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How to Choose the Perfect Watch for Your Groom-to-Be

These professional tips will ensure you choose a timepiece he'll love forever.

Associate Style Editor
mens watches
Photography by: Will Styer

Looking for an incredible gift to give your future husband on the morning of the wedding? Consider a watch. They're timeless, useful, and something he can treasure forever. But choosing a watch for your groom-to-be is not a task to tick off at the last minute. It requires a great deal of thought and research, so it's important that you take your time (both literally and figuratively). Although a new timepiece can be a big investment, if you purchase wisely, his big-day gift can grow more valuable over your years together. Here, some tips from experts in the industry to guide you through the purchase process.

 

Related: Timeless Watches Your Groom Will Wear Long After the Wedding Day

 

Understand movement.

Decide whether he will want a watch with quartz movement (battery powered and regulated by a piece of quartz that makes the watch tick) or automatic movement (the watch winds itself while being worn on the wrist, but will need to be manually wound when the watch is not being worn). Even less common is a manual movement, which requires daily winding to tick, but some men will prefer it.

 

Choose a look.

Once you know what he likes on the inside, focus on the outside. You will need to consider different brands, the case, complications, and straps. Watchmakers at Bulova say that it's essential that you do your research. "Make sure to identify the brands within your budget, watch trends, and the lifestyles they cover," the say. Every brand has a different aesthetic; some are sportier, others bigger and more durable, and then there are the brands that are classic but include all the bells and whistles. The pros at Crown & Caliber remind you to take your fiancé's personal sense of style into consideration. For the case and strap, there are varying sizes, materials, and shapes. Consider his lifestyle and personal style when choosing these. Larry Pettinelli of watchmakers Patek Philippe adds, "Proper size for the recipient is important." For men, it's typically 38-42 mm.

 

Decide how he'll use it.

After you choose the style, it's time to move on to the complications, which is anything else the watch can do besides tell time. The most popular are calendars, differing time zones, and moonphases. The options are vast here, some can even function while diving in the depths of the ocean. Pettinelli points out, "If you are looking for something more sentimental, I would suggest looking for a timepiece with a solid case-back that would allow for engraving." Engraving is the icing on the cake when gifting your groom a watch on the wedding day.

 

Set a budget.

Once you know exactly what you want the watch to do and look like, you need to figure out how much money you have to spend. If an automatic movement is most important to him but your budget is small, then keep the case and complications simple. If you think he'll want all the bells and whistles as well as a top quality case and fancy strap, then maybe go with a brand that offers more quartz movements.

 

As Pettinelli explains, "All of our timepieces take a minimum of one year to produce, so they are all in effect limited production, ensuring their rarity and lasting value." That means you should consider the watch as more than just a one-time expenditure; it's also something you could re-sell at a later time or pass down as a family heirloom. If you're still having trouble finding a watch that checks all of your boxes and fits into your budget, don't discount the idea of purchasing pre-owned. Crown & Caliber offers pre-owned timepieces, and their experts say this is a wonderful route to consider. "Buying pre-owned is the way to go," they say. "New watches depreciate in value quickly and all watches need servicing in their lifetime, so purchasing a pre-owned timepiece in excellent condition can maximize your budget."

 

See the watches in person and check the return policy.

When you are ready to pull the trigger, the pros at Bulova suggest that you go to a store and physically see each watch. "Touch, feel, play," he says. "Most of the time a product online isn't as interesting as it is in person—especially when it comes to the various intricacies of a watch such as the functions and finishes." Plus, say the experts at Crown & Caliber, a watch can look wonderful in photos but doesn't look great on his specific wrist, so you'll want to "ensure that there is a return policy with purchase." Another detail to inquire about? The warranty. "Make sure that whoever you purchase from has a warranty and can fulfill the promise of it," the pros at Crown & Caliber say. "This will mean that they will need experienced watchmakers and technicians who could service or repair the timepiece in case of any issues." Bulova's pros add, "Ask and understand about the after sales service and repair guarantees—this is crucial in case anything happens to the watch."