49 Beard Styles And Facial Hair Types – Definitive Guide For Men
After months of exhausting hard work, I’m thrilled to announce the definitive men’s guide to beard styles and facial hair types is finally finished!
From the classic clean shaven look to the traditional full beard and everything else in between, you’ll find an outrageous number of options to explore below. Of course, you’ll also pick up some cool historical knowledge about each look while digging in too.
Not to mention, a better idea of what style will suit you and your face shape best. With that said, let’s get started with the chart below.
1. A La Souvarov
The original look: A rather unusual combination of sideburns connecting with the mustache. Sideburns run downwards below the mouth (½ inch) before curving back upwards to the meet the mustache.
The original classic features a petite, sharply trimmed mustache paired with sharp corners around the mouth. Needless to say, it’s ideal for males who have less than desirable facial hair growth. The second variation of this style features the more popular look that includes a fatter mustache.
Aside from being named after Alexander Suvorov, a famous Russian General, many gentlemen find this beard style to be quite similar to the Franz Josef; though, significantly more curvy.
The original look: If the name wasn’t obvious enough, this beard style resembles a ship’s anchor. In the simplest terms it’s a pointed beard that traces the jawline with an added mustache.
It starts with facial hair extending along the jawline and is finished with a styled point at the bottom. The classic style bears no sideburns, and places a strong emphasis on defining the jawline and chin. It’s a good reason why this beard style comes highly recommend for gentlemen with oblong and square faces.
To complete the look, facial hair mentioned above is paired with either a pyramid-shaped or pencil-thin mustache. In a sense, you can think of it as being a combination of the popular handlebar mustache, chinstrap and goatee.
The original look: A two-three section beard style with a goatee and mustache that are not connected. While a soul patch under your lower lip is optional, the look still requires shaved whiskers on both sides. The end result should bear some semblance to an upside down letter “T”. Consider it a combination of the goatee, handlebar mustache and chinstrap if you like. (Or a disconnected mustache paired with a wide chin beard works too)
However, aside from the deletion of the soul patch another variation includes omitting the mustache. And while not truly another variation, it’s nice to know that trimming mishaps can lead to a Van Dyke beard style.
If you’re wondering where this facial hair style stems from I’ll tell you. It originates back to Italo Balbo, a popular Italian Air Marshall from the 1930s. Closely associated with fascists, he served as a henchman for Mussolini during World War II. Interestingly enough, during the 30’s and 40’s the term “Balbo” itself was actually a way to define a giant formation of aircraft.
For face types, the Balbo is best suited for gentlemen with round or square faces considering how well it accentuates the chin.
4. Boxed Knocker Goatee
The original look: A variation on the classic Door Knocker, aka the Circle Beard. Instead of keeping things tight and round, the Boxed Knocker Goatee features the opposite.
You’ll find the style has more of a squared look to it with the addition of slightly wider width towards the bottom of the chin. In a simple sense, you can think of it like transforming a Circle Beard into a “Boxy” beard.
In terms of face types, the Boxed Knocker Goatee adds considerable length to males with round faces.
The original look: A unique combination that includes the Soul Patch and Chin Strap. In a way it’s quite similar to the chin curtain, however, instead of having facial hair that connects up to the sideburns, this beard style stops at the earlobe. It’s a good reason why the look is often referred to as earlobe to earlobe.
With facial hair covering the chin and moving alongside your jawline, the Brett works wonders for gentlemen with round faces. Though, in comparison to square jaws, it’s not as effective in terms of definition. For males with long-faces you’ll want to generally avoid this beard style.
On the plus side, this beard has another hidden benefit for slow growers. If you’re struggling with super patchy hair around the cheeks, while still being able to grow lots of chin hair, the Brett might just be your best bet.
The original look: A wide and thick mustache that encompasses the area between the upper lip and nose. The Chevron peaks out to the edges of the upper lip, however, it does not go beyond it. While a relatively humble style, it does feature a signature downward angle.
The Chevron has been worn by everyone from Ron Jeremy to even the likes of Mahatma Gandhi. Of course, others including Tom Selleck, Freddie Mercury, Sam Elliot and Richard Petty have sported the look as well when it reached its zenith back in the 70s and 80s.
A good reason for its popularity aside from handsome good looks, stems from the fact that just about any man can grow a Chevron. Not to mention, maintenance is surprisingly minimal. Though, for some men this facial hair styles requires a bit of force with the trimmer to heighten the slope.
7. Chin Curtain
The original look: The classic features facial hair that drapes the jawline and covers the chin completely. While this beard style does extend down from the sideburns, the look comes unaccompanied by a mustache.
At first glance it may look strikingly similar to the chinstrap beard however, that style does not have facial hair that fully covers the chin. Another key difference to understand is that the chinstrap beard generally extends far below the jawline, where a chin curtain beard does not.
When it comes to the Chin Curtain, there are many variations when it comes to the name. Some men call it the Lincolnic, others refer to the style as the Donegal, Shenandoah, Spade or Lincoln for short. Yet, regardless of what you call there’s one thing every man can agree on. This iconic facial hair style holds special ties to Abraham Lincoln.
Aside from Lincoln, the Chin Curtain also gained popularity during the 1970s with Alvaro Pombo, a renowned Spanish poet, novelist and activist. Of course, in today’s times this beard style still remains the standard for married Amish men. If you’re wondering why, it’s simple, the mustache is shaven off in order to dissociate ties with military service.
For face types, this beard style is best suited for gentlemen with narrow and long faces. Men with wide or round faces should generally steer clear of the Chin Curtain as it makes the face appear significantly wider.
8. Chin Puff
The original look: Facial hair that extends downwards past the chin and starts at the lower lip area. The Chin Puff features an elongated shape that’s significantly more extravagant than the Soul Patch.
Now, while the Soul Patch effortlessly blends into just about any male face type, the Chin Puff doesn’t hold the same truth.
In reality, its best suited for gentlemen with wide or round faces. If you’re wondering why an oblong face wouldn’t be a good fit, it’s because the style draws more attention to overly lengthier looking face.
9. Chin Strap
The original look: A line of facial hair that extends all the way across the jawline. This beard style starts at the sideburns and runs on the underside of the jawline.
In order to successful pull of the Chin Strap you’ll need to pay special attention to any patchiness or gaps, which can significantly dampen an otherwise stylish look.
Historically speaking, this beard style is best suited for gentlemen with dark hair.
10. Circle Beard
The original look: A combination of the standard goatee with the addition of a mustache. This beard type features a full unbroken circle around the mouth area; in other words, it has a subtle, round shape.
Many gentlemen often confuse the Circle Beard for the Goatee, however, a Circle Beard is a combination of both the goatee and mustache. While a Goatee is actually just referring to the patch of hair around the chin.
In terms of origin, many claim the Circle Beard dates back to the 18th century in Australia. Regardless of its precise historical roots, one thing is certain: This beard style is appropriate to wear in virtually any decade. While making a soft jawline significantly more masculine, it’s also a sly tactic to cover up breakouts.
On the downside, gentlemen with round faces should steer clear. In a sense, you can think of it like a ball being balanced by a seal’s chin; not a good look.
11. Clean Shaven
The original look: A bare face, completely shaven of all facial hair.
For aficionados of everything wet shaving, the experience alone makes trading in the beard often worth it. In reality the clean shaven style has it’s perks with fluffy thick lathers, fine badger brushes and the sharp glide of a traditional straight or DE razor.
Of course, aside from keeping the traditional wet shaving routine alive, the clean shaven look itself is absolutely timeless.
The original look: Long points (tips) are formed by bending and curving a narrow mustache steeply upwards. As a rule of thumb, the tips should not extend past the eyebrows, while facial hear past the mouth’s corner should be shaved.
This beard style was first made famous by Salvador Dali, the iconic Spanish surrealist painter.
The original look: A neatly cut beard that features a tapered chin with an extended point at the bottom. Some gentlemen claim the style bears some resemblance to an actual duck tail.
While the upper portion of the beard should be trimmed shorter in length, the chin length will ultimately determines how this style varies from man to man. Just keep in mind that facial hair gaps are don’t play friendly with a style that is classically tight.
For face types, the duck tail is well suited for gentlemen with rectangular faces. Needless to say, it goes a long in helping to soften up all those sharp right angles on a rectangular face.
The original look: While similar to the handlebar, the English mustache features a narrow mustache that spreads outward from the center of the upper lip. Long whisker tips are slightly raised with wax to force them to subtly pop away from the lip area.
It’s important to understand that this procedure does not mean they end up being curled. To finish the look any facial hair is shaven past the corner of the mouth.
This mustache style has been worn and is famously attributed to Sir Arthur, Conan Doyle, and Vincent Price.
15. Franz Josef
The original look: In the simplest of words, the Franz Josef is a more extravagant take on the mutton chops. Sideburns extend downwards before being angled back up to make contact with the mustache or lip. The rest of the face including the neck, chin and cheeks are all cleanly shaven to complete the look.
The end result should appear as one thick continuous line that covers above the upper lip but leaves everything else below it completely naked. This mustache and sideburn style is due in part to Franz Josef I, the 18th century Emperor of Austria and the King of Hungary, Croatia and Bohemia.
16. French Fork
The original look: A full beard style with lengthy facial hair that goes beyond the chin area to form two separate sections split right in the middle.
If you’re wondering where the name comes from, it’s surprisingly simple. On original French forks you’d commonly find two prongs.
17. Friendly Mutton Chops
The original look: Long sideburns paired with a connecting mustache. Vertical sideburns are defined by the bottom of the jawline an corners of the mouth, while the chin itself is cleanly shaven. For variations this beard type can feature either thick or trimmed and narrow widths.
A common misconception is confusing the Mutton Chops for the Friendly Mutton chops, however, the key difference to understand is one features the addition of a mustache, the other does not.
18. Full Beard
The original look: The full beard, aka one of the most popular facial hair styles. Call it the king of all beards if you like, in reality, it truly is. Whiskers of the moustache blend into the beard to cover the chins, cheeks and jawline with pure manliness.
While the style might seem simple to clean shaven men, that’s from far the from the truth. The full beard takes a considerable dedication to growth, serious grooming and trimming, and a keen eye for cleanliness while eating and drinking.
Think you know everything about growing this style, you’ll be surprised! Here’s everything I learned after putting down the razor: How to grow a beard.
19. Fu Manchu
The original look: The Fu Manchu features a straight mustache which begins at the corners of the mouth. Facial hair extends downwards beyond the chin and lips (clean shaven) to form two equal “tendrils”. The lengthy whiskers are to have pointy ends that extend past the bottom of the chin.
While similar to the horseshoe, a key difference lies in the fact that the corners of the mouth (past 2cm) are shaven. It’s a good reason why the Fu Manchu is without question, a more grooming-intensive style to master. Perhaps you’ve heard the saying, “You probably don’t know anybody who has a Fu Manchu.”
Aside from the classic, one common variation includes adding an additional tendril from a small patch of facial hair below the chin.
In terms of history, the Fu Manchu was made famous by none other than Dr. Fu Manchu himself. While the literacy Fu Manchu did not sport the style, the fictional character of Sax Rohmer did in the 1923 British serial, The Mystery of Dr. Fu Manchu. Interestingly enough, Sax Rohmer wrote in his novel of having no idea the facial hair would set off have such an alarming trend after airing.
Since the original, the style has evolved into a more stereotypical portrayal of Chinese villains throughout films and television. However, while it might be suited for the cinema, gentlemen with round and oval face types can proudly sport the style fashionably off camera.
The original look: Before jumping into the original look, it’s important to understand two words: Billy Goat. In historical times the original goatee was a tuft of facial hair on the chin; it wasn’t connected to a mustache.
Much like you’d see on the chin of an actual goat. It wouldn’t be until the 90s for the goatee to start taking on a new, more universal meaning. As of lately, the style refers to beards with facial hair on the cheeks but not on the chin; hence where the confusion over the Van Dyke vs. Goatee comes from.
While it might be more popular than ever today, this beard type actually dates all the way back to Ancient Rome and Greece. In mythology the god Pan sported a goatee, which eventually led to Satan stealing the look in renaissance and medieval artworks.
Fast forward some years later and it reached new heights during the American Civil War. During the time period, even Abraham Lincoln could be found shaving a goatee style for a proper presidency presentation.
Aside from the drastically different versions above, today’s modern variations include different widths and lengths.
The original look: A bushy or slim (petite handlebar) mustache with ends curled upwards into a loop shape. The classic look resembles a style similar to the iconic shape of bicycle handlebars; hence the name.
While it looks like a relatively easy facial hair style to pull off, it actually takes around four months of solid whisker training. That means wetting your mustache on a daily basis, brushing them, and forcing the follicles against their natural growth direction with wax.
In terms of history, the handlebar mustache was most notably made famous in part by the likes of William Howard Taft, Rollie Fingers, and surprisingly, The Pringles Man. Of course, the style itself still dates all the way back to statues of Iron Age Celts.
Not to mention, it surged in popularity in Europe from the 18th century up until World War I. During the 19th century the style could be seen on famous Wild West folks such as Wyatt Earp.
Interestingly enough, Rollie Fingers, an old pitcher for the Oakland Athletics baseball team, once grew handlebars in an attempt to win a $300 cash prize for the best facial hair. While Charlie O. Finley, the team’s owner, only held the contest in 1972, Rollie Fingers continued to sport the look for the rest of his playing career.
Elsewhere in history, the handlebar mustache has often been called the “spaghetti mustache” due in part to an Italian male stereotype. In today’s more modern times, the style has made a comeback within the hipster culture.
For face types, the petite handlebar is best suited for gentlemen with smaller faces. While the large version is well, best suited for males with larger faces.
22. Heavy Stubble
The original look: The truth is, the Hipster style while a trend itself, goes against accepted commonality. In reality, it always rivals against the clean shaven man, especially when the popularity of mustaches, beards and facial hair styles are on the decline.
More recently the classy handlebar mustache has been viewed as a mockery of conventional fashion when paired to a unkempt attire.
A glance back into time period of 1841 through 1971 and you’ll notice something peculiar happening. With fewer women in the dating pool the popularity of beards among British males skyrocketed.
The original look: A full beard with a connected mustache and sideburns removed. You can think of it like a combination of both the mustache and goatee.
While the red carpet look does go by the Hollywoodian, other gentlemen call this beard style the extended goatee and tailback.
The original look: The horseshoe entails a full mustache paired with facial hair (pipes) that runs alongside the corner of the lips and down both sides of the mouth. The look completes at the bottom of the jawline to form a classic horseshoe shape, or inverted letter U.
While it’s quite similar to the Fu Manchu a key difference lies in the fact that the horseshoe does not feature shaven sides. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t vary the classic look without entering into Fu Manchu territory. The truth is, gentlemen can either elect to sport a traditional horseshoe or go instead with a half horseshoe. Not to mention, the lip brow can vary from 1/4 inch to 1/8 inch.
In terms of history, the horseshoe aka the biker mustache has been made famous in part thanks to Hulk Hogan, Aaron Rodgers, John Travolta, and Joe Namath among others.
For face types, gentlemen with long faces should generally avoid the beard style as it can easily exacerbate facial length. On the other hand, males with shorter and wider faces stand to gain considerable handsome benefits. Not to mention, the horseshoe also works wonders for bald gentlemen by adding some well needed texture.
The original look: The Hulihee features (bushy) friendly mutton chops with a lengthier and wavier beard, in addition to a finely groomed and connected mustache.
While a Hawaiian beard, the term itself actually means “turn and flee” oddly enough. While most male face types should generally avoid it, oval faces can pull the look off without worry.
The original look: A thick, coarse facial hair mustache that grows from the cheeks and upper lip. The style is finished with whiskers styled pointing upward, however, this look does not feature closed curls. Additionally, any facial hair outside of the upper lips and cheeks (ie. chin and sideburns) is to be shaven bare.
With that in mind, perhaps you’ll get a better idea of why overly curly and ultra fine facial hair fail to meet the grade. Of course, twisting your whiskers too far can also transform the Imperial style into a Dali look.
In terms of history, this mustache style stems from the last emperor of Germany, Kaiser Wilhelm II.
The original look: A closely-cropped mustache that rests above the upper lip and spans across the entire length of the lips. Corners are slightly angled in order to resemble the classic shape a lampshade.
In a sense, the this mustache style bears a similar resemblance to the Painter’s Brush, though with key variations noted above. In today’s times, the Lampshade is considered to be more a modern style with a significant appearance in pop culture.
The original look: A neatly combed mustache featuring a sloped shaven gap in the middle alongside two rectangular straight wing ends. While a distinctive style, the major does go by a second term, the double boxcar.
30. Medium Stubble
The original look: A narrow crescent shaped moustache with the addition of inverted wings.
While often called The Guy Fawkes, the truth is, that style differs by combining both a moustache and spearhead shaped soul patch.
32. Mutton Chops
The original look: The classic Mutton Chops style starts with full, long sideburns grown in excess of 2 inches to overtake the outer edges of the face. These sideburns run near the corners of the mouth, however, at no point do they connect to either the chin or mustache.
Of course, they also begin quite narrow at the temple before finally broadening out towards the ends near the lower jaw.
While it’s easy to mistake this style for overgrown sideburns for instance, it’s important to remember that sideburns begin at the hairline and end at the bottom of the ear. While Mutton Chops on the other hand, feature a much longer length. In a sense, you can think of them as being a more drawn out version of the classic sideburns.
If you’re a aficionado of 19th century politicians the Mutton Chops or aka, lamb chops and muttons for short, just might hold a special place in your heart. Of course, if you just want to chow down a beefy slab of BBQ ribs without the facial hair mess, that works too.
In terms of history aside from politicians, it’s interesting to note that Elvis once grew sideburns before finally sporting mutton chops as his fame rose. Not to mention, the unforgettable masculine appearance of Wolverine.
The original look: If the name alone wasn’t enough, this beard style is exactly what it’s named for, a literal neck beard. The style features facial hair grown only on areas of the neck, without growing above or under the jawline, nor making contact with the sideburns.
While not truly a male fashion mistake, the reality is only a handful of gentlemen can truly pull off the style without looking overly off-putting.
34. Old Dutch
The original look: A time-honored full beard style that’s worn square without the addition of a mustache. While the top of the chin remains the bare of facial hair the cheeks are covered. The finish the look off sideburns are connected while the rest of the beard extends outwards towards the bottom.
While the Old Dutch is more old-school and often associated with a manly lumberjack sense of style, it’s highly popular among the Amish. If you’re wondering where Dutch comes from the in the style “Old Dutch”, just consider the fact that the Amish speak Pennsylvanian Dutch (a dialect of German).
35. Painter’s Brush
The original look: A neatly trimmed, thick mustache style that covers the full width of the mouth. The mustache does not hang below the top of the upper lip, however, it does feature slightly rounded edges. Some gentlemen consider this facial hair style to be strikingly similar to the Chevron.
The Paint Brush has been made famous in part by Ron Swanson and Super Mario, among many others.
The original look: This facial hair style features a thin, narrow mustache that’s neatly clipped in order to outline the upper lip. Additionally, a center gap is formed in-between the mustache and the nose (philtrum). The end result is a thin strip of facial hair that appears to literally have been drawn on with a pencil.
For variations, aside from also being called the mouth-brow, some men opt to sport the style with an solid unbroken line. In other words, instead of creating a gap at the philtrum, the area rises up vertically before stopping right under the nose.
In terms of history this mustache has a special place in Hollywood’s Golden Age with gentlemen such as Clark Gable, John Waters and Errol Flynn sporting the look.
37. Petite Goatee
The original look: A classic goatee on a diet, with facial hair below the lips that is bound by the central chin area. While technically a partial goatee, the style does feature a distinctive upside down triangle shape.
For face styles, the Petite Goatee is best suited for gentlemen with square faces.
The original look: Like the name itself entails, the pyramidal mustache features a narrow top and wide bottom to form a shape similar to a pyramid. In other words, the lips feature a wide base while the rest of the mustaches tapers to a point before reaching the nose.
39. Rap Industry Standard
The original look: The Rap Industry Standard features tremendously thin facial hair that extends across the bottom chin with two equals lines. The look begins at the sideburns and is finished off with a pencil mustache.
In reality, this facial hair style can be achieved by using a black marker to replicate the look before actually sporting it on your face. While it’s truly just a hint of a beard, this beard style is best suited for men with a diamond face shape.
40. Short Boxed
The original look: Simply put, it’s the old-fashioned way of wearing a full beard. Upper cheeks and the neck are shaved while the sideburns, beard and mustache are given room to grow as one. The style is well-groomed with a trim to form a tidy and stylish shape.
For every man out there, the Short Boxed Beard brings about great news! It’s pairs perfectly with every face regardless of the shape, making it one of the most universal styles in existence to sport successfully.
41. Short Stubble
The original look: Believe it or not, but Ambrose Burnside, the famous American Civil War general wasn’t the true pioneer of the sideburns. While his extravagant take on them made history, the truth is, Alexander the Great wore sideburns first back in 100 BC.
A quick glance at the Pompeii mosaic and you’ll see a facial hairstyle that’s similar to what you’d expect today: Patches of facial hair that run along the sides of the face and extend downward from the hairline to beyond the ears.
However, that still doesn’t change the fact that the term “sideburns” and it’s variations like “sideboards” and “side whiskers” are technically a 19th century corruption of the classic term, “burnsides”.
In reality, Burnsides were thick sideburns with two notable differences: The sideburns were connected to the moustache while the chin area was clean-shaven. It’s a good reason why the extravagant beard style took the name “mutton chops” back in 1865.
Of course, there’s also the beard, chinstrap, chin curtain, and friendly mutton chops which are all variations of sideburns once they venture beyond the ear and towards the chin.
Unfortunately, you don’t see this facial hair style far too often when it comes to the original. While there’s no precise way to explain why trends grow and fade away, a good indication might be found during World War I. Back then all men had to be clean-shaven in order to form a secure seal while wearing a gas mask.
However, this rule didn’t apply to the mustache which is still extremely popular among men today.
43. Soul Patch
The original look: A simple, small patch of facial hair that grows in the middle area of the chin and lower lip. Not to be confused with the Chin Puff, as the Soul Patch features a neatly groomed squared patch that does not extend off the chin, nor into a pointed end at the bottom.
For variations, Stevie Ray Vaughan was known for his own unique take on the style by wearing it small and triangular, calling it a “soul tip”.
While this facial hair type might look modern, the statement is far from the truth, not to mention, even the name too. In reality, the style dates back to John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie, a legendary jazz musician. During the time period, his trademark style took up the name the “Dizzy Gillespie beard” before eventually being simply called the “Jazz Dab.”
Within time the Soul Patch grew its roots in the beatnik fashion of the 50s and 60s, and even gained popularity with artists like The Blue Brothers.
The original look: A downward mustache with corners extending beyond the lips. The style pairs a goatee, though, it is not connected to the mustache and features two braids of facial hair below the chin.
If you’ve ever seen the movie, Pirates of the Caribbean, you’ll know exactly where the Sparrow stems from, Jack Sparrow.
The original look: Looks easier than it really is to style. The Stiletto beard features two U shapes of facial hair under the mouth with a cheek line lower than the standard beard. In order to finish the look, the mustache is to be neatly trimmed along the lip line.
Historically speaking, the Stiletto beard dates all the way back to 15th century England with an introduction from foreign nobility.
The original look: A thick mustache that’s neatly shaven to form a one inch width in the center.
In terms of history, the style has be made famous in part by Adolf Hitler, Oliver Hardy, and Charlie Chaplin among others. You could spot the style worn by Charlie Chaplin in his Mack Sennett silent comedies of 1914. During the time he claimed the Toothbrush added a sense of humor and comedy to his appearance without concealing his facial expressions.
While it’s true Adolf Hitler was indeed a fan of Chaplin, there’s no recorded history that claims it was his inspiration to switch away from the Kaiser moustache. If you’re not familiar with the Kaiser, the style was made famous by Wilhelm II, a German Emperor, and worn by countless Germans until the Toothbrush took over in 1907.
In a sense, the style was more uniform in comparison to the more flashy styles of the 19th century like the Pencil, Horseshoe, Handlebar, Walrus, and Imperial. Though, by the end of World War II due to the styles strong ties with Hitler, and it’s new term the “Hitler mustache”, it quickly fell out of fashion.
47. Van Dyke
The original look: Also known as the pikedevant, the Van Dyke features a combination of the goatee and a pointy mustache with bare, clean shaven cheeks. Variations include the ends of the mustache curled upwards and the option of wearing a soul patch.
In terms of history, the Van Dyke dates back to Anthony van Dyck, a Flemish Baroque artist from the 17th century. Aside from his popular regal-themed and religious paintings of bearded males, one painting of King Charles I of England stands out in particular. Hence why you might hear the Van Dyke being referred to as the “Charlie” occasionally.
However, while the style remained popular in English for some time, it ultimately lost its peak in Britain with the Restoration. French fashion and wigs had certainly taken over, yet, that didn’t stop some gentlemen from calling themselves “vow-beards.” Together they pledged to wear the style with hopes the King would eventually return back to it.
Aside from the king above, the Van Dyke has also been made famous in part thanks to Vladimir Lenin, General Custer, Colonel Sanders, and Monty Woolley among other men.
The original look: A heavily bushy mustache that droops over the lips and encompasses the entire mouth. For variations, some gentlemen elect to wear this style with downward facial hair at the corners; often branching out onto the cheek area.
Regardless, the Walrus has often been compared to the whiskers of a walrus, a push broom, and even a similar take on the Chevron.
While the style is relatively simple, it does come with a few lesser obvious requirements. In order to perfect the look with the right proportions, it means acquiring fullness with coarse, heavy, and straight facial hair.
In terms of history, the Walrus has been famously associated with Theodore Roosevelt, John R. Bolton, Josef Stalin, Friedrich Nietzsche, Yosemite Sam, Jamie Hyneman, Wilford Brimley, Mark Twain, David Crosby, Lech Walesa, and Lanny McDonald among many others.
Though, it’s been said the style originates back to the Celts and Gauls.
The original look: The Zappa features a full mustache with edges drooping just below the corners of the mouth. To complete the look it’s paired with a soul patch for a boxy shape. While a distinctive mustache style, growing the edges too far out can transform the look into a Horseshoe style.
When it comes to the history of the Zappa mustache, the style originates from the legendary musician, Frank Zappa.
For faces types, this mustache style works wonders at adding definition to gentlemen with oblong face shapes.
Top 29 Best Watches Under $500 For Men
With cellphones so ubiquitous, your watch choice can be less about telling time and more about personal style. However, a watch is not ‘just’ a watch. For example, the vast majority are made for right-handed people, but a select few cater to the lefties among us. There is a wide range in functionality and size.
The wristwatch is also one of the few socially acceptable accessories for men, so why not have a small selection? If you’re not cashing a CEO’s paycheck just yet, here are the top 28 most handsome watches for men that retail for under $500.
Got a bigger budget? Then check out our guide to the best men’s watches under $1000 instead.
Top 29 Best Watches Under $500 For Men
1. Tommy Hilfiger Stainless Steel Men’s Watch
If you like the feel of a pliable, non-metal band but aren’t comfortable with genuine leather, this watch comes equipped with a handsome synthetic band. At 46mm in diameter, this watch is perfect for men of smaller stature, as it will not overpower your hand or make it look like you’re wearing your father’s watch. With bold Arabic numerals, a stainless steel case, and classic styling, this watch is an outstanding choice for an everyday watch and the man on a budget.
2. Nordgreen Pioneer – Black Dial
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Not everyone has an endless amount of cash to drop on a luxury timepiece. If you’re money-conscious but want something high-end, then why not consider the Nordgreen Pioneer.
An inspired take on a classic Chronograph, Nordgreen celebrates the Danish with what they call a timepiece “that captures the sustainable future.” Available in various dial colors from blue, black, and white. There’s even the choice of three case colors – gunmetal, silver, and rose gold. A perfect addition to the collection of any watch enthusiast.
3. Fossil Grant Brown Leather WatchCheck Price
This lovely offering by Fossil features slim Roman numeral hour markers and delicate cut-out hands. The casing is stainless steel and is water-resistant to 165 feet, making it a great dive watch. The band is made of supple, soft calfskin leather and uses a buckle closure.
Of course, this timepiece also comes with the generous 11-year warranty and it’s own fun tin. This watch oozes class and is great for nearly every occasion in your life.
4. Citizen Sport Stainless Steel Men’s Watch With Brown Leather Band
If you don’t want to deal with changing out a battery in a digital watch, this watch is powered by either natural or indoor lighting. The mineral crystal face and stainless steel case make this watch water-resistant to 330 feet, making it a great choice for swimmers and snorkelers.
Handsome and utilitarian, this is a great watch for everyday wear. It’s one of the best watches for men who are always on the go.
5. Fossil Men’s Machine Chronograph Silicone Watch
This watch was designed with the active man in mind. The knurled silicone band stands up to sweat and oils without issue, and the timepiece itself is water-resistant to 165 feet.
The patterned bezel and quality craftsmanship of the black dial is excellent, as is to be expected from a Fossil watch. It even comes in the iconic and collectible tin!
6. Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Watch
This men’s watch features Japanese quartz movement that charges itself indoors or out when exposed to light, making it a great choice for those who don’t want to change out the battery too often. The stitched canvas strap is soft against your skin and will wick away moisture, while the mineral crystal face stands up to the rigors of your everyday life.
Water-resistant to 330 feet, this dive watch is a classic and simple design you’ll be proud of for years to come.
7. Invicta Pro Diver Chronograph Men’s Watch
Another gorgeous offering by Invicta, this watch features a bold design with a slightly nautical feel to it. It will look at home whether you’re wearing a business suit or are going for a dive of less than 660 feet. This piece is also covered by a one-year warranty as a matter of course. The luminosity feature and magnified date window make it a great choice if you work or play in low light.
If you want something that looks like a Tag Heuer but without the luxury watch brand price tag, this is a good option!
8. Casio Edifice Multi-Function Men’s Watch
This watch has three sub-dials for 12 hour, 60 minute and 60-second displays, in addition to the standard time. It also features a fold-over, push-down clasp on the stainless strap, keeping it secure throughout your activities. If you’re looking for a classy timepiece that shrieks sophistication, this is a great choice.
9. Fossil Machine Three Hand Stainless Steel Men’s Watch
This quality watch is a chameleon piece. It looks at home as a dress watch riding below the cuff of your best suit, and it also looks great paired with jeans and a t-shirt. Backed by Fossil’s 11-year warranty as a matter of course and beautifully crafted, this smoke-colored piece is guaranteed to become the go-to accessory for nearly every occasion.
10. MVMT Watches Black Face Men’s Watch
If you like the look of a simple watch, this minimalist offering from MVMT is right up your alley. With just a plain black face, tick marks to denote the hours and a single date window, there is nothing overdone or extravagant about this design. The is understated and suited to the simple design. It’s definitely a classy, low-key piece for the budget-conscious.
11. Timex Weekender Watch
If you’re looking for a fun watch to pair with casual outfits, this is a great option. The band is blue and yellow woven nylon, and the face features both civilian and military timekeeping. An Indiglo night light is also included. This watch is water-resistant to 99 feet, meaning it can withstand splashes of water or exposure to rain but you won’t want to submerge it.
12. PUMA Ultrasize Black Sport Men’s Watch
Boasting a 50mm diameter, this piece is perfect for the large-framed man or one who likes to wear his accessories oversized. A true fashion statement, this sports watch comes in eight different colors schemes to match your favorite hues.
Do be aware, however, that the dial knob is configure for left-handed men!
13. Timex Easy Reader Men’s Watch
Another dress watch designed with the older gentleman in mind, this watch features a white dial with generously sized numerals that do not appear comical to the casual observer.
It’s also an excellent choice if you take your contacts out at night and still want to be able to check the time. With classic lines and a simple white face, the watch would not be out of place at any casual gathering. It comes with Timex’s one-year warranty at no additional charge.
14. Fossil Nate Men’s Chronograph Watch
For men who like a more gritty, industrial feel to their accessories, this Fossil watch is right on point. The bezel is gear-edged and the face is utilitarian black and gray. Water-resistant to 165 feet, this watch is a great choice if you like your adornments to be understated yet add visual interest.
It’s definitely a stand-out piece, for those who would take notice!
15. Timex Expedition Field Chronograph Men’s Watch
Featuring an indigo night light, tachymeter, a date window and a buckle closure, this watch is perfect for men who like to work or play outdoors. It is also water-resistant to 330 feet, making it a great choice for snorkeling or swimming.
You won’t want to wear it for diving, however. With classic, black styling and a genuine crystal face, this is a timepiece that will stand the test of time in both form and function.
16. Seiko 5 Automatic Stainless Steel Men’s Watch
This Seiko automatic watch has all the bells and whistles you need, but presents it all in a plain and strikingly attractive manner. It features a date window in either English or Spanish, sword-shaped hands, a sweeping second hand and a mineral dial window. This is a great option for the man on the go. The canvas strap can be removed and hand-washed if sweat or other odors become an issue.
This watch is not water-resistant, so you’ll only want to wear it when you won’t be popping by the pool for a swim!
17. Invicta Pro Diver Collection Silver-Tone Men’s Watch
For those who prefer an all-metal timepiece, the stainless steel Invicta fits the bill nicely. It has a similar aesthetic to a Tag Heuer watch, but at a more affordable price. Equipped with a unilateral bezel and removable links, the band can be customized to fit your wrist perfectly. The face is flame fusion crystal and features a magnifier to highlight the date window.
It’s also water-resistant to 660 feet. If you’re looking for a gorgeous watch that stands up to an active lifestyle, this is an excellent choice.
18. Seiko Men’s Adventure-Solar Classic Casual Watch
This Seiko watch derives its power from either natural or indoor light and can withstand water depths of up to 330 feet. The supple brown leather strap and timeless brushed steel give this piece an attractive look, and the alarm chronograph is easy to set.
If you’re looking for a watch that can serve as a backup for your wake-up call while traveling, stand up to the elements and look awesome, this casual wrist watch is a winner.
19. Nautica Men’s Stainless Steel Watch with Blue Resin Band
Featuring a plethora of options and a smart, snappy style, this a great casual watch with a eye-catching blue dial. The hardy resin band is adjustable, and the face is protected by a mineral window. Whether for work or play, this bold blue design is handsome and substantial on the wrist. It comes with Nautica’s five-year warranty at no additional charge.
20. Citizen Sport Men’s Stainless Steel Watch with Black Leather Band
The black, red and white face of this piece eschews the traditional two-tone color scheme so often employed in other watches, and the contrasting stitching on the band adds creative flair. It comes backed by Citizen’s five-year warranty and will compliment any casual outfit.
21. Alessi Tic15 Analog Display Analog Quartz Black Men’s Watch
Another not-quite-round offering on our list, the curved square casing of this piece gives it instant visual appeal. Sleek and clean, this unfussy design will be a compliment to almost any occasion. It has quartz movement and is water-resistant to 99 feet, making it a great choice for everyday wear.
22. Invicta 1517 I Force Collection Watch
Another on our list designed for left-handed men, this watch is something special. Water-resistant to 330 feet and featuring oversize stenciled numbers and a sub dial, this watch is great for any casual outfit. The cloth band is extremely durable and stands up to dirt, sweat and grime.
If you lead an active lifestyle, this watch will be right at home in your collection.
23. TRIWA Blue Steel Nevil Canvas Watch
This watch comes in a whopping 14 color variations, all of them beautiful. You may decide to add more than one to your collection!
Designed in Sweden, this watch features Japanese quartz movement, a stainless steel casing and a strap made from Tärnsjö organic leather. TRIWA, which stands for Transforming the Industry of Watches, believes in the artistry of fine jewelry and it shows in their product.
24. Victorinox Swiss Army Alliance Watch
Another fine dress watch from the makers of the Swiss Army knife, this watch is emblazoned with the internally recognized cross and shield emblem. It has no sub-dials, tachymeter or other add-ons to detract from its simple and appealing style.
This watch will be at home with all but the most formal of outfits and carries a two-year warranty.
25. Ingersoll Automatic Stainless Steel Bull Run Watch
Again, Ingersoll remakes the classics and brings them into the present day. With a highly polished stainless steel casing, two sub-dials, a date aperture and arrow-shaped hands, this quartz watch is beautiful.
The band features contrasting stitching on the fine-grain leather, adding depth and detail to the workmanship. This watch will compliment any casual occasion and can be relied upon for years to come.
26. Tissot Quickster Chronograph Black Leather Men’s Watch
Made with scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and Swiss automatic movement, this watch is a smart and utilitarian choice. If you’re looking for a solid Swiss watch that isn’t flashy, this is an excellent option. It’s also guaranteed for two years.
27. Seiko Sport Solar Men’s Beige Watch
Are you getting tired of squinting down at your watch or holding it closer and closer to your face? Don’t worry, we all get a bit nearsighted with age, especially over the age of 40.
If you’re not quite ready for reading glasses or a comically huge watch, this is a great choice from Seiko. The numerals, indices and luminous hands stand out in stark white against a black background, and the numerals are generous in size. It’s a perfect casual watch for the older gentleman.
28. Seiko Men’s 5 Watch Blue Canvas Band
This simple and affordable watch has a clean, crisp aesthetic to it and doesn’t bog down its design with a ton of bells and whistles. It’s time and date, end of.
If you want a watch for casual wear, this Seiko is a shoo-in. The band is forgiving and comfortable against your wrist, and it’s blue color will likely compliment your existing wardrobe. The price is also extremely affordable.
29. Tommy Hilfiger Men’s Stainless Steel Watch With Brown Leather Band
Featuring the Hilfiger logo at the three o’clock position, this wrist watch is a statement piece. It is a bright, shiny stainless steel work of art that you’ll be proud to wear at all but the most stuffy of workplaces. The calfskin leather band uses a buckle closure and the date window is beside the logo at three o’clock.
If you’re a fan of Tommy clothing, cologne or luggage, you can complete your look with this stunning accessory.
The 40 Essential Albums To Own on Vinyl
Putting together a list of the essential albums to own on vinyl is not only impossible, it’s hugely stressful. I’ve done at least 30 variations; adding albums, taking off others, rearranging bits and pieces, or changing my mind altogether and taking it from the top.
There are sure to be some controversial takes, and there’s a swath of genres, records, and artists who didn’t make the cut, but I’ve only got one set of ears, a personalized palate, and a tight deadline.
Before you take a look at the list, here are some rules: these are in no particular order, there are no live performances or compilations, no more than one appearance by an artist, and the album has to physically sound good on vinyl. I’ve made it this far, but now I need a drink and a lie down.
1. Paul Simon - Graceland (1986)
This is my favorite album. I remember dancing around the lounge room with a literal boom box, and a massive set of headphones listening to The Boy in the Bubble, Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes, and You Can Call Me Al, picturing the film clip with Chevy Chase.
Out of all of my father’s albums, Graceland is my favorite, both for its scope and its sheer enjoyment. Whether it’s the Ladysmith Black Mambazo Orchestra singing together perfectly, or the amazing South African session musicians involved in its creation, Graceland is a fantastic album and a must-own for any music lover.
2. Led Zeppelin - IV (1972)
Sprawling, decadent, and powerful, Led Zep’s untitled fourth studio album is their best. It features a short little ditty called Stairway to Heaven, the sexually charged Black Dog, Mordor LOTR–style The Battle of Never More, and epic Misty Mountain Hop.
Most superstar bands don’t have four songs as good as this in an entire career, let alone on one album. Now, please excuse me, I’ve got 7.5 minutes to kill listening to Stairway…
3. Nas - Illmatic (1994)
Nas was a 17 year old still in high school when his debut album Illmatic dropped. The record is widely considered one of the greatest rap albums of all time (it’s firmly in my top three) and was announced as one of the 2020 recordings selected for inclusion on the National Recording Registry.
It turned Nas into a star and brought attention back to the East Coast after the dominance of gangster rap in the West.
4. Michael Jackson - Thriller (1982)
You can’t make a list of essential vinyl albums without Michael Jackson, and Thriller is all killer, no filler. It’s disappointing the way things ended for the King of Pop, but Thriller reminds us that we were lucky to hear the brilliance of Michael Jackson.
There’s a reason it’s the greatest selling album of all time.
5. The Black Keys - Thickfreakness (2003)
This living, breathing behemoth from the Ohio two-piece brought hipsters out from their garages in droves. The pumping piston drums of Patrick Carbery – who laid the tracks down on an eight-track in 14 hours – are a yammering foil for singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach’s dirty lashes of the axe and pedals, while his lyrics scrounge around like he’s digging into the couch creases looking for loose change.
I saw the Black Keys live when touring this album – it was all sweat, beards, and beer. I swear I couldn’t hear shit except for Set You Free for a week after.
6. Sade - Diamond Life (1984)
Honestly, you could pick any of Sade’s six albums for this list, but for mine, it has to be their debut Diamond Life. Merging soul with R&B and jazz elements, it’s got a bit of everything that’s great about 80s music.
Smooth Operator and Hang On to Your Love are incredible compositions, with Sade Adu’s vocals completely mesmerizing.
7. Beach Boys - Pet Sounds (1966)
These days, you could release this cerebral Beach Boys album by saying: “There are goats on the cover,” and make a badass meme campaign.
Pet Sounds revolutionized recording music, although nobody in 1966 seemed happy to spend their money on it, given that it was vastly different from the 10 Beach Boys albums that came before.
It wasn’t until the UK got a hold of it that the production and sound engineering side of the Pet Sounds record got its due respect, and everyone realized the music was awesome too.
8. Marvin Gaye - What’s Going On (1971)
1971s What’s Going On is arguably the greatest album of all time from any genre. Rolling Stone has it at the top of their 500 Greatest Albums, and for good reason.
What’s Going On is a narrative concept album that tells the tale of a man’s return from Vietnam. If you’re unfamiliar with the brilliance, pain, and tragedy of Marvin Gaye, take 53 minutes out of your day to watch this documentary. It’s time well spent.
9. NWA - Straight Outta Compton (1988)
I scored this on cassette from my big brother when I was going into high school (on the other side of the 90-minute marvel was 2 Live Crew). A decade older than me, he didn’t say anything much about it except for, “Listen to this and don’t tell mum. Ever!”
Straight Outta Compton ushered in the gangsta rap era. Without NWA, the rap landscape would be very different; less realistic and raw, less creative, edgy, and honest. It certainly wouldn’t have been better.
10. David Bowie - The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972)
Bowie ushered in a new era of rock and pop fusion by creating different characters in his music and an amazing level of theatricality to his work.
Ziggy Stardust helped bridge the gap between the declining hippy culture and stadium rock with a burgeoning live music scene where the show was just as important as the music.
11. Lauryn Hill - The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
She might have gone off the rails, but Lauryn Hill is still one of the greatest female vocalists I’ve had the pleasure of hearing live. While that’s highly unlikely to happen anytime soon, I can always put this album on and remember how talented she is.
A melting pot of hip-hop, soul, R&B, and pop, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is a phenomenal record from a once-in-a-generation artist.
12. Bob Dylan - Blonde on Blonde (1966)
Not being able to incorporate a greatest hits compilation album is hardest here. Folk legend, visual artist, and bourbon bottler Bob Dylan is not only brilliant but also prolific.
Any of 10 studio, live, or compilation albums could take this space, but for pure end-to-end quality, his seventh studio album Blonde on Blonde may be the finest.
13. Outkast - Stankonia (2000)
“They are threateningly talented individuals” – Cee Lo Green
Outkast’s Stankonia took rap music and threw out the rule book. They turned hip-hop into something interplanetary (and the South into a stronghold), where freedom of expression, musical innovation, and pure enjoyment melded with traditional rap bangers and everyday struggles.
14. Daft Punk - Random Access Memories (2012)
I’m not much of a dance music guy, but Daft Punk is cool, whether the helmets are on or not. If you throw this on the Technics (careful, it’s hard to get in non-collectible form), things are going pretty well.
Twan’s cool vlog about the making of Random Access Memories – Daft Punk’s most critically acclaimed album recorded over the course of four years – is well worth a watch for anyone who wants to know more about this chart-topping album that gave us the massive hit Get Lucky.
15. Miles Davis - Kind of Blue (1959)
Great jazz music is made for being enjoyed on vinyl, and Kind of Blue is the greatest of jazz music. Put it on your player, settle in, and let Miles take you somewhere else for a while.
Check out the making of this classic album by watching this fantastic documentary (apologies for Bill Cosby’s appearance).
16. Radiohead - Kid A (2000)
I’m going to come clean: I AM NOT a Radiohead guy. I can appreciate their music, its complexity, skill, and vision. But it’s just not my thing. I’m sorry.
This clip explains brilliantly why Kid A is so vital and so vivid for many music fans, something I could not articulate.
17. Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010)
This one might be a little controversial, but this is Kanye at his artistic peak. Coming off the poor reception of 808s & Heartbreak (an underrated album and my second favorite Kanye record) and dealing with problems in his personal life, Kanye hit studios across the world and created a masterpiece.
All of the Lights. POWER. Runaway. Blame Game. Monster. This album is not only chock full of hits but features some of the best rap verses Nicki Minaj and Rick Ross have ever spit.
This is a reminder of a time when Kanye was the center of the world for his musical abilities and not his private life.
18. Bjork - Post (1995)
Another choice some might not agree with, but Post is an exceptional album from Icelandic goddess Bjork.
It’s hard to describe what this album sounds like, but if you imagine every genre of music baked in a cake and topped with Bjork’s fascinating soprano as the icing, then you have Post.
While known for spawning the hit single It’s Oh So Quiet, there is much more to this album.
19. Wu-Tang Clan - Enter the Wu-Tang 36 Chambers (1993)
The debut studio album from the New York Collective is a stone-cold classic. Wu-Tang Clan announced themselves with gangsta rap’s signature braggadocio, plus a fusion of spare beats from the RZA threaded with Kung Fu samples.
Nine distinctly different voices and perspectives from inner-city New York can be heard, all with amazing lyrical flow and a willingness to experiment with beats, tempo, and personality.
The album gave birth to the highest-grossing hip-hop group of all time and ushered in an era of merchandise, film, and music production that still sees the group active and innovating today.
20. Fleetwood Mac - Rumours (1977)
The Rumours album from Fleetwood Mac showed that copious amounts of drugs, sex, and alcohol, and relationship breakdowns (there were two couples in the group who both split before recording), could be great for creativity.
Rumours sold more than 10 million copies in the first month alone, while singles Go Your Own Way, Dreams, You Make Loving Fun, and Don’t Stop all made the US top 10 charts.
Disfunction has never sounded so good.
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21. Prince and the Revolution - Purple Rain (1984)
While the film doesn’t quite hold up, the album remains an absolute banger that mixes power-pop, shredding guitars, funk, and psychedelic influences into an almost perfect tracklist. This is Prince at the peak of his powers.
22. The Clash - London Calling (1979)
London Calling is what happens when a punk band develops their music into a force that reflects the uncertainty, angst, and disaffection of an entire generation. London was a mess in 1979, with heroin, unemployment, political, social, and racial tension ripping through the city (and all of Great Britain).
While their classic punk sound was still readily apparent, The Clash’s third album harnessed reggae, roots, rock, ska, and heavy metal elements into a soup of powerful, politically, and socially aware set of tunes.
23. The Roots - Things Fall Apart (1999)
The Roots (yeah, Jimmy Fallon’s Band) proved you could make a killer hip-hop album with a live band. Things Fall Apart is a socially conscious album that still found resonance with the gangsta rap set and old school b-boys, which at that time was difficult to accomplish.
It features Black Thought’s lyrical dexterity and boxer’s delivery, mixed with great production and special guests like Mos Def, Erika Badu, Jill Scott, Eve, and Dice Raw.
24. Pearl Jam - Vs. (1993)
Pearl Jam, along with Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, and lesser-known bands such as Mudhoney and Temple of the Dog, brought Seattle’s grunge sound to the rest of the world. After the commercial success of their debut Ten, Pearl Jam opted to mix harder and more aggressive rock with Eddie Vedder’s iconic vocal range on their sophomore album.
They eschewed releasing any singles despite having a handful that would’ve certainly made it into the top 10. It remains their most influential album and one that moved beyond grunge into another realm.
Fun fact: They wrote Daughter on the tour bus!
25. The Beatles - White Album (1968)
Another band where their entire back catalog could have appeared on this list, The Beatles White Album gets the nod. 30 tracks including classics Back In The U.S.S.R., Helter Skelter, Blackbird, and George Harrison’s While My Guitar Gently Weeps make up this influential double album.
26. Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon (1973)
If I didn’t put this album on here, my sister would kill me. While many contemporaries looked outside, Pink Floyd focused on inside the mind with intense and dystopian fervor.
Dark Side of the Moon, much like Pet Sounds, transformed record arrangement, production, and recording, while the music itself was damn good to listen to as well.
Dark Side took out a lot of the long instrumentals and solos Floyd was known for while still maintaining a cinematic quality. Their audio innovation added the sonic effects that bands ever since have been copying.
27. Kendrick Lamar - Good Kid, M.A.A.D City (2012)
“It ain’t nothing but a Compton thang.”
I don’t have too many contemporary musicians on this list (let’s face it, music now is made for a digital age, and I’m considered OLLLLLLD), yet Kendrick Lamar is an exception.
Lamar mixes old school gangsta sensibilities with furiously developed production on this coming-of-age concept album. To Pimp A Butterfly may be a stronger album, but I’ll argue forever that Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City is more influential and essential.
28. Nirvana - Nevermind (1991)
I can still remember, nearly 30 years later, exactly where I was when I heard that Kurt Cobain had died.
If I hadn’t heard Nevermind, and especially Smells Like Teen Spirit, I wouldn’t have paid attention to the hype this band created. It’s hard to put into words just how much Nevermind impacted not only music but youth culture.
29. Eric B and Rakim - Paid in Full (1987)
The rap game changed once Rakim took the Mike and Eric B got on the turntables. Other rappers focused on changing things (KRS One), talking tough (Big Daddy Kane), and the drug epidemic in New York (Slick Rick) – Rakim focused on being better than everybody else
They took the socially conscious early hip-hop and added elements of cool that to this day remain unchanged, and gave us Paid in Full, which is still firmly inside the top 10 rap albums of all time.
30. (What's The Story) Morning Glory?
Seriously, if this album came out now – with all that media stoushing with fellow Brit Pop legends Blur – the internet would have broken. While Liam has turned into an epic storyteller and entertaining parent, for most of their career the Gallagher brothers have been considered complete and utter knobs (Noel still is).
The fact remains, though, that with the possible exception of dance music stars such as Fatboy Slim, The Prodigy, and the Chemical Brothers, no one had a bigger impact on British music than Oasis did throughout the 1990s, which has carried over into pop-rock music today.
31. Metallica - Metallica (The Black Album, 1991)
While old-school metalheads point to this as the moment Metallica sold out, in reality, it’s the band taking the next step in their evolution and proving heavier music has its place in pop culture.
The album is full of classic tracks. Enter Sandman is a grinding stadium rock offering. The Unforgiven a heartfelt ditty. Through The Never a reminder of Metallica’s thrash past. Then there’s Nothing Else Matters, an emotional power ballad about expressing and opening yourself up to others.
It might have pissed off their core fans, but Metallica topped the charts and has gone on to sell over 25.2 million copies worldwide, turning the band into the face of modern metal and gaining them more fans than they lost.
32. The Highwaymen - Highwayman
Waylon Jennings. Willie Nelson. Johnny Cash. Kris Kristofferson. Four of country music’s greatest stars joined forces as The Highwaymen, a country supergroup.
The result is a fantastic outlaw country album showcasing the distinct qualities of each man’s voice. Opener Highwayman sets the scene for a collection of country covers (including two Cash originals) perfect for a road trip through the great US of A.
33. Rage Against The Machine - Rage Against The Machine
Few political bands have managed to sell millions of albums and sell out stadiums without deviating from their beliefs like Rage Against The Machine.
Despite their success, or possibly because of it, the LA foursome has been a driving force in alternate rock for almost three decades. Merging rock with rap before nu-metal was a thing, Rage has a distinct sound thanks to vocalist Zac de la Rocha’s biting lyrics and Tom Morello’s unconventional guitar playing.
Rage Against The Machine is a Molotov cocktail of hard-hitting raps, brain-damaging guitar licks, slick bass lines, and thumping percussion. I can still remember headbanging in my room to Killing in the Name. Good memories.
34. The Prodigy - Music for the Jilted Generation
Before becoming household names with the release of Fat of the Land, The Prodigy lit up clubs and raves with tracks from their sophomore release Music for the Jilted Generation. The record is a big “fuck you” to new laws introduced against rave culture that fuses elements of trance, techno, and jungle.
The album contains a raft of eclectic samples, from films such as Star Wars: A New Hope, Poltergeist III, and Smokey and the Bandit, across 13 tracks fueled by Liam Howlett’s production. Their Law, Poison, and Voodoo People are all huge tunes, but for me, it’s No Good (Start the Dance) that showcases the brilliance of The Prodigy.
35. Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures
Both Joy Division albums should be part of any vinyl record collection, but if you had to choose one, I lean towards the Manchester group’s seminal debut Unknown Pleasures.
Four decades on and this album remains one of the greatest releases of all time. It’s responsible for creating the post-punk genre and has influenced almost every modern rock band ever formed.
Every song is a hit, from the droning bass of Peter Hook on opener Disorder to vocalist Ian Cutis’ fractured vocals on She’s Lost Control. This is an album addressing themes of angst, industrialism, epilepsy, and heartbreak brought together by Curtis’ pained baritone.
36. The Rolling Stones - Exile on Main St.
Recorded mainly in a villa in France, the making of Exile on Main St. is the stuff of legend. Keith Richards was in the depths of heroin addiction and Mick Jagger often missed sessions, but somehow when the band did manage to get together they created magic.
The Stones’ 10th album is chock full of incredible songs that merge rock and blues with soul and country, resulting in arguably the Stones greatest ever record.
37. Dr. Dre - The Chronic
After finding success with gangster rap group NWA, Dr. Dre proved he was a master of the art form with the release of The Chronic.
Creating the blueprint for g-funk, Dre blessed hip-hop fans with a classic album all about blunts, 40s, and attractive ladies. He also introduced the world to a then 18-year-old Snoop Dogg on hit Nuthin’ But A “G” Thang.
While the lyrics pose a problem in the current world, the beats still hold up, with Dre cementing his status as a hip-hop legend.
38. Amy Winehouse - Back To Black
Besides Adele, Amy Winehouse is the greatest female vocalist to come out of the past two decades. Possessed with a deep, soulful croon, you can feel Winehouse’s pain and sorrow on tracks such as Rehab, Addicted, and the glorious title track Back To Black.
A troubled figure who couldn’t beat her demons, Back To Black stands as Winehouse’s legacy – an emotional collection of soul, jazz, and pop songs that’s the biggest insight into her life we will ever get. RIP.
39. Bruce Springsteen - Darkness on the Edge of Town
You could put any number of Springsteen albums on this list, but for mine, it has to be Darkness on the Edge of Town. This is an exploration of the working class in America, with Springsteen fully embracing his love of rock and roll.
From the driving opener Badlands to the sax-heavy The Promised Land and the tale of a down on his luck loser on album closer Darkness on the Edge of Town, this 10 track record is a compelling masterpiece.
Springsteen would go on to release records that charted better and produced bigger hits, but this remains a touchstone in his career.
40. Black Sabbath - Paranoid
The godfathers of metal, Black Sabbath have released 19 albums over a 50-year career. Picking their best isn’t easy, but Paranoid stands the test of time. There’s not a bad song on it, from the demonic War Pigs to lo-fi Planet Caravan, this album highlights everything incredible about this band.
If you only own one metal album, make sure it’s Paranoid.
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A Brief History of the Pilot’s Watch
To put it simply, a pilot’s watch is just another tool used by aviators. Characterized by their oversized bezels and extreme legibility, these timepieces take what is essentially a standard wristwatch and upgrades it to include features and functions better suited to those in the mile-high club.
From its early beginnings at the turn of the century to its position amongst wartime aviators, the pilot’s watch, much like the diver’s watch, is a specialty timekeeping device that, since its inception, has been a staple in the world of horology.
What is a Pilot’s Watch?
While most will claim there is no definition or standard for what a pilot’s watch is. We would argue that if it’s been specially tailored to an aircraft pilot’s needs, it’s a pilot’s watch.
Typically boasting chronograph functionality and an easy to manipulate crown, a pilot’s watch can include various complications for measuring distances and time while in flight.
Characteristics of the Pilot’s watch
Each and every brand has a different vision for what makes a pilot’s watch. However, the five specific characteristics consistent across the cavalcade of pilot’s watches include a large and legible dial, luminosity, an oversized crown and extra bezel markings, a dual time or GMT function, a 12 o’clock orientation triangle, and the flyback chronograph.
Large and legible dials make it easier for a pilot to tell the time quickly regardless of conditions. The addition of luminosity features also increases legibility, especially at night. Notable for their large Arabic numerals, the oversized crown is another crucial feature of the pilot’s watch. Historically, pilots wore gloves during flight, making it difficult to operate a watch without a more oversized crown.
The Longines Avigation BigEye, for example, features a 41mm dial with massive easy to read markings and indices. Coupled with the oversized buttons and its 54-hour power reserve, it’s perfect for long-haul flights.
Longines Avigation BigEye
Additional bezel markings are used for various calculations like fuel burn and wind correction angles, alongside the 12 o’clock equilateral upright orientation triangle, which allows a pilot to immediately interpret the time regardless of their current orientation in the air.
Considered one of the best pilot watches you can buy today, the re-issue IWC Automatic Spitfire was initially produced for the British Royal Air Force from 1948 onwards. Boasting additional bezel markings up the wahzoo and the always important 12 o’clock orientation triangle, pilots can tell the time no matter which way they are facing.
Dual Time or GMT Functions and flyback chronographs are added complications that allow plots to track multiple time zones or coordinated universal time (UTC) in addition to assisting waypoint navigation and grid searches, thanks to the single push flyback chronograph.
Now we move onto the complicated side of things with Dual Time/GMT functions, flyback chronographs, and even onboard computers, also known as a Navitmer. Rolex was the first watch manufacturer to produce the Dual Time/GMT functionality. First conceptualized for commercial pilots of Pan Am (Pan American World Airways), aviators would favor the Rolex GMT-Master for many years to come.
Getting even more complicated, however, the Breitling Navitimer B01 Chronograph 46 is one such watch that looks like it’s been stripped directly from a 747’s cockpit. Boasting a chronometer-certified mechanical caliber that can keep track of time spent, it can even complete mathematical calculations on the fly thanks to the addition of a Navitimer.
Essentially an onboard computer, this function uses a rotating bezel for basic arithmetic and mathematics.
Breitling Navitimer B01 Chronograph 46
History of the Pilot’s Watch
When you’re thousands of feet in the air, battling against the insane conditions of high altitude flying, you need the right kind of tool to complete the task at hand. Facing an issue with watch technology in the early 20th century, many pilots had to contend with the flimsiness of pocket watches. Having to strap them down to either their wrist or thigh, it would not be until 1904 that the first pilot’s watch would arise.
Constructed upon special request, Louis Cartier was tasked with building a specialized watch for his friend Alberto Santos-Dumont. Presenting the Brazilian aviator with the Cartier Santos, it was the first watch of its kind.
Capable of matching the same reliability and accuracy of the planes they were flying, Santos-Dumont needed a reliable way to keep time without removing his hands from the controls. Considered also the first wristwatch, the Cartier Santos would go on to pave the way for many years of evolution to the incredible timepieces we have today.
Seeing the likes of Breitling add in elements such as a circular slide-rule and chronograph to meet the demands of ever-changing flight complexities. While other brands like IWC, Bell & Ross, and Longines eventually joined the fight to supply pilots with the tools they needed during wartime.
Of course, the most outstanding achievement for the Pilot’s Watch was traveling beyond our atmosphere and into the great unknown – space. An accolade that was achieved by the Omega Speedmaster (ref. CK 2998) when it was worn by astronaut Walter Schirra during the “Sigma 7” mission of the Mercury Programme in 1962.
Although the past is filled with incredible examples of analog horology and complicated mechanical improvements, the digital revolution is impossible to avoid in 2021. For that reason, professional pilots are more likely to opt for more modern watches like the Garmin D2 Delta PX.
Hosting a whole range of features like GPS navigation, intelligent notifications, flight planning, altimeter, automatic flight logging, and a whole lot more, it’s much easier to operate than a Navitimer. Though it retains some of the analog aesthetic that makes pilot’s watches so popular today, it’s still a smartwatch through and through.
It will be interesting to see what the next step is in the evolution of the pilot’s watch.
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Defining the Difference Between Mezcal and Tequila
Mexican spirits mezcal and tequila are cultural icons generating massive interest, investment, and increased share of the worldwide alcohol market. Much like Scotch, vodka, and gin, where the agave spirit has been crafted and how is becoming just as important to consumers as the taste and price.
Casual liquor lovers and cocktail drink sippers may not know what separates mezcal and tequila. Both are distilled from cooked agave pinas, but there are different varieties of agave species, differences in taste, regulation, production, and bottling that make mezcal and tequila unique from each other.
The following article will help you understand the differences between each product, and help you figure why styles and price differ between seemingly similar expressions.
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Tequila is a distilled spirit made only from the agave tequilana weber or blue agave plant. Mezcal (or del maguey) is produced from any agave varieties, which include espadin, tobala, tepeztate, arroqueno, and tobaziche, although there are approximately 30 that can be used for distillation.
The word mezcal comes from Nahuatl Mexicali, which means “oven cooked agave.” Mezcal forms part of the rapidly growing alcohol sector focused on traditional “terroir” and techniques of production. While tequila is also doing this, the differences in traditional production between the two spirits are quite different.
Mezcal vs Tequila: Why do they taste different?
From an alcohol by volume perspective (ABV), mezcal and tequila are bottled at the same strength. Due to differences in agave varietals, their preparation, and distillation, mezcal has the reputation for tasting stronger, particularly when compared to Blanco and Joven tequilas, which are predicated on clean and crisp blue weber agave flavor.
Mezcal’s rustic production comes from around 30 different agave varieties – resulting in an earthier, smoky flavor than the spirits crafted from the blue agave plant. Tequila is most often produced by steaming the agave inside industrial ovens before being distilled two or three times in copper pots.
Mezcal is more old school, using traditional earthen pits that are lined with lava rocks and filled with wood and charcoal, where the agave pinas (agave hearts) are cooked before being extracted, then fermented and distilled in oak barrels, clay pots, or small copper pot stills.
Why is mezcal more expensive than tequila?
Mezcal tends to be more expensive than tequila because of the old school, labor-intensive production methods, as well as the scarcity of a lot of the wild agave plants used to make the spirit. Mezcal is produced in small batches by more artisanal distilleries and lacks the export cost advantages tequila enjoys from being able to be produced in larger quantities.
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Denomination of Origin
Tequila is carefully protected by a Denomination of Origin (DO) which allows for the production of tequila in selected Mexican states: Jalisco, Michoacan, Tamaulipas, Nayarit, and Guanajuato.
Mezcal is also protected by a DO and can only be produced in the following states: Oaxaca, San Luis Potosi, Michoacan, Guerrero, Durango, Tamaulipas, Puebla, Zacatecas, and Guanajuato.
In tequila production you can use only one particular species of agave, however, for mezcal, you can use any type. This gives a Mezcal producer a larger range of flavors to choose from in crafting their spirit.
Mezcal bottling must also occur at the palenque (distillery) at which it is made to ensure the quality of each bottle.
Official Standards (Tequila)
As a prized export product and Mexican cultural icon, there are many regulations in place that ensure the quality of taste and production for tequila. The Norma Oficial Mexicana (NOM) specifies the official standards that must be kept for any product to be named tequila, which is then certified by the Consejo Regulador del Tequila (CRT).
To be classed as tequila there has to be a minimum of 51% blue weber agave in the bottle, and alcohol by volume (ABV) must be between 35% and 55%.
Always try to look for 100% agave tequila expressions – you’ll find that statement on the bottle. These are premium tequilas that are exclusively bottled in Mexico and strictly monitored by the CRT.
For other tequilas, known as mixto tequila, the other 49% can be additives such as sugars. They might be sold in bulk to then be packaged outside of Mexico. You’ll find cheap supermarket brands and pre-mixes are made with mixto tequila.
Official Standards (Mezcal)
The first regulations for mezcal were introduced in 1994 in article NOM-070-SCFI-1994 (Spanish document). Like tequila, guidelines regulating production have been put in place to protect mezcal’s unique place in Mexican culture, and the methods of its production.
Mezcal can only be made from 100% agave with no additives or other products and must be bottled between 36% and 55% ABV.
The production of tequila is divided into seven steps:
Each step of the process is closely regulated by the CRT to ensure general tequila standards are met and followed to guarantee maximum quality. Each tequila distillery has its own source of agave, proprietary processes, quality control, and distillation/storage techniques that will affect the tequila’s taste.
Mezcal production, in general, is an old-school endeavor, regulated into three production categories: Mezcal (most modern), Artisanal Mezcal (mix), and Ancestral Mezcal (most traditional).
The traditional way of baking an agave for every method is in a conical earthen pit called a Horno de Tierra. Mezcal regulations also allow for brick ovens (Artisanal, Mezcal) and autoclaves (Mezcal).
The next phase is extraction, usually done with a large milling stone called a Tahona wheel that is pulled by a horse or donkey. Other appropriate methods include Chilean or Egyptian mills, simple mallets (ancestral), trapiches (artisanal, mezcal), or shredders (mezcal).
When producing ancestral and artisanal mezcal, containers of wood, clay or masonry tanks, animal skins, hollows in stone, earth, or tree trunks, must use maguey fibers in the fermentation process. The more advanced mezcal process can use stainless steel tanks during fermentation.
The final part of mezcal production before bottling is distillation, which breaks down as follows:
- Direct fire on clay pots and coils made from clay or wood. The process must include maguey fibers (Ancestral, Artisanal, Mezcal)
- Direct fire on copper stills or clay pots and coils made of clay, wood, copper, or stainless steel. The process may include maguey fibers (artisanal, mezcal)
- Stills made of copper or steel (mezcal) mal skins, hollows in stone, earth, or tree trunks. The process may use maguey fibers (Artisanal, Mezcal)
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The Different Varieties of Tequila
How you plan on drinking tequila will help determine the type of spirit you wish to purchase. There are three main types of tequila; Blanco, Reposado, and Anejo.
You’ll also find Joven (in between Blanco and reposado), cristallino (color removed), mixto tequila (the stuff you use for frozen drinks), and extra Añejo tequila (matured longer) available as well.
Blanco or silver tequila is unaged tequila that tastes more of the agave plant and citrus than longer maturing tequila versions. It’s the go-to for cheap drinks and the lead-in product for most tequila producers.
Reposado (rested) and Anejo (aged tequila) offerings are darker in color, aged in barrels, and gain a heavy but smoother flavor from the distillation process. They are recommended for neat sipping for experienced mixologists looking to craft a specific taste.
The Different Varieties of Mezcal Agave
While mezcal applies some of the tequila terminology above (especially agave espadin mezcals), the different kinds of agave species used, in combination with production methods are often the most useful way of differentiating between expressions.
Agave Espadin is the most common – utilized in around 90% of production – and the one closest to blue weber agave genetically. You’ll find a lot of similarities between tequila and espadin mezcals from an initial flavor and versatility perspective.
Tobala is a rare variety of agave that is wild harvested. It relies on birds and bats to spread its seeds through pollination, which makes it one of the most highly-priced mezcals
Tepeztate is another rare variety harvested wild and can take up to 30 years to reach maturity. They can be recognized by bright yellow blooms at the top of their tall stem or Quijote. They are known for being the most intense of agave flavors.
There are other agave varietals, such as arroqueno, cureata, and salmiana, all with their own personalities that can be used in crafting different tasting mezcals. You may also find ‘ensamble’ mezcals, which are a collection of different agave varieties distilled into an expression.
While closely related, mezcal and tequila have distinctly different identities and personalities based on how they are made, and with which type of agave. Pricing-wise, basic tequilas are cheaper, while old-school mezcal is more expensive due to the cost of harvesting and distillation.
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