Ah Christmas: the most wonderful time of the year. If we’re not leaving things till last minute, we’re trying to balance an increased workload with the arduous task of shopping, and preventing the in-laws from a drunken altercation on the big day itself. ‘Tis the season to be jolly and all. Except it doesn’t have to be this way. For all the unwanted bath sets and eau de awfuls, you can mark this Christmas as one to remember – one with a luxury watch. Sure, it’ll cost a little more than the usual present, but our Christmas gift guide is definitive proof that time really is a luxury – and one that makes for a standout surprise come December the 25th. Read on for some essential gift inspiration for him and for her this year.
Unique gifts for your girlfriend or wife can be a hard sell. For all the conviction, there’s always the slightest chance that, for all your thought and effort, she’ll hate it. The solution is to minimise this margin for error with a watch that’s more timeless than it is trend-led. Enter Rolex, Nomos and Breitling.
If the Datejust is the wrist trophy however, consider the Nomos Orion the minimalist take. Inspired by the Soviet (and by proxy, minimalist) vibe of former East Germany, a simple dial is sure to clinch the cost-per-wear when worn in tandem with most things in her wardrobe.
Then there’s the Breitling Colt Lady. Not feminine, but by no means overtly masculine either, the Colt is ideal for a woman that shuns convention. After all, diamonds may not be a girl’s best friend – that title is reserved for a chronometer in 2017.
Factor in the endless lifts, the school run, the breakfasts, lunches and dinners, and, during parenthood, the babysitting favours, and a Swiss watch just won’t compensate for the hours of graft mothers put in. That said, it’s a good place to start.
If your mother requires a really special treat though – and indeed, most mothers do – then Patek’s Calatrava will be the perfect gift: classic, simple and exquisitely made. Sure, they say you never really own a Patek, but you’ll most certainly want to keep this one.
Hopefully, you’ve matured past the stage of juvenile arguments and the perpetual contest to embarrass one another. And, if that’s the case (which it well should be), both you and your sister’s tastes will have graduated into adulthood, too.
The Nomos Club is for the cool sister, the one who so often schools you on matters of style. Though in this instance, it’s you playing the educator thanks to a remarkable hand-wound movement, a contrast small seconds hand and an achingly art deco dial. She can’t say you never taught her anything.
The Rolex Oyster Perpetual, however, is for the elegant sister. Like this signature timepiece, she doesn’t bend to fads, instead finding allure with a foolproof monochrome and stainless steel combo that’s as wearable as any Roland Mouret Galaxy dress.
The same can be said for the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra, too. While Rolex may be a little too straightforward for some tastes, the quieter Swiss manufacture of Omega is still definitive proof that black and steel works – especially on a daintier wrist.
Unlike women, men don’t really have jewellery. Not that they dislike it. It’s just that with so many watches to hand, the only pieces a gent generally employs are those of a wedding band and his reliable ticker. Which is exactly why he needs one more.
The Rolex Submariner is the godfather of peacock watches. Not too statement, but not too quiet either, this showboat piece clinches a sweet-spot that so few watches ever attain. The famed in-house automatic movement and failsafe palette may have something to do with that.
If he requires a little more history on the wrist though, let Omega’s Speedmaster Moonwatch spin a very handsome yarn. The model itself has been part of all six lunar missions, which alone is remarkable, but factor in the wealth of reserves of iconic Omega craftsmanship, and here’s a gift that is truly out of this world.
And lastly, who could exclude Breitling? While most manufacturers look to the earth, the Navitimer instead looks skywards, resulting in one of the most iconic pilot watches ever made complete with accurate chronometer, rotating bezel and luminous hands and indices for greater visibility. After all, he may have never fulfilled those dreams of driving the Concorde, but at least there’s a watch to play make believe.
Just like mum, your old man has put in his fair share of child rearing. The patience teaching you how to ride a bike, the excruciatingly tedious task of times table and the Spanish Inquisition whenever a date was brought home - all outstanding achievements that, at last, deserve a sterling present.
Rolex’s Cosmograph Daytona is not only a revered watch, but a coveted one. A vintage sale is likely your only chance to invest in a piece that will most likely accumulate value. And, what’s more, father dearest will recognise the prestige too.
If sentiments take precedent over ROI however, the Patek Philippe Nautilus is one of the more unusual – though no less respected – entries to the list. The softly squared dial sets the piece apart from its contemporaries, and with an automatic movement and classic lettering, it’ll most likely shine on the wrist, too.
But all of that isn’t to say the traditional is out of bounds. IWC’s Portugieser Minute Repetition – an earlier version of the label’s current Portugieser model – hasn’t aged a day since its inception, and thanks to elite manufacturing, will likely tick just as well as the day it was born.
Whether younger or older, quieter or downright annoying, we have a lot to thank our brothers for. And no, we don’t mean the constant wind-ups. This Christmas, you’ll be able to bestow a gift that finally receives his thanks, too (and hopefully his silence).
TAG Heuer has long been the neophyte’s choice, and with good reason. The Formula 1 Quartz is a shining example of the manufacture’s ability to meld traditional craftsmanship with a thoroughly modern streak, and the end result hits a perfect balance for a younger wearer.
If he is somewhat past his first grad scheme though, the Breitling Colt may well be a sound upgrade. Navy, sporty and a perfect piece to go from work hours to weekend, the masculine colouring will sit just as pretty with a suit as it will his civvies down at the pub.
Then, let’s just say on the off-chance, that he has been decidedly less annoying than last year - the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean is the gift to keep him quiet for centuries. This handsome dive watch comes with an expertly-measured chronometer and useful helium valve that make for top performers on a dive, though we strongly suggest it stays on dry land.
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