Its a daunting meeting…perhaps over dinner. The first time you meet your prospective in-laws. You want to impress, but not overdo it. So you opt for something discreet. But not too discreet that they fail to take notice, and judge you unworthy of their daughter. However, if you overdo it, and you may come across as flashy or worse, a show-off! Here is our handy guide on how to impress your future in-laws.
As most of our readers are male, we need to take a gender bias on this article. It is written for the average male reader meeting his prospective in-laws for the first time, perhaps after some reasonable time dating their daughter. We are thinking of a young man, possibly fresh out of university, or perhaps with a year or two of work experience under his belt. More or less 85% of our reader demographic. So its about you.
For those of us who have experienced this, perhaps more than once, we merely shrug it off. But for the young man doing this for the first time, it is daunting indeed. The meeting may be riddled with traps, and anything can be construed as positive or negative. Certainly this author has experienced this, albeit ages ago, and think that things have probably not changed that much. And it is nearly time for him to be on the other side of the table as the terrifying in-law. But he does not have a daughter, so will not get practice that. So, please tell him in the comments below if his experience is now out of line with the modern practice.
Here we go, just for the fun of it, with the recommendations:
The quintessential luxury watch. Perhaps one every serious collector should own. It is one of the three essentials in any Lange collection, which we elaborated and expounded on in this article. Discreet, and unassuming. Though mileage may vary for the pink gold version shown below, the versions in white gold or platinum are very quiet, but yet exudes class.
Even assuming that the prospective in-laws are complete horology neophytes, they will appreciate the understated and classic looks, but yet may notice the stylishly assymetric dial layout and the outsized date. Many versions to choose from, ranging from the basic Lange 1 to the more romantic Lange 1 Moonphase, or for the purposes of this meeting, perhaps we go no further than the practical Lange 1 Timezone.
If the prospective parents are in-the-know with haute horlogerie, they will appreciate the pedegree and class of the Lange. And they will also quietly understand that as you have the means to buy a watch like this, not only you have good taste, but you also have the ability to earn a good income to be able to afford it. But be careful. Don’t show that you are an extravagant spender. Its a narrow road, but learn to balance this…at least the impression that you are capable of this balance.
Our second pick is also from our chart of essential watches, this time from the house of Patek Philippe. Read the Three Essential Patek Philippe watches here. We choose the 5711/1A which is in stainless steel with a gorgeous blue dial.
This is the epitome of a collection, though it is neither the most expensive, nor the most complicated. But it is as rare as hen’s teeth. Waiting times for the Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5711/1A is some 7 years in several countries. And it is sometimes the luck of the draw that one happens to chance on a piece which is available.
But it is a steel watch. So for the prospective in-laws, the Nautilus is not flashy. It does not call attention to itself, but rather quietly speak in soft tones that the gentleman whose wrist it sits on is cultured. It says, you appreicate the finer things in life. And yet, not loud or ostentatious. It tells the tale that you treasure your possessions. And perhaps hint that you may be a good husband to their daughter and father to their grandchildren.
This one is a bit tricky. Everybody knows Rolex. And with a Daytona strapped on the wrist, the prospective in-laws will likely take notice. If they are not watch collectors, then they will think its an expensive watch on your wrist. The meeting must then be spent to assuage them that the you are indeed a sensible fellow. Though you are able to make a good income, and hence provide for their daughter, you are also able to make sound decisions and make prudent purchases. Take care to explain that the Daytona is not an exorbitant sum of money for what it is. A solidly constructed chronograph which will last a lifetime. And perhaps even a superior investment, if the recent sale prices achieved by the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Ref. 6239 sold by Phillips for US$17,750,000 when it was probably purchased new in 1968 for US$500.
If they are horology people, then it is perhaps easier. They will appreciate that you are indeed not a good- for-nothing fellow, but one who identifies with the solid characteristics of a Rolex. And the Daytona is perhaps the most iconic of the lot. A Submariner or GMT Master may also fill this role very well.
The Omega Speedmaster is an icon, not only among the watch crowd, but perhaps also among those fascinated by space travel and the landing on the moon in 1969. The young lady’s parents are likely to be at the age when the landing of Apollo 11 on the moon was in their childhood years. And likely to remember Neil Armstrong on a black and white CRT TV, landing on the moon surface, uttering the words, “One small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind”. If so, its bingo time. Wearing the Omega Speedmaster “Moonwatch” in any of its numerous guises is an opening introduction which says that you are a sensible young man who appreciates good sturdy engineering instead of being fascinated by bling.
And if the parents are not fans of the moon landing, the Omega Speedmaster will seem to be just a modestly priced, but well engineered (just point to the fact that NASA chose it for the Apollo missions as a good example), and it should see you through as a suitable candidate for a son-in-law.
And for the fifth we make a nod for the rare. Perhaps a Dufour Simplicity. Sporting a Simplicity or other exotic watch under the wrist for a first meeting may be interesting, to say the least.
It ticks all the boxes for a quiet discreet timepiece; quiet, well engineered, beautiful object on the wrist. It is low profile, both in actual physical profile, and the unassuming looks which look like a generic watch to the uninitiated. But for those in the know, it packs the punch of a holy grail sighting.
May or may not be a good conversation point for the in-laws: Good in the sense that this is a treasure on the wrist, and suggests that either you have paid a lot of money for the watch (unusual, but we do know some young men like this), or its a heirloom from your father (more likely scenario). But either way, it points to the fact that you have a sizable fortune on your wrist, and may suggest that you will be a good provider for their daughter.
To justify, you only have to point out that in recent history the secondary prices of the Simplicity has escalated to the sky. The current market estimate is north of US$250,000 as bench-marked by three separate Simplicities sold in November 2016: A white gold, 37mm guilloche Simplicity sold by Christies for HKD 1.98m (about US$256,400), a rose gold 37mm piece with white lacquer dial, like the lower one in the photograph above was sold by Phillips HKD 2m (about US$257,900 barely 24 hours after the hammer fell on the first). And a third piece, also by Phillips in the same sale achieved HKD 1,75m (about US$225,500). The third Simplicity is like the upper one in the photograph above, in a 34mm white gold case with a guilloche dial.
Just be cautious not to come across as an extravagant spender, but rather an informed investor. Should be a walk in the park if played right.
For our final recommendation, we make a case for no watch. We admit, as horophiles, we make a rather weak case. Perhaps we may relent a bit, and go for a practical one like a Fitbit or an Apple Watch. The Apple Watch should be fairly neutral and not attract any attention at all.
If one does not wear a watch, it provides no cues. And there is nothing to be read. And you become a blank canvass, inviting the prospective parents to look elsewhere. Perhaps to discover some interesting virtue, or (horrors) flaws in your character.
Very brief conclusion
If none of these options impress, then perhaps its time to think of getting a new prospect for the wife. Maybe. All said in jest. Of course. We hope you enjoyed the banter on this article. Comments below please.