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If you’d like to give the gift of time this holiday season, consider one of the 10 wristwatches featured below. Our list of the best gifts for watch collectors has something for everyone, from watch collectors-in-training to veterans of the horological scene. But don’t delay—supplies of these instantly shoppable timepieces are bound to dwindle fast.
Bovet Récital 29
The skeletonized Récital 29 by Bovet features a number of elements sure to enchant watch lovers. For starters, check out the 42 mm stainless steel model’s innovative “writing slope” case, designed by the brand’s owner, Pascal Raffy, to make it easy to see the swing of the balance-hairspring beneath the dome-shaped dial. Then note the hand-engraved guilloche on the offset blue dial, and the realistic-looking moon phase display, whose luminescent material is meant to evoke the lunar surface. Out of this world!
Chopard Alpine Eagle Large
Looking for a handsome steel sports watch with a fresh back story? Inspired by Chopard’s first sports watch, the 1980 St. Moritz, the new 41 mm automatic Alpine Eagle watch comes in a case fashioned from the brand’s Lucent steel, a proprietary alloy prized for its durability and luminosity. The design details — such as the etched sunburst dial in a stormy grey hue — evoke the iris of the alpine eagle that soars through the Bernina chain in the Swiss Alps.
Panerai Luminor Blu Mare
Fans of military diving history will flip for Panerai’s Luminor Blu Mare, a hand-wound 44 mm stainless steel watch that harkens back to the brand’s history as a timepiece for the Italian Navy’s elite frogmen. When the brand was formally introduced in 1993, the Luminor 44 mm, named after Panerai’s non-radioactive luminous paint, was among the first pieces that came to market. Within a few years, the model had redefined size standards for the industry, achieving icon status in the process. The Blu Mare seen here is distinguished by its deep blue dial, in-house P.6000 calibre and signature crown protector.
For the Platonic ideal of a dress watch, look no further than Breguet’s 40 mm Classique timepiece. Encased in 18 white gold, the automatic watch’s key feature is its white “Grand Feu” enamel dial, adorned with — what else? — Arabic Breguet numerals and Breguet open-tipped hands in blued steel. The offset dial at 5 o’clock displays small seconds. And a black alligator strap completes the look. How’s that for the power of simplicity?
Buy Now on Neiman Marcus: $21,500
Bulgari Octo Finissimo Chronograph
It’s easy to understand why the Octo Finissimo is a paragon of modern watch design. With its octagonal stainless steel case, satin-finished steel bracelet and silvertone dial, the slim timekeeper is instantly recognizable — particularly among fans of high-end watchmaking, where the consensus is that Bulgari broke the mold in 2014, when it introduced the trend-defining collection. The 43 mm chronograph version seen here serves as something of an exclamation point to the Octo Finissimo tradition.
Buy Now on Neiman Marcus: $17,600
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Grande Tapisserie Dial
While it’s nearly impossible to track down at retail, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak with the ruthenium-toned Grande Tapisserie dial is available secondhand. Should you want it, however, you’ll want to act fast. The automatic 38 mm steel model, with its signature octagonal bezel, visible screws and trendsetting integrated bracelet, is sought after to the nth degree. Equipped with the automatic caliber 3120, the model comes with a 60-hour power reserve.
Buy Now on Bob's Watches: $40,995
Patek Philippe Calatrava 6119R-001
Elegance and good taste come together in the Calatrava, Patek Philippe’s quintessential timepiece, seen here in a refined 18k rose gold execution. The defining details of the model — such as the guilloched hobnail pattern on the dial, also known as Clous de Paris; faceted applied rose gold hour-markers; and dauphine-style hours/minutes hands — are all here, but they’ve been packaged in a case with a slightly larger diameter and powered by a new manually wound movement, the 30-255 PS, with a 65-hour power reserve.
Buy Now on Watches of Switzerland: $30,753
TAG Heuer Vintage Monaco
Beloved for its classic Hollywood history as much as for its bold, unconventional look, the Monaco by TAG Heuer is for watch lovers unafraid to make a statement. Seen on Steve McQueen’s wrist in the 1970’s classic Le Mans, the unforgettable square chronograph — shown here in a 39 mm stainless steel case fronted by a denim blue dial — manages to look at once contemporary and retro, and remains cool through and through.
Buy Now on Watches of Switzerland: $7,300
Oris Roberto Clemente Limited Edition
Introduce aspiring watch collectors to the world of Swiss timekeeping with this Oris limited edition timepiece, which pays homage to baseball Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente and the humanitarian work of his eponymous foundation. Limited to 3,000 pieces to represent his career hits, the watch comes in a 40 mm steel case with details that evoke the legendary ballplayer, including a white dial with black and gold detailing inspired by his uniform, and a light brown leather strap with double stitching reminiscent of a baseball glove.
Buy Now on Watches of Switzerland: $1,950
Hublot Classic Fusion Chronograph
Contemporary style meets traditional timekeeping in this Classic Fusion chronograph from Hublot, a master of the form. Starting with the model’s striking green titanium case and coordinating titanium bezel, the aesthetic details of the watch are anything but nostalgic. Yet inside this stylish 45 mm timepiece ticks the HUB1143 self-winding chronograph movement, a serious piece of Swiss machinery that’s water resistant to 50 meters and equipped with a 42-hour power reserve.
Buy Now on Watches of Switzerland: $11,200
‘Vintage Rolex: The Largest Collection in the World’ by David Silver
In case you aren’t keen on dropping several thousands of dollars on a gift, David Silver of London’s Vintage Watch Company, one of London’s largest vintage Rolex dealers, has just released a must-have tome for fans of the crown. Vintage Rolex: The Largest Collection in the World, showcases more than 1,800 important models from “Paul Newman” Daytonas to “Pepsi” GMT-Masters. But you will also find lesser-known rare references, with unusual features, like its Octopus bracelets to early Art Deco cushion-shaped cases.
Berd Vay’e Grand Master King Sculpture
Founded in 2014, Berd Vay’e makes horological sculptures featuring up to 2,000 vintage watch parts, including hairsprings, pinions and wheels, encased in the shatter-resistant resin known as Lucite. New for the holiday is the six-piece Checkmate collection, featuring casings shaped and polished to resemble the pawn, knight, bishop, rook and king. For the watch lover in your life, choose the Grand Master — at 18 inches in size, it’s the largest and most complicated of all the pieces. Or order a full set for the winning gambit.
Buy Now on Bernard Vaye: $10,800
Buben & Zorweg Turbo Collectibles Safe
Every serious watch collector needs a place to store their collection. For the most discerning (think heads of state and captains of industry), only Buben & Zorweg will do. At its factory in Pforzheim, the German luxury manufacturer specializes in handcrafting exceptional time, storage and presentation objects in small series and bespoke editions. The new Turbo is a sleek watch winder and safe combo. Available in four sizes decked out in either metallic racing lacquer or high-tech carbon fiber, the storage unit can be customized with the buyer’s color of choice.
Horology 101 Course at Horological Society of New York
For a watch lover obsessed with the inner workings of a mechanical timepiece, there’s no better gift than a hands-on course at the Horological Society of New York (HSNY). Founded in 1866, the nonprofit organization is dedicated to advancing the art and science of horology through education. The numerous offerings include virtual horological tutoring sessions, weekday and weekend courses in New York City and traveling education that takes place in cities around the country. “Participants are guided by professional watchmakers and they go through the motions of disassembling and reassembling a mechanical watch movement to find out what makes it tick,” said HSNY deputy director Carolina Navarro. The schedule for November and December finds the HSNY’s traveling educators at the F.P. Journe boutiques in Los Angeles and Miami, where your aspiring horologist can dare to dream. Check the website for dates and locations for upcoming classes.
Globe-Trotter Centenary Leather-Trimmed 12-Watch Box
For serious watch fanatics, Globe-Trotter’s handsome Centenary case is a must-have whether using it for travel or simply to elegantly display your watches in your home. It can carry up to 12 timepieces and will slide right into the overhead compartment on your flight and you can even add an over-the-shoulder strap to turn the case into an attaché for extra security while on the go.
Lockable latches on the side of the vulcanized fibreboard and leather trim case add an extra level of protection, while the interior compartment is removable in case you prefer to display your prized wrist candy outside of the box.
Reverso by Nicholas Foulkes
If you opt to give your loved one a Reverso this holiday season, you wouldn’t want to skip out on also giving them the definitive tome on the model. Written by notable watch journalist, Nicholas Foulkes, this comprehensive coffee table book offers a full history of the iconic watch, tracing its routes from its inception as a dress watch to its metamorphosis as a canvas for the Swiss watchmaker’s artisanal craftsmanship and miniature painting. Plus, it offers touching anecdotes from collectors on their own special and commemorative flip-faced timekeepers.