Leisa, my wife, offered to buy me a watch for our wedding in 2014. Conscious of the spiralling budget, I politely declined. But now, as more married men receive timepieces to mark their nuptials, I can’t help but feel I missed a trick.
‘We’ve most definitely seen a growing trend of watches being purchased by women for their fiancés as either engagement or wedding gifts,’ says Stuart Murray, sales manager at Watches of Switzerland. And an unscientific survey of friends and acquaintances seems to corroborate that this is indeed ‘A Thing’, albeit a relatively new one.
‘I had no idea,’ confesses Francis Townsend, a recruitment consultant, whose Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 150m came out of the blue, delivered by a bridesmaid on the morning of the ceremony. ‘I wanted Francis to feel that extra bit special at our wedding,’ says his wife, Ruth. ‘It can often be a day dominated by the bride.’
One friend’s wife, who, like many modern brides, made a speech on their big day, surprised him with a Shinola Canfield on his changing table. ‘I wanted to get him a significant, permanent present,’ she explains. Alexandra Blundell, who bought her husband Mark a Jaeger-LeCoultre Grande Reverso Ultra-Thin Tribute 1931 says: ‘It’s like an engagement ring for the husband.’
The tradition of engagement rings, and specifically diamond ones, was itself invented as recently as the Forties, thanks to a marketing campaign for jeweller De Beers. There’s no reason a tradition of watch-giving can’t be established just as easily, says Renée Kuo, managing director of the etiquette authority Debrett’s.
But, Kuo warns, should you hope to bag the watch of your dreams to go with the woman of your dreams, it’s wise to drop some clear hints. ‘To ensure she doesn’t purchase the wrong item – and get it engraved, causing it to be non-returnable – be straightforward, and direct. It’s a good lesson to learn early on in your lives together.
Dropping hints? Here’s what to ask for
Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic 10401
Nomos Glashütte Orion Neomatik 41 Date in olive gold
Parmigiani Toric Qualité Fleurier in rose gold
Cartier Drive de Cartier Extra-Flat in steel