it is obviously more expensive than your senior colleagues’ (especially the partner). While there is nothing wrong wearing a more expensive watch, you do not want your clients to think that you are more senior or make more money than your partner (for obvious reasons).”

So let that be your starting point …

One thread on a watch blog — yes, there is such a thing — called Watchuseek asked readers to give advice regarding: “Power watch for young lawyer between $1-$2,000.

Apparently, that is the affordability range …

One writer had this observation:

“Tag makes a nice watch, but they are controversial. Plenty of knowledgeable people around here dislike the brand for various reasons … However, you also walk a fine line when you flash a brand that is known to be expensive between being thought of as successful and thought of as being over paid. You also don't want a client to think you're trying too hard either.”

Tag? Actually, that’s TAG Heuer, which is a Swiss luxury watchmaker. Why is it controversial? Apparently — while it’s a nice watch — it’s not a Rolex …

Yes, opinions are many. One lawyer said to go with a vintage watch and say you got it from a granddad, which will score points with more senior attorneys. Still others said to focus your money and efforts on acquiring the best tailored suits, not watches.

And still another: “No one is going to care about your watch other than you, so buy what you like. The only thing clients care about is your performance as an attorney.”

Actually, not everyone agrees with that.  The choice of watch can be important, particularly in the courtroom, some argue. That’s because jurors notice everything. According to an article in the website, Watch Ranker, there is this advice:

“When in court, especially in front of a jury, a lawyer needs to recognize the message that a fancy watch expresses (this is also true for what a defendant wears). Too much flash and you could lose the jury’s sympathy. Consider, instead, an elegant timepiece with a plain, albeit still stylish, leather band.”

So what about an old-fashioned pocket watch and chain? Wouldn’t that be cool? Pulling it out of your vest pocket … Snapping it open … Glancing at the time …

And here’s good news. The three-piece suit — perfect for pocket-watch wear — is making a comeback.