The gift giving season is almost upon us and now is the time to start thinking about the perfect present for your watch-obsessed spouse, sibling, or friend. Alternatively, if you’re anything like me, you might be on the market for yet another watch-related “reward” for yourself for surviving the year. Given that this has been a particularly tough one, you may consider leveling up to a new watch altogether, but that’s a topic for another article. The good news is, there are lots of great options to choose from. Whether the watch lover in your life is a hardcore collector, a budding enthusiast, or simply likes to wear a nice timepiece, our holiday gift guide has got you covered.
For the insatiable watch scholar, there’s no better gift than an in-depth and informative book on the subject of horology. If you’re new to the field, though, it might surprise you to learn that there are a lot of excellent options to choose from – and I mean a lot. Some are much more accessible than others, of course, and it’s helpful to give some thought as to what interests the would-be horologist in your life. If, for example, they’re passionate about understanding the details of how a mechanical watch functions, then The Wristwatch Handbook by Ryan Schmidt is an excellent choice. Published a few years ago, this 350-page tome is split into two sections: The first covers basic watch mechanics and the watch movement, while the second dives in-depth into the world of complications. It is absolutely fascinating to read and an excellent reference point for a future collector.
Meanwhile, if their interest lies more in the aesthetics and cultural impact of luxury watchmaking, The Millennium Watch Book might be more to their liking. Released this year, 20 chapters are dedicated to the most prevalent themes that have marked the world of watches since the start of the millennium. Best of all, this coffee table book is lavishly illustrated with over 1,000 photos. It is truly a gift that will be appreciated for years to come.
Despite what they may tell you, even the most infatuated watch lover takes their watch off from time to time. They most likely only do it so they can immediately put another one on in its place, but the fact remains, when a watch is not on their wrist, it needs somewhere to live. Sure, they could put it back in the big, bulky box it came in, but a better option is a nice watch case or watch roll; perhaps something made from aged leather or high-tech carbon fiber. Whatever you choose, make sure it offers a nice comfy home for their pride and joy, not to mention plenty of protection from possible bumps or scrapes while in transport. I’ve personally put the MONOCHROME canvas watch roll on my wish list this year. Made of 12 oz. waxed canvas and lined with microfiber suede, it can safely store up to five watches, but is still compact enough to travel with (something I know we’re all looking forward to doing a lot more of when circumstances allow). Plus, it’s very reasonably priced.
Not to be confused with a watch case – although they can also double as watch cases, but not vice versa – a watch winder is a handy gift for automatic watch lovers with more than one watch. So, how does it work? Well, in a nutshell, a watch winder is designed to store and rotate self-winding watches following a set program. Most automatic movements have relatively short power reserves, normally between 40 and 50 hours, although this is gradually being improved by many brands. This means that if the watch is not worn for a few days, it stops running. A watch winder prevents that from happening by performing a number of rotations per day so that the movement can harness the kinetic energy generated. There are a number of options available, but I would say two brands, Wolf and Scatola Del Tempo, are among the most popular in the industry.
For some – arguably most of us – it’s not realistic to get a new watch every year, and it’s certainly even less realistic to give one to somebody else. But we can give the next best thing: a new strap. Something as simple as a color or material change can completely alter the look and feel of a watch, giving it a whole new personality. Whether it’s a simple NATO or something more exotic like ostrich or stingray, the market for watch straps is huge and varied. Be warned, though, watch straps can be very personal for a watch lover, so make sure your decision is as informed as possible. For me, the gold standard is Maison Jean Rousseau, although their straps can be quite pricey. If you do some research, you will find a plethora of options available. The greatest challenge is choosing just one.
There is perhaps nothing more satisfying for an aficionado than to be able to perform a bit of “light” work on their own watch. Whether it’s a quick strap change using a classic spring bar tool – most hardcore watch fans swear by Swiss brand Bergeon – or using a demagnetizer to, well, demagnetize their watch, these seemingly small tasks further add to the sense of connection and intimacy with one’s timepiece. In a similar vein, a loupe enables the magnification of a watch’s minute details, both on the dial side and the movement, for the viewer’s pleasure and knowledge. A number of high-end watchmakers are renowned for their uncompromising attention to detail, yet in many cases, it is only under close inspection that the mastery of their craft can truly be appreciated.