A luxury watch is one of the most personal objects you can buy for yourself or someone else. A reflection of a person’s style, hobbies, and ambitions, the watch on someone’s wrist says a lot about who they are.
Because a watch is so incredibly personal, it makes it even more special when it is a gift. And all that pressure to get just the right one may have you thinking of taking the easy way out with just another gift card. However, just for a moment, imagine the look on that special person’s face when they open up your gift and have a gleaming, beautiful watch looking back at them.
That is what makes it worth it. And getting it right is easier than you think. You just need to take a few things into account, and that’s why we’re here to help.
Table of Contents:
Set Your Budget
First things first, set your budget. While you only want the best for your family and friends, the sky’s the limit when it comes to luxury watch prices, so you do need to be realistic about what you are able to spend on a gift. So before you start shopping for the perfect timepiece, come up with a number that you are comfortable spending. This not only helps you from falling in love with something that simply costs a fortune, but it also helps you narrow down your search and make it much more directed.
Another thing to consider is buying pre-owned. Whether you have $2,500 or $25,000 to spend, you can often maximize your budget by shopping on the pre-owned market. Not only are you typically able to get a better deal, but you have so many more options available when shopping secondhand, including access to discontinued and vintage models.
While the retail market only features the latest models, sometimes the perfect Rolex for that special someone is not a model that is currently in production. Shopping pre-owned timepieces allows you to choose from a significantly wider variety of models and reference numbers. It also gives you the chance to buy those special collectible watches that are increasing in value and only going to get harder to find.
Consider Wrist Size
Now, you probably don’t take notice of someone’s wrist size all that often, but in this case it’s important. Regardless of whether you’re shopping for a man or a woman, you need to think about the size of the case and how it will both look and feel on their wrist. For this, we have two big tips.
Just because you’re shopping for a man doesn’t mean you need to go oversized. For a number of years, the trend was leaning towards larger and oversized watches, but that has slowed down a bit in more recent years. Plus, that’s not what looks best (or feels best) on everyone’s wrist. We love a classic 36mm sized watch, like the iconic Rolex Datejust, which is a highly versatile size that nearly anyone can wear. 40mm is another great universal size, and you can find this on a variety of Rolex sports watches, like the Daytona, GMT-Master II, and Yacht-Master.
If you’re shopping for a woman, don’t automatically go petite. Even if they have a tiny wrist, sometimes a small watch isn’t always the best fit. Many women love the feel of a midsize 31mm or 34mm watch on their wrist, and some even prefer larger sizes such as 36mm and even 40mm. For those women, we suggest something like a stunning 36mm Rolex President or a classic stainless steel Daytona with a 40mm case diameter. Both of these watches are going to provide the substantial look she wants without being overwhelming on her wrist.
However, if her wrist really is small and you know she is looking for something petite and even something glitzy, there is a great collection of women’s watches that cater specifically to this. You can never go wrong with a 26mm or 28mm Lady Datejust, or consider a vintage cocktail watch for a truly unique and delicate appearance.
Assess Their Current Collection
Another major consideration is the recipient’s current watch collection, as well as any aspirations they may have for it. If they are a new collector who is just getting started, this is a great opportunity to give them a watch that really helps shape their collection. And if this is the case, they have made it quite simple for you. Someone who is just starting out typically needs the ‘classics’ – something versatile and timeless that will alway have a place in their collection.
If you’re buying a watch for someone who has an established collection, that can be a little bit trickier, but certainly not impossible. In fact, it can be a lot of fun hunting down something you know they need or that they’ve been drooling over. Furthermore, you know how excited they’re going to be when they realize you have gifted them something they’ve been after for a while. We suggest sticking to the theme of their current collection (such as dress watches or tool watches) or filling a hole in their collection with something completely unique.
What Are Their Hobbies?
This is where things get fun. If the person you’re shopping for is into sports or specific hobbies, there are so many great watches out there built especially for them. It is particularly fun to give this person a watch, because you know you’re giving them something that is both beautiful and useful.
For the hobbyist pilot or that jet-setter friend who is always traveling, consider a GMT-Master. For the diver, you can’t go wrong with a Rolex Submariner, maybe something unique like the new green bezel ref. 126610LV. For that cousin who always takes you out on their yacht in the summer, the Yacht-Master makes an incredible gift. And for that friend who is always taking you on the most epic outdoor adventures, they will love a Rolex Explorer – and a Polar Explorer is quite fitting for the winter holidays, isn’t it?
Look At Their Lifestyle
This is arguably the biggest factor to consider. What we love so much about watch collecting is that it’s not something you keep stored away or only take out on special occasions. A watch is meant to be worn and adored as much as possible – it really doesn’t do much good sitting in a drawer. So when you’re buying a watch for someone else, the biggest thing to consider is their lifestyle and how the watch will fit into it.
For example, you might notice that someone doesn’t have a dress watch in their collection and that a beautiful, 18k yellow gold Day-Date might fill that hole. However, if they’re an outdoorsman who doesn’t really attend events or generally dress up, they might not own a dress watch simply because they would never end up wearing it.
If their collection is mostly filled with stainless steel tool watches, a great alternative to a classic dress watch would be a luxury sports watch that fits their lifestyle but adds a bit of modern glamour to their wardrobe. For this, we love something like a Yacht-Master ref. 16622. This high-performance watch is incredibly durable, yet outfitted with a luxurious solid Platinum bezel, offering a much more relaxed appearance compared to the dressier feeling gold and two-tone models. This choice adds just a hint of luxury appeal that your loved one will appreciate but still be able to easily incorporate into their everyday lifestyle.
What’s Their Wardrobe Like?
Similar to their lifestyle, you want to consider how the person you are shopping for dresses. If they spend 75% of their time in a suit and tie, you’re going to want to consider a more dressy watch that they can easily work into their wardrobe.
On the other hand, if you have a friend that is always dressing casually but stylishly, you might want to opt for a two-tone watch that allows them to dress it up or down. Or, it might be fun to give them something with a beautiful pop of color that you know they will be able to rock – like a vibrant blue Rolex Submariner or an Oyster Perpetual with a bright and vivid dial.
Trade in a watch you don’t use to buy your gift
If you are an avid collector yourself, you may have a watch or two (or more) sitting in your drawer that you wind but haven’t worn in ages. Maybe the watch isn’t your style anymore, or maybe your collection has just evolved beyond it. If this sounds like you, then we highly recommend trading that watch in with us and using the funds to buy someone special in your life a watch they will wear, admire, and enjoy every day.
If the watch you own is just sitting in your drawer anyways, this is a great opportunity to finally find a use for it. It is also a beautiful sentiment, especially around the holidays, to take something that once meant something to you and use it to buy someone else a gift that you know they will cherish for the rest of their life.