Summer is a tough time to wear a watch. Free-spiritedness and the risk of unsightly tan lines outweigh the need to know if it's noon or 1. But fall is a different story.

"Watches," says Amanda Gizzi, spokeswoman for the Jewelry Information Center, an industry group based in New York, "highlight the individual's personal style and add the finishing touch to any outfit."

Fat bands, big faces and colorful graphics are popular now. Designer Paul Frank was inspired by the furniture designers of the '60s and '70s. "What would go better with furniture of the '60s and '70s? Electronics of the same era! I love the look and shapes of turntables, amplifiers and transistor radios," says Frank. "The clean straight lines, stainless steel surface, cool-looking knobs and switches are all things that I adore. I'm also into old advertising clocks like you'd see at the pizza parlor. Designers just knew how to do things right back then."

-- Janelle Erlichman Diamond

From left: Paul Frank Timing's Brace Face and Truck Van TV watches, $60 each at Up Against the Wall, 3219 M St. NW, Urban Outfitters, 3111 M St. NW, and Armitron Superman watch, $25 at 800-840-2933. Multimix Monji with safety pin band, $95 at Peugeot, $40 at Hecht's. Leather cuff watch, $13.99 at Hello Kitty, $14.95 at Target.