How To Buy The Perfect Watch For That Special Someone
“A gentleman’s choice of timepiece says as much about him as does his Saville Row suit.” – Ian Fleming
Being gifted a great watch can be like a rite of passage for a person. A moment in time when people start to take them seriously - most of all, themselves.
It can also be the most significant gift you can give to someone.
Picking the right style for the right person is a tough job - the below should help you be as precise as possible for picking the perfect timepiece.
Read our guide on how to buy a luxury watch as a gift and find the perfect timepiece for that special someone.
Having a general understanding of the biggest watch brands will help you finalise your choice - picking the best is like asking someone on the street who the best football team is - you will always get a different opinion.
Rolex is the most well-known luxury watch brand. They soared in status during the late 1980s ‘yuppie’ culture, a fast-growing movement of young, affluent executives who wanted to show-off their rise in status.
Everyone loves a Rolex, but amongst those in the know, there are finer watches out there. Historic brands such as Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, and Cartier are respected by horologists all around the world for the brilliance of their design and technical features.
Success can sometimes spoil quality, so a lot of the lesser known names have retained a sense of identity over the years - if you are primarily after quality and not in the favour of public opinion, this will be your route.
The complicated part
Some watches have an incredible amount of features and settings. Using an annual calendar, winding the watch up or adjusting the chronograph takes knowledge of horology. So knowing the type of person should make you lean towards more or less complications on a watch.
Is the person a watch geek who loves using little features and available gadgetry? Or are they a minimalist who would prefer their watch to be a statement alone? It will be a waste of money to buy a timepiece with intricate features only for them not to be used and vice-versa, so take heed of a watch's complications.
A watch style and different personalities
Every type of watch indicates something about the wearer. It is crucial that when you get this person their timepiece, you cannot mistake their personality for the type. Getting a sporty, outdoors type of stylish dress watch just won’t work. Not only will the watch not survive their lifestyle, but the relationship also may not recover from the misappropriation.
Types of watches range from field and racing to diving and pilot. Each one is built to accommodate a different wearer, so buying them the ‘correct’ type will not only show you understand them on a personal level but will also allow the watch to be used in its correct function.
Originally created for soldiers in WWI, the field watch has developed into a timeless piece made for men of action. Today, it is the complete watch made for the modern man.
A field watch is simple in design with minimal complications and faff - it is sturdy, reliable and efficient - just like the person who wears them.
The style is iconic and the complications it has will suit anyone with a personality of style and adventure. The simplistic look, usability and durability make it a great choice for a first ‘serious’ watch.
If it works for fictional CIA agent Jack Ryan, it is probably going to be good enough for the rest of us.
Perfect for: rugged, sophisticated and active people
These highly accurate watches were a huge innovation for sports. Before the chronograph, runners could not measure their exact time during laps - it was impossible to be precise.
Since then, the chronograph watch has become pivotal to space travel, racing technology and the aviation industry. Equally as cool, Paul Newman wore a Rolex Daytona which would go on to be sold at auction for $17.75m.
The chronograph has the perfect balance between a cool, stylish, sleek appearance whilst having all the gadgetries and complications of a racing car dashboard.
This is why this watch is perfect for the cool yet fast-paced. Someone who is measured, on time and can look cool effortlessly.
Perfect for: The competitive & sporty type
One of the most stylish types, these watches were at the forefront of the aviation world. The first real ‘computers’ onboard planes, these watches helped pilots navigate and gave them coordination.
A pilot watch usually consists of technical complications and stylish designs. The timepiece style is great for almost every occasion in looking fashionable, professional and being efficient.
This style suits the literal and figurative ‘high flyer’ and the extrovert who boasts a Maverick-style personality.
Perfect for: the fashionable extrovert
The king of elegance. This watch is more of a piece of jewellery than an accessory, something more modern that came during a time when style began to creep over function. This watch is usually simple, sleek and complementary. Perfect for someone who always dresses their best regardless of whether it is the boardroom or the pub.
Originally a dress watch donned a leather strap and was restricted to only the most formal occasions. As time has progressed, opulence allows a watch to qualify. If worn correctly, it can suit almost any setting.
Dress watches grew rapidly during the 80s and 90s. The yuppie culture of high-earning young executives keen to show their newfound wealth and class led to the mass increase in Rolex sales.
The Rolex brand was cemented in style - and ever since then, if you see someone boasting one of their dress watches you know they mean business.
A watch of refined taste that is difficult to pull off correctly. A must-have in any collection, it can essentially be worn in any situation. The key caveat is who is wearing it, not where or with what.
Perfect for: the classy executive
This watch came to the forefront in 1962 after Sean Connery’s James Bond in Dr. No wore a Rolex Submariner.
Ever since then, it has almost become a lifestyle symbol by those who wear it. It shows that its wearer is a person of adventure and style, of mystery and preparedness.
The retro feel, durable look and sophisticated style make it a perfect watch for the excitement in life. Whilst you aren’t going to be expected to dive with sharks in Nassau, you could be found wearing this travelling from city to beach and not look out of style in either.
Perfect for: the active adventurer
Drivers at the top level have always been renowned for their composure, precision and accuracy.
Born from the need for race drivers needing to measure distance over time, we saw this style become recognised more for the wearers than anything else.
Arguably one of the coolest styles and more versatile to wear, you can pick from your chunkier and dressier to the more stylish and squared away.
Of course, the coolest style can only be worn by the most debonair of people; enter Steve McQueen. He wore the 1969 TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre in the 1971 film Le Mans and immortalised the watch.
It became a style of watch that can only be worn by the most relaxed and assured among us.
Perfect for: the relaxed and cool headed individual