Custom Watches: Make Your Gifts More Meaningful

Finding the perfect gift to give someone can be quite tedious. Sometimes you just have no idea what to get them, especially if they already have everything. It has to feel special and meaningful. The solution to finding the right gift for the person who has everything – make it personal! Customised gifts really add a personal level to the gift. One brilliant personalised gift idea is getting custom watches — whether it’s a simple engraving on a luxury watch like a Rolex or Patek Philippe or you can do it from scratch like a photo watch. Here’s a guide to help you find the custom watch perfect for your loved one.

Why Customise?

A lot of gifts can seem impersonal. You could be buying a wedding gift for a not-so-close family friend from their registry without really putting any thought into it. Or it could be a last-minute gift you give someone when you accidentally forget their birthday. And that’s all okay. But for someone who means a lot to you, sometimes you’d just want to go the extra mile and get them something more personal.

ring jewelry with engraved face
Photo from Jewel Gram

When giving someone a gift, you have to consider their personality and the nature of your relationship. Sometimes, people aren’t really into gifts so it would be best to put your efforts into something else they’d appreciate more. But if your loved one is someone who has “receiving gifts” as one of their main love languages, putting some thought into a gift and making it more personal could really make them happy. There are a lot of ways to make a gift more special, and getting a custom item is one good idea.

Custom Watches: More than Just Fancy Items

Watch engraving, watch on the wrist
Photo from Pinterest

Fundamentally, a watch is meant for telling time. However, that’s not the only use of a watch. Nowadays, a lot of people use watches as a way to express themselves or their style. And since watches are a common gift for special occasions, it’s a good avenue for personalisation. Watches, especially from luxury watch brands such as Audemars Piguet or IWC, are also handed down from one generation to another as family heirlooms. So, imagine how special it would be to be handed down a personalised watch your grandfather once owned. A custom watch has so much more meaning. It is more than just a fancy item on your wrist. That personalised watch would be something only the receiver of the gift would have. Giving custom watches to a loved one gives them the opportunity to own a one-of-a-kind memento that they will be able to cherish for a very long time.

Types of Watch Customisation

Rolex Day-Date from Marilyn Monroe to JFK
Photo from Philippine Watch Club

1. Watch engraving

There are a lot of ways to customise watches. One of the most common ways people create personalised watches is by adding a watch engraving. It’s simple, classy, and makes the watch truly their own. Some people have a phrase engraved on the caseback that could be important to the giver and receiver’s relationship. For married couples, this could be a snippet from their vows or even an inside joke. Sometimes people also have their names or initials engraved to really make that person feel that it is a watch meant just for them. One of the most controversial engraved watches by far is a Rolex Day-Date watch, given by Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe to then US President John F. Kennedy on the occasion of his birthday [photo above], with an engraving: “Jack, with love as always from Marilyn. May 29th, 1962″.

Jewellery watch on its side
Photo from Unsplash

2. Adding gems and diamonds

Another thing you can do to customise your watches is by adding some adornments in the form of diamonds or other precious stones. There are ladies luxury watches — such as the Bulgari Serpenti, Chopard Happy Diamonds, or Ballon Bleu de Cartier — that already comes with gems and diamonds. But if you feel like you need more gems, you can always customise it to meet your style. You can either ask the brands themselves to customise the watches, or you can go to an independent jeweller or watchmaker to set the gems on your existing watch to personalise it.

Customised Photo Watch
Photo from Soul Feel

3. Using photos and mementos

The last type of customisation we’ll talk about is a photo watch. Basically, you use personal photos like the design for the dial. You can also do it with jewellery and cufflinks. This could be a photo of the person you’re gifting it to, or a photo of you together, or just something that means a lot to them. The possibilities are endless with this one since there are so many photos you can choose from.

To customise a photo watch, first, you have to select a photo. Now, there are a lot of things to consider in selecting a photo. What’s the personality of the person you plan on giving a custom watch to? Do they prefer something more minimal or do they like vibrance? You could also consider their interests.

Instagram Photo
Photo from Unsplash

Another thing to consider is the watch you plan to customise. You can’t just choose any type of watch. You have to make sure they’d like the watch you’re getting them and that it fits their personality. You also have to make sure that having a photo dial would make sense for the watch. For example, if a lot is already going on in the watch, adding a photo dial might make it look too cluttered. You need to have an overall cohesive design so keep that in mind. Lastly, one of the most important things is setting a budget. You have to make sure that both the watch and the customisation would fit your budget. Make sure to set a reasonable budget and choose your options in that range.


Best Jewellery Watches and Diamond-Studded Watches to Customise

There are a lot of watches you can customise. But for this list, we’re focusing on jewellery watches and luxury watches. These watches are great to customise because you already have amazing quality to work with. A luxury watch purchased as a gift is typically reserved for special occasions, so why not make it even more special by adding a personal touch to the gift. Mix technical value with personal worth to create something truly meaningful.

Rolex Lady Datejust 

The Rolex Lady Datejust is part of an iconic collection in the brand’s repertoire. Rolex first introduced the Datejust series in the 1940s, and it was very popular due to the collection’s versatility and the amazing finish of the watches. Due to the collection’s popularity, Rolex decided to create the Rolex Lady Datejust watches in 1957 so that ladies can also enjoy the amazing quality the original collection had to offer.

In terms of movement, the Rolex Lady Datejust delivers nothing but high quality. It is a chronometer, so you can expect insane accuracy with this watch. Its power reserve is up to approximately 55 hours and it runs on a perpetual, self-winding, mechanical movement.

front view of Rolex Lady Datejust watch

The standard case for ladies is 28mm and is made from either stainless steel, Everose Rolesor — which is a mix of Oystersteel and 18K Everose gold, white gold, or yellow gold. The bracelet is also made from the same material and features a stunning bezel with a fluted design. The watch has a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal — the best type of watch crystal out there — and a cyclops lens over the watch’s date window. It has a beautiful dial, which, depending on the model can be pink, white, or yellow, that has a nice sunburst finish. For the indexes, instead of the usual numbers, you will instead find diamonds set on the dial for a classier feel.

A jewellery watch, such as the Rolex Lady Datejust featured above, is a perfect watch to have customised. Since this watch is already amazing on its own, you don’t need to go overboard when customising it. A simple watch engraving at the back of the watch would suffice to keep the watch’s beautiful features and add your own personality to it.

Patek Phlippe Calatrava

The Patek Philippe Calatrava collection is known for its sleek and clean design. Although the construction leans toward a more minimalistic vibe with just watch hands and no indexes or date windows, the particular Calatrava featured below offers a highly elegant look. It has a 37mm rose gold case with a diamond-studded bezel.  It has a sturdy sapphire crystal, which is probably the most scratch-resistant type of watch crystal. The watch runs on an automatic movement and has a power reserve of 48 hours. Not to mention, the bezel, as you can see, is diamond-studded.

front view of Patek Phlippe Calatrava watch

Now, the star of this  Patek Philippe watch is its orchid-pattern dial. Unlike typical watch dials, this watch doesn’t just use a solid color or a textured effect. It has a unique orchid dial that makes it stand out. This is a perfect gift to surprise your loved ones, especially if they are known for having a green thumb or have a particular love for orchids. And if you can’t really afford a luxury watch, you can use this watch as inspiration. If you have a dear one who loves to take photos of plants and post them on Instagram, or perhaps they like to create art involving flowers, you can take those pictures and have a shop personalise your chosen watch with the flower design.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 

Audemars Piguet released the Royal Oak collection in 1972, introducing to the world the first luxury sports watch honed from steel. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak is known for its steel octagonal design. This Royal Oak for ladies featured below is one of the more iconic models from the collection. It’s got a clean, patterned black dial and diamond-studded bezel. It runs on an automatic movement and has a 60-hour power reserve. It is 37mm in diameter and has a sapphire crystal. The watch has silver stick hands and indexes and a date window at the 3 o’clock position.

front view of Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Ladies watch

Most people who opt for this watch as a gift often personalise it with an engraving at the back with the name of the recipient and the date it was given. There are definitely a lot of opportunities to turn this already cool watch into something more special through customisation.

Cartier Ballon Bleu de Cartier 

Only released in 2006, the Ballon Bleu de Cartier is one of Cartier’s more recent collections. What makes this a popular timepiece among the collection from Cartier? Well, the hint is in the name itself. “Ballon” refers to the watch’s balloon-like curves in its case that make a beautiful curvaceous silhouette. And “Bleu” is derived from the blue synthetic cabochon that you can find on the watch’s crown.

front view of Cartier Ballon Bleu de Cartier watch

The particular Ballon Bleu de Cartier model above has a round stainless steel case that is 28mm in diameter. The simple yet elegant dial is protected by a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. Similar to the case, the watch bracelet is also made of stainless steel. On the dial, you’ll find small and thin watch hands in a vibrant blue. You’ll also see a Roman numeral at the 12 o’clock position, while the other hour markers are set with diamond studs.

This jewellery watch from Cartier is a perfect mix of simplicity and elegance. It’s got a simple dial that really puts the focus on the diamond indexes. Because of it, this could easily become a wonderful gift for a loved one. You can either add more diamonds on the bezel or have it engraved with a nice message on the caseback.

Bulgari Serpenti 

Now, here’s a watch unlike any other. From the name itself, you can probably guess where the watch takes its inspiration in terms of design. The Bulgari Serpenti is truly unique with its snake-like coils and lines.

front view of Bulgari Serpenti Tubogas Watch

The fascinating Serpenti watch featured above from the Italian brand Bulgari has stainless steel and rose gold case with a unique shape. Its case resembles the head of the snake while its bracelet represents its body, which coils around the wrist comfortably. The watch has a silver opaline dial with silver watch hands and hand-applied indexes. Meanwhile, its rose gold bezel is studded with diamonds.

This jewellery watch would be the perfect gift to give your serpent-loving friend. The unique design of this watch will surely wow and excite the receiver. You can even go the extra mile and have the dial customised to make it a full-diamond dial. Or you can have a nice message engraved on its caseback. This will surely bring a smile to snake lovers every time they have to check the time.

Chopard Happy Diamonds 

Chopard really wowed the watch industry when they released their Happy Diamonds series back in 1976. The iconic double-whirl layout that characterises this collection is truly remarkable. Add the slender design and diamonds and this jewellery watch is the epitome of elegance in design.

The Chopard Happy Diamonds watch featured below has an 18K rose gold case and diamond-studded bezel. Maintaining the slender theme, this watch has a very sleek and thin alligator strap in glossy black. Its numberless dial is in a lovely mother of pearl guilloché.

front view of Chopard Happy Diamonds watch

This jewellery watch is definitely a wonderful gift to give to a loved one. The design holds such an incomparable elegance. What could possibly make this jewellery watch even better? Well, adding a watch engraving at the back would really be a nice touch. But be warned, this is quite a small watch. So, it’s best not to have a sentence or phrase engraved since it probably won’t fit. Our suggestion? Have a watch engraving of their initials so that they can truly feel that this watch is meant for only them. That’ll definitely make them feel special and warm inside.

Parmigiani Fleurier Kalpa 

Simple yet elegant, the Parmigiani Fleurier Kalpa is a wonderful watch to add to your wardrobe. It’s got a clean white leather strap, which matches very well with its rectangular case. The particular model below has a lovely ivory dial with a sunray guilloché finish. On the dial, you’ll see a combination of rose gold-plated indexes and Arabic numerals. A Parmigiani Fleurier signature, the watch hands are in a delta shape with rose gold lining and luminescent coating. The bezel, which is the star of the show, is studded with diamonds.

front view of Parmigiani Fleurier Kalpa watch

If you’re feeling extra generous and you want more diamonds, you can personalise it and ask for more diamonds or other precious gemstones on the dial. But, if you like to keep things simple but personalised at the same time, you can opt for a watch engraving on the caseback instead.

IWC Portofino 

Released in 1984, the IWC Portofino takes inspiration from a village in Italy. The brand wanted to capture the laid-back yet elegant vibe that Portofino, Italy holds. The collection was a hit and remains to be one of the most successful models by IWC due to its timeless design.

Despite having a few extra features, the Portofino successfully exhibits a clean and minimalistic design. The IWC Portofino featured below is a men’s diamond watch, which features a stainless steel case with a see-through sapphire glass caseback. This open-back design allows you to peek at the watch’s intricate movement. The same sapphire glass is also used at the front to provide a scratch-resistant crystal for the watch. For the strap, we have a gorgeous alligator leather in gray. Not to mention, the watch’s bezel is studded with diamonds.

front view of IWC Portofino black dial watch

The dial is a clean gray with some silver accents. It’s got thin, silver hour markers and small Arabic numerals accented with more diamonds. At the centre, you will find matching silver-tone watch hands. The watch also has a date window at 3 o’clock. To personalise it, you can include a small engraving at the back to make it more special.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Rendez-vous

The Jaeger-LeCoultre Rendez-vous is a stylish watch that simply exudes elegance. The particular model featured below has a rose gold case with a diamond-studded bezel. This pairs really well with the black alligator leather strap with pin buckle. Moreover, the watch has a milky white dial with a subtle textured design. You’ll have no problem reading the time with this watch since it has large Arabic numerals. It also has minute markers, but instead of the usual position at the outer part of the dial, these markers are found near the centre. At the centre, you will find two watch hands in a stunning aqua blue shade. The watch also has a date window in a small semicircle aperture above the 6 o’clock position.

front view of Jaeger-LeCoultre Rendez-vous watch

This elegant jewellery watch from Jaeger-LeCoultre will make a perfect gift for your loved one. We suggest preserving the watch’s elegant dial. Instead, you can put a watch engraving at the back to make the gift more personal.

Jaquet Droz Lady 8 

The Jaquet Droz Lady 8 is a watch that is an icon in its own right. The particular watch featured below has a stainless steel case that is decorated with 48 diamonds, making it really classy. The back of the watch is transparent, allowing you to see its intricate movement. It has a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and a black leather strap.

front view of Jaquet Droz Lady 8 watch

This jewellery watch from Jaquet Droz has a dome-shaped aventurine dial with a galaxy design. It would be a perfect gift to give to that friend who just loves to gaze at the stars. Make your space-loving friend feel even more special by adding a personalised watch engraving at the back or adding more diamonds on the bezel to make it full-pave.

Instagram’s Role in Customisation

Photographs have always played a vital role in preserving moments, whether historical or personal. And with the rise of the digital world, cameras have become more accessible to the public. Almost everyone now has a smartphone in hand with its own camera that they can use to take photos and selfies. And in this digital landscape, the opportunity to create is definitely abundant.

instagram logo on the smartphone
Photo from Unsplash

Instagram founders saw an opportunity to create an application that allows people to post photos they took on their own phones and share them on an online platform for others to view. In the beginning, users were mostly sharing personal photos for friends to view or as an archive for memories. But since then, the app has significantly evolved and now people and businesses, just like Jewel Gram, are using it to produce custom jewellery using Instagram photos.

Using Instagram Photos to Customise Jewellery and Watches

ring jewelry with engraved customized design
Photo from Jewel Gram

Although a lot of businesses are more of Instagram-adjacent, there are also businesses where Instagram is firmly rooted in its operations. Take Jewel Gram, for example. As mentioned above, this is a site that allows you to take photos from Instagram and use it to personalise jewellery. As a photo-centric app, Instagram is often utilised for personalisation. We know about taking photos from friends’ or family members’ Instagram photos and putting them on shirts or mugs as personalised gifts. But there are actually a lot of different things you can customise and make special using Instagram photos. One great idea of using Instagram photos to customise is for personalised watches.

Final Thoughts

Personalised gifts, especially custom watches or jewellery, are always heartwarming and special. They add sentimental value to a material object to make it more meaningful. After all, an object is just an object until we add meaning to it. Putting thought and effort into a gift is a sure way to make your loved ones happy. Custom watches turn ordinary timepieces into one-of-a-kind special items, which are perfect gifts to give your loved ones. They both have high material value and high personal meaning. What’s more, they’re something that can be passed down as a family heirloom. With a custom watch, you can give your loved one a personalised gift that they’ll be able to treasure for a very long time to come.

Featured photo from Not On The High Street

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