When is a Rolex Watch the Right Birthday Gift?

October 20, 2016

I came across an article on gq.com in which Jessi Klein, head writer for Inside Amy Schumer, shares a story about buying her husband a Rolex watch for his forty-fifth birthday. She refers to Rolexes as 'engagement rings for dudes' based on the fact that men feel the same way about the watches that women feel about diamond rings. It's a fair comparison and I would agree that they make wonderful birthday gifts, there are some caveats when it comes to buying someone a Rolex.

When is a Rolex Watch the Right Birthday Gift? (photo: Ben White)
The first thing to take into consideration is budget. Rolex prices range from less than $10,000 to upwards of $100,000 US, so you must have your finances in order before making the decision to give one as a gift. Most of their stainless steel professional models, like the Submariner, are on the more affordable side while precious metal and diamond models will run you significantly more. There are also models that are harder to find than others, like the 2016 Ceramic Daytona. Dealers may charge a premium for them, so that should also be taken into consideration.

Pricing and availability are important factors of a Rolex purchase, but choosing the right model can make the difference between a watch that will last a lifetime and one that will go back to the dealer for an exchange. This is perhaps the most difficult part about buying a watch as a gift for someone. While from a distance many models look similar, each one has its own legacy and caters to different personalities. For example, even though they have a similar look, the GMT-Master II and Submariner have different functionalities that cater to different demographics. Using Jessi Klein's comparison to an engagement ring, it's similar to the difference between a marquis cut diamond and a pear cut diamond.

The main difference between an engagement ring and a Rolex is that there is a specific occasion for giving someone an engagement ring, whereas you can give someone a watch to mark many different occasions. Whether given to honor an advancement in career, a birthday or a relationship milestone, a luxury timepiece is meant to stay with the owner for a lifetime and even longer, as many choose to pass their watches down to future generations. Anyone would be lucky to receive a Rolex as a birthday gift, but I would say that the best time to give one as a gift is when you are certain that they will be getting a watch that they will never want to take off.


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