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5 Things to Know About Watch Engraving Cost

Written by Annabelle
October 1, 2019

Engraving a piece of jewelry with a personalized inscription or image gives it a sentimental touch. Watches are no exception! A beautiful timepiece with a special message on the back makes for a memorable gift that can turn into a family heirloom. But you may be wondering- what's the price? Learn more about five things that will affect watch engraving cost.

How Is a Watch Engraved?

The method used for any watch engraving service comes in many forms, such as hand engraving, rotary engraving, and laser engraving. While all of the methods are viable, laser engraving is the most accurate and customizable method due to its programmable capabilities. This means that the desired text or image is uploaded to a computer which guides the laser on the metal.

Laser engraving is also comparatively more reliable, as the laser cuts into the metal easily. As a result, most engravers opt to use the laser for watch engraving, as the backs of many watches are made from stainless steel.

It should be noted that the more complex the watch engraving, the higher the cost. This is because the engraver has to spend more time and labor on the piece, and certain designs such as specific fonts or images require more guided control over the laser. Here's a list of 5 things that will affect the watch engraving cost:

1. Number of Letters

The number of letters can really increase the watch engraving service cost! The more you want to engrave, the more work it is for the engraver. Keep in mind that they're working with limited space, so the font shrinks for every additional word you'd like to fit on the watch. That makes it more difficult in terms of labor, as the engraver needs to be extremely precise to avoid any overlapping or misspelling.

On average, we allow 60 characters (30 per line) including spaces on the back of watches. While we can fit more, we like to let our clients know that the size of the lettering will shrink accordingly.

2. Location

While it's standard to engrave on the back of the watch case, since it's usually a flat and spacious area, some people want to engrave in other locations on the watch. This requires additional work, adding to the overall watch engraving service cost because the engraver needs to be more cautious especially around tighter spaces. As an example, one client brought in a watch that had a logo all over the back. In order to engrave the message he wanted, he specifically requested for us to engrave in the small corners around the center of the watch case and provided us with a diagram.


The diagram our client provided. Note how the messages are all in the corners due to the central logo.

3. Images

Images can increase the cost of the engraving based on complexity and size. If the engraving is a simple icon such as a small, plain heart, it shouldn't substantially affect the price of the work. However, a detailed, intricate image will require comparatively more work and guidance. You can expect at least a $30 increase to price for image engravings, and this may also increase in combination with other factors such as location.


This ring was engraved with an elaborate wolf logo. The design was provided by our client.

4. Fonts

There are two standard fonts provided by a watch engraving service: block and script. These default styles shouldn't incur any additional costs, but if you want a custom font, that will have to be specially input into the laser and matched carefully by the engraver. Certain fonts can be challenging to replicate, and that will cost more for the extra labor required to make the engraving just right.


The two basic fonts: block and script

star wars ring engraving

This ring has a custom Star Wars font on the interior.

5. Other custom requests

As every watch is different in design and material, and engraving ideas vary from individual to individual, custom watch engraving requests can range wildly in cost. Consider a very custom request involving a special font, an image, and a particular location; all of that combined will increase the overall watch engraving cost. Other custom requests may include antiquing the engraving so that it “pops” a little more, or pen plating specific areas to make it gold/rose gold. Any ofthese additional little touches add to the labor required for the piece.

Now you're informed about watch engraving and the five factors that will affect the overall cost! If you're ready to get your timepiece customized, check out our watch engraving service here.

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