Expert Advice on Buying and Investing in a Timepiece for Valentine’s Day – Tim Harrison, Co-Founder WatchPilot.com

How can you ensure you buy the correct watch size for your partner?

There are two ways to think about watch size. The first is all about the strap, and that’s an easy fix. The majority of metal bracelet strap watches can have links removed to better suit the wearer’s wrist size. Leather, fabric and rubber straps are also easily adjustable. The thing that you can’t change is the dimensions of the watch case, and this is where an understanding of dial size comes into play. When shopping for a gift, it is important to consider the diameter of the watch dial, which is measured in millimetres in a straight line from one side to the other. Some elegant evening watches for women can be very petite at just 20mm like the Herbelin Octogone Ladies Watch, although anything below 34mm is considered femininely proportioned. Watches in the 34-40mm range can sometimes be described as unisex because they fall in the mid-size category and can suit a variety of wrists.

A good way to ensure you’re buying the correct size is to look at your loved ones’ jewellery. Do they wear diminutive bracelets or chunkier chains? This can guide your decision-making when choosing dial dimensions. It’s also worth considering a watch’s depth too. Some sit high above the wrist, whereas others can look almost flat to the surface of the skin. A chunkier watch might not be practical if they regularly wear long sleeves or streamlined fabrics. Once you’ve considered all these elements, the rest is aesthetics.

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What should you consider when deciding the style of watch to gift your partner?

Watches are like fine perfume; they’re totally subjective. What appeals to one person isn’t going to cut it with another. When gifting the special woman in your life, I always recommend a classic approach, like the Jacques Du Manoir Ladies Inspiration Two-Tone Watch. Some watches are completely timeless, and for very good reason: they suit a wide variety of wardrobes, are suitable for work and play, and aren’t ostentatious. A stainless steel or bi-metal bracelet strap with a traditional round face and simple Roman numerals is a great place to start, like the Baume and Mercier Ladies Mother of Pearl Classima Watch.. If you want to inject personality, choose a coloured dial in deep red, blue, black or green shades, beautifully displayed in the Hamilton Jazzmaster Quartz Ladies Blue Watch. You can also decide whether they’d appreciate the sparkle of a stone-set bezel at this stage in your buying journey.

Of course, you’re going to have to think about budget, but the great thing about classic watches is they are available at all price points, whether you want to spend a few hundred or a few thousand. I recommend exploring Jacques Du Manoir, Tissot, Accurist, Rotary and Baume & Mercier to see elegant women’s watches at various prices.

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How important is the shape of the watch when purchasing for a loved one?

If you want to play it safe when buying a watch for the woman in your life, go with a round case shape. It’s a sophisticated and classic choice. I recommend choosing a square or rectangular case shape, though, if you feel a bit braver. These watches often have a subtle vintage quality about them and put a feminine twist on traditional designs, in the likes if the Rotary Cambridge Ladies White Watch. From here, you can really push the boundaries with octagonal-shaped cases that have been growing in popularity for years now, like the Herbelin Octogone Ladies Silver Watch.

I would always consider the shape of the watch in the context of its dial design. For example, a simple white dial with plain indices can be given a boost with a square case shape. On the flip side, a colourful dial with crystals or diamonds may benefit from the subtlety of a round case to create balance. The rest is about gut instinct and hoping you know your loved one well enough to make a choice!

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How important is it to purchase a watch with the same material that your loved one wears in other areas of their wardrobe?

There are two schools of thought when it comes to combining watches and jewellery. Some are purists and prefer silver tones with stainless steel, whereas others like the clash of bi-metal and tri-metal finishes (think stainless steel, yellow gold, rose gold and silver hues mixed together). Personally, I think rules are made to be broken. Combining finishes is a great way to add personality and interest to a wrist stack. That said, use your initiative. If you’ve never seen your loved one wear so much as a stud earring in yellow gold, a sunshine yellow metal watch isn’t likely to be in their wheelhouse. One of my personal favourite watch colour combinations is stainless steel and gold, beautifully portrayed in the Burberry Ladies Classic Gold Watch. This can look fantastic alongside silver, platinum and white gold jewellery. If you are tempted by a bi-metal finish, this is a good place to start.

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Would you advise buying a watch that reflects your loved one’s favourite sport, team or hobby over something classic?

The great thing about watches is they can be anything you want them to be: a reminder of a moment in time, a fashion statement or a daily essential. If your loved one has a passion for something specific, especially physical activities like running, swimming or yoga, there are fitness smartwatches ideally suited to their needs. If you think outside the box, you can match the colour of a watch to their favourite sports team or reflect their interest in military history with a vintage-inspired army field or pilot’s watch. And let’s not forget fully functioning diver’s watches for scuba diving enthusiasts or beautifully decorated moon phases portrayed in the Frederique Constant Ladies Slimline Moonphase Watch for anyone interested in the night sky.

The question is, do you tap into this unique personal interest or choose a classic watch? I suggest toeing the line between both and combining a deeply personal feature, colour or complication with a traditional shape and silhouette, such as a round case and clean stainless steel bracelet strap. That way, you are acknowledging what makes your loved one special without risking a ‘novelty’ purchase that they’ll only wear once a year.