Don’t Let Your Watch Ruin Your Date

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Don’t Let Your Watch Ruin Your Date

Words by Ms Scarlett Baker

9 September 2023

The path to love in the modern age is challenging, and as we navigate the adventure to find amour, there’s an entire encyclopedia of dos and don’ts (or, at least, there ought to be). But did you know this is especially true when it comes to watches? Seems unfair to add yet another thing to think about as you get ready for a date, yet here we are. Whether you’re a devoted watch fan, or suspect that your “swipe right” might be, there is some basic horological etiquette to cover. Although, as with all dating advice, a lot of it comes down to basic social courtesies. Ever encountered someone awkwardly asking you the value of your Rolex? Or met an aficionado who spoke about nothing but tourbillons for two hours? You’re not alone.

We spoke to five people – some of them stalwarts of the watch industry – for their dating tales and, in turn, learnt (sometimes the hard way) some of the ticks and icks of wearing a watch on a date.

01. Don’t question the authenticity of your date’s watch

“Upon my date’s arrival – he was 15 minutes late – he complimented my dress, before his eyes descended to my wrist. I originally thought he was trying to read the tattoo scribed there until he grabbed my hand and pulled it towards him to get a better look at my Cartier Tank Française. I braced myself for a (well-deserved) compliment before he paused and finally asked, ‘Is this real?’

“He, unsurprisingly, failed to register the offence plastered across my face. And, as it would turn out, my banker date stored a plethora of Cartier-suited trivia. ‘Let me check!’ He added, explaining to me how ‘the fake watches won’t have Cartier inscribed on the “V” at seven o’clock.’

“Once he was certain the 21st-birthday present from my parents was real, I was certain I would never see him again; we sank our pints and parted ways. I do hope one day he owns a Cartier watch of his own, maybe he’ll be on time for the next poor soul he takes on a date.”

– Ella, 26, fashion editor, UK

02. Don’t choose your most audacious piece (for the first date, at least)

“There are certain connotations attached to certain watches. Take a Richard Mille or Jacob & Co. for instance. A sapphire case looks cool to a watch nerd, but it can also be a bold distraction, something I’ve experienced a few times. I’ve received comments such as, ‘Why are you wearing a piece of glass on your wrist?’ and, ‘That thing on your arm looks like a fish bowl.’

“I was once wearing a Jacob Epic X, a big 44mm watch with a skeletonised dial and open balance wheel. I noticed that my date’s eyes kept transitioning from me to the watch. I definitely consider what watch to wear before a date now, and what conversation it might spark. So, think again before putting on the Jacob & Co. Rasputin Tourbillon White Gold Erotic on a first date.”

– Mr George Shalhub, founder of Avant Garde Watches, US

03. Do make sure it actually tells the time

“My wife didn’t know anything about watches when we started dating. It wasn’t something we particularly discussed as we got to know one another. But she noticed that I wore a watch every time we met. She wasn’t interested in the fact that they were different models from time to time, but did clock that they were never actually set to the right time. It annoyed her and made her think, ‘What’s the bloody point in wearing one then?’

“Somewhere between me remembering to wind it and her realising I was often going to forget, we got married. She proposed to me with a watch.”

Sam, 33, watch editor, UK

04. Do share your passion with your partner, but don’t be pushy

“Dating a ‘non-watch person’ can be both a blessing and a curse. You don’t necessarily want that much combined geekery in the house (nor the increased financial drain), but you also want to find a way to share your passion with your partner. In my case I was met with the very typical ‘I don’t wear watches’ response when I began dating my now partner, but I wasn’t convinced that the situation was hopeless.

“First, I opened with the simple, ‘If you want to borrow one of mine at any point, you’re more than welcome to’, but they didn’t take me up on it. It’s OK, I had a plan B. Back into the watch boxes I go, hunting for the most lightweight watch I’ve ever owned: the Autodromo Group B.

“Long story short, their collection still isn’t as extensive as mine, but they’ve definitely borrowed from me and purchased a few models that now live on the nightstand of our bedroom. I have created a monster.”

Mr Justin Mastine-Frost, 39, director of digital content for Sharp Magazine, Canada

05. Don’t be judgmental about your date’s watch

“I was on a date with a guy; it was right at the time when getting a watch ‘at retail’ (paying the official branded price for a watch, as per the initial release, as opposed to paying a premium to beat waiting lists) was a big thing. He wasn’t a watch guy per se. He knew the big names, but he worked in the wine business, so we chatted over the similarities in clientele.

“He spent the entire date – without any prompting – bragging about how he got his watch at retail. Strange enough to brag about, but he later revealed that he did so because he got the watch 10 years ago from his parents for his bar mitzvah! He did nothing to acquire that watch and made out like it was some grandiose achievement on his part when in actuality it was a gift.

“He spent the remainder of the evening talking about said Rolex before adding, ‘I hate Audemars Piguet. Only rappers wear that brand,’ while I’m sitting there wearing one. Since then, I’ve been reluctant to wear a watch on a date because it could lead to a number of misconceptions.”

Elizabeth, 26, consultant, US

Time and date