The Gift for him –
The engagement watch

Buy him a watch he’ll want to wear forever!

By Ann Wallner

You are engaged and you have the ring of your dreams! Showing it off to all your friends and family you are lost in its dazzling beauty and the thoughts of all it means to you: the love of your life and your future together. Your special guy has presented you with this beautiful, meaningful, valuable gift but what about your gift to your groom?

Enter the engagement watch! Engagement watch? You are probably feeling as much at a loss thinking about a watch as your fiancé was when he first started looking for your diamond!

Did you know that for generations men the world over have regarded the prospect of owning a fine wrist watch in much the same way girls dream of owning a beautiful diamond? A fine quality timepiece, made to last a lifetime, worn with pride and distinction, is the perfect counterpart to your treasured engagement ring.

The first wrist watch was invented as a jewellery item by Patek Philippe in 1868. Wrist watches as the practical everyday timepieces we know today were introduced by Louis Cartier in 1904, designed for use by his friend Alberto Santos-Dumont, an early aviator.

Over the years, most of the world’s finest watches have come from Germany and Switzerland. Phrases like ‘fine German workmanship,’ ‘runs like a Swiss watch’ and ‘German precision’ are testament to the high regard in which we hold these fascinating miniature machines. Cities like Geneva in Switzerland and Glashutte in Germany are virtual pilgrim’s destinations to watch lovers the all over the world. The brand names of watches made in these centres, like Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constatin, IWC, A. Lange & Söhne, Blanc Pain, Breguet and Baume & Mercier are spoken with great pride and reverence. Timepieces from these houses are of extremely limited production; they are rare. To own one of these watches would put your special guy among perhaps as few as 1% of the world’s watch owners.

As we enter the 21st century and leave the disposable society mentality of the 20th century behind we are re-embracing values of durability, craftsmanship and limited production and rediscovering the joy of having special hand made personal pieces.

Watches are a perfect example of this. The price of a watch is influenced by the cost of the materials used such as stainless steel, titanium and gold but it is how the watch is actually made and the time it takes to make it that determine its quality as a timepiece and its price. A watch can be made very quickly and inexpensively as an assembly line mass production item or it can take years to hand make and assemble a single movement.

Just as your engagement ring is probably your most prized piece of jewellery, the watch you give your fiancé will be just as important to him. And the same way your engagement ring is not the only piece of jewellery you own, he may have more than one watch, but it is his engagement watch that will become a family heirloom. Having a hand engraved message on the back of its case is the finishing touch in personalizing your special gift and its meaning for the two of you. There are two basic types of watches: mechanical watches and electric watches. Mechanical watches can have either a manual or an automatic movement.

When we wind a manual watch we are coiling the mainspring. It is the gradual unwinding of the mainspring that provides power to the movement. With an automatic mechanical movement, power is provided by the rotation of an internal weight. When the watch is worn, the weight spins inside the case and winds the mainspring.

Quartz watches are driven by a replaceable battery energy source and generally have many fewer moving parts than mechanical watches.

Some watches measure only time while others may tell us the day, the date and even the phases of the moon, while still others can work as a stopwatch. In watch-speak, each of these additional features is called a complication. For some men, the more features or complications a watch has, the greater the bragging rights… it’s a guy thing!

There are specialty sport watches boasting extraordinary toughness and reliability for even the most extreme sports enthusiasts. Of course the legendary Swiss made Rolex Oyster comes to mind immediately and I’m sure the Tag Heuer name is familiar too. If you are looking for something a little different, with distinctive style and German quality at a somewhat lower price, there is a great newcomer to this category of rugged everyday sport watch: the ‘Muhle Nautische Instrumente family of wristwatches.

The Muhle family has been making parts for German-made precision instruments in the town of Glashuette Germany since 1869 and now they have developed a line of ‘uber’ wristwatches used by the German Maritime Search and Rescue Service, as well as a range of more urban oriented timepieces.

Whatever your fiancé is dreaming of, there are many watch choices and combinations available. You can start with his dream watch on a leather strap now and in a few years add the bracelet upgrade as an anniversary gift or to mark a special milestone in your life together.

Whatever watch you choose to present there is one thing you can be sure of, each time he looks at it he will think of you.


Photo: Baume & Mercier polished steel Hampton watch with diamond-set case, silver-coloured dial and quartz movement.

Photo: Baume & Mercier 38-jewel Hampton chronograph with polished silver case, silver-coloured dial and black alligator strap.

The Baume & Mercier Hampton Collection is available at Birks, for locations visit

Photo: The Marinus III is water-resistant to 30 bars; impervious to temperature changes and salt water; solid stainless steel case; super LumiNova hands and indices.

Photo: The Teutonia II Kleine Sekunde is water-resistant to 10 bars; has stop-second, fast date correction; a 42-hr power reserve; case is stainless steel (transparent back); crocodile leather strap.

The Marinus III and Teutonia II Kleine Sekunde are apart of the Nautische Instrumente collection by Mühle Glashütte/SA. The watch movements are Mühle version with automatic woodpecker neck regulation. In Ottawa, Mühle Glashütte/SA is available at Alyea’s Jewellers, visit To locate a retailer near you in other parts of Canada visit:

Category: Engagement Watch for Him, JEWELLERY