Case Study: Wife's Wedding Gift Watch

One of my best friend’s Fiance came to me last year because she wanted to surprise him with the very generous gift of a fine watch on their wedding day.  He had wanted a “nice watch” for years, well before they had met, and this was her chance to unexpectedly blow him out of the water.  But she didn’t really know much about watches or what to get him; I was beyond excited and honored to help.

I started with the usual questions;   what is your budget, do you have any idea of what type or style watch you want to get him, do you want new, are you open to pre-owned or vintage?  She set the budget, was open to new, pre-owned, or vintage, and most importantly, she wanted a watch that he could wear on their 50th wedding anniversary.  That’s such an awesome statement, and one that cleared up style without specifying one at all, I needed to find something timeless, classic, and versatile.  Everyone has their own definitions of which watches fit those characteristics, so I started to send her a broad range of examples or options to gauge her tastes.  I really wanted to make sure I found a watch that was representative of her and that I knew they would both love for decades to come. 

I started by sending an array of the new watches she could afford; Tissot Visodate, Tissot LeLocle, Hamilton IntraMatic Auto, Hamilton Spirit of Liberty, Hamilton Jazzmaster Day Date Auto, the basic entry level quality mechanical watches.  Nice pieces, but not really prestigious names, and none of them carry a ton of presence, in my opinion.  I knew both of them have great appreciations for nice things (translation: expensive tastes, haha), so I started to send some various pre-owned options.  Two of the more memorable pre-owned contenders were an Omega SeaMaster Aqua-Terra Date Co-Axial (Ref. 2502.30.00) and a Longines Master Collection 2-register chronograph (Ref. L2.629.4).  What was great about both of these options is that they were both very classic and timeless designs that had a lot of versatility to them.  They both came on original bracelets, but either could be paired with a vintage brown strap or a nice black strap to dress it down or up, respectively.  Both watches also had sapphire case backs, which I think is a really great feature that appeals to a lot of first watch owners.  Feedback was positive on both of these but nothing that she was particularly moved by.  I kept on searching for something she wanted to give him and represented her well.

Many people have that first watch that moves them to want a nice piece, a watch that’s almost more symbolic or representative of something more; success, a milestone, etc., than just simply a watch you really admire.  For Ryan, that watch was a Bell & Ross, the BR-03 PVD in particular.  I would argue the BR-03 isn’t the most timeless design in the world, and I would have concerns about the aging of a PVD watch, but when I came across their Vintage BR collection, it presented the perfect opportunity to find something that was both personally significant and symbolic to him and one with a more classic and versatile design.  Kim was floored; right away she knew that was what she wanted to give him.  Still having a few months before we needed the piece in hand, I narrowed my search for the right one.  Eventually, I came across a less common model from a few years ago, the BR-126 Geneve, a two-register chronograph from the line that evolved into the Vintage BR models. 

Not wanting to tease her with a higher priced item, I did want to expose her to what spending more money provides, and what features differentiate the two watches that were separated by roughly $500 at market value.  Although I think the time-only Vintage BR models will age well and offer a nice clean layout, this one just had a little more oomph, as a chrono sometimes can.  Besides the complication, the dimensional alpha hands, the great tail of the chrono seconds counter, and the arrowed hand in the minute register all provided little details of character that would be sure to please him for years to come.  The sapphire caseback showcased the ETA-2892-4 movement, which also meant the watch would be very reliable and easily serviceable with plenty of available parts.  Throw a nice black leather strap with signed deployant clasp, box and papers, and it was a classy and complete package.  She decided she was in agreement and that the BR-126 just drew her in a little more, but was concerned on the higher price, wanting her spending to go unnoticed by Ryan. 

I negotiated with a dealer in New York back and forth for a few days before we were able to reach an agreement, and She then had a watch she was ecstatic to give him on their wedding day.  I knew it would be perfect too, checking all the right boxes; it was personally significant and symbolic, timeless, classic, current, clean, versatile, and reliable. 

I threw in a vintage-style dark brown ColaReb leather strap as an additional wedding gift to get him up and running casual or dressy right away.  Ryan now has a watch that can easily go from casual BBQ, office, or his wedding day with a simple strap change, all from his idyllic brand.

Bell&Ross BR126 Geneve

TL:DR – why am I telling you this?  Kim’s positive comments were plentiful, stating:

              “you rock at this!”

 “Thank you for everything, this has been such a great experience and you have been so helpful, so THANK YOU! “

“You deserve 5 gold stars!!  This process has been easy AND fun!!

“You should go into business, this suits you!” – during the negotiation process no less.

My point is that I was able to take her input and educate her what options were available at various price points, and explain pros and cons comparing various watches.  Ultimately, I got something that suited both Her and Ryan’s tastes and made them both very happy.  It was a very rewarding and enjoyable process for me as well.  Are you looking for a watch for yourself or as a gift?  Let me find the perfect piece for you!