Watch expert Zayyar Win Thein, of vintage and pre-owned watch business Wynn & Thayne, shares his expertise on what timepiece to wear for your wedding.
For what is arguably one of the biggest days of your life most grooms focus on a good suit but not many grooms pay attention to what they’re wearing on their wrists. The photos you take on this day will remain for generations and wearing a bulky watch jangling around, barely fitting under your shirt cuff is not a good look. Simple, classic, and refined is what you should be looking for to pair with your Crane Brothers tuxedo or suit. You’re dressing up for an occasion so a dress watch is required.
The first consideration with a dress watch is that a leather strap configuration is more common instead of a bracelet. Leather straps are more discrete and easy to pair with other leather - for example black leather oxfords or black leather patent shoes. Most appropriately, a dress watch strap will be in black leather crocodile, dark brown leather, or even dark navy leather. All are great options as long as you’ve correctly matched them with your shoes.
In my opinion the most versatile dress watch is the Cartier Tank. Louis Cartier invented the Cartier Tank in 1917, now known today as the Cartier’s most iconic watch. The name and design derived from the Renault FT-17, a French tank that was used in combat throughout World War One. Using rectangular and square lines for the shape of the watch, it keeps a relatively slim profile. Throughout history there have been many famous Cartier Tank owners from Muhammed Ali, Andy Warhol, Princess Diana and Jacquie Kennedy. The Cartier Tank is an easy to wear option on your wedding day. I personally would opt for a vintage piece from the 1980s or 1990s in vermeil with a quartz movement or manual wind.
The next contender is Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso, which has been a stalwart since its inception in 1931. The Reverso watch was commissioned by a French watch dealer who was asked by British officers stationed in India to devise a watch they could wear while playing polo. Due to the rigours of the sport and the need to change horses often, a flippable watch was designed so players could “reverse” from the watch face to a plain side that wasn’t prone to breaking. Inspired by the Art Deco style of the time, the numerals and lines are unique to the period resulting in a classic dress piece. Additionally, the Reverso has become well known as a watch to gift to others, due to the plain caseback; once flipped it's a great blank canvas for engravings. I’d recommend engraving your wedding date on the back so you don’t forget.
If leather straps really aren’t for you, then the Rolex Datejust would be a suitable partner for your wedding day. The combination of Rolex’s Jubilee bracelet and an 18k white gold fluted bezel result in a watch that suits even the most formal of occasions. With just the time and date, it makes for one of the more simpler Rolex’s in their catalogue. I'm a firm believer that everyone needs a Datejust. It's versatile, understated, and won't have your colleagues gawking at your wrist from afar. Modern Datejusts are available in 36mm or 41mm. I personally would stick to the combination mentioned above or go with an Oyster bracelet and fluted bezel.
An accessible option in regards to price would be to look at Longines. One of the pioneers in Swiss watchmaking, their history and provenance is second to none. I highly recommend their Presence or Flagship series, both are all beautiful dress watches without breaking the budget. The options range from quartz to mechanical movements, bracelet vs. strap and various materials such as steel or gold. Another perk is that the majority of these watches are readily available at your local Longines boutique, saving time if you’re in a rush.
Finally, if all else fails the best watch you can wear is a family heirloom. As brides may wear dresses or jewellery passed down from previous generations, a handed down watch makes sense. Being such a momentous day, especially for your loved ones, it’s a nice way to have them with you even if they’re not present. Personally, I have a simple gold quartz Longines Presence dress watch to wear that was my uncle's. While it may not be the most luxurious or esteemed in the world it's comforting to know a part of him is with me on the day.
Photos supplied by Wynn & Thayne, SSong Watches, A Watch To Blog & Longines.