Answered by Sidi Faraz A. Khan
Question: As salamu ‘alaikum,
I received a luxury watch as a gift. The back contains an engraving of what appears to be a sea-horse. If worn that portion is hidden from general view. Is it permissible to wear the watch generally and specifically during religious activities such as dhikr and prayer? Would a watch containing rubies and metals other than silver be permissible to wear? Are luxury watches considered jewelery and impermissible for men?
Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,
I pray this finds you in the best of health and faith.
With respect to the prayer, a picture is excused in the Hanafi school if it is small to the extent that if on the ground, the details of its limbs are not plainly visible to a standing person.
The same applies to an unclear picture engraved on a ring. [Haskafi, al-Durr al-Mukhtar]
Ibn Abidin in his supercommentary mentions that “unclear” in this context seems to mean “small” in the above context. [Radd al-Muhtar]
This criteria would apply to a watch as well. Therefore, it would seem then that the picture on the back of your watch is excused due to its small size, yet it would remain superior for you to remove it for the prayer.
The only precious metals/stones that are impermissible for men to wear are gold and silver. Hence, the presence of rubies in your watch would be fine. [Nahlawi, Durar Mubaha fil Hazr wal Ibaha]
And Allah alone gives success.
Faraz A. Khan
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani