For most watch owners, a watch is just a timekeeping tool that can be purchased from a discount retail store. For watch collectors, watches are jewelry. Most watch owners will only own one watch at a time, but serious watch enthusiasts collect watches like some people collect shoes—with a “more is better” mentality. Since these watches usually cost hundreds of dollars, or even thousands, having a good case for them is important.
Like jewelry cases, many of the features that define good watch boxes are subjective. Some watch owners will want a box with a clear top, while others will want a box whose top matches the material used on all faces (e.g. wood, leather), so that the watches are only visible when the cover is lifted. Other watch collectors prefer boxes with drawers rather than a hinged lid.
Design and Materials
The design and build quality of watch boxes can vary widely. High quality watch boxes will often feature a leather exterior, or use a fancy wood like ebony, teakwood, or walnut. The metals used for the handles, lock and hinges range from stainless steel to something with a chrome-plated or gold-plated exterior.
How Many Watches?
Watch capacity will be an issue. Some watch owners have more restraint than others, and don’t intend to ever buy more than a couple of watches. Most collectors, however, should get a box that holds at least five watches—or some multiple of five—otherwise another box will have to be purchased sooner than later. It’s better to have space for watches that you currently lack than to lack space for watches that you suddenly have. The fewer boxes you need to buy, the better.
Room to Breathe
Compartment dimensions are an important consideration. Look for a watch box with compartments that can hold the largest watch you plan on buying. Three inches deep by two inches wide will be fine for most watches. Don’t forget the height of the compartment, especially if the box’s lid is flat rather than domed. There should be at least a half-inch clearance between the top of the watch pillow and the top of the compartment. It’s easy to underestimate the thickness of the average automatic watch.
Compartments and Pillows
One of the most overlooked features of a watch box is the lining of the compartments and the watch pillows. Look for felt, fleece, or microfiber lining. Your choice of color will usually be between different shades of gray, so if you want something substantially different, include the lining color in your online search for a watch box. The watch pillows should be sufficiently think and firm to keep the watches from slipping sideways if the box is moved.
Narrowing Down Your Choices
Compared to watch winders, it’s not hard to find good watch boxes for men. Most of the criteria are matters of taste, but in many cases, a key consideration is overlooked until after the purchase. Choosing watch boxes is easy once you know what to look for.