Help me buy my wife a watch!

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  1. As a distinctly clueless/styleless husband, I come to these forums infrequently but appreciatively when I need help with a major purchase (she still loves her Chanel purse from my first visit here years ago). So, I'm back...

    We are approaching her 60th birthday (tempus fugit!) and I'd like to celebrate our time together. I was thinking about a nice watch. She has a fair amount of nice jewelry but no "statement watch." She has a number of everyday watches, so I'm thinking this would be more the going out/special occasion watch. I think I can push the budget to a max of something like $20K. And, that's pretty much it for insight on my part.

    I think the easy thing would be to run out and buy a Rolex. And that may indeed be the right choice, but I'm curious to see if you all can suggest any alternatives. I think I'm looking for a delicate balance--a watch that is not quite as widely recognized as a Rolex, but not so obscure that only a watch aficionado would recognize it. Something that she could wear to her snooty Buckhead garden club's cocktail party and have people recognize as a nice watch. Clearly going for classic, not trendy. She's small-boned and would not want a huge watch. Is that enough info? I'll watch to see if there's more I can provide. Thanks!
  2. Rolex is the number one recognized watch world wide. There are other brands that are more costly and recognizable but not to everyone here’s a line up. Hope this helps.. I personally own a Rolex and love it. Good luck IMG_0569.JPG
  3. Rolex for sure. She is 60, lives near Buckhead where brands matter.... for sure Rolex. It will go great with her Chanel bag.

    You most likely will not need $20K for a Rolex, so how about some Chanel shoes as a bonus? I would recommend the classic flats or if she wants a little heel, get the slingback.

    For me, I own several Rolexes and that’s all I buy for watches. They are iconic but yet subtle and make a nice statement.
    That’s my two cents. Hope that helps.

    You are super thoughtful!
    liz_ likes this.
  4. Well known watches I have are Rolexes (both vintage) Jaeger LeCoultre, Omega and Baume and Mercier. I would love another JlC.

    Jaeger leCoultre watches are as beautiful as they are wonderful time pieces. My pref. would be for a Reverso.

    1. Don't buy anything quartz. It has to be a real watch.
    2. Buy white, yellow or rose gold for pref.
    3. Don't do diamonds unless you know she likes them by day (I'm aware the 60 = diamonds in anniversary but it doesn't have to be for Bdays too)
    4. Buy her a watch she can read. Nothing too complicated, stylised or too small for the face.
    5. Automatic for pref. but I'd rather have a amazing vintage windup than entry level automatic.

    6. Engrave it only after she's told you she loves it and will keep it forever. Let her have the opportunity of an exchange for style and size if need be, watches are so personal. But eventually, I do think you should engrave it so it's as special, as special can be.

    7. Don't rule out a nice vintage watch. Most brands had far better watch makers before 1970.

  5. You can’t go wrong with Van Cleef and Arpels

    This has the iconic clover as a charm


    Or Any of the ones below in the Alhambra collection...the clover shape of the dial should be recognizable by that set.
    The ivory with diamonds and ivory strap is pretty special though I’m not sure about the location of the label.
    Or black dial with diamonds on black strap (2nd row)
    Or for a more “jewelry” look..the ones with the iconic clover links

    All Watches look better in time to visit the boutique! Happy shopping,
  6. In general, I agree that automatic movements are the way to go..but they tend not to put them into dainty evening watches. Omega did make a small enough automatic movement for a cocktail watch but the trend now is for big BIG dials. Here’s another thought; HermesArceau..a bit more sporty. Love the numerals and the moon phase. I actually prefer the bezel without diamonds. If you prefer the diamond bezel (that tan strap ick!) I’d switch it to black or blue. I believe these have an automatic movement.

    papertiger likes this.
  7. I've tried this watch and it was stunning
    essiedub likes this.
  8. How about a Cartier watch? Tank Francaise?
    ODEDIHAIMS likes this.
  9. Maybe a Lady President with jewels in the bezel or the dial. A Rolex is an easy choice because they are classic and somewhat understated yet still recognizable, plus they hold their value really well. Yes, it is easy to see them as being boring and obvious, but they're also very easy to wear. It's hard to go wrong when wearing one unless someone is the type of person who follows the strict rules for what kind of watch to wear for different occasions and outfits. I love my Rolexes.
    liz_ likes this.
  10. Wow, great suggestions already. Y'all are great.

    Liz, Willeyi and Ultra: definitely see the Rolex argument and I've not ruled that out in any way. In fact, I am guessing that she'd like the classic metal Rolex band. Makes it more like wearing a bracelet.

    Papertiger: great advice. I love the JLC's faces, but am wondering about the bands: neither leather nor the SS appeal to me as much as the Rolex bands. The rest of your advice is super helpful. Newbie question: which watches would be "entry level automatic?" And, again, knowing nothing, would it be wise to investigate vintage watches? Too risky for a know-nothing? Or work with a trusted dealer?

    Essie: This may be inconsistent, but the VC&A watch is beautiful but SO blingy that I could only really visualize that with an evening gown, not, say, dressy jeans and heels. I'd like a watch that could do both if such a thing exists.

    Oh, and Willeyi, I love buying her shoes--though rarely "a little heel." Much prefer seeing her teetering in CL's :nuts:
    GoldFish8 likes this.
  11. Agree with every word. Real watch is always better than quartz.
    I personally would go for Breguet Classique, Piguet Altiplano or A.Lange&Söhne Friedrich II or III. Classic and elegant. But that all depends on your wife’s personal taste. Perhaps she prefers bling over quality
    CocoHunny and papertiger like this.
  12. #12 May 19, 2019
    Last edited: May 19, 2019

    For vintage watches you have to go with a reputable dealer in your area. They should guarantee that the watch is not only authentic but the mechanism and all parts to the watch are in keeping and contemporaneous overall. One of my Rolexes has a slightly suspect winder!!! Still Rolex but which one? One word though, vintage is not always less expensive, some models are more sought after in their original 'heyday' version.

    I'm sorry you didn't like the look of the JLC Reverso bands. You can order additional alligator bands from many colours for a few hundred dollars.

    You could also go for the all-gold Duetto version This is the watch I would like so don't buy the last one LOL. It has a silvered day face and a noir/gold/diamond-bevel evening face. I wouldn't mind the limited edition Reverso Tribute Gyrotourbillon® (75) but I can't afford it and I like my dreams to stand some chance of coming true.

    Rather than tell you watches you shouldn't buy, I think you can see some nice Med size automatics such as the Omega Ladymatic range

    For Rolex the 2019 Datejust 31 with the olive face is gorgeous if you can get one . Green is the Rolex colour (I want a green strap for one of my vintage models). I think it's special but not too flash.
  13. You have exquisite taste in watches XXX
    Sheikha Latifa likes this.

  14. Oh ooops..I thought you were looking for a cocktail watch, hence the bling. Ok let’s dial it down a bit, though diamonds, used tastefully and sparingly on watches go quite well with jeans :P

    Cartier panthere has a really nice band

    Cartier Ballon Bleu is all the the blue dial but 42mm is too big. Perhaps the moonphase or the diamond markers.


    Omega Ladymatic has the fabulous coaxial movement that can rival any automatic (this is the same one they put in the mens pieces) This is a stunning piece..thick but when fitted, is very well balanced. It has these cutouts on the side for additional flair. Many models..also available without diamond bezel


    Finally back to VCA..leather band will tone down the “bling.” I really like the right bottom one with the red band..both casual and formal.

    Agree with Sheikha on Breguet and Piaget

    I can go on and on about watches...
  15. Tops on the list of best large manufactory watch makers are Patek Philippe, JLC, and Audemars-Piguet. Rolex is a bit further down the list in terms of quality watch-making.
    If you like the look of the Rolex bracelets, take a look at Audemars-Piguet Royal Oak line. To me the JLC Reverso-Duetto is a great choice for a small wrist, and you get 2 watches in one: day and evening!
    Good luck in your decision-making!
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