When Justin Bieber said “I do” to Hailey Baldwin, he decided to gift himself. He flashed a yellow-gold Audemars Piguet Royal Oak watch on Instagram worth roughly $50,000.
When Angelina Jolie tied the knot with Brad Pitt, she presented him with a 1952 Patek Philippe platinum chronometer worth as much as $4 million.
Queen Elizabeth II also clocked in with the perfect wedding present. She gave Princess Diana an elegant Vacheron Constantin diamond bracelet watch to mark her marriage to Prince Charles — the same timepiece the queen received as a gift on her own wedding day in 1947.
But it’s not just celebrities who rely on watches to get them to the church on time. Keepsake pieces (from your parents, your partner or yourself) have become a popular wedding present across income levels, according to Paul Boutros, head of watches for the Americas at auction house Phillips.
“With so many great watches at different price levels that are appropriate, it helps to really get to know the couple, their tastes and budget,” he notes.
While less conventional pairs (those looking to celebrate a third marriage or a far-out fling at Burning Man) might be drawn to less traditional designs, most couples tend to stick to the classics. For men in the $6,000 and under range, Boutros suggests one of the GOATs of the watch world: the Omega Speedmaster.
“It’s perfect for a sporty casual lifestyle,” he says. If you’re shopping for a dressier groom, he recommends Nomos Glashütte timepieces in stainless steel.
For brides in the same price range, Boutros loves the Rolex Datejust in stainless steel or a Rolex Perpetual with a dial colored turquoise or coral. “They are brand-new, and they have such a cool look,” he says of the Perpetuals. “Their 31 and 36-millimeter sizes look great on a lady’s wrist.”
With so many great watches at different price levels that are appropriate, it helps to really get to know the couple, their tastes and budget
– Paul Boutros
Double that price point and you can afford to shower the man of your dreams with a Rolex Submariner or a GMTMaster. Blushing brides, meanwhile, will delight in receiving a ticking trinket from Cartier — perhaps a Tank, Santos or Panthère.
If you’re truly ready to splurge on a wedding gift, Boutros suggests an ultra luxurious timepiece, like an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak or a Patek Philippe Nautilus or Aquanaut — all of which can be purchased in larger or smaller case sizes to suit both men and women.
To make the present even more personal, he proposes finding a birth-year example of the watch, an increasingly popular trend for wedding gifts.
“The great thing about most of these models is that you can go vintage, because they’ve stood the test of time,” he explains.
“The Royal Oak launched in 1972. The Datejust in 1946. The Speedmaster in 1957. The Submariner and GMT-Master since 1954. They are all still in style. A watch as a wedding gift should be a reflection of the permanence of marriage.”