Watches make a great gift (and I’m not just saying that because I love them and write about them.) Watches are personal items that you wear and say something about you; they are functional tools; and they can embody beautiful designs. Watch lovers tend to focus mostly on mechanical watches, which have a timelessness to them and are typically considered more prestigious that ones powered by batteries. I like watches enough to dedicate my life to writing and learning about them and for this holiday season I’d like to suggest a few notable timepieces you might want to give as a gift to someone important or add to your own personal collection. This one is for the guys, so put it in front of your significant other today to make sure they get the hint.
Inspired by the first Omega Seamaster from 1957, the new for 2014 Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial watch collection only looks historic on the outside. Omega includes a wealth of cool tech and features in this watch such as its new Master Co-Axial style movement which is for all intents and purposes totally immune to magnetic fields. The automatic movement is produced by Omega and is the cornerstone of of this new collection. This particular reference 126.96.36.199.03.001 model has a 41mm wide titanium case and matching bracelet (which a slick micro-adjustment for a very comfortable fit). Omega even uses their LiquidMetal technology for the ceramic bezel markers. $9,000.
Pilot-style watches continue to be popular because they marry a sense of adventure with functionality. Some of course are boring, but many can be so beautiful in their focus on pure utility. Swiss pilot watches tend to make for the most beautiful ones today and a high-value offering is the new Big Crown ProPilot Chronograph GMT from Oris. The 44mm wide steel case has a bezel inspired by a jet engine turbine, and the dial is as immaculate as it is legible. The automatic mechanical movement inside the watch offers a 12 hour chronograph along with a date indicator and second time zone thanks to the GMT hand. $4,100 – $4,300
A luxury watch brand tech lovers can certainly get behind is Ball. Based on a historic American watch company Ball is all Swiss and is unique for being the most high-end brand to use self-illuminating Tritium gas tubes for illumination on their watch dials. A good daily wear, the Engineer Hydrocarbon Hunley is a refined version of outgoing model with some interesting upgrades such as a power reserve indicator on the dial for the mechanical movement as well as Ball’s Amortiser shock damage prevention system. Limited to 500 pieces. $3,899
Based on a vintage military watch of the same name, the modern Tudor Heritage Ranger is a slightly retro-styled sport watch with restrained design that appeals to those seeking an active yet elegant timepiece for daily wear. In case you didn’t know, Tudor has long been affiliated with Rolex. That means quality, but at a lower price than the “crown” luxury brand. Sized at 41mm wide in steel it contains an automatic movement a host of strap options to mix up the look. $2,825
Over 10 years ago George Bamford decided that his Rolex timepiece wasn’t unique enough so set out to coat the case in black. Rolex has never before produced a black-colored watch so it was immediately appealing to his high-rolling friends and colleagues. Soon after Bamford Watch Department became a full-fledged watch customizer that mostly specializes in making interesting after-market variations on Rolex timepieces with specially coated cases and bracelets, as colored dials. Customers lose the factory Rolex warranty (Bamford does offer one) but for many it is worth it to get an original design from the world’s most powerful luxury watch brand. Prices tend to be double the retail cost of the base timepiece.
One of the best values in mechanical watches is a timepiece from Orient Japan. They produce all of their own movements in Japan, and have a wide range of distribution all over the world. Most important is the fact that you can get a decent automatic watch for a few hundred versus a few thousand dollars. The Orient Flight represents a rare restrained design that is the brands own take on the traditional aviation watch. Functional and stylish, it makes a lot of sense for the money. $295