Watches have been favored gifts for generations and nothing symbolizes the passing down of family values better than a family heirloom watch. It is fitting then that watches are again becoming popular wedding gifts. Sometimes this is from the bride to her husband in lieu of an expensive ring, and sometimes both bride and groom exchange gift watches. Just as the choices in rings range from wooden wedding rings to platinum and diamond rings, the choices available in watches are vast. Here are a few ideas to help anyone choose the perfect wedding gift watch.
Choose Wisely, It’s a Keeper
As previously mentioned, a wedding watch is an heirloom in the making, so choose a watch that looks classic and isn’t going to go out of style in five years. This is not the time to try out the “limited edition” NASCAR commemorative watches. Go for class and go for timelessness, not bling. Less is more. This means that classic understated watch styles are to be preferred, especially those that have been in production a long time from established makers. You want a watch that, like a good marriage, lasts a lifetime.
On a Budget
You don’t have to break the bank to buy a nice watch. You just have to buy carefully. Mechanical watches are preferred over quartz due to their implied longevity (they will last centuries with regular maintenance and are not dependent on electronic circuitry that can go bad or go out of production). Still, if one must buy quartz, the Swiss brands like Victorinox are probably the best bet as the quality is still high. In budget mechanicals, we like the German Stowa brand and the rejuvenated American Hamilton company makes a good watch for the money. The Hamilton Jazzmaster Thin-O-Matic can be had for well under $1000 and is a clean, classic design featuring a solid Swiss movement.
For Bigger Budgets
With a bigger budget the choices become more interesting. The Rolex Datejust and Day-Date are available as both Gents and Ladies models. Either of these fine models would make a classic set of complementary watches for a groom and bride. Any watch from the classic ‘Big Three’ in Swiss watchmaking-Audemars Piguet, Vacheron Constantin, and Patek Philippe-is generally a safe bet. Today many would update the Big Three to include Lange & Sohne and Jaeger-LeCoultre and generally speaking any dress watch from one of those five makers is an appropriate wedding watch. One should bear in mind that some of the elite, low-production houses will charge prices for repairs and service that make rolex repair and service seem cheap by comparison. In the case of Patek Philippe, this may be off-set by the comforting knowledge they have been in business since 1839. Should one opt to buy a Patek wedding watch, at least your heirs are fairly assured to have somewhere to take their heirloom watch in a hundred years. That is one of the benefits derived from buying the best.