Time is ticking. What better way to celebrate the countdown to the end of 2021 than with a new watch? Whether you are looking to go classic, vintage, or completely out of the wheelhouse of traditional horology, there are standout pieces for every wrist. Jaeger-LeCoultre’s traditional Reverso, which is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year, is a good choice for commemorating a special moment, thanks to its flip-face with a clean canvas for messaging or emblems on the caseback. And if you have been trying to get your hands on an Omega Speedmaster “Dark Side of the Moon,” you might try going the pre-owned route with WatchBox which has one ready to ship. Or if you are looking to really wow a special lady in your life, Jacob & Co.’s over-the-top Caviar Tourbillon Red Camo comes set with 388 baguette-cut rubies.
Not looking to splurge this year? Try a coffee table tome for the aspiring Rolex collector. Vintage Rolex: The Largest Collection in the World, by David Silver of London’s Vintage Watch Company, comes packed with over 1,800 images of vintage Rollies. Or buy a course on watchmaking at the Horological Society of New York for the burgeoning watchmaker or horology enthusiast.
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Pre-Owned Rolex Submariner Ref. 114060
Since finding a Rolex at retail is almost impossible these days, it is almost a given that you will have to opt for a pre-owned model. Bob’s Watches has become a go-to for finding a timepiece from the Crown and this Submariner Ref. 114060 will make for a memorable gift under the tree. The “no-date” sub has become a covetable model and this particular timepiece is in excellent condition with little signs of wear. This is the updated reference with a larger crown guard, an engraved rehaut, and wider lugs, so it wears a bit larger on the wrist than its 40 mm size suggests. And who wouldn’t want a stronger statement when rocking this must-have Rollie?
‘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.
If nothing else, consider it a cataloged wish-list for future acquisitions.
Ulysse Nardin Freak X
If you want to really blow someone’s mind this holiday season, may we suggest the Freak X? With no dial and no hands, it tells time via a central bridge that acts as the minute hand, while one of its smaller wheels attached to a white-tipped appendage indicates the hour. This watch, pictured, reads approximately 10:08.
Its UN-230 manufacture movement, featuring 72 hours of power reserve, comes housed in a 43 mm black titanium case. Each piece comes as a numbered edition indicated in red on the side of the case.
A freaky watch for a freaky year.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Classic Medium Hand-Wound
The Reverso has always been a perennial favorite during the holiday season, but this year is special. The watch is marking its 90th anniversary in 2021. Known for its flip-face function, its dial can be turned over to hide the time. But it’s more than just a nifty gimmick, the swiveling face was originally created for British Army officers stationed in India, who needed a watch that could take a beating during polo matches without cracking the dial.
Today, this classic steel version of the dual-sided timekeeper is most often used to engrave a special message, crest or emblem on the back for the ultimate heirloom piece.
Roger Dubuis Excalibur Dr. Woo MT
The watch industry’s obsession with collaborations continues, with ever-more interesting results. Take the newest Excalibur tourbillon limited edition from Geneva-based Roger Dubuis, which features the intricate design work of the Los Angeles-based tattooist Dr. Woo. His graphic designs, including his signature spider symbol, document a starship’s journey on the front dial, while the display on the caseback features a cosmic map, per the good doctor’s vision of time. The 42 mm case is fashioned from eon gold, a patented pink gold alloy that tarnishes less than standard pink gold and is more resistant to challenging conditions such as salt water. Limited to eight one-of-a-kind timepieces, the watch comes with an opportunity to receive a tattoo from Dr. Woo himself.
Jacob & Co. Caviar Tourbillon Red Camo
Introduced in July, the Caviar Tourbillon Red Camo from Jacob & Co. is a masterpiece of gem-setting. Adorned with 388 invisibly-set baguette-cut rubies and pink sapphires (totally more than 48 carats!) in varying shades of red, the case, dial, buckle and lugs of this 47 mm watch are a study in color matching; it can take up to three years to find the right stones. Don’t forget to look past the bling (if you can) and note the flying tourbillon at six o’clock.
Grand Seiko SLGH005 “White Birch”
The Hi-Beat 36000 80 Hours Caliber 9SA5 from the Japanese mechanical watchmaker Grand Seiko features a finely textured dial that pays homage to the white birch tree forests that surround the new Grand Seiko Studio Shizukuishi in northern Japan. Housed in a complex faceted 40 mm steel case boasting a Zaratsu-polished, distortion-free finish, the model was recently awarded the prize for best men’s watch at the prestigious Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG).
Girard-Perregaux Laureato Chronograph Aston Martin Edition
When Girard-Perregaux announced its partnership with Aston Martin earlier this year, fans of both brands knew that a collaborative timepiece would soon follow. Enter the Laureato Chronograph Aston Martin Edition, which builds on the model’s beguiling 1970s heritage with a number of design features that are unique to the luxury carmaker — including a dial featuring a diamond-like pattern first seen with the ‘AM’ logo (1921 – 1926), in a delightful, and very holiday-appropriate, “Aston Martin Green.” For the first time, the Laureato Chronograph (limited to 188 pieces) features an open caseback, offering a glimpse of the engine inside.
Glashütte Original Seventies Chronograph Panorama Date
Available as of this month, the Seventies Chronograph Panorama Date from Glashütte Original features a new dark blue dial achieved through the painstaking process of galvanization. The model’s iconic cushion-shaped case, with its retro 1970s sensibility, houses a hand-finished automatic movement designed and built by the Saxon manufactory. With a choice of four straps — blue Louisiana alligator leather, brown-grey nubuck leather, black rubber or a stainless steel bracelet — this robust 40 mm chronograph is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.
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.
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.
Pre-Owned Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Chronograph “Dark Side of the Moon”
When a vintage Speedmaster CK2915-1 sold for a record-breaking 3.2 million Swiss francs (about $3.4 million) at Phillips’ most recent Geneva sale, the market confirmed what fans of Omega have long understood: The Speedmaster is watchmaking gold. And while this pre-owned “Dark Side of the Moon” chronograph was manufactured in 2018, it bears all the hallmarks of a future Speedmaster collectible, including a stealthy 44 mm black ceramic case, a black zirconium oxide dial and a black fabric strap with a black zirconium oxide tang buckle.
Hermès Arceau Automatic
Looking for a timepiece that won’t break your bank? The stainless-steel 40 mm Hermès Arceau Automatic is a classically handsome timepiece that is equally at home in the office or dressed down with jeans for the weekend. Its no-fuss white dial comes with slanted Arabic numerals and extended horsebit-style lugs on one side for a subtle design twist on traditional timekeepers. It’s cool, casual and elegant in keeping with Hermès’ perennially stylish design codes.
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 Twelve-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.
Chopard L.U.C. Full Strike
For a serious collector, Chopard’s new L.U.C. Full Strike offers horological fireworks with a partially openworked dial that offers a glimpse of its L.U.C 08.01-L minute repeater movement. In 2017, this watch was honored at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève and was previously only available in 18-karat pink gold and white gold. This is the first platinum edition, and it limited to just 20 pieces, so you will have to act fast to get this one in hand.
It is notable for its one-piece crystal and gong component, machined from a single block of sapphire. And it sounds the time through a combination of two notes, C# and F with an ultra-crisp chime. Each watch takes 160 hours to assemble.
Panerai Luminor Due PAM 01247
Panerai is not for the faint of wrist, but the Panerai Luminor Due offers a smaller take on the watchmaker’s hefty sports watch. At 38 mm, its a more manageable fit for smaller builds or for women looking for a statement piece. This steel model with a black anthracite sun-brushed dial is a particularly attractive proposition for a daily wear. And its gold hands offer a subtle pop against its noir backdrop. The automatic mechanical watch comes with three days of power reserve.
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 dress watch and 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.