Sign of the times! Couples ditch diamond rings in favour of WATCHES as searches for engagement timepieces rise by more than 40%

  • Lyst has reported a 42 per cent increase in searches for engagement watches
  • Proposal trend has racked up hundreds of posts on Twitter and Instagram 
  • Some couples have opted for gifting a watch in exchange for engagement rings 

With traditional weddings taking a hit because of the pandemic and people opting for smaller, more quirky ceremonies, it seems that engagements are evolving too, with a surge in popularity of watches instead of diamond rings.  

Global fashion shopping platform Lyst revealed in its Wedding 2021 Report a 42 per cent increase in searches for ‘couple,’ ‘engagement’ and ‘wedding’ watches, and predict a rise in sales of upmarket timepieces. 

Morgan Le Caer, who is a content lead at Lyst, spoke to Refinery29 about the trend, saying: ‘This season, more couples have been forgoing traditional rings as engagement presents, instead opting for gender-neutral watches.’

On Twitter, hundreds of people have tweeted about preferring to receive a watch instead of a diamond engagement ring as well as gifting their partner with an expensive Rolex watch in exchange for receiving a ring. 

One person wrote: ‘Here’s a thought: Instead of an engagement ring, how about an engagement watch? Make sure I know what time it is’ 

The trend for ‘engagement watches’ is rising according to research shared in Lyst’s Wedding 2021 Report, with many people sharing a snap of fine watches on Instagram (pictured) including one man from the Philippines who said he’d broken tradition

Maxime Pierron from France showed off his engagement watch after a proposal from his girlfriend

Another person gushed about the trend, saying: ‘My now wife told me three times she wanted a specific watch instead of an engagement ring so that’s what I got her.’

‘A watch instead of an engagement ring, at least it’s useful,’ a third said. 

Another added: ‘Instead of an engagement ring to get married I want to get proposed with a Rolex’  

A spokesperson from Ernest Jones suggested the rise in engagement watches could also be related to the number of same-sex marriages, saying: ‘Our retail colleagues have noted an uplift in people buying watches as both an engagement present and as a wedding day gift. 

‘We know that giving a watch for such an occasion is the perfect symbol to mark the start of a couple’s time together. It’s often said that ‘when a woman gifts a man a watch, it means “my time is your time”, so it’s a tradition with a long-standing meaning. 

Martin, who got engaged to his partner Rob in Kyoto showed off his engagement watch 

A man from Seattle said he couldn’t be happier as he and his fiancée showed off their engagement watches in an Instagram post announcing the happy news 

Hao Soh from The Philippines and his partner showed off their matching engagement watches on Instagram

Twitter users have been gushing about the trend with some revealing they would prefer to receive a Rolex watch instead of an engagement ring 

‘However, with the rise of same-sex marriages, we’re also seeing many men choose watches for their husbands-to-be over rings to mark this moment too. A beautiful prestige timepiece is fast becoming as relevant as a diamond ring when it comes to marking the big day in style.’

According to Hitched, the phrase an engagement ring should cost ‘three month’s salary’ is related to an advertising drive from luxury diamond retailer De Beers which began in the 1930s. 

Based on the average salary in the UK, this would make the budget for an engagement ring £7,605. However a recent study found the average spend is just £1,483.

Many people have taken to Twitter saying men should be given an engagement watch that is a similar price to the ring they use for the proposal.  

Some Twitter users have said women should gift their partner an engagement watch in exchange for being given a ring 

One person wrote: ‘When my man got engaged to me, I bought him two watches instead of a ring because he doesn’t care for rings. You get what works for him. Men don’t want no encrusted diamond s***’ 

Tagging a friend, another said: ‘I think instead of a man’s engagement ring. The female should have a watch equivalent to the cost of the engagement ring ready to give in return. Then we all win!’  

The 2021 State Of Fashion Report recently found sales of watches have also increased because they are considered investment pieces and there is a general trend in self-gifting.   

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