OMEGA’s Seamaster Aqua Terra watch in 18K rose gold and stainless steel from Kiawah Fine Jewelry. Photograph by Peter Frank Edwards
November 14, 2012
Check out these tips and trends for the ultimate gift for your groom: a classic watch
Written By Melissa Bigner
Looking for a great gift for your man on the Big Day? Go for an heirloom-worthy timepiece. We talked with Bill Henzy, owner and general manager of Kiawah Fine Jewelry, to learn how to find the perfect one. For more photos of watches and fashion for grooms, click here.
Charleston Weddings: When a bride comes in looking for a watch for her groom, how do you guide her to the right one?
Bill Henzy: Generally, it’s not unlike how it works with a man coming in looking for an engagement ring. He knows she’s seen something she likes somewhere, or said she likes one thing or another. The same thing goes for him in that he’s likely seen a watch he likes, or he likes a particular brand, and she hopefully knows that.
CW: But if she’s starting from ground zero, can you help her?
BH: Of course. The first thing we ask is if she is looking for something dressy or something sporty. Then we get into whether he’s a big guy of large stature or is smaller. Big guys can wear bigger watches and smaller men might want to go for ones that aren’t as large.
CW: How should his sense of style and fashion affect what you consider?
BH: If he’s a guy who is going to wear suits and dress shirts all the time, then you don’t want something that is too thick. You’ll want his cuff to be able to slide over the watch easily. Another old rule—one is that hardly followed anymore—is that you’re not supposed to wear a chronograph watch (that’s one with subdials) with a suit.
CW: Are there other rules like that?
BH: You’re not supposed to wear a wristwatch with a tuxedo—you’re supposed to wear a pocket watch instead. All these are along the same lines as not wearing white after Labor Day and not wearing shorts after dark. They are traditions, but today people bend the rules a lot.
CW: What if he’s not a suit-man?
BH: If he’s out in the boat half the time, and the wedding is the only time that he’s going to wear a suit or a tux, then you’ll want to get him something sporty.
CW: What makes it a wedding gift rather than an everyday gift?
BH: If it’s a wedding gift, you want to give him something he’ll always wear, a classic. That can be dressy or sporty. You’ll want something that can be passed down to your son. It’s the kind of gift that looks great (and still works great) 40 years from now.
CW: Do you tend to push one brand over another?
BH: No. We only carry brands that we’re proud of, and unless the groom is really into one brand, it’s more about what he’s looking for in general. There are many price points, too, so there is a great range.
CW: What styles are fun right now?
BH: We’ve got one from Tissot that we call the “Mad Man” watch because it has that vintage look. A lot of watches are going vintage right now, so there are lots of options there. If your guy’s a world traveler, we have some with all the time zones on the back, and another with automatic movement to correct for time zones. If he’s into math and science, we have the Omega Speedmaster watch that Buzz Aldrin wore on the moon. The only difference is that Buzz’s had a larger strap to fit over his space suit sleeve.
CW: What advice do you have about buying watches online?
BH: The Internet is a great place for information, but a terrible place to buy watches. Retailers see it all the time, people coming in to check out a watch, then the customer goes online to buy the same item for less. But the lines we carry for men—Breitling, Tissot, Omega, Tag Heuer—they either don’t sell online, or, like Tag, they sell online at the full retail price, so there’s no real benefit. If you get it for less, you’re getting it from a third party, and you’re not necessarily getting what you think. Often they are reselling used watches, broken watches, or watches that aren’t even the ones they are advertising. Serial numbers are scratched off, and watchmakers won't repair them when they see that. Buy from a store and you get the international warranty and lifetime of help whenever it needs servicing.
CW: On another note, does it make sense to engrave a watch?
BH: We don’t recommend it with the automatic watches because you are hammering on it and you don’t want to damage the movement. Otherwise, trophy stores are good to approach about engraving since they are used to working on small areas, and some of the watch companies will do it if you send it back to them.
CW: Do you ever have grooms buy watches for their groomsmen?
BH: Definitely. And we can work to get the right one for each of them, too. Remember you can always change out straps and there are often options for face colors, too. Blue—straps and faces—are really popular right now.
CW: Any tips for brides on how to present a watch to their grooms?
BH: Don’t just give him a box. Try to say something meaningful. “This watch is timeless and I want our marriage to be timeless, too…” try and go for something sentimental.
CW: Last thoughts on the matter?
BH: Before you come in, look at the watches he already has, the ones he wears and doesn’t wear. That will help us pick a good one for him. And remember, you’re going to be looking at this watch for years to come, so choose something you’ll enjoy, too.